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EDITORIAL: Obama’s record of broken promises

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During his first year in office, President Obama has broken dozens of promises. President George H.W. Bush broke his famous campaign promise, "Read my lips - no new taxes," and he paid the political price when voters decided against re-electing him in 1992. Mr. Obama's broken promises make the elder Mr. Bush look like the model of political fidelity by comparison. Below are a few examples of Mr. Obama's broken promises regarding the size and role of government.

c "There is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut," Mr. Obama promised during the third presidential debate on Oct. 15, 2008. He made the same promise about a "net spending cut" again during the second presidential debate.

Despite these talking points, Mr. Obama plans to increase the debt by at least $9.1 trillion over the next decade. In that period of time, Mr. Obama's programs will increase federal spending by $400 billion to $500 billion per year over what his predecessor, President George W. Bush, planned. Far from keeping his promise, this is the largest peacetime increase ever in government spending.

c "I can make a firm pledge: No family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase - not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital-gains taxes, not any of your taxes. And my opponent can't make that pledge, and here is why: For the first time in American history, John McCain wants to tax your health care benefits," Mr. Obama said on Sept. 12, 2008. The $250,000 protection against tax increases was promised dozens of times during the campaign.

Mr. Obama first broke this promise last January with an increase in cigarette taxes. Since then, he has compounded the damage. Last week, for example, the president announced an agreement to impose a 40 percent tax on higher-quality health insurance plans.

c "We are going to ban all earmarks - the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review," Mr. Obama promised Jan. 6, 2008. Similar promises were made during the presidential debates.

Putting aside that the $787 billion stimulus package was one giant earmark, Mr. Obama has signed multiple bills stuffed with earmarks, most recently the defense bill that he signed last month. That single bill alone had 1,720 pet projects totaling $4.2 billion.

c "I respect what the Clintons tried to do in 1993 in moving health reform forward, but they made one really big mistake, and that is, they took all their people and all their experts and put them into a room, and then they closed the door," Mr. Obama said in November 2008. "We will work on this process publicly, it will be on C-SPAN, it will be streaming over the net." Mr. Obama repeated this promise at least eight times during his presidential campaign.

Contrary to his vow, government health care negotiations are so secret that most top Democrats can't even see what's going on - which brings up another broken promise: that legislation would be posted online for five days before the president signed it. Mr. Obama broke that promise because the more Americans know about his agenda, the more they oppose it. Transparency makes it difficult for Democrats to ram through their unpopular big-government programs.

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