First Comes The Trial Balloon . . .


How many times did we hear this claptrap during the campaign?

And you believed him? Well, guess what?

Geithner, Summers hedge on tax hikes

Wavering on an emphatic promise he made in the spring, top White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers would not rule out middle-class tax increases Sunday as a way for the Obama administration to pay for a sweeping health care plan.

The statement, which was echoed by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Sunday’s talk shows, pries open a door to the kinds of broad tax increases that Mr. Obama opposed in his campaign and that he and his advisers have ruled out since taking office in January.

In March, Mr. Summers told CNBC emphatically, “Let’s be very clear. … There are no, no tax increases this year. There are no, no tax increases next year.”

On Sunday, however, Mr. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, was much more circumspect, saying that circumstances change and options cannot be ruled out.

“There is a lot, though, there is a lot that can happen over time,” Mr. Summers said when pressed on CBS’ “Face the Nation” about whether the Obama administration would raise taxes on the middle class to cover the massive planned expansion of federal health care coverage and the ballooning federal deficits.

“It’s never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what,” Mr. Summers said, elaborating by saying the administration would not act in ways that would be funded “primarily” by the middle class.

“But what the president has been completely clear on is that he is not going to pursue any of his priorities – not health care, not energy, nothing – in ways that are primarily burdening middle-class families,” he said.

Mr. Geithner spoke similarly, declining to rule out broadly based tax increases, when pressed during an interview that aired Sunday. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos invited Mr. Geithner five times to rule out raising taxes to pay for health care reform and/or to close the budget deficit – and he never did.

“Again, we’re not at the point yet where we’re going to make a judgment about what it’s going to take,” Mr. Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.”

When asked about tax increases, “you’re not ruling it out, you can’t rule it out,” Mr. Geithner responded: “I think that what the country needs to do is understand we’re going to have to do what it takes. We’re going to do what’s necessary.”

See also:
Econ chief Timothy Geithner won’t rule out middle class tax increases
CQ Transcript: Economic Council’s Summers on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’
On their way to summer vacation..
Will Barack Obama tax middle classes? U.S. finance chiefs flag tough measures to tackle growing budget deficit
2 Obama officials: No guarantee taxes won’t go up
Geithner, Summers Sent To The Corner Over Tax Bungle
AP ENTERPRISE: Federal tax revenues plummeting
Tax Receipts Fall Off Cliff; Worst Drop Since Depression

Of course today, they’re furiously spinning away, trying to reel the trial balloon back in, like it wasn’t floated on purpose.

No middle-class tax increases, White House insists

Despite warnings from President Obama’s top economic advisers that new taxes for middle-income Americans cannot be ruled out, the White House insisted today that the president’s “commitment” to a campaign pledge to avert new taxes for those earning less than $250,000 a year holds firm.

Both Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers had suggested during appearances on the Sunday morning news talk shows that tax increases could not be ruled out for Americans earning less than the threshold that the president has set.

But White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs adamantly and repeatedly insisted today that the president remains committed to his pledge — though he was unable to explain why Geithner and Summers had strayed from the administration’s line.

“The president’s clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year,” Gibbs told reporters pressing for an explanation about apparent discrepancies in the White House’s message.

Gibbs added, “I hope you’ll take my reiteration of this clear commitment . . . in the clearest terms possible, that he is not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year.”

The president, arguing that the healthcare overhaul he is seeking will not only benefit the public but also help control runaway government spending, has said that he will support tax increases to support his plan only for the wealthiest Americans, those earning more than $250,000.

Right. One thing that cannot happen by accident in Washington, is both top administration economic officials going on the major Sunday talk shows, on the same day, delivering the same message, that middle class taxes increases are on the table, without express marching orders from the White House to deliver it. Gimme a break, how dumb do they think we are?

/the numbers just don’t add up, tax revenue collection is plummeting and the rich don’t have close to enough money to pay for all of Obama’s reckless deficit spending, the money has to come from somewhere

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