John Kartch

Obamacare Tax Hikes: One Down, Twenty to Go


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, April 15th, 2011, 12:18 PM PERMALINK


President Obama on Thursday signed into law the first repeal of an Obamacare tax hike: the 1099 small business paperwork tax.  This Obamacare tax would have required every business in America to issue a “1099” tax form to every office supply store, gas station, restaurant, etc. from which they bought at least $600 in goods and services throughout the year.

The President’s signature on 1099 repeal means that there are now 20 new or higher taxes left in the Obamacare law, down from the original 21 tax hikes.  Taken together, these constitute one of the largest tax increases in American history.  Seven of the remaining tax hikes hit families making less than $250,000 per year, in direct violation of President Obama’s campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on these families.

Below is the total list of all $500 billion-plus in tax hikes (over the next ten years) remaining in Obamacare, where to find them in the bill, when they will take effect, and how much your taxes will go up:

1. Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting(Tax hike of $17.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,960-1,961

2. Individual Mandate Excise Tax(takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

 

1 Adult

2 Adults

3+ Adults

2014

1% AGI/$95

1% AGI/$190

1% AGI/$285

2015

2% AGI/$325

2% AGI/$650

2% AGI/$975

2016 +

2.5% AGI/$695

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

 

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS).Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

3. Employer Mandate Tax(takes effect Jan. 2014):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

4. Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013):  Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

 

Capital Gains

Dividends

Other*

2011-2012 (current law)

15%

15%

35%

2013+ (current law)

23.8%

43.4%

43.4%

2013+ (Obama budget)

23.8%

23.8%

43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations.  It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income.  It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans.  The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

5. Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans(Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

6. Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax(Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

 

First $200,000
($250,000 Married)
Employer/Employee

All Remaining Wages
Employer/Employee

Current Law

1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed

1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed

Obamacare Tax Hike

1.45%/1.45%
2.9% self-employed

1.45%/2.35%
3.8% self-employed

 

Bill: PPACA, ReconciliationAct; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

7. Medicine Cabinet Tax(Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike(Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

9. Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”(Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).  Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs educationBill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

10. Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers(Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax.  Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

11. Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI(Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

12. Tax on Indoor Tanning Services(Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

13. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D(Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

14. Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike(Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

15. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals(Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

16. Tax on Innovator Drug Companies(Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

17. Tax on Health Insurers(Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.  Phases in gradually until 2018.  Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

18. $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives(Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

19. Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2($min/Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

20. “Black liquor” tax hike(Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately).  This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

21. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”(Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately).  This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113

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Obama Makes Super False Tax Claim: "I didn't raise taxes once"


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, February 7th, 2011, 1:10 PM PERMALINK


On Sunday, in a live, nationally televised interview just prior to the Super Bowl, President Obama made the following claim:

“I didn’t raise taxes once.  I lowered taxes over the last two years.  I lowered taxes for the last two years.”

Let’s break down the statement, starting with Obama’s “I didn’t raise taxes once” claim.  This assertion is blatantly false, as President Obama has signed into law at least two dozen tax increases:

Feb. 4, 2009 – Obama signs federal tobacco tax hike:  Just sixteen days into his presidency, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco– a hike of 62 cents per pack.  Obama’s signature on this tax hike was a violation of his central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that no American making less than $250,000 would see “any form of tax increase”.  The median income of smokers is just over $36,000. 

March 23, 2010 –Obama signs the healthcare bill into law:  Obama’s signature on the health care bill enacted two dozen new or higher taxes (at least seven of which violate his “firm pledge” on taxes), including but not limited to:

-- Individual Mandate Excise Tax

--Employer Mandate Excise Tax

-- Small business 1099-MISC Information Reporting

--Surtax on Investment Income

--Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans

--Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax

--Medicine Cabinet Tax

--HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike

--Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka“Special Needs Kids Tax”

-- Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers

-- "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI

-- Tax on Indoor Tanning Services

-- Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage

-- Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike

-- Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals

-- Tax on Innovator Drug Companies

-- Tax on Health Insurers

-- Biofuel “black liquor” tax hike

-- Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”

Now let’s turn to the second part of Obama’s claim: I lowered taxes over the last two years.  I lowered taxes for the last two years.”

