John Kartch

"Uh, No."


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, December 14th, 2012, 1:33 PM PERMALINK


President Barack Obama did an interview with Minneapolis-based television station WCCO on Thursday night. Anchor Frank Vascellaro asked about the job-killing Obamacare medical device tax, and the recent letter signed by 18 Democrat senators and senators-elect requesting a delay in the implementation of the tax (after they voted for it in the first place).

The key exchange is as follows:

Frank Vascellaro, WCCO TV:  “Senators Klobuchar and Franken are trying to delay and actually repeal part of the medical devices tax, which has a huge impact on Minnesota companies. Would you be willing to see that delayed?”

President Obama: “Uh, no. And here’s why. The health care bill is going to provide those health care companies, 30 million new customers. It’s going to be great for business and they’re doing really well right now and they’re going to get 30 million more customers as a consequence, so this additional tax essentially comes back to them as new customers. I think it’s very important for us to maintain the principal that A.) nobody should go bankrupt when they get sick in this country and B.) the providers of medical services should recognize they’re going to get a benefit from all of these uninsured folks suddenly having insurance and that means they should be willing to do a little bit in order to make that happen. It’s not just medical device folks, hospitals are doing a little bit more because they know now they’re not going to have uncompensated care in emergency rooms, everybody’s going to have some kind of insurance. Doctors, same kind of thing. So this is not unique to the medical device industry. The idea is that when you have 30 million more people coming in, you’re going to make money, you can do a little more to help facilitate and make sure people are getting the health care they need.”

As if this rationale wasn’t bad enough on its own, it doesn’t even hold water. As Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch has pointed out, “Justification for the tax falls short.”:

"Matthew Dolan, a senior research analyst at Roth Capital Partners, said he discounts the argument made by supporters of the medical device tax that it is a payback for the windfall the companies would reap when 30 million new customers gain access to health care plans through the Affordable Care Act.

Dolan said similar claims were made when Massachusetts adopted its own universal health care plan, but in fact sales of medical devices in the Bay State grew more slowly than rest of the country.

Click here for the PDF version of this document

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Documentation of President Obama's Middle Class Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, 6:49 PM PERMALINK


Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, candidate Obama said:

“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.” [Video]

During a nationally televised Vice-Presidential debate in St. Louis on Oct. 3, 2008, candidate Joe Biden said:

“No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama’s plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it’s their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax.” [Transcript]

In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” [Transcript] [Video]

During a White House press briefing on April 15, 2009, spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if Obama’s tax pledge applied “to the health care bill.” Gibbs replied:

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.” [Transcript] [Video]

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Dems Ask for Delay to Obamacare Med Device Tax They Voted for in the First Place


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012, 2:50 PM PERMALINK


In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid, 18 Democrat senators and senators-elect have asked for “a delay in the implementation” of the Obamacare medical device tax.  Like most of the significant tax increases in Obamacare, the medical device tax is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2013, conveniently after the 2012 presidential election.

Each of the 18 Democrat signatories voted for or supported Obamacare in the first place.  And now they want a sweetheart exemption from one of its most onerous provisions. Even in Washington DC, that shows a lot of gall. 

The signatories to the letter are as follows:

Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)

Al Franken (D-Minn.)

Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)

Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Robert Casey (D-Pa.)

Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)

Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)

Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)

Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.)

Patty Murray (D-Wash.)

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) – (Voted for Obamacare in the House)

View PDF here.

 

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The Fiscal Cliff's Hidden $1 Trillion Tax Hike


Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Thursday, December 6th, 2012, 1:36 PM PERMALINK


According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare’s twenty new or higher taxes amount to a net $1 trillion over the next decade, 2013-2022.

