In the 2009 video above, President Barack Obama said that, “you don’t raise taxes” on anybody during a recession.
“Well first of all he’s right. Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we have, instead, cut taxes” Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd when Todd presented a question from a viewer named Scott who asked, “Explain how raising taxes on anyone during a deep recession is going to help with the economy any?”
Obama then added, “What I have to say to Scott is his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession….we have not proposed a tax hike for the wealthy that would take effect in the middle of a recession. Even the proposal that have come out of Congress, which by the way were different than the proposals I put forward, still wouldn’t kick in until after the recession was over. So he’s absolutely right. The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”
President Obama, however, said today (video below) that he will urge Congress to raise taxes on households making above $250,000 a year.
President Obama said, “I believe that the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire.”
“And by the way, I might feel differently if we were in surplus, but we have these huge deficits and everybody agrees that we need to do something about these deficits and these debts,” Obama continued.
“So the money we’re spending on these tax cuts for the wealthy is a major driver to our deficit—a major contributor to our deficit costing us trillion dollars over the next decade.”
“By the way these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are also the tax cuts that are least likely to promote growth, so we can’t afford to keep that up. Not right now. So I’m not proposing anything radical here. I just believe that anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton,” Obama said.
“They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession,” he said. “So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and half or 3 percent growth and spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half or 3 percent growth, because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people on Medicaid.”
Bill Clinton’s office went into damage control after the CNBC interview aired and online outlets like Fox News pointed out that he acknowledged the country was still in a recession and that extending the Bush tax cuts was the right thing to do. Clinton’s office released the statement to Fox News below:
“Two questions have been raised regarding President Clinton’s interview on CNBC today. First, on extending the Bush tax cuts, as President Clinton has said many times before, he supported extending all of the cuts in 2010 as part of the budget agreement, but does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans should be extended again. In the interview, he simply said that he doubted that a long-term agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until after the election. Second, on the current condition of the economy, he said at the top of the interview that the main goal for those in Washington was “to keep the expansion going.” Later, in the interview, he said government spending levels were higher and revenues were lower than they would normally be because there was a recession and we’re still living with the aftermath of it. It’s obvious since we’ve had 4.3 million new private sector jobs in the last 27 months that we’re not in a recession, even though we’d all like growth to be higher.”
However, this statement does not explain Mr. Clinton’s remarks to CNBC in May 2010. In a previous interview with Maria Bartiromo he said:
“Since upper-incomes people’s relevant tax burden was raised to help pay for health care, it’s unrealistic to think that we can basically solve this whole thing from cutting spending and just raise an upper-income taxes. We’re going to have to have more growth. I think we’re going to have to have more taxpayers, which is why I favor, in a disciplined way, a immigration reform and letting more immigrants come to the country. I think it would make more jobs for people who are unemployed, not fewer. We’re going to have to look at different tax systems that are not easily evadable, and that make us more competitive.” (video below)
In other words, two different scenarios are being presented. Clinton’s office said he supported the extending the Bush tax cuts for upper income earners in 2010 only because of the budget agreement, but Clinton said in 2010 that he supported extending the tax cuts for upper income earners, because “upper-incomes people’s relevant tax burden was raised to help pay for health care.”
This, of course, brings us to the myth that nobody’s taxes would be hiked as a result of the passage the health care law, which we now know is a tax, but the Obama administration and its allies refuse to recognize.