Start with his signature domestic policy achievement: a law requiring all Americans to purchase government-defined health insurance or pay a penalty tax. In 2008, Obama said: "The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton's plan is that she'd require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she'd 'go after' your wages if you don't." He said it over and over again, beating Hillary Clinton on his opposition to the mandate tax in the primary debates and using it against her in attack ads. Then as president he signed into law precisely what he won the election opposing.
This stunning reversal means millions of Americans will be forced to buy a product from giant private insurance companies, who presumably supported the bill for that reason. But it's hard to tell which special interests supported or opposed the health care bill, because contrary to the president's famous 2008 promise that "these negotiations will be on C-SPAN, and so the public will be part of the conversation," the health care bill was the product of corrupt backroom deals.
The mandate tax also broke Obama's famous campaign promise that "Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, not any of your taxes." But that promise was already broken in Obama's first week in office, when he signed a $1 per pack cigarette tax hike - a tax paid overwhelmingly by people making less than $250,000.
In 2008 Obama also promised to eliminate capital gains taxes on investments in smaller businesses - instead he has slated capital gains taxes for investments in all businesses to jump from 15 percent this year to 23.8 percent on January 1.
In 2008 Obama promised to put Americans to work with "shovel-ready projects, rebuilding our roads, our bridges." Yet President Obama later acknowledged that "Shovel-ready was not as... uh... shovel-ready as we expected."
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.