  • President Obama’s entire claim of being a net tax-cutter rests merely upon the temporary tax relief he has signed into law.  The tax increases Obama has signed into law have invariably been permanent.  In fact, Obama signed into law $7 in permanent tax hikes for every $1 in permanent tax cuts
  • Over 90% of the dollar value of the tax cuts Obama signed into law are only temporary
  • 100% of the tax increases Obama signed into law are, however, permanent
  • Permanent changes to tax law signed by Obama amount to a net tax hike of $618.7 billion

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Deer in Headlights: Transcript and Video of Goolsbee Tax Denials


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, January 31st, 2011, 8:53 AM PERMALINK


(Click here to watch the YouTube of this exchange)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

House Ways& Means Committee

First Obamacare hearing of the 112th Congress

Transcript of exchange between Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

Rep. Tiberi: Thank you mister chairman, Dr. Goolsbee the president repeatedly mentioned throughout the debate and afterwards that Americans making less than $200,000 or families earning less than $250,000 would not see their taxes increased with respect to the Democrat’s healthcare bill.

I’d like you to tell me whether each of the following, and a yes or no answer would suffice, that were included in the healthcare law constitutes an increase in taxes for individuals or families making less than $200,000 or $250,000.  A new tax on individuals who did not purchase government approved health insurance?

Austan Goolsbee: uh- I don’t think that’s an accurate way to describe it, no.

Tiberi: Not a new tax?

Goolsbee: I don’t think that’s an accurate way.

Tiberi: A new ban on the use of flexible savings accounts, HSAs, HRAs, on using pre-tax income to purchase over the counter drugs?

Goolsbee: uh I-I don’t, that’s not a tax increase of a normal form and that’s part of a broader reform effort obviously.

Tiberi: An increase from 7 and a half percent to 10 percent of income the threshold after which individuals can deduct out of pocket medical expenses?

Goolsbee: . . . (shakes his head)

Tiberi: Not a tax increase?

Goolsbee: uh, I, as I’m saying, the, I do not consider the affordable care act as a whole to be a tax increase on people less than $200,000.

Tiberi: There are two more. Impose a new $2500 cap on family’s ability to use pre-tax dollars to fund an FSA?

Goolsbee: I twen- could you—

Tiberi: $2500 cap on—

Goolsbee: $2500 cap; I don’t, I don’t consider that a tax increase.

Tiberi: A new ten percent tax on indoor tanning services?

Goolsbee: (chuckles) uh. . .

Tiberi: Not a tax increase?

Goolsbee: Well, that seems like a strictly voluntary, uh, thing that one could choose.

Tiberi: But not a tax increase?

Goolsbee: . . . (shrugs)

Tiberi: Here’s the point Dr. Goolsbee, we have, in this bill, and I’m quoting from the bill, a number of things that are, that’s going to impact people, individuals who make far less than $200,000. I had a lady contact me in December, who said she had just found out from her employer and her doctor, that she could no longer mange her kids’ healthcare costs with respect to prescription, with drugs, over the counter drugs and now she was going to have to contact the doctor every time she wanted to deduct something from her flexible savings account.

And had just found out in December, months after the healthcare bill was signed into law, that actually her tax was going to increase, her income tax was going to increase, because her FSA was going to go from $5000 to $2500 and thus her income was going to go up with respect to her taxes which means she was going to be paying more taxes. So two things were occurring in her mind as she had no idea with respect to the healthcare debate: that she was going to be paying more taxes and her ability to manage her healthcare was going to be taken away from her, that she was now going to have to call her physicians office which is going to make, ironically, the physician’s office more involved, not less involved and there’s a cost to that as well. So, I know you, you chuckle about this, but the President was very very firm in that nobody making less than $200,000 or families less than $200,000 would see income taxes go up any taxes go up; and now we see a Department of Justice, uh, defense that this bill is constitutional because it’s a tax, the individual mandate is a tax.

