George W. Bush's Presidency

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What caused President Bush to break his campaign pledge of no new taxes?






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There have been some famous lines uttered by our presidents throughout history. President Roosevelt’s statement of “Only thing we have nothing to fear is fear itself” is one example. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” would be another example. “Read my lips, no new taxes” is another famous line.

When George H. W. Bush uttered those words at the 1988 Republican National Convention, it sent a strong message that taxes would not increase during his term in office. However, in 1990, the economy slowed and we were running budget deficits. He believed that agreeing to the compromise plan proposed by the Democrats to raise some taxes would help the economy by reducing our debt and by controlling our spending. The breaking of this promise caused his popularity to drop. While there were several factors leading his defeat in the election of 1992, breaking the promise not to raise taxes was one of the factors contributing to his defeat.

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