Hayes muses on Obama’s about-face on tax hikes during an economic downturn

Stephen Hayes‘ latest Weekly Standard article questions the change of heart from President Barack Obama on the issue of raising taxes as the economy struggles.

In a 75-minute meeting Sunday night, President Obama once again demanded that more than $1 trillion in tax increases be part of any deficit reduction package attached to a vote on the debt ceiling. In the session, Obama rejected a Republican proposal to seek $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and reforms, and insisted on higher taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals.

It’s a curious position, given the anemic economic growth and rising unemployment. And it’s even more curious considering that Obama himself has warned about the deleterious effects of raising taxes in a struggling economy.

In August 2009, on a visit to Elkhart, Indiana to tout his stimulus plan, Obama sat down for an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, and was conveyed a simple request from Elkhart resident Scott Ferguson: “Explain how raising taxes on anyone during a deep recession is going to help with the economy.”

Obama agreed with Ferguson’s premise – raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea. “First of all, he’s right. Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes. So I guess what I’d say to Scott is – his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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