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John Kartch

2.7 Million Jobs Lost Since "Stimulus" Enactment


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, October 2nd, 2009, 12:59 PM PERMALINK


Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows unemployment at 9.8%

The U.S. has lost at least 2.7 million jobs since President Barack Obama signed the “Stimulus” package into law on Feb. 17. 
 
I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving 4 million jobs,” said President Obama on February 9.

The unemployment rate now stands at 9.8 percent, up from 7.6 percent at the end of January. 

Monthly job losses reported by the BLS are as follows:
Mar:     652,000
Apr:     519,000
May:    303,000
June:    463,000
July:     304,000
Aug:     201,000 (preliminary)
Sept:    263,000 (preliminary)
Total: 2,705,000       

“President Obama demanded that Congress spend hundreds of billions of dollars to ‘stimulate’ the economy,”
said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Spend more money. Have fewer jobs. Let's stop this madness.”

 

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Obama's $250,000 Tax Pledge Timeline:<br> Descending into a "Read My Lips" Betrayal


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 21st, 2009, 4:17 PM PERMALINK


President Barack Obama’s central campaign promise was a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year. This timeline of statements by Obama and White House staff and advisors illustrates a steady retreat from his oft-repeated promise to taxpayers:

Sept. 12, 2008: Obama makes a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year:
 
“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 clip]
 
April 1, 2009: After Obama broke his “firm pledge” when he signed into law a steep hike in the federal excise tax on tobacco, White House spokesman Reid H. Cherlin attempts to claim that the Obama pledge only applies to “income or payroll taxes”:
 
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.” (Associated Press interview) [Permalink]
 
April 15, 2009: During a White House press briefing, when challenged as to how Obama’s tax pledge squares with his tax hike on tobacco, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs replies:
 
“People make a decision to smoke.” [Transcript]
 
April 15, 2009: Moments later, when asked if Obama’s tax pledge applies “to the health care bill”, Gibbs replies:
 
“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”  (White House Briefing) [Transcript]
 
June 28, 2009:  When challenged on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos as to whether Obama’s tax pledge applies to healthcare reform, White House Advisor David Axelrod refuses three times to affirm the pledge and replies:
 
“One of the problems we've had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don't get anything done.” [Transcript]
 
June 29, 2009: Questioned about David Axelrod’s comments made the day before, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs refuses seven opportunities to affirm Obama’s tax pledge, saying only:
 
“We're going to let the process work its way through.  All right?  [Transcript]
 
August 2, 2009: Appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner refuses to rule out a pledge-breaking tax hike after being given several opportunities to do so: 
 
“I think what the country needs to do is understand we're going to have to do what it takes, we're going to do what's necessary.” [Transcript]
 
August 2, 2009: On NBC’s Meet the Press, National Economic Council Director Larry Summers also refuses to rule out a tax hike:
 
“It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what.” [Permalink]
 
August 3, 2009: Questioned about the previous day’s comments by Geithner and Summers, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs reiterates Obama’s tax pledge:
 
“I am reiterating the President's clear commitment in the clearest terms possible, that he's not raising taxes on those who make less than $250,000 a year.”[Transcript]
 
Sept. 20, 2009: On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Obama claims that the Baucus plan’s excise tax on the uninsured would not break his tax pledge, denying that it is in fact a tax, even after Stephanopoulos reads him the dictionary definition: 
 
STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...
OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.
Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion. [Transcript]

Click here for a PDF of this document

 

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Norquist statement on Baucus plan


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 3:50 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement today in response to the unveiling of the Baucus healthcare plan:

"The Baucus plan contains major new tax hikes on families, small businesses, employer-provided health insurance, and healthcare providers.
 
It will make healthcare more expensive, not less. It will lead to total government control of health insurance. It guts the only part of Medicare that provides competition and choice.
 
If a terminally optimistic person sees something good in the Baucus bill, we have to remember that it wouldn’t survive Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives.”

To read the list of taxes that ATR's Tax Policy Director Ryan Ellis has identified in the bill, click here.

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Baucus Healthcare Bill Violates Obama Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009, 1:31 PM PERMALINK


At least five tax hikes in the bill violate Obama’s central campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000

The healthcare reform plan unveiled today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) contains at least five tax increases on families making less than $250,000 per year. Each provision would violate President Obama’s central campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on these Americans. The tax increases include:

Individual Mandate Tax:  Those who do not enroll in a health insurance plan would have to pay a new tax in the following range: 

 
Single
Family
100-300% FPL
$750
$1500
300+% FPL
$900
$3800

Medicine Cabinet Tax:  Americans will no longer be able to purchase over-the-counter medicines with their FSA, HSA, or HRA.
 
