Orszag: The president never âpledgedâ no new taxes; he simply âpreferredâ Latest News May 12, 2010 White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, grilled about Obamaâs pledge not to raise middle-class taxes, left the president wiggle room. Lloyd Grove reports. Remember President Obamaâs supposedly inviolable pledgeârepeatedly uttered during the 2008 campaign and at countless town meetings since the inaugurationâthat he would never raise taxes on middle-class citizens who earn $250,000 a year or less? This morning at a Manhattan breakfast sponsored by Thomson Reuters, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag threw that pledge out the window. Instead, he described Obamaâs âread my lips, no new taxesâ pledge as a âstanceâ and a âpreferenceâ that is subject to study by the presidentâs newly-formed bipartisan Commission on Fiscal Responsibility. âThe president has been very clear about what he prefers,â Orszag said under questioning from Thomson Reutersâ Chrystia Freeland.