Obama and Taxes

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Peter Suderman calls out President Obama as a tax cheat today. “If you make less than a quarter of a million dollars a year,” Obama said on the campaign trail, “you will not see a single dime of your taxes go up.” But according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, taxpayers earning less than $200,000 a year will pay nearly $4 billion more in taxes in 2019 thanks to a change in the medical expense deduction mandated by the recently passed healthcare reform bill. J’accuse!

Well, maybe. But I need some help here. When Obama made his campaign pledge, he was talking about his comprehensive tax plan. He wasn’t promising that no bill he ever signed would ever raise taxes in any way for the under-$200,000 crowd, was he?

I’d like to set the record straight on this because it keeps coming up over and over and over. It came up in the context of an increase in cigarette taxes. It came up in the context of cap-and-trade. Now it’s come up in the context of the healthcare bill — which has other tax increases that would hit middle class families too. (Why do you think unions were opposed to the excise tax?) So: did Obama promise to never raise taxes in any context for any purpose for all time for everyone making less than $200,000? Or was it always just in the context of his specific campaign tax plan?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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