John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Obama And Taxes

Posted on September 16, 2008


Barack Obama is trying hard to convince voters that he will not increase their taxes.  It’s not working.


In stump speech after stump speech, Obama proclaims that under his plan, 95% of the American people will see their taxes cut.  He seems to have learned a valuable lesson from Fritz Mondale.  When it comes to taxes, never level with the American people.


Despite his best efforts, Obama has no credibility as a tax cutter.  Here are four reasons that most voters will never believe him when he tries to say that he will cut taxes despite his most passionate protests,.


1)  History:  When it comes to cutting taxes, Barack Obama is a virgin.  He has never voted for a tax cut in his legislative life.  He has had 94 opportunities to vote for a tax cut in his Senate career, and he has voted no each and every time.  When you have a long history of voting to raise taxes, you can’t convince voters that you are a born-again tax cutter.  Sorry.  Nice try.


2)  Actual plan:  According to independent analysts, his tax hikes will make America’s tax rates the highest in the world. The Heritage Foundation said this:  “Senator Obama's new tax rate would give the United States one of the highest tax rates among developed countries. Currently only six of the top 30 industrial nations have a tax rate for all levels of government combined of over 55 percent. Under this tax plan, the United States would join this group and have a higher top rate than such high-tax nations as Sweden and Denmark. The top marginal rate would exceed 60 percent with the inclusion of state and local taxes, which means that only Hungary would exceed Senator Obama's new proposed top tax rate.”


3)  Refundability:  An interesting part of the Obama tax plan is refundability.  What that really means is that people who don’t pay taxes will get a refund on those taxes that they don’t pay.  In other words, they will get a check from the government even though they don’t pay any taxes.  This used to be called welfare.  But Obama calls it a refundable tax credit. He includes in his plan a new refundable “Making Work Pay” tax credit, a refundable universal mortgage Credit, a refundable $4,000 American Opportunity Tax Credit, a refundable Savers Credit, and a refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.  That’s a lot of refundability.  That’s a lot of welfare done through the tax code.  Most Americans understand that in order to get a tax refund, you need to pay some taxes.  The Obama plan is not tax fairness, it is a tax giveaway.


4)  Congress:  If Barack Obama is elected President, there is no doubt that Congress will be run by Democrats.  That means that taxes will go up higher than even Obama has planned.  For example, Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel is committed to increasing taxes, and not just on the wealthy.  Should Rangel survive his current ethics woes, he will push Obama to increase taxes on more Americans than Obama currently has in his economic plan.  But compared to other Democrats, Rangel is reasonable.  Should Rangel not survive next year, the roster only gets worse from a tax perspective.  Pete Stark is the next on the list, and Jim McDermott, Sandy Levin and John Lewis follow him.  All of those Democrats occupy the far left of the political spectrum, and they will have no hesitation in pushing Obama to increase taxes on just about any American who has a job.  Don’t count on Obama to veto those tax increases.


The American people aren’t stupid.  They won’t be fooled by nice sounding rhetoric and promises by politicians.  Most voters don’t wade through the various plans of the candidates.  They make judgments based on history, temperament, character, philosophy, and situation.  That is why they are not buying what Barack Obama is selling when it comes to tax cuts.  He is going to raise the taxes of most working Americans, focusing especially on those working Americans who create jobs in this economy of ours.