Flashback: Clinton Said He Raised Taxes on the Rich ‘Too Much’

by Eliana Johnson

In the ongoing negotiations on the fiscal cliff, Democrats have yet to budge from the position that taxes must rise to Clinton-era levels. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told us so on the Sunday shows, and press secretary Jay Carney has reiterated it throughout the week. Many have cited the Clinton-era economy as evidence that such rates will not hurt the currently flagging economy. 

It’s worth noting that, for his part, President Clinton claimed that he raised taxes on the wealthy “too much.” According to a 1995 New York Times report, Clinton told attendees at a Houston fund raiser, “Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too.” He was campaigning for re-election at the time. The Clinton White House claimed the following day that the remarks were taken out of context. 

But then-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a proponent of the Clinton tax hikes, took his statement seriously. “It just knocked us over when we saw that report this morning,” Moynihan told the Times. “He’s running for re-election, he’s raising money in Houston. What he should have said was, ‘Is there a man in this room who’s not richer than he was two years ago?’”

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