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Obama's Middle-Class Tax Pledge Shattered Two Years Ago Today


Posted by Ryan Ellis, John Kartch on Friday, March 23rd, 2012, 8:27 AM PERMALINK


President Barack Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on families making less than $250,000 per year – was broken two years ago today when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law. The healthcare law contains at least seven tax hikes that unquestionably violate Obama’s pledge.

Documentation of Obama’s promise is as follows:

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]

Yet Obama’s commitment to the American people was thrown out the window when he signed the healthcare bill into law. The seven Obamacare tax increases that break his “firm pledge” are:

1. The Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax:  Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by Obama-appointed bureaucrats -- 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

 

2. The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax:  This tax took effect in January 2011 and prevents Americans from being able to use their 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).

3. The Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax”: Starting in January 2013, Obamacare imposes a cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited under federal law). 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

4. The Obamacare "Haircut" to the Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI: 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).  Beginning in January 2013, this new Obamacare provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. 

5. The Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: This provision, which took effect in January 2011, increases the 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.

6. The Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services:  Since July of 2010, Americans using indoor tanning salons face a new 10 percent excise tax.

7. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: Starting in 2018, this provision imposes a new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family).  Higher thresholds exists for early retirees and those in high-risk professions.

None of the above tax increases contain any exemption whatsoever for families making less than $250,000 per year.

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