These tax increases are already permanent law due to Obamacare.  They include the medical device tax, the surtax on investment income, the individual and employer mandate non-compliance penalty tax, the medical itemized deduction “haircut,” the hike in the Medicare payroll tax rate, and others. These tax increases total exactly $1 trillion over the next ten years:

2012 CBO Report on Revenue Effects of Obamacare

Tax Hike Provisions

Tax Hike
2013-2022

Tax Penalty Payments by Uninsured Individuals

$55 billion

Tax Penalty Payments by Employers

$106 billion

Excise Tax on High-Premium Insurance Plans

$111 billion

Associated Effects of Coverage Provisions
on Tax Revenues

$216 billion

Reinsurance and Risk Adjustment Collections

$184 billion

Fees on Manufacturers and Insurers

$165 billion

Additional Hospital Insurance Tax

$318 billion

Other Revenue Provisions

$87 billion

Tax Cut Provisions

 Tax Cut
2013-2022

Exchange Premium Tax Credits

($222 billion)

Small Employer Tax Credits

($20 billion)

Obamacare Total Net Tax Increase 2013-2022

$1 trillion

 
 

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Regardless of Fiscal Cliff: Five More Obamacare Taxes Hitting on January 1


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, 7:34 AM PERMALINK


The Obamacare Medical Device Tax – a $20 billion tax increase:  Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year.  In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

The Obamacare “Special Needs Kids Tax” – a $13 billion tax increase:  The 30-35 million Americans who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap). 

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 several million 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. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

The Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income – a $123 billion tax increase:  This is a new, 3.8 percentage point 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:

 

Capital Gains

Dividends

Other*

2012

15%

15%

35%

2013+ (current law)

23.8%

43.4%

43.4%

The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions – a $15.2 billion tax increase: Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans.  This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

The Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike -- an $86.8 billion tax increase:  The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits.  Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:

 

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

 

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Obama's Line in the Sand: Small Business Tax Hikes or Nothing


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 9th, 2012, 1:57 PM PERMALINK


The Obama plan will raise taxes on a majority of small business profits and hit those companies which employ a majority of Americans who work for small businesses.

Here’s how:

Unlike corporations, small businesses usually don’t pay their own taxes. Rather, business profits flow through to the business owner. The business owner pays taxes on her small business by adding the profits to her income tax form. Therefore, personal income taxes are the same thing as small business taxes.

The Obama plan to raise the top two marginal income tax rates (from 33 and 35 percent today to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively) is a hike in America’s small business tax rate.  This does not include Obamacare’s 3.8 percent small business surtax.

According to the IRS, most small business profits face taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year. The IRS keeps track of two types of small business income: sole proprietors, and “pass-through” entities like partnerships and S-corporations.

A majority of small business profits will face a tax rate hike under the Obama-Biden plan.  There are 30 million tax returns reporting small business income. On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners report business profits of $590 billion.  A large chunk of this net profit--$477 billion—faced taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year. 

Sole proprietors: There are 22 million tax returns reporting sole proprietor income. On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners report business profits of $245 billion. A large chunk of this net profit--$80 billion—face taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year. 37 percent of sole proprietor profits will face a tax rate hike under the Obama plan.

S-corporations and partnerships: There are 8 million partners and S-corporation shareholders. On net (profits reduced by losses), these owners reported business profits of $345 billion. Virtually all of this profit faced taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year. Aggregate pass-through entity profits will almost entirely fall in households making more than $200,000 per year. These are real small businesses. For example, there are 250,000 doctor and dentist offices organized as S-corporations or partnerships. They employ millions of workers making less than $250,000 per year. These jobs are endangered by the threatened Obama tax rate hike.

The Obama tax hike plan will kill small business jobs. Obama often claims he wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” but is actually targeting successful small companies. A oft-cited study by Ernst and Young projects that this tax rate hike will kill 710,000 small business jobs.

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Five More Obamacare Taxes Hitting in 60 Days


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 2nd, 2012, 5:19 PM PERMALINK


The Obamacare Medical Device Tax – a $20 billion tax increase:  Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales – even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year.  In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care – making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

The Obamacare “Special Needs Kids Tax” – a $13 billion tax increase:  The 30-35 million Americans who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap). 

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 several million 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. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

 

The Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income – a $123 billion tax increase:  This is a new, 3.8 percentage point 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:

 

Capital Gains

Dividends

Other*

2012

15%

15%

35%

2013+ (current law)

23.8%

43.4%

43.4%

The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions – a $15.2 billion tax increase: Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans.  This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

The Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike -- an $86.8 billion tax increase:  The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits.  Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:

 

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

 

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Michael Bloomberg: Raising taxes on the rich is "about as dumb a policy as I can think of."


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 2nd, 2012, 2:53 PM PERMALINK


New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who endorsed President Barack Obama on Wednesday, announced on Oct. 8 his view that raising taxes on the rich was “about as dumb a policy as I can think of.”   

