Here’s How George HW Bush’s ‘No New Taxes’ Pledge Changed American Economic Policy & Cross-Party Politics

Kristine Lofgren

Former President of the United States George H.W. Bush looks on during opening ceremonies prior to the start of The Presidents Cup at The Royal Montreal Golf Club on September 26, 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

George H.W. Bush made history when he uttered the now-infamous words, “read my lips: no new taxes.” But just a few years after rocketing the phrase into the American lexicon, he worked with the Democrat-controlled Congress to do the exact opposite. Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner took a look at how the former president’s broken promise altered politics in the United States.

Bush was struggling to defeat opponent Michael Dukakis in the election, so he worked to convince voters that the Massachusettes politician was a tax-and-spend liberal and to appeal to anti-government conservatives by denouncing big government. His tactic worked and he won the election. At the time, Congress was controlled by Democrats, who wanted to protect earned benefits and services. After two years, Bush came to a compromise with progressives and accepted a tax increase that raised taxes while cutting spending.

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