John Kartch

Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office

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Posted by Max Velthoven, John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, April 14th, 2014, 6:00 AM PERMALINK

Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

-79 tax increases for FY 2010

-52 tax increases for FY 2011

-47 tax increases for FY 2012

-34 tax increases for FY 2013

-137 tax increases for FY 2014

-93 tax increases for FY 2015

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, "I actually think it's an idea that we should be exploring."

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was something that would be novel for the United States.”

Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. "Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president -- limited by congress -- did rather than what he wanted to do.”

The full list of proposed Obama tax increases can be found here. 

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George H.W. Bush to Receive Profile In Courage Award for Raising Taxes, Breaking “Read My Lips” Pledge

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, March 28th, 2014, 11:23 AM PERMALINK

Because he “agreed to a tax increase as part of the compromise, and he was pilloried by conservatives for doing so,” George H.W. Bush will receive the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, it was announced Thursday. The 15-member award committee, dominated by individuals with a big government philosophy, is chaired by longtime journalist and tax increase advocate Al Hunt.

“George Herbert Walker Bush’s tax increase led to higher spending, higher taxes, and the Clinton presidency which brought even higher spending and increased taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The ‘compromise’ of 1990 was bad economics, bad policy, and a betrayal of the American people. Courage would have been standing up to the spending lobbyists in Washington and saying, ‘No.’ Doing what official Washington and its spending lobbies want is not courage. It is a failure of nerve.”

The 1990 “Read My Lips” Budget Deal Scam

Starting in May of 1990, President George H.W. Bush huddled with Democrat House and Senate members at Andrews Air Force Base.

  • What was Promised: Congressional Democrats convinced a number of Republicans to join them in a bipartisan deal promising $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. President Bush signed the deal on November 5, 1990.
  • What Actually Happened:  Every penny of the tax increases ($137 billion from 1991-1995) went through. Not only did the Democrats break their promise to cut spending below the CBO baseline by $274 billion—they actually spent $23 billion above CBO’s pre-budget deal spending baseline. Thirty-four House Republicans broke their own Taxpayer Protection Pledges and went along with this one-sided “deal.” As a result, Republicans lost eight seats in the 1990 Congressional midterms, and President Bush only received 38% of the vote in the 1992 Presidential election.

Bush later admitted that the 1990 tax hike deal was a mistake when he was running for reelection in 1992:

“I’m very disappointed with Congress. I thought this one compromise – and it was a compromise – would result in no more tax increases. I thought it would result in total control of domestic discretionary spending. And now we see Congress talking about raising taxes again. So I’m disappointed, and given all of that, yes, a mistake.”

--March 1992

“Because he broke his word to the American people Bush lost to Clinton in 1992. Clinton then raised taxes and spending even more. Bad policy is bad politics which leads to more bad policy,” said Norquist.

Click HERE to view the press release.

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IRS Warns: Obamacare Tax Must Be Paid with Tax Return

Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 6:20 PM PERMALINK

President Obama’s Internal Revenue Service today quietly released a series of Obamacare “Health Care Tax Tips” warning Americans that they must obtain “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the federal government – or face a “shared responsibility payment” when filing their tax returns in 2015. The term “shared responsibility payment” refers to the Obamacare individual mandate tax, one of at least seven tax hikes in the healthcare law that directly hit families making less than $250,000 per year.

In “Four Tax Facts about the Health Care Law for Individuals” the agency writes:

Your 2014 tax return will ask if you had insurance coverage or qualified for an exemption.  If not, you may owe a shared responsibility payment when you file in 2015.

In “The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment- An Overview” the agency warns Americans they must prove they were covered each and every month of the year:

For any month in 2014 that you or any of your dependents don’t maintain coverage and don’t qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your 2014 tax return filed in 2015.

In “IRS Reminds Individuals of Health Care Choices for 2014”the agency details the calculations Americans can look forward to if they are liable for the tax:

If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return. In general, the payment amount is either a percentage of your household income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater. You will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt. The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:

  • 1 percent of your household income that is above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
  • Your family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.

