That’s the message put out Monday by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and by House Ways and Means Chair Sander Levin.
Here’s what Gibbs told reporters:
Q All right, let me ask you about the value-added tax. Is there anything that this administration is doing to consider, calculate, pose in any way, shape or form, weigh or measure potential deficit implications or economic implications of a value-added tax?
MR. GIBBS: No, this is not something the President has proposed nor is it under consideration.
Q At any level of this White House at all?
MR. GIBBS: I’d point you to —
Q You said there were hundreds of memos being written all throughout the government at any given time. Couldn’t one of them be written — get written —
MR. GIBBS: As I said, the President has not proposed this idea nor is it under consideration.
Here’s what Levin told the National Press Club:
MODERATOR: We’ve had several questions relating to the value added tax, which is a proposal that’s been discussed on Capitol Hill. Could you please discuss the pros and cons of a value added tax? And would such a tax violate President Obama’s promise not to impose taxes on people making less than $250,000?
LEVIN: You know, I’ve been listening to this debate. I saw, waiting for the Red Wings hockey game yesterday — I shouldn’t have waited — but I listened to the talk shows, and it was interesting how the value added tax had gained such prominence. I was somewhat surprised.
I’ve heard almost nobody within our ranks discuss it. I — I know that one distinguished economist in this town did talk about it, but the administration hasn’t. So I was somewhat surprised. My guess is that by next week it will be a goner, and that’s for good reason.
I think it’s being raised mostly by the Republicans for political gain. They are trying to label us as a taxer. I suggest not only are they wrong, but they should read Paul Ryan’s proposal. He’s a Republican — my pal Paul — and he has a value added tax provision in it. So I don’t think it’s on the agenda. And so let me suggest that we argue the pros and cons the next time I can come to the Press Club. Thank you.
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