President Obama has been vague on what he would do if given a second term, but he’s been loud and clear about one thing: His desire to raise the top two marginal income tax rates. Obama’s plan would raise taxes on one million small businesses.

Bloomberg’s statement was in reaction to New York mayoral candidates’ advocacy for higher taxes on upper earners.  As quoted by Capital New York on Oct. 8:

"Well if you want to drive out the 1 percent of the people that pay roughly 50 percent of the taxes, or the 10 percent of the people that pay 70-odd percent of the taxes, that's as good a strategy as I know," he responded. "That's exactly the ways to do it, and then our revenue would go away, and we wouldn't be able to have cops to keep us safe, firefighters to rescue us, teachers to educate our kids."

According to the Oct. 13 New York Post Bloomberg also said:

“You saw in France people moving out when they raised the tax rates.  Whether you like it or not, the wealthy are mobile.”

Unfortunately for small business owners and their employees, President Obama disagrees. 

According to the IRS, most small business profits face taxation in households making more than $200,000 per year.  The Obama-Biden plan will raise taxes on a majority of small business profits and hit those companies which employ a majority of Americans who work for small businesses.

Even a Big Gulp-banning, gun-grabbing mayor can understand that, Mr. President.

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Biden's Tax Malarkey


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, October 12th, 2012, 12:39 PM PERMALINK


During Thursday’s debate, Vice-President Joe Biden engaged – in his words – in a fit of malarkey on the tax issue.  Below are the details of what he claimed and what the real truth is:

Biden:  “97 percent of the small businesses in America pay less - make less than $250,000. Let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are: hedge funds that make $600 million, $800 million a year. That's – that's what they count as small businesses, because they're pass-through.”

The Obama-Biden plan to raise the top two marginal income tax rates (from 33 and 35 percent today to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively) is a hike in America’s small business tax rate.  Because small businesses pay taxes using the individual rates, a hike in these rates is a hike in the small business tax rate.  According to IRS data, a majority of small business profits face taxation in the top two brackets. 

Studies have shown that a majority of everyone in America who works for a small business works for one that will see its tax rate rise under the Obama-Biden plan.  A recent study by Ernst and Young projects that this tax hike will kill over 700,000 small employer jobs.  The study shouldn’t come as a surprise, as higher taxes on businesses often means layoffs.

Despite what Vice President Biden would have you believe, the one million small businesses burdened by this tax increase are not simply far distant financial pass-throughs – they are the Main Street businesses that Americans see every day.

Biden: “We went ahead and made sure that we cut taxes for the middle class.”

Obama and Biden have clearly broken their 2008 “firm pledge” not to sign “any form of tax increase” on families making less than $250,000.  As a conservative estimate, at least seven Obamacare tax hikes fall directly on middle class families, and many more will raise costs indirectly for these families.  Here is a list of the top five worst Obama-Biden taxes that hit the middle class.

Meanwhile the Romney-Ryan plan will cut taxes for lower and middle-income households. The lowest rate will drop from 10 to 8 percent.  The 15 percent rate (which most middle income families face at the margin) will drop from 15 to 12 percent. Furthermore, Romney will repeal Obamacare, including the 20 new or higher taxes in that law. 

Of recent note, Obama has altered his tax pledge: In a second term, he only promises not to raise income taxes on those making less than $250,000, and only for one year. After the one year has come and gone, all taxes are fair game, and at any income level. With nearly $7 trillion in projected deficits in President Obama’s budget, it’s pretty clear where this Administration is coming next for higher taxes—the middle class.

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Flashback: Biden Calls Paying Higher Taxes "Patriotic"


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, October 11th, 2012, 6:16 PM PERMALINK


As reported by the Associated Press on Sept. 18, 2008 (“Biden calls paying higher taxes a patriotic act”) then-candidate Joe Biden, advocating for the Obama tax increase plan, said:

“It's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

At the time, the Obama-Biden ticket was running on a plan to raise the top two marginal income tax rates from 33 and 35 percent to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively. According to IRS data, the majority of small employer profits face taxation at these marginal tax rates.

As noted by Samuel Johnson, appeals to false patriotism are “the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Watch the Biden “patriotic” video clip here.

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