As confirmed by previous  IRS testimony to the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, “taxpayers will file their tax returns reporting their health insurance coverage, and/or making a payment”.  

Once fully phased in, the Obamacare individual mandate tax will rise steeply, to a maximum of 2.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income or $2,085 – whichever is higher.

For a pdf version of this release click here

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BREAKING: Workers Reject UAW in Stunning Defeat of Obama Ally, 712-626

Posted by John Kartch, Matt Patterson on Friday, February 14th, 2014, 4:19 PM PERMALINK

ATR’s Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) is pleased to learn that employees at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen assembly plant have resoundingly rejected the United Auto Workers and sent the left-wing union packing back to Detroit.

Executive Director Matt Patterson said in a statement:

“The workers at Volkswagen looked at the history of this union and made the best decision for themselves, their jobs and their community. In spite of the UAW’s multi-million dollar propaganda machine, and with company and government officials Obama’s NLRB aiding the union in every possible way, workers learned the facts and were able to make an informed decision.”

Patterson has worked over the past year with a coalition of local community and business leaders to help educate the citizens of Chattanooga about the UAW’s sad history of bankrupting Detroit and General Motors, as well as the union's aggressive liberal agenda, which includes millions spent on Democratic candidates and causes vastly at odds with the values of Tennessee voters.

CWF efforts included a billboard campaign across Hamilton County: 13 total, including 11 digitals rotating a variety of anti-union messages, such as "Detroit:  Brought to you by the UAW,"  pictured below:

CWF outreach efforts also included widespread radio advertising. The 30 second spot aired in both morning and evening drive times throughout election week on stations WDEF-AM News Talk, WGOW -AM News Talk, WGOW-FM News Talk, WDEF-FM AC, WSKZ-FM Rock, WUSY-FM Country, and WUUQ-FM Country.  Listen to our ad, accompanied by a slideshow of our billboard, here.

CWF contributions to this debate have been featured by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Politico and Bloomberg, among many others

Patterson said:

“We were proud to have contributed to this effort and to have worked with so many of our great coalition partners on the ground in Chattanooga. We look forward to taking the fight against the UAW into Alabama, Mississippi and beyond.”

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Taxpayers Shell Out $14,000 per Obamacare "Enrollee"

Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, December 11th, 2013, 4:46 PM PERMALINK

In her testimony before Congress today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an updated dollar amount for the cost of $677 million. In addition to the $677 million spent on the federal Obamacare website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has shoveled $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to promote Obamacare on the state level.

HHS also released updated “enrollment” figures for Obamacare. According to the agency 364,682 people have “selected a plan” – the equivalent of putting an item in your online shopping cart and leaving it there.

That means the taxpayer cost per “enrollee” is over $14,000.

($4.5 billion + $677 million = $5,177,000,000 ÷ 364,682 = $14,196)


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Obamacare's Top Five Worst Tax Hikes on Women and Families

Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013, 4:06 PM PERMALINK

As part of their newly-launched public relations offensive, the White House and congressional Democrats are tromboning the supposed benefits of Obamacare for women and families. Left unmentioned is the fact that Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on the American people – the top five worst tax hikes on women and families are listed below:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax:  The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face a new Obamacare cap of $2,500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next ten years. (Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap.) Now, a parent looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces will find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they would have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. 

Needless to say, this tax will especially impact middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Nationwide there are several million families with special needs children 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. 

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax: Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI.  Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income.

According to the IRS, 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction in 2009, the latest year of available data. Almost all are middle class. The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit will be $200 - $400 per year. To learn more about this tax, click here. 

3. Medicine Cabinet Tax. This tax increase is already in effect. Since January of 2011, Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines from their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. Women often rely on over-the-counter medicines to get themselves and their families through the colds, fevers, and aches and pains of daily family life. To raise taxes on busy Moms makes absolutely no sense.

