Commentary by James H. Shott
Recently at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Miami President Barack Obama said he was “amused” by the Tea Party tax day protests going on around the country highlighted by criticisms of his policies. “You would think they would be saying ‘thank you.’ That’s what you’d think,” he said.
Those petulant and non-presidential remarks were based upon his expectation that Americans would drop to their knees before him in grateful appreciation because of his pledge not to raise taxes for most people. “I can make a firm pledge,” Mr. Obama declared on the campaign trail. “Under my plan no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase; not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes; not any of your taxes.” Rather than raise taxes on middle and low income earners, he said he’ll raise taxes on the “rich.”
The nation’s tax system is so badly skewed that approximately 47 percent of U.S. citizens paid no federal income taxes last year, up 17 percent from 2004. An analysis by Deloitte Tax found that "a family of four making as much as $50,000 will owe no federal income tax for 2009." At this rate, by 2012 the majority of voters will pay no federal taxes, will contribute nothing to the operation of their federal government, and currently between 40 million and 50 million people are getting some form of support from the government – about one in six people, including children.
Those making less than $32,879 a year – the 108 million in the bottom 50 percent of earners – paid less than three percent of federal income taxes, while the nearly 11 million comprising the top five percent, making $160,000 and up, paid more than 60 percent of federal income taxes.
So, a relative few pay most of the cost of government and nearly half of us pay nothing, about which a few questions arise. Is this really fair? Is it healthy? As a matter of good citizenship and personal responsibility, shouldn’t nearly everyone pay something? If you pay nothing to support your government, do you really care what it does? And, how much say-so should you have about what it does?
Despite President Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on most Americans, since taking office 15 months ago, he and Congressional Democrats have pushed through measures that include tax increases totaling more than $670 billion, which is more than $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the United States. And there are at least 14 new taxes that violate his “no tax increases” vow.
The health care reform bill, of which the Democrats are so proud, creates 20 new taxes, including the following:
~ A new tax on individuals who do not purchase government‐approved health insurance
~ A new tax on employers who fail to fully comply with government health insurance mandates
~ A new 40 percent excise tax on certain high‐cost health plans
~ A new ban on the purchase of over‐the‐counter drugs using funds from FSAs, HSAs and HRAs
~ An increase in the Medicare tax on wages and self‐employment income by 0.9 percent
~ An increase, from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of income, in the threshold after which individuals can deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses
~ A new annual tax on health insurance and a new annual tax on brand name pharmaceuticals
~ A new 2.3 percent excise tax on certain medical devices, and a new tax on insured and self‐insured health plans
Most of these will affect people well below the president’s $250,000 threshold, which reminds us that there are people who will do and say anything to win elections or push their hidden agendas through. It’s all a big game to them, and it’s a game the people invariably lose.
Mr. Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Following that advice, the Congress and the administration sold the idea that the economic crisis could only be cured by massive spending, and in passing the so-called stimulus bill Congress doubled the deficit George Bush left behind. The plan failed to stimulate much of anything, because it was primarily an excuse to hand out money to favored special interests.
In the confusion surrounding the economic crisis, and in opposition to the will of a majority of Americans, Congress passed the radical health care reform bill in one of the ugliest episodes in the history of the House of Representatives. That bill created a new entitlement of approximately $2 trillion, and imposed taxes on middle and low income earners. And, the enormous Obama deficit increased the national debt to $8.2 trillion, which will grow to $20.3 trillion by 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Since Democrats hate spending cuts, we’ll be told that only new taxes and higher rates can solve the deficit/debt problem, so get ready. A lot of “not rich” Americans are going to feel the pain of the president’s broken promises.
Cross-posted from Observations