A long lead editorial in Friday's New York Times, "Once and Future Taxes," called on Barack Obama to accept the inevitable and raise taxes to fight the $9 trillion budget deficit. Does this mean Times editors and reporters will now apologize to John McCain for claiming that Obama would only raise taxes on "the rich"?
The Times made a full-throated call for a broad tax hike:
So far, the Obama administration's plan for dealing with the budget deficit -- an estimated $9 trillion over a decade -- is to not dig the hole any deeper. That's an important first step. President Obama deserves credit for proposing ways to pay for his two big initiatives to date: health care reform and energy legislation. Reducing the growth in health care costs, in particular, is vital to curbing future deficits....But, sooner than he may prefer, Mr. Obama will have to face up to what he has so far avoided: the need to raise taxes broadly to rein in deficits....Neither economic growth nor spending cuts will be enough to fix the projected shortfalls. Nor is there enough to be gained by confining tax increases only to families making more than $250,000 a year, a campaign promise that Mr. Obama still says he will keep.
During the campaign the Times consistently guarded Obama's vulnerable left flank on taxes, insisting Obama would not raise taxes on the middle-class, only "the wealthy," -- the wealthy as determined by the liberal New York Times, anyway.
Reporter Steven Greenhouse, October 31, 2008: "Independent analyses of the presidential candidates' tax proposals show that those who make less than $250,000 a year would not see their taxes raised under Senator Barack Obama's plans."
Reporter Jim Rutenberg, October 16, 2008: "Mr. Obama's plan would raise taxes on filers earning more than $250,000 a year, a category that includes some small businesses, but would cut taxes on households earning less than $200,000 a year."
An Oct. 16, 2008 editorial: "Mr. Obama would cut taxes for low- and moderate-income families and raise them for richer Americans."
Perhaps Obama's most vociferous defender was reporter Larry Rohter, who wrote on Sept. 30, 2008: "Under his plan, only individuals making $200,000 or more and families earning more than $250,000 a year, accounting for less than 2 percent of the population, would pay additional taxes, and more than 90 percent of the population would receive a tax break of some sort."