The Internet Reveals Obama's First "Broken Campaign Promise"

Reality Base
By Melissa Lafsky
Dec 5, 2008 2:04 AMNov 5, 2019 1:29 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Mother Jones has jumped on Obama for what may be the first "reneged promise" of his campaign: assigning a windfall tax to the profits raked in by Big Oil. According to MJ blogger Nick Baumann, a transition team staffer:

The President-elect's transition team hasn't explicitly announced it will drop the windfall tax plan, but a transition aide, commenting on the condition he not be identified, backed off the promise in an email. "President-elect Obama announced the [windfall profits tax] policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," he said. "They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that."

Advocacy groups like the American Small Business League—which noticed almost immediately when the discussion of windfall taxes was removed from Obama's Web site—are bemoaning the fallen tax as a disappointment, while economists (and common sense) note that it now seems far less necessary given that it would bring in substantially less money today than four months ago. Still, the fact that this debate has arisen at all, before Obama has even taken office, is a testament to the dangers (or maybe just necessary consequences) of using technology for increased government transparency. Watchdog groups can now police the Internet for early indications of a policy change, and leap on something as (seemingly) small as a single proposal to publicize a decision from the administration. Of course, the fact that Obama's people are promptly removing now-dead proposals from the site in the first place is a pretty reassuring testament to the operation's integrity as a whole.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.