Flashback: Middle-Class Tax Cuts
Clinton now Says: The 'Big Things' Never Included his Tax-cut Vow
Seeking to explain why he is backtracking on a campaign promise to cut taxes for the middle class, President-elect Bill Clinton said Thursday that the plan was never a major theme in his race for the White House.
Mr. Clinton, speaking at a news conference a day after saying he would have to "revisit" his tax-cut plan, said Americans voted for him because of the "big things" he wanted to do.
The middle-class tax cut, he said, was not among them.
He said he was "absolutely mystified" that the news media had perceived it as a major pledge. In interviews Wednesday, Mr. Clinton said that, because of worsening deficit projections, "I have to put everything back on the table."
Mr. Clinton spoke throughout the campaign of the need to redress declining middle-class incomes during the 1980s. He proposed a tax cut for the middle class nearly a year ago, in New Hampshire, and repeated the pledge frequently.
But in the weeks since his election, two things have changed. The government's estimate of growth of the federal budget deficit over the next five years has grown about $60 billion. Also, the new team of Clinton economic advisers has apparently made new calculations and concluded that the tax cut idea is not tenable if Mr. Clinton wants to reduce the deficit and also move ahead with an "investment" program to revive the economy.