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The President's 180 on Taxing Health Benefits

Despite his repeated pledges, first on the campaign trail last fall and then again in his address to the Congress last month, President Obama is once again talking about tax increases that will firmly impact America’s struggling middle class.  For instance, his budget includes a cap on the mortgage interest deduction, a limit on charitable donation deductions, and a newly created tax on carbon emissions that could cost the average American family about $4,000 a year.  

And now, the Obama administration is discussing with Congress the possibility of taxing employee health benefits - an action that he criticized last fall as being “the largest middle-class tax increase in history.” In fact, he went on TV denouncing Senator John McCain's proposal to do just that. But as the New York Times notes, the "advertisements did not point out that Mr. McCain, in exchange, wanted to give all families a tax credit to subsidize the purchase of coverage."  No word yet about whether President Obama would allow that same trade-off.

Clearly, the President’s message of personal responsibility and fiscal restraint has yet to make it from the teleprompter to the policy pen. For a President who was elected on the sound bite of being a watch dog for the middle-class American taxpayer, his administration and Democrat colleagues sure have a funny way of expressing their appreciation.


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