News

White House Denies Tax Hike Plan for Middle Class

Multimedia

Audio

The White House vigorously denied on Monday any plans to raise taxes on middle-income Americans to pay for health care reform or combat the massive federal budget deficit.  The denials come one day after two top members of President Barack Obama's economic team declined to rule out tax hikes.

Shielding the middle class from higher taxes was one of then-candidate Obama's most-repeated refrains last year.

"Let me be absolutely clear: If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up," he said.

But in separate appearances on U.S. television on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top Obama economic advisor Larry Summers refused to rule out future tax increases -- including some that might target the middle class.  Summers said,"It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out."

A day later, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spent more than half of a 45-minute press briefing denying any change in the administration's thinking on taxes.

"Let me be precise:  The president's clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year," he said.

Again and again, Gibbs was asked whether a "clear commitment" constitutes an absolute presidential pledge not to raise taxes on middle-income earners.

"The president made a commitment during the campaign.  He is clear about that commitment.  He is going to keep it.  I do not know how much more clear about the commitment I can be," said Gibbs.

Throughout last year's presidential race, Republicans maintained that Barack Obama's ambitious agenda to restructure America's economy would require massive tax increases or incur unsustainable debt that would bankrupt the nation. Months after enacting an $800 billion stimulus package, Congress is now struggling to craft a health care reform bill that will not add to America's record federal budget deficit of more than $1 trillion.

Press Secretary Gibbs said President Obama's first goal is to see the U.S. economy emerge from the deepest and longest recession of the post-World War II era.  He reminded reporters that the Obama record to date is one of tax cuts.

"Within the very first month of the president talking office, 95 percent of Americans received a tax cut. That is everybody in the middle class," he said.

Recent public opinion polls show a dip in President Obama's approval ratings, attributed to concerns about health care reform and the slow pace of economic recovery.  But last week brought a flourish of upbeat economic news in housing, employment and economic growth.

The trend continued Monday, with an index showing the smallest contraction in U.S. manufacturing in 18 months.  Based on July's performance, some economists say the August reading could show a modest expansion of America's battered manufacturing sector.

Troubled U.S. automaker Ford reported its first sales increase in nearly two years last month.  The sales boost came at the start of a U.S. government-funded billion-dollar program that subsidizes the trade-in of old, fuel-guzzling vehicles for newer, more efficient ones.

An estimated quarter-of-a-million Americans have used the program to buy new cars.  The Obama administration is urging Congress to approve an additional $2 billion to keep the program running for an additional month.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs