It looks like President Obama's "no-middle-class-tax pledge" was a huge con job, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. During the campaign, Obama said nobody making less than $250,000 would "see their taxes increase by a single dime," but White House economist Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner now suggest that middle-class tax hikes are on the table as the deficit soars. "The undeniable reality is that you can’t run a European-style welfare-entitlement state without European-style levels of taxation on the middle class."
Two of President Obama's top economic advisors may have "cracked open the door to the possibility of middle-class tax increases on Sunday," said Michael A. Fletcher in The Washington Post, but "the White House slammed it shut on Monday." Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tried to put to rest the "politically volatile" talk of a middle-class tax increase by saying that Obama had responded "swiftly" to those advisors, telling them he will stick to his campaign promise.
That's easier said than done, said Philip Elliott in the Associated Press. It will be a struggle for President Obama to stick to his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class, because of his "refusal to endorse specific proposals" to "pay for a heath-care overhaul that extends coverage to the uninsured." Until Obama comes up with a "firm plan," he's inviting his critics to pick apart everything he and his top advisors say.