Backdoor Death of HSAs: By requiring that all plans (besides the few that are grandfathered) provide first-dollar coverage for most services, there would be no HSA-qualifying plans available from the Massachusetts-style exchanges.
 
Increase in Non-Qualified HSA Distribution Tax Penalty from 10 percent to 20 percent: This makes HSAs less attractive, and paves the way for HSA pre-verification.
 
A Cap on FSA Contributions at $2000: Currently unlimited.

 

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Let Them Eat Cake: White House Clueless on Taxpayer Rallies


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009, 10:20 AM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) today released a timeline of White House statements dating from mid-April showing a consistent disdain toward Americans attending taxpayer rallies and town hall meetings:

April 14:   Asked about the tax day “tea parties” being held the following day, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said  I don't know if the President is aware of the events.”
 
April 15:  At least 615,000 Americans attend at least 640 tea parties across the country
 
April 19:  Asked about the April 15 tea parties on Face the Nation, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod said: “I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy”
 
April 29:  Speaking at a town hall meeting in St. Louis, Obama directly addressed tea party attendees"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security…But let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."
 
August 4:   Asked by reporters about the growing concern expressed by town hall attendees, Gibbs said:  I hope people will take a jaundiced eye to what is clearly the Astro Turf nature of so-called grassroots lobbying”.  Questioned further, Gibbs said:  “This is manufactured anger”
 
Sept. 11:   Asked about the planned taxpayer rallies taking place across the country the following day, Gibbs shrugged and told reportersI don't know who the group is”
 
Sept. 12:    Taxpayers from all 50 states take part in the March on Washington, filling the streets from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol
 
Sept. 13:     During an interview on Face the Nation, when asked what his message was to those at the previous day’s rallies, Axelrod said:  “My message to them is they’re wrong”  

 

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Obama's "Specific" Speech: Will He Disavow Pledge-Breaking Tax Hikes in House Dem Bill?


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 1:18 PM PERMALINK


There are four tax hikes in the House Democrat healthcare bill (H.R. 3200) that violate President Obama's promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year.  The White House has told reporters that Obama is going to get specific on healthcare policy in a speech next week, which begs the question: 

If Obama is serious about keeping his central campaign promise, will he disavow the four pledge-breaking provisions in the House Democrat healthcare bill? They are as follows:
 
Restrictions on tax-deductible purchases of over-the-counter medicines with health spending accounts like FSAs and HSAs.  This isn’t in the original H.R. 3200, but it did make it into Charlie Rangel’s “Chairman’s Mark.”  The description can be found at www.jct.gov, and it’s document JCX-32-09.  The 8 million Americans who have a health savings account (HSA) and 30 million Americans who have a health flexible spending account (FSA) will no longer be able to buy over-the-counter medicines (aspirin, etc.) on a pre-tax basis.  Contrary to the Obama rhetoric, this would change the plan people currently have, and raises their taxes in the process.  This affects anyone with these types of accounts, not just those making more than $250,000 per year.

Tax on Individuals Not Enrolled in Health Insurance (Page 167): Those who don’t enroll in a health insurance plan will have to pay a new tax equal to 2.5% of income.  If they earn $40,000 a year and don’t have health insurance, they will have to pay tax of $1000.  Notice how this tax affects all individuals, not just those making more than $250,000 per year.

Tax on Businesses Not Offering Health Insurance (Page 183): If a business has a payroll of at least $500,000 and does not offer health insurance, it will be compelled to pay a new payroll tax of 8 percent.  It doesn’t matter if the business is profitable or running a loss.  Small businesses pay taxes on their owners’ 1040s. This will affect thousands of small businesses with profits of less than $250,000 per year.

IRS Can Disallow Perfectly Legal Tax Deductions They Just Don’t Like (Page 207): If a taxpayer (including one making less than $250,000 per year) uses a perfectly-legal tax deduction the IRS doesn’t like, the IRS will be empowered to simply disallow it.  The only reason the IRS has to give is that the tax break lacks “economic substance”—that is, the taxpayer is not taking the deduction for “substantial” or “business” reasons.  For those wanting to engage in a legal activity to cut their tax bill, the IRS wins no matter what.