So on one side, we say it’s not a tax, or you say it’s not a tax, the administration, on the other side you say it is a tax, so, which is it?

Goolsbee: Well Congressman, first let me apologize—I was only chuckling about the tanning salons, I wasn’t meaning to make light of it. As I say, we are open to work—if we, if we look at the FSA rules all I would say on FSAs is: this was part of a broader, uh, package, that it’s not, picking out one thing in isolation and not taking into account other benefits. If you – if you are paying for something with a pay-for, but its going to reduce healthcare cost inflation or we’re going to get additional coverage that you didn’t have before; you, you do have to take it in totality before—

Tiberi: Here’s my point sir, I’m just saying, if you are telling the American people and the President’s telling the American people if I’m advising you and you repeatedly say it’s not a tax increase and Mrs. Smith, who sees her FSA go from $5000 to $2500 and now she can’t buy baby aspirin at the store and deduct it from her FSA. She looks at that as a tax increase, so there’s a credibility issue, and again, we can chuckle about it, but, this is a tax increase.

Goolsbee: I didn’t chuckle about it; I don’t mean to chuckle

Chairman Camp: If you could, just respond briefly then we’ll move on.

Goolsbee: My only brief response is, if it changes the FSA rule but simultaneously gives her a significant reduction in the cost of her healthcare; that should not be viewed as a tax increase on her. Even though, just looking at one component she would say, I had to, I had a disallowed expense on an FSA, but the point is, taken in totality, it’s not a tax increase.

Chairman Camp: Alright, thank you . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYDTPIkzOGg

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All Candidates for RNC Chair Confirmed for Jan. 3 Debate


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010, 2:23 PM PERMALINK


All six of the declared candidates for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC) have confirmed their participation in the Monday, Jan. 3 debate hosted by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and The Daily Caller.  C-SPAN will be providing live coverage of the debate.

The 90-minute debate, moderated by Grover Norquist of ATR and Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller, will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Ballroom of the National Press Club.  The event is co-sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List.

Members of the public are invited to visit the official debate website -- RNCdebate.org -- in order to submit and vote on questions they would like the candidates to answer. 

The event details are as follows:

Who:  Michael Steele, Saul Anuzis, Maria Cino, Gentry Collins, Reince Priebus, Ann Wagner

What:  Debate among candidates running for the Chairmanship of the RNC

When:   Monday, January 3, 2011; 1:00 pm – 2:30 p.m. ET.

Doors open:  Noon

Where:  National Press Club (529 14th St. NW), 13th Floor, Ballroom

Metro, driving directions, and parking information: Click here

RSVP Required:  debate@atr.org

Official Debate Website:  RNCdebate.org

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ATR to Host RNC Chairmanship Debate on January 3


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010, 10:40 AM PERMALINK


On Monday, January 3, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) will host a debate among candidates for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC).  The event will take place in the Ballroom of the National Press Club.

“The actual vote for RNC Chairman will be made by the 168 members of the Committee, but the impact will be felt by all.  Therefore, every activist should play a role in questioning the candidates and communicating with RNC members who cast votes...just like lobbying your Congressman and Senators.  We are working with bloggers and other activists to develop the questions to be asked during the forum, and we encourage everyone to visit RNCdebate.org in the coming days to submit and vote on questions,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.  “The event will be open to C-SPAN and streamed live at RNCdebate.org.”

ATR hosted a similar debate on January 5, 2009, drawing 600 attendees and 70 members of the media, including C-SPAN.  The dedicated website for the event – RNCdebate.org – allowed activists to propose and vote on debate questions.  The site drew 60,000 votes on 925 different questions.

