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If Obama Taxes Healthcare Benefits, He's Finished

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spent most of his speech last night to the GOP's Senate & House dinner event (in Washington, D.C.) explaining how history will soon prove the Obama administration's policies are "disastrous."

President Obama has perhaps six months, if that, before we know whether his stimulus package will have revived the economy. It will take years before we know whether paying for his spending plan is better or worse for the economy than former President Bush's reckless stewardship.

But President Obama's copious public support will drop precipitously, I predict, when and if Congress decides to take middle-class taxpayers' health care benefits to pay for insurance for Americans who are too poor or too disorganized to provide it for themselves. His aides' double-speak on this issue has been incredible. From the AP:

When it comes to taxing health insurance benefits, President Barack Obama hasn't said yes, and may never. But he and his top aides won't quite say no, either, to an idea he attacked sharply in his campaign for the White House.

Instead, they are in full straddle, a well-known Washington maneuver accompanied by a vocabulary designed to obscure.

"That was not in the president's plan. It was not in our budget," the administration's budget director, Peter Orszag, said Tuesday after the possibility of taxing benefits was raised -- not for the first time -- by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Remember President Obama's promise NOT to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000? If he and Congress agree to tax health care benefits of struggling middle-class families, that promise will have just as much backing it as Confederate currency. Maybe less.

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By Bonnie Erbe

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