Click here for a PDF of this document

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Team Obama's Operation "Soften Up the People for a Tax Hike" Continues


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, August 3rd, 2009, 1:52 PM PERMALINK


Statements made Sunday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers indicate President Barack Obama is poised to (again) break his central campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 per year.  The comments are the latest of a string of statements by Obama’s spokesmen and appointees gradually stepping back from the “firm pledge” made during the campaign.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Geithner would not rule out a pledge-breaking tax hike after being given several opportunities to do so. “I think what the country needs to do is understand we're going to have to do what it takes, we're going to do what's necessary.”
 
Meanwhile, on CBS's Face the Nation, Summers also refused to rule out a tax hike: “It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what,” he said.
 
“Obama should fire Geithner and Summers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Two appointees of President Obama went on national television and implied the president lied his way into office and that he is open to raising taxes.”
 
“To have the president’s own appointees accuse him of lying his way into office is a betrayal beyond words,” continued Norquist. “If, however, Obama has been silent in reaction to these two statements, he does intend to raise taxes, and he should resign because he lied his way into office by making a promise he had no intention of keeping.”
 
During the campaign, Obama made a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year:
 
 “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 clip]
 
“George H.W. Bush made a similar promise,” said Norquist. “He broke that promise and was fired by the American people.”
 
Click here for a PDF of the release.

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Tonight's Press Conference: Five Questions for Obama


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009, 11:04 AM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform suggests the following five questions be asked of President Obama this evening during his fourth prime-time press conference:

1. Now that your economic advisor Christina Romer has formally debunked the contrived term “save or create” when discussing jobs, will you stop using the term? Will you direct your staff and advisors to stop using the term?
 
2.  A few of the tax increases in the House healthcare bill violate your pledge not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year. Have you told House Democrats that these provisions are unacceptable given your pledge?
 
 3. The House healthcare bill will result in a top marginal tax rate of over 50 percent in most states. Do you think that’s too high? Why or why not?
 
4. You have said you want a budget-neutral healthcare bill. CBO has scored the latest health care legislation on the hill as increasing the deficit by $239 billion over the next ten years. Do you think we need more tax increases beyond what has already been proposed, and if so, please specify.
 
5. Is there a scenario you can see where a healthcare bill that you would sign passes this Congress without a net tax increase?

Click here for a PDF of this document

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Taxpayer Kit: Obama's First Six Months in Office


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 20th, 2009, 4:17 PM PERMALINK


Here are links to all of ATR’s posts on Obama’s first six months in office:

 
 
 
Obama's Comprehensive Six Month Review:  A day by day account of Obama’s tax hikes, broken promises, record debt, rising job loss, non-transparency, protectionism, and memorable quotations

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Ten Most Memorable Quotations from Obama's First Six Months


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 20th, 2009, 2:57 PM PERMALINK


To mark the occasion of the first six months of the Obama administration, Americans for Tax Reform has compiled ten memorable quotations by the President and his staff:

1. On Feb. 9, Obama claims the “stimulus” plan is free of pet projects and earmarks:
 
“What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.”
 
2. Feb. 24, Obama makes his first address to a joint session of Congress and claims he doesn’t believe in “bigger government”:
 
“As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't -- not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've inherited -- I am.” 
 
3. Though his budget doubles the national debt in ten years, Obama claims the following on March 24:
 
“It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest.”
 
4. On March 30, the day after he fired GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Obama makes the following claim:
 
Let me be clear: the United States government has no interest or intention of running GM.”
 
5. On April 1, the day Obama’s pledge-breaking 61 cents per pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes went into effect, White House spokesman Reid H. Cherlin has the audacity to claim Obama’s central campaign pledge not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less then $250,000 per year only applies to “income or payroll” taxes:
 
"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.”
 
6. On April 14, asked about the taxpayer tea parties attended by at least 600,000 people the following day, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said:
 
 I don't know if the President is aware of the events.”
 
7. On April 15, when challenged as to how Obama squares his promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year while simultaneously raising taxes on cigarettes, Gibbs says:
 
“People make a decision to smoke.” 
 
8. Minutes later, during the same press conference, Gibbs states that Obama’s tax pledge has “no caveats”, directly contradicting his fellow spokesman Reid H. Cherlin (see #5 above)
 
“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”
 
9. On June 16, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Obama once again claims he has a limited government philosophy:
 
"I think the irony … is that I actually would like to see a relatively light touch when it comes to the government."
 
10. On July 7, referring to his “stimulus”, Obama says:
 
“There’s nothing that we would have done differently.”
 
BONUS: On July 16, Vice-President Biden said the government is going bankrupt, and in order to prevent this from happening, the government should spend more money:
 
“We have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt"
 

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