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George H.W. Bush honored for courage with 1990 tax hikes

George H.W. Bush Honored For Reversal On 'No New Taxes' Promise

By Elizabeth Barber

BOSTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush showed courage in breaking his "read my lips: no new taxes" campaign pledge to broker a 1990 budget compromise that may have cost him re-election two years later, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation said on Sunday.

The organization honored the 41st U.S. president with its 2014 Profile in Courage Award, praising the Republican leader's "decision to put country above party and political prospects" in the deal with congressional Democrats.

"America's gain was President Bush's loss," Jack Schlossberg, grandson of former president John F. Kennedy and a member of the award committee, said during a ceremony at the library in Boston.

Bush did not attend the event. Granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren, niece of former president George W. Bush, accepted the award on her grandfather's behalf.

"Candidly speaking, my grandfather did not want to raise taxes in 1990," she said. "But in our constitutional system of governance, Congress also gets a say - and more than that, he felt he owed the American people action and results."

The foundation also honored Paul W. Bridges, a former Georgia mayor, as co-recipient of the award for putting his mayoral career on the line to oppose a 2011 immigration bill aimed at pushing undocumented immigrants out of his state.

The awards, presented during the mid-term election season, appeared to offer a subtle critique of sitting congressional Republicans, who last fall forced a budget impasse and a 16-day government shutdown to avoid funding President Barack Obama's healthcare bill.

"We celebrate today courage in a moment of profound change and challenge in a country gripped by partisan gridlock and inaction," Schlossberg said.

In September 1990, two years into George H.W. Bush's first term, the United States was saddled with a $200 billion budget deficit. Months of partisan wrangling over possible tax increases and spending cuts had ended in a stalemate.

Despite the potential political backlash, Bush announced a compromise with congressional Democrats that would cut $500 billion from the deficit in five years, in part by raising "luxury taxes" on items including yachts and pricey cars, among other tax hikes.

"The time for politics and posturing is over," Bush said in an October 1990 speech. "The time to come together is now."

The budget passed, but Bush's concession on a tax increase rankled members of his party and stood at odds with his "no new taxes" campaign promise. He lost re-election to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992.

Bush thanked the foundation for the award in a statement read by his granddaughter. He joked he had skipped the event due to suspicions that broccoli might be served, a nod to his infamous ban on the vegetable he disliked from Air Force One.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Marguerita Choy)

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cgangler May 06 2014 at 7:10 AM

It's pretty sad they had to go dig back 24 years to finally find a politician who actually showed some political courage.

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bigmac25 May 06 2014 at 2:31 AM

"You can keep the same doctor you already have."

Guess the current guy has his own lie.

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ojedams May 06 2014 at 2:22 AM

Here is the ex-Republican S.O.B. Who declared the "New World Order" 23 years ago. But alas, I only see a "New World Disorder". Remember this you conservative reactionary hogs!!!

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ericanderson102 May 06 2014 at 2:12 AM

B.S. ! A story and award to further trick and deceive people that raising taxes is good and honorable.

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1 reply
thomcit ericanderson102 May 06 2014 at 2:21 AM

In a civilized society, taxes are necessary. Had you bothered to finish high-school and chosen to take a couple of introductory college courses in History, Government and Economics, you'd understand why your child-like view of reality needs revision.

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1 reply
Barry Gomes thomcit May 06 2014 at 2:41 AM

Do you mean like our public school systems?or guided tours of what ever? or $16.00 cupcake?or ? or? or? and the list goes on and on.Taxes only work for those that know how to milk the system and are corrupt as the day is long.You should cnange that "civilized" to honest as we obiviously can't seem to do both.

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thomcit May 06 2014 at 2:06 AM

Every President should know that "Raising Taxes" is always a possibility.

****I believe BUSH 41 should be honored for deciding NOT to launch a full-scale invasion of Iraq and removing Sadaam. He understood the dire consequences: (1) Destabilization of the Entire Region (2) Freeing-up Iran to create havoc. ****

It's not a little ironic that, 10 years later, his own son, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, would perpetuate a BOGUS REASON for INVADING...IRAQ.

GEORGE W. BUSH became the FIRST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY to DELIBERATELY DECEIVE CONGRESS, OUR ALLIES and the AMERICAN PEOPLE about the REASON FOR LAUNCHING A FULL-SCALE INVASION of a SOVEREIGN NATION.

LIES OF THAT MAGNITUDE SHOULD RESULT IN IMPEACHMENT, REMOVAL AND (probably) JAIL TIME. That may turn out to be the costliest deception (lives lost, $$, Global Instability) by a President (incl. Andrew Johnson).

BUSH 41's predictions were proven correct by his own son !!

"HISTORY" WILL NOT BE KIND TO GEORGE W. BUSH.

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Brian Workman May 06 2014 at 1:41 AM

Even though George H W Bush caved in, and raised taxes, the Far Left Liberal Agenda Democrats still lambasted him as not thinking of the Country! The Far Left Liberal Agenda Democrats proceeded to quickly spend the Tax Payers Money ASAP!!

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2 replies
thomcit Brian Workman May 06 2014 at 2:13 AM

Your mimicry of Sean Hannity (and other fellow Dee-Jays) is underwhelming.

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Rich Brian Workman May 06 2014 at 3:07 AM

Those tax increased helped balance the budget under Clinton. Funny how that worked, isn't it?

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EzinWy May 06 2014 at 1:14 AM

America - bush-whacked by two of them - and America was actually on the losing end.

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zzyxx May 06 2014 at 1:02 AM

make our politicians go to VA hospitals for treatment. see how fast those improve.

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Suzanne May 06 2014 at 12:55 AM

George H. W. Bush didn't raise the taxes. It was the Congress who made him look bad. The only reason they raised the taxes was to make sure they had enough "cash on hand" to vote themselves another raise. They're still the problem with what's going wrong in this country now.

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The Canoli King May 06 2014 at 12:21 AM

Politicos get lauded for screwing,"WE the PEOPLE".,then "O" will be the all-time hall of famer.

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