I didn't raise taxes

"I didn't raise taxes once, I lowered taxes over the last two years."

President Barack Obama, 2.6.11

It would appear the phrase "I didn't raise taxes" would be crystal clear, and certainly when said by the president stated it, everyone could be confident of its meaning. However, this statement must mean something different to Barack Obama.

Americans are aware when the cost of something goes up. When something costs more due to a change in taxes, Americans call this a tax increase.  Seems simple enough.

Americans using health savings accounts saw increased taxes on their withdrawals, those who smoke coughed up 62 cents a pack, and tanning bed users found their financial hides tanned as well. President Obama also increased taxes on "Cadillac" health insurance plans, unless these Cadillac health plans are for union members.

All of these tax increases occurred in spite of Candidate Obama repeatedly promising families making less than $250,000, "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime".

Then there is the tax by another name: Obamacare. Under Obamacare, if you do not want to pay for healthcare insurance, too bad.  The government is going to force you to spend money for it.  In any other world this would be a tax increase, a big one, but in Obama-land it means: "I lowered taxes over the last two years."

In an ironic twist, the Obama administration denied that Obamacare was a tax while they were forcing the legislation through Congress.  Now the President's lawyers are arguing that his namesake law is a tax in an effort to defend the constitutionality of Obamacare in the courts. If Obamacare is a tax then Congress should have the constitutional authority to enact the law. If it's a mandate then there's a strong constitutional question whether it's legal.

All of these tax increases (and others) occurred during the "last two years" President Obama referred to on February 6, 2011. Hmmm.

President Obama had the audacity to go on national television during the Super Bowl two years into his term, look Americans in the eye, and claim that he "didn't raise taxes once."

In one sense he was right: he raised them several times.