Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taxing health benefits: A read-my-lips moment for Obama?

From The

What is a campaign promise? And how seriously do we expect them to be kept?

If, during your campaign for president, you criticize one your opponent's ideas, really, really rail against it, advertise against it, successfully convince the public that it's a reason to vote against your opponent, and you win, are you obliged to fight against that idea? To refuse to sign it into law? To rule it "off the table?"

OK, let's get down to cases. We're talking about President Obama, and about the idea of eliminating the tax-exempt status of employer-paid health insurance.

During the campaign, the elimination of this very significant tax benefit was a key part of John McCain's health care proposal. (McCain wanted to use it to offset the creation a big tax credit that would be available to every individual or family to use in buying health insurance.)

Obama denounced the idea. Really, really slammed it. Advertised against it. One 30-second spot, containing the tell-tale "I'm Barack Obama and I approved this message," called the McCain proposal "a multitrillion dollar tax hike. The largest middle class tax hike in history."

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