Is Geithner Copping to a Tax Increase for the Middle Class? Hardly.

When President Obama was running for office, he pledged not to raise taxes on the middle class. Is he about to go back on his word?

Pundits are screaming that tax cuts for the middle class are “imminent.” I don’t know that I’d go that far.

What all of the hullaballoo is focusing on is this interview between George Stephanopoulos and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner which aired on “This Week.”

In the interview, Stephanopoulos asks Geithner about the current state of the economy and what’s on tap for the future. At one point, Stephanopoulos asks Geithner very pointedly:

The President has said that taxes won’t go up for any Americans earning under $250,000, but it doesn’t appear that he’s going to be able to keep that promise if you’re going to bring the deficits down.

And Geithner didn’t say no. He started his reply by stating, “George, we can’t make these judgments yet about what exactly it’s going to take and we’re going to get there.”

Okay, yes, yes, yes. I get that’s not a no. But it’s hardly a yes either. It doesn’t warrant the headlines that I’m seeing in the press.

If you follow the interview, when Stephanopoulos asks Geithner about reducing the deficit again, Stephanopoulos uses the phrase “revenues” without specifically limiting it to the middle class. And to this is the exchange that followed:

GEITHNER: Again, we’re not at the point yet where we’re going to make a judgment about what it’s going to take. But the important thing…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re not ruling it out, you can’t rule it out.

GEITHNER: I think what the country needs to do is understand we’re going to have to do what it takes, we’re going to do what’s necessary.

And that’s the few words that have pundits jumping up and down.

Come on. I don’t think there is a single American out there that thinks that taxes aren’t going to go up. It’s just a question of who bears the burden of the increases. And if you’ve been paying attention so far, it looks like it will be the rich and perhaps, corporations.

To run screaming from this interview shouting, “Middle class taxes are going up” is, in my opinion, irresponsible. We don’t know what’s going to happen yet. And keep this in mind: 2010 is a major election year for Congress. Who in Congress will vote in a package that will raise taxes on 95% of the population in an election year?

So, let’s try and look at this for what it is: Geithner admitting that he doesn’t have a plan. Nothing more.

Comments

  1. sherry gray

    THANK YOU. I’ve been ranting about the sensationalist nature of newstainment for weeks. Using a vague answer to create a screaming doom-and-gloom prediction is a reprehensible practice.

    I’ve been middle class for a very long time. We know our taxes will go up. They always do. Even when Republicans are in office.

  2. TexasEd

    RE: “Who in Congress will vote in a package that will raise taxes on 95% of the population in an election year?” They don’t have to — just let the Bush tax-cuts expire!

  3. Angela

    God forbid they actually cut spending. Raising taxes in a recession is idiotic.

    If taxes always go up, then why does the left rail so hard against Bush’s tax cuts, which, incidentally, stimulated growth during a recession?

  4. Author
    Kelly

    Angela,

    In fairness, the growth was false – on the government side, the deficit grew exponentially. That has definitely contributed to the current economic crisis.

    I completely agree that cutting spending is important. But that’s exactly what didn’t happen with the last set of tax cuts. You can’t cut revenue and increase spending. Whether it was justifiable or not in a post-9/11 world, spending dramatically increased over the last ten years. I think we’ve actually become jaded when it comes to numbers. There was a time when a $2 billion spending bill would cause alarm – now, we consider it small potatoes.

    I’m not sure what happened to the idea of not spending more than you take in – but that would be a wise course of action in these times.

  5. My Journey

    Kelly,

    I’d love to see – just some serious auditing of gov’t agencies! If the DOT is spending XX Billion, just lets see where it is? If the FDA is spending X billion – where is it? How much corruption and waste would they find?

    Think about how much could be saved if we just trimmed the fat a bit.

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