President Barack Obama promised to fix health care and trim the federal budget deficit, all without raising taxes on anyone but the wealthiest Americans. It's a promise he's already broken and will likely have to break again. Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have already increased tobacco taxes — which disproportionately hit the poor — to pay for extending health coverage to 4 million children in working low-income families.Yes, why don't we hear about that broken tax promise again and again just as we heard about George H. W. Bush's lips?
And the AP goes on to note just how impossible the math is to do what the Democrats are promising with health care without major tax increases.
The health care bill is a long way from Obama's desk, but tax experts say the debate illustrates a stark reality: It is simply implausible for the vast majority of Americans to get a free ride while the nation tackles such an incredibly difficult — and expensive — issue.Gee, ya think?
"We're all going to have to contribute," said Eugene Steuerle, a former treasury official in the Reagan administration and now vice president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Paying for Obama's agenda might be easier, Steuerle said, if the nation wasn't already facing massive federal budget deficits for the foreseeable future.
"The dilemma is trying to do the new while the old is still unpaid for," Steuerle said.
All this spending that the Democrats have been pouring on has a cost. And that cost will be higher taxes. So forget all about that pledge that Obama made over and over and over again during the campaign.
Obama made a firm tax pledge during the presidential campaign, repeating it numerous times in the weeks and months leading up to Election Day: no tax increases for individuals making less than $200,000 a year or couples making less than $250,000.And we're not even close to what will be necessary for the health care proposals they're kicking around.
"Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes," Obama told a crowd in Dover, N.H., last year.
But less than a month after taking office, Obama signed an expansion of child health care financed by 62-cent tax increase on each pack of cigarettes.
Obama also signed an anti-smoking bill in June that grants authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco. To pay for the new program, a fee is being imposed on the industry — and presumably passed on to consumers — estimated to generate more than $5 billion over the next decade.
While not directly increasing taxes, a House-passed version of Obama's plan to reduce greenhouse gases blamed for causing global warming would similarly increase American families' home energy bills by $175 a year on average, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The appeal of Baucus's proposed tax on health benefits was the amount of money it could raise. Currently, employer-provided health benefits are not taxed, regardless of how generous they are.Of course, there is the whole effect that such tax increases will have on our already weak economy. Everyone, even liberals, agrees that it would be a disaster to raise taxes in the middle of a deep recession. And many states, including my own of North Carolina, are planning to do just that as they face their own budgetary crises. Add in these new taxes and we'll see deeper economic stagnation.
One version of it would tax health benefits that exceed the value of the basic insurance plan offered to federal workers, raising about $420 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. But limiting it to individuals making more than $100,000 a year and couples making more than $200,000 would raise only $162 billion.
The math illustrates how difficult it is to raise enough money to pay for expensive programs, when tax increases are limited to the wealthy.
"We're living in an era, over a period of 20 years or more, in which the idea that tax rates would actually be boosted is unutterable," said Aaron, the health care expert. "That has to stop."
Of course, it was always obvious that there was no possible way that Obama could do all the things that he was proposing on the campaign trail without raising taxes. Anyone who thought about it knew that he was making false promises that could never be kept. But it all sounded so nice and he seemed so cool when he made the promises. So people just fell for it. And now, even the media is beginning to wise up to those broken promises.