The event details are as follows:

When:   Monday, January 3, 2011 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 p.m. ET

Where:  National Press Club (529 14th St. NW), 13th Floor, Ballroom

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Gibbs Misleads Public on Obama's Broken Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 6:35 PM PERMALINK


[Printable PDF]

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs seems to have forgotten that his boss has already broken his central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that “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.”

Responding to a question during his daily press briefing today, Gibbs said, “The President believes raising taxes on the middle class during this economic time would not make a lot of economic sense.” 

But President Obama has already broken his “firm pledge” at least eight times:

1.  Federal Tobacco Tax Hike:  On Feb. 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his presidency, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco– a hike of 62 cents per pack.  The median income of smokers is just over $36,000. 

When the tax took effect on April 1, 2009, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin tried to pull a fast one on Associated Press reporter Calvin Woodward.  Cherlin falsely claimed Obama’s tax pledge applied only to “income or payroll taxes”.  Cherlin said: "The president's position throughout the campaign was that he would not raise income or payroll taxes on families making less than $250,000, and that's a promise he has kept."  Woodward rightly wasn’t buying it (PROMISES, PROMISES:  Obama Tax Pledge Up In Smoke).

Tax Increases on families making less than $250,000 didn’t stop with tobacco.  Obama’s signature on the healthcare reform bill made possible the following tax increases – none of which exempt families making less than $250,000:

2.  The Tax on Indoor Tanning Services took effect July 1, 2010:  This provision of Obamacare imposes a new 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons.  The tax was tucked into the bill behind closed doors at the last minute, replacing the previous “Bo-Tax” – a proposed tax on plastic surgery.  The 30 million Americans who visit tanning facilities are getting a lesson in the petty, nanny-state nature of Obamacare – every time they walk through the door.  Not to mention the business owners and employees who are threatened by the tax. 

3.  The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” takes effect Jan. 1, 2011: Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

4. The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike takes effect Jan. 1, 2011: This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. 

5. TheSpecial Needs Kids Tax” takes effect Jan. 1, 2013:  This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit).  There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.  Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. 

6. The Obamacare Medical Prosthetics and Devices Tax takes effect in January of 2013: This Obamacare tax raises the price of all medical prosthetic devices, such as pacemakers and artificial limbs. Consumers of these devices will end up paying more for these life-saving items. 

7. The Medical Itemized Deductions Cap takes effect Jan. 1, 2013:  Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction if the total cost if the expenses reduces the filer’s income by 7.5%.  This provision of Obamacare imposes a threshold of 10%.  This new tax will most adversely affect early retirees and the catastrophically ill. 

8. The Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax takes effect Jan. 1, 2014: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following (page 71 of manager’s amendment updates Reid bill):

 

Single

2 People

3+ People

2014

$95/1.0% AGI

$190/1.0% AGI

$285/1.0% AGI

2015

$325/2.0% AGI

$650/2.0% AGI

$975/2.0% AGI

2016+

$695/2.5% AGI

$1390/2.0% AGI

$2085/2.5%/AGI

 

[Click here for a printable version of this document]

[See also:  Six Months to go Until the Largest Tax Hikes in History]

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Wounded Warriors Face New Tax This Independence Day


Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 12:51 PM PERMALINK


[Printable PDF Version]

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day with parades and barbecues, America’s veterans face a new tax on prosthetic limbs and other vital medical devices.

The health care overhaul passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama earlier this year contains a new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, and wheelchairs.  This tax, which its proponents claim will raise $20 billion over the next ten years, contains no exemption for the nation’s 22 million veterans.  In fact, Senate Democrats specifically refused to exempt veterans from the tax.

On March 24 2010, Senate Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the healthcare bill.  This amendment (SA 3644) would have prevented the medical device tax from hitting veterans covered by the Veterans Healthcare Program or TRICARE for Life.  This amendment was rejected by a vote of 44-54.   All but five Democrat senators voted in favor of retaining the tax for veterans.

The medical device tax was one of over twenty new or higher taxes in President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.  This permanent new tax is being collected now.

