Almost a year ago, September 12th, 2008, to be precise, then-candidate Barack Obama made a promise to the American people.
And I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase – not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.
This promise didn’t last long. On February 4th, 2009, President Obama signed into law a 156% tax increase on cigarettes, and that certainly qualifies as part of “any of your taxes.” But it’s so hard to keep one’s word; we should give him credit for going 16 days before breaking it.
“But surely that was a one-time slip! Besides, smoking is a nasty habit, so it’s OK to raise taxes on them.” Taxes on cigarettes is often called a “sin tax” because that tax is on something people really shouldn’t be doing anyway. But once you accept the idea of taxing people’s cigarette sins, then all other sins become fair game for more taxes:
The President, in an interview with Men’s Health magazine released yesterday, said he thought taxing soda and other sugary drinks is worth putting on the table as Congress debates health care reform.
“It’s an idea that we should be exploring,” the President said. “There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else.”
So that’s a tax on just the rich people’s soda, right? *snort* Yeah, sure it is. But why is Obama even considering taxing sodas when he made a firm pledge to raise “not any of [our] taxes”?
Simple. I have come to realize that a politician’s “firm pledge” is what we normal folk would call “a lie.”