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax:  Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that six million American families will be liable for the tax, and as pointed out by the Associated Press:  “Most would be in the middle class.”

Americans liable for the surtax will pay according to the following schedule:


1 Adult

2 Adults

3+ Adults


1% AGI/$95

1% AGI/$190

1% AGI/$285


2% AGI/$325

2% AGI/$650

2% AGI/$975

2016 +

2.5% AGI/$695

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085


5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: This Obamacare tax increase has the distinction of being the first to go into effect (July 2010). Slipped into the bill by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) behind closed doors in the middle of the night, this tax hike replaced the planned Obamacare “Botax” on cosmetic surgery.  This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user.  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.  There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, the Obama IRS didn’t bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed:  “By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters."  This is yet another sign that the Obama administration is ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.

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Oregon's Obamacare Exchange Senselessly Kills 15 Pristine 60-foot Pine Trees

Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 22nd, 2013, 1:16 PM PERMALINK

The failure of the Oregon Obamacare website has led to the taxpayer-funded senseless killing of 15 pristine, 60-foot pine trees.

Despite a federal taxpayer cash infusion of $305 million, Cover Oregon has yet to achieve a single online enrollment. Earlier this week, Executive Director Rocky King told members of the legislature that he was planning to do “a full manual system from here through March 31.”

Oregonians hoping to enroll in the state exchange before the deadline must complete and submit a 20-page paper application.

As reported by Portland CBS affiliate KOIN, the state exchange has received 30,000 paper applications:

“KOIN 6 News confirmed Cover Oregon has added dozens of extra fax lines to handle the paper applications being sent in by fax.

On Wednesday, King said they had received about 24,000 paper applications. That number now is closer to 30,000. But many people complained of busy signals when trying to send in their application by fax.”

30,000 applications, multiplied by 40 pages per application (20 pages on the sending end, 20 pages on the receiving end) adds up to 1,200,000 pieces of paper. According to, a 60-foot tall, one-foot diameter pine tree produces 80,500 pieces of paper.

1,200,000 divided by 80,500 = 14.9 trees.

Pictured below: Screen shot from “Cover Oregon” commercial. Until recently these trees were happily minding their own pristine business.

Please consider the environment before printing this document, you heathen.

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$305 Million for Zero Enrollees in Oregon

Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2013, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

Despite receiving at least $305 million in federal taxpayer funding, and despite launching an aggressive advertising campaign featuring a psychedelic sun and a farmer aloft on a carrot, the Oregon Obamacare exchange has enrolled zero (0) people. The director of the state exchange says he has given up hope that the website will ever function and has told state residents to fill out hard copy paper applications.

As reported by the Portland Business Journal:

“I no longer use the word 'hope' that something is going to work,” Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King told the members of the legislature’s Joint Committee On Legislative Audits, Information Management and Technology. “I am planning to do a full manual system from here through March 31. If the IT comes up, that’s icing on the cake, but I’m not depending on that.”

The exchange is urging Oregonians to use the web site to compare plans and then file paper applications, King said.

Courtesy of taxpayers nationwide, the state has received numerous CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) grants totaling over $305 million:

Federal Taxpayer Grant Amount

Date Awarded

Ostensible Purpose


Sept. 30, 2010

“State planning grant.”


Feb. 2011

“Exchange Early Information Technology Innovation Grant”


Aug. 12, 2011

“Grant Level One”


May 16, 2012

“Grant Level One”


Sept. 27, 2012

“Administrative Supplement Award”


Jan. 17, 2013

“Establishment Grant Level Two”


Jan. 17, 2013

“Administrative Supplement Award”

Total: $305,206,587

The state of Oregon and Covered Oregon would like to thank the American taxpayer for their contribution.

