The 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament started with 68 teams, and the field is now down to the Final Four. With most of the country’s brackets already busted, ATR is giving bracketologists another chance to win great prizes, including gift cards, autographed books, and a basketball signed by ATR President Grover Norquist. If you did not get a chance to make predictions in the first round of the Obama Tax Hike Tourney, here is what you missed:
First up was the Obamacare Bracket, which contains taxes directly responsible for the rising costs of health care. The Medicine Cabinet Tax was unable to get a waiver from the Individual Mandate Penalty, losing a lopsided matchup 91 to 9 percent. 38 percent of the participants also decided that the Medical Device Tax, while costly, was not nearly as bad as the Health Insurance Plan Tax. The HIPT, which advanced with 62 percent of the vote, imposes a massive 40 percent excise tax on comprehensive first-dollar health insurance plans.
The next pair of matchups was in the Saver and Investor Bracket. The Obama fiscal cliff raised the tax rates on both dividends and capital gains from 15 to 20 percent. Those who invested their pick in the Capital Gains Tax Hike were rewarded by a 30 percent margin of victory. The second matchup saw similar results as the Death Tax Hike (from 35 to 40 percent) outlasted the Saver Surtax on income from savings by top earners.
In the Small Employer Bracket, the fiscal cliff’s Small Business Tax Rate Hike narrowly edged out Obamacare’s Small Business Surtax for the dubious distinction of worst new tax hike on small business profits. Participants must not have been too worried about the 10 percent excise Tanning Tax with summer around the corner. It was handily defeated 92 to 8 percent by the Employer Mandate Penalty Tax, which forces all employers with at least 50 employees to either establish a “qualified” health plan or face a steep fine.
Finally, the Broken Middle Class Promises Bracket highlighted 4 violations of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to not raise taxes on households making less than $250,000 a year. The $0.61 per pack Cigarette Tax Hike got smoked by Obamacare’s $2,500 cap on workplace flex accounts used to finance tuition for special education. The Special Needs Kids Tax moved on with 73 percent. In the last matchup of the first round, voters selected the 2 percent Payroll Tax Hike over the High Medical Bills Tax, which complicates medical expense deductions for middle class taxpayers.
Now that the Elite Eight is set, new and returning players are encouraged to make revisions to their bracket. Each correct pick is worth one entrance into the drawing for dozens of prizes. Picks will be locked in at midnight on April 4, so get them in here before it is too late.