President Barack Obama in 2008, and again during the 2012 election, promised absolutely, positively no tax hikes on the middle class. The rich, however, must pay more: "It's not me being stubborn, it's not me being partisan -- it's just a matter of math."
How does Obama intend to pay for our cradle-to-grave welfare state? Why, by charging the dastardly "millionaires and billionaires" who "can afford to pay a little bit more." No more extending the Bush-era tax rates for the rich. To do so, Obama tells us, would "cost" $700 billion -- over 10 years. So this "break" for the rich "costs" $70 billion a year -- or a mere 6 percent of the trillion dollar annual deficits that Obama has rung up since he became president.
This leaves us short about $930 billion per year -- just for the annual deficit, never mind paring down the ever-growing national debt. From where is the shortfall to be made up?
Lots of deluded Obama voters no doubt truly believe "the mess we're in" is due to "two unpaid for wars and irresponsible tax cuts for the rich." End the wars and slap the rich with Clinton-era tax rates, and voila, watch the deficit and debt go poof! But with Obama safely re-elected, some Democrats now speak the truth: The middle class, contrary to Obama's promise, will see substantial tax increases in order to pay for the welfare state the voters once again signed on to by re-electing Obama.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, appearing on MSNBC, said: "The only problem is -- and this is, a little, initially going to seem like heresy from a progressive -- the truth is everybody needs to pay more taxes, not just the rich. That's a good start. But we're not going to get out of this deficit problem unless we raise taxes across the board -- to go back to what Bill Clinton had and his taxes. And if we don't do that, the problem is the pressure is going to be on spending even more."
Obama, however, still insists that any budget deal include tax rate hikes on the top 2 percent -- a violation of the anti-tax-increase pledge most Capital Hill Republicans signed. He's winning the argument. Several Republicans now repudiate the pledge.
The "controversial" pledge states that the signer promises to his/her constituents and the American people to: "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."