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Dropped Coverage Subjects More Americans to Obamacare's High Medical Bills Tax

Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, 2:16 PM PERMALINK

As millions of families are facing cancellation of their health insurance plans due to Obamacare, many will be subject to higher-than-anticipated out of pocket medical costs. Unfortunately this coincides with an Obamacare income tax increase starting in tax year 2013 which makes these higher medical bills more difficult to bear.

The Obamacare law contains 20 new or higher taxes. Even before news of the widespread insurance plan cancellations, IRS data indicates ten million middle class families with high medical expenses would find themselves paying higher income taxes thanks to the so-called Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax, a provision that took effect on Jan. 1, 2013. According to IRS data, the average family subject to this new tax makes just over $53,000 and will face an income tax increase of between $200 - $400 per year.

Background:  Americans have long been allowed to deduct out of pocket medical expenses as an itemized deduction on their taxes. They cannot have already benefited from other tax provisions for health care like tax-free employer-provided care or tax-free accounts like flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. (A full list of qualified expenses can be found in IRS Publication 502.)

Before this tax hike provision took effect, the taxpayer would total all unreimbursed, out-of-pocket medical expenses and then subtract from this figure an amount equal to 7.5 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). This subtraction amount is known commonly as a "haircut."

According to the IRS, 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction in 2009, the latest year of available data. They deducted $80 billion in medical expenses after applying the “haircut.”  The Office of Management and Budget reports that this tax deduction saves these taxpayers upwards of $10 billion annually.

Obamacare's tax hike:  The Obamacare law made one change to this tax provision: it raised the "haircut" from 7.5 percent of AGI to 10 percent of AGI. Since virtually all taxpayers claiming this income tax deduction make less than $200,000 per year, the income tax hike falls almost exclusively on the middle class:

-Virtually every family taking this deduction made less than $200,000 in 2009. Over 90 percent earned less than $100,000.

-The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earns just over $53,000 annually.

-ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family subject to the new tax will be $200 - $400 per year.

-This income tax increase is focused on families with the largest medical bills that weren't covered by insurance. So the target population is low-and-middle-income families with debilitating medical costs.

According to the Joint Tax Committee, this tax increase is scheduled to raise between $2 billion and $3 billion annually.

The tax is a clear violation of President Obama's "firm pledge" in 2008 to not enact "any form of tax increase" on these families.

The number of Americans subject to this tax will undoubtedly rise due to the crush of Obamacare-induced insurance cancellations. President Obama and his Democrat congressional allies have some explaining to do.

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$133 Million for Five Obamacare Enrollees in DC

Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 8th, 2013, 2:53 PM PERMALINK

According to newly released data from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a grand total of five people have enrolled in the Washington, D.C. Obamacare exchange:

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield: two enrollees from Oct. 1, 2013, through Oct. 30, 2013.
Kaiser Permanente: three enrollees from Oct. 1, 2013, through Oct. 31, 2013.
UnitedHealthcare: no enrollment data from the exchange as of Nov. 4, 2013.
Aetna:  no enrollment data as of Oct. 24, 2013.

How much money was taken from American taxpayers to pay for the D.C. exchange?


That means American taxpayers shelled out $26.7 million for each DC Obamacare enrollee.

Using official federal grant data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the calculations are as follows:

Amount of Grant

Date Awarded



Sept. 30, 2010

“State planning grant”


Aug. 12, 2011

“continue and complete current planning and implementation efforts”


Sept. 27, 2012

“to provide assistance to hire staff and consultants to manage activities related to the creation and first year of operations for testing and enhancement of the Exchange.”


June 13, 2013

“to develop an IT system that facilitates critical Exchange functions including eligibility, enrollment, and information exchange among individuals, employers, insurance carriers, and state and federal government agencies.”


Oct. 23, 2013

“evaluate the implementation of the District’s consumer assistance programs, build a quality rating system, and support upgrades to the DC Health Link IT system.”

Total Taxpayer Cost: $133,573,928

Total Enrollees: 5

Taxpayer Cost Per Enrollee:  $26,714,785.60


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