“On March 24, Senate Democrats had the opportunity to exempt our veterans from Obamacare’s new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs.  But 54 Democrats voted against the measure.  They chose to side with the tax-and-spend crowd in Washington over our wounded warriors,”said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “This is one of the many reasons Harry Reid and the Democrats did not want Americans to read the 2,500 page health care bill before it was passed.”

In addition to those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports the following number of veterans from America’s wars:

World War II:             2,079,000

Korean War:              2,507,000

Vietnam War:            7,569,000

Desert Shield/Storm:   2,254,000

The following senators voted for the tax:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Max Baucus (D-MT)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Roland Burris (D-IL)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Edward Kaufman (D-DE)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

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Wounded Warriors Face New Tax This<br> Independence Day


Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


[Printable PDF Version]

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day with parades and barbecues, America’s veterans face a new tax on prosthetic limbs and other vital medical devices.

The health care overhaul passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama earlier this year contains a new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, and wheelchairs.  This tax, which its proponents claim will raise $20 billion over the next ten years, contains no exemption for the nation’s 22 million veterans.  In fact, Senate Democrats specifically refused to exempt veterans from the tax.

On March 24 2010, Senate Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the healthcare bill.  This amendment (SA 3644) would have prevented the medical device tax from hitting veterans covered by the Veterans Healthcare Program or TRICARE for Life.  This amendment was rejected by a vote of 44-54.   All but five Democrat senators voted in favor of retaining the tax for veterans.

The medical device tax was one of over twenty new or higher taxes in President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.  This permanent new tax will be collected starting in 2013.

“On March 24, Senate Democrats had the opportunity to exempt our veterans from Obamacare’s new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs.  But 54 Democrats voted against the measure.  They chose to side with the tax-and-spend crowd in Washington over our wounded warriors,”said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “This is one of the many reasons Harry Reid and the Democrats did not want Americans to read the 2,500 page health care bill before it was passed.”

In addition to those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports the following number of veterans from America’s wars:

World War II:             2,079,000

Korean War:              2,507,000

Vietnam War:            7,569,000

Desert Shield/Storm:   2,254,000

The following senators voted for the tax:

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Max Baucus (D-MT)
Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Mark Begich (D-AK)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Roland Burris (D-IL)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Edward Kaufman (D-DE)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Carl Levin (D-MI)
Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

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Norquist to testify before Obama fiscal commission


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 1:55 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist will testify before the Obama fiscal commission today between 3 - 4 pm Eastern Time. 

You may watch live below:

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Obamacare's First Pledge-Breaking Tax Hike Takes Effect July 1


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 12:48 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

President Barack Obama has some explaining to do.  When he signed the healthcare bill into law, he formally broke his “firm pledge” to the American people that “no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” 

Among the twenty one tax hikes signed into law as part of Obamacare, at least seven directly break Obama’s central campaign promise.  The first of these tax hikes will take effect on July 1:  the excise tax on indoor tanning services -- a 10 percent tax on the retail price of a tanning session. 

Leaving no stone unturned in their petty hunt for tax revenue, Senate Democrats in December added the tax behind closed doors at the last minute.  There is no exemption made for families making less than $250,000 per year, thus violating Obama’s “firm pledge” to the American people.

Local news coverage from around the country has illustrated the paperwork and cost burden to salon owners, employees, and customers.  The owner of two salons in Virginia has this to say about the new tax:

“It is very emotional to see your dream being literally shattered by someone in Washington.”

Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women.

Obama first broke his tax pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco.  At that time, Obama was rightly called out by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press in a piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke”

On April 15 of last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama’s tax pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”   And to this day, Obama’s promise remains for all to see at the Change.gov website: “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”

Twice during the month of April, however, Obama tried to amend the terms of his “firm pledge” by claiming his promise applies only to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”

Obama’s recent claims stand in stark contrast to his original promise:

“I can make a firm pledge.  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.” (Dover, NH)  [Transcript] [Video]

What do you say, President Obama?

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