President Barack Obama opposed a tax increase in 2009 because it was bad for the economy.
But in 2012, a proposed tax increase could be good for his reelection campaign.
He used the White Houseâ€™s East Room on Monday to hold a campaign-style event where he urged a prompt end to the 2003 “Bush tax cuts” for Americans who make over $250,000.
â€śIt is time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americas… to expire,â€ť he declared to the TV cameras in the room, which was half-filled with applauding supporters.
The White House speech didnâ€™t name Gov. Mitt Romney, so it doesnâ€™t meet the legal test of a partisan political speech.
But Obama did show his political purposes, telling his TV audience that â€śIâ€™m not proposing anything radical now… The American people are with me on this [and] poll after poll shows this.â€ť
Back in 2009, he told MSNBCâ€™s Chuck Todd that he opposed tax increases in a stalled economy.
â€śYou donâ€™t raise taxes in a recession… [and] we have not proposed a tax hike for the wealthy that would take effect in the middle of a recession,â€ť he said.
The economy remains stalled, however.
Unemployment is at least 8.2 percent, the federal debt has reach $16 trillion, and the annual deficit is still above $1 trillion.
The stalled economy has dragged Obamaâ€™s approval ratings down to the mid-40s.
Obama framed his June 9 call for a tax increase on the wealthy as good for the deficit and for the economy.
His proposal would renew the 2003 tax cuts on people earning less than $250,000, while exclude higher-earners from the extension.
Obama pitched his tax hike as a cost-saving measure that would help stabilize the nationâ€™s annual deficit of more than $1 trillion per year.
â€śThe money weâ€™re spending on tax cuts for the wealthyâ€ť is boosting federal deficits, he claimed. â€śWe cant afford to keep that up right now.â€ť
The tax increase would also shield lower-income people from a tax increase, Obama said. â€śThat would be a big blow to middle-class families and be a big drag on the economy,â€ť he said.
The tax increase would benefit 98 percent of Americans who earn less than $250,000, and 97 percent of small-business owners, he claimed.
GOP agreement with his tax increase would also reduce some of the uncertainty that is slowing economic growth, he said.
â€śLetâ€™s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our economy hostage, while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.â€ť
The continuation of the 2003 cuts would last for only a year, pending a debate over a comprehensive tax reform plan in 2013, he said.
Bushâ€™s tax reform reduced tax rates across-the-board, but provided a higher percentage of benefits to middle class families than to the wealthiest taxpayers.
Increased taxes on wealthier Americans would likely fund the federal government for eight days, according to an analysis by Fox News.