Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama turned even Joe the Plumber to his political advantage by playing percentages and pitting the majority of the country against the super-rich. Such was the simplicity of his message that even those attending an American university could grasp it. As one college student told this newspaper at the time, “Everyone knows Obama’s only going to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, and Joe the Plumber does not make more than $250,000.”
Politically that was a winner. Now, however, the numbers are not adding up—or at least, not in a way that will pay for President Obama’s ambitions for the federal government. And at least some of his allies on the progressive left are pointing it out.
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In the New Republic, the Brookings Institution’s William Galston zeroes in on the fuzzy math. “Unless Obama is prepared to tolerate huge deficits indefinitely,” he writes, “or to emulate arch-conservatives and curb the budget deficit with spending cuts only, he will have to break his unsustainable tax pledge at some point. The only question is when.”
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