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August 3, 2009

White House: “NO New Taxes For Middle Class”

President Obama is committed to making sure middle class families do not see a tax increase, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today. 

“The president’s clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year,” Gibbs said, repeating Obama’s pledge from the presidential campaign. 

On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner suggested that taxes increases are inevitable. 

“We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will be not strong and sustained, unless we … can convince the American people that we’re going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established,” Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Asked point blank whether it was right to suggest it is a matter of when, not if, taxes will be raised, Geithner responded, “It is absolutely right.” 

National Economic Council President Larry Summers also did not rule out future increases on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” 

Gibbs, though, dismissed the comments Monday as part of a “hypothetical back and forth” that Geithner and Summers allowed themselves to engage in. 

“Promising that everybody’s going to be on message may be a bar that’s too high for me to leap over,” Gibbs said.

Peppered with reporters’ questions on the topic, he repeatedly said that despite the Sunday comments the president has been “clear” that he intends to shield middle-class families from a tax hike. 

“I am reiterating the president’s clear commitment in the clearest terms possible that he’s not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year,” he said. 

The discussion over future tax increases comes as the deficit is expected to hit $1.8 trillion next year. With spending still planned for a $1 trillion, 10-year health care reform plan, officials say something will have to be done to keep the deficit and national debt from growing wider. 

Gibbs said that President Obama is committed to cutting wasteful spending to help achieve that goal. 

January 27, 2009

White House Pushes Citi to Give Up $45M Jet

Change and accountability has come to the White House.  Can I get a collective “YEAH”!

The Obama administration pushed struggling Citigroup to reverse their decision after a Treasury Department official called the company on Monday and “told them it was unacceptable to accept delivery of a new $45 million corporate jet.

The move comes as new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner tries to quickly bring more accountability and oversight to the much- criticized TARP program he now oversees.

Citigroup has already received some $45 billion in government bailout funds, which is why a New York Post report about the scheduled delivery of the new jet sparked outrage.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday the president believes private jets aren’t “the best use of money at this point” with America facing a financial crisis.

Citibank spokesman Michael Hanretta said on Tuesday that the company has “no intent to take delivery of any new aircraft.” This came after the company initially said on Monday it could not comment on whether it was purchasing the jet, citing security reasons.

Hours later after the Obama administration contacted them Citi reversed course, issuing a statement saying it signed a contract in 2005 for a replacement aircraft as part of a plan to reduce the number of planes it owns and cut operating costs. “Refusing delivery now would result in millions of dollars in penalties”. “Citi is exploring all its options for these assets, including the potential sale or lease of the aircraft.”

The luxury jet that was to be purchased is a Dessault Falcon 7X, which seats 12. It is so exclusive that Dessault says only 21 are operating around the world, and that the price is listed at $45 million.

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