Thursday, December 17, 2009

When a tax isn't a tax

You want to know a tax isn't a tax? It's when a Democrat imposes it.

Remember the countless times when Obama told us during the campaign that no family earning under $250,000 a year would see "one single dime" in taxes increases in an Obama presidency? Of course, there was that increase on cigarettes earlier in the year. That didn't count because it was on smokers and they have a filthy, unhealthy habit so they should pay more. Now we have the health care bill which is chock full of new taxes on lots of people earning under Obama's promised ceiling. The WSJ details those taxes.
Congressional Democrats have loaded up their health bills with provisions raising taxes on the middle-class by stacks and stacks of dimes. And Senate Democrats on Tuesday made clear they won't be bound by the President's vow; 54 voted to kill Idaho Republican Mike Crapo's amendment to strip the bill of taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and individuals earning less than $200,000.

Those tax hits include a mandate of up to $750 a year for Americans who fail to purchase health insurance; new levies on small businesses (many of which file individual tax returns) that don't offer health care to employees; new tax penalties on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts; and higher taxes on medical spending, including restrictions on medical itemized deductions, as well as taxes on cosmetic surgery. A Senate Finance Committee minority staff report finds that by 2019 more than 42 million individuals and families—or 25% of all tax returns under $200,000—will on average see their taxes go up because of the Senate bill. And that's after government subsidies.
Of course, they need to stock the bill full of tax hikes because they want to claim that their bill won't add to the deficit. Well, someone has got to pay for it and there just isn't enough money to be squeezed from the rich people.

Faced with this clear evidence of supporting exactly what he promised not to do, the Democrats are trying to redefine the terms.
Democrats are instead trying to claim that some taxes really aren't taxes. The President in September engaged in a debate with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, with the President arguing that the individual mandate isn't a tax since it is for the good of America. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says increasing the amount of medical expenses a person must accumulate before deducting them also isn't a tax because "most Americans" don't itemize. Except the millions of middle-class Americans who do. Democrats have argued their restrictions on health savings accounts simply close "tax loopholes" and therefore also aren't new taxes.

Americans who will be paying more to the IRS can be trusted to know the difference. In April, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked if the President's tax promise applied to health care. He replied: "The statement didn't come with caveats." On the evidence in December, it did.
How lame are those excuses? How clear is it that they think we're all so stupid that we won't notices such word games? We know what the meaning of is is and we know what a tax is.


tfhr said...

I guess the attempt at creating the belief that lower income people will not be taxed - just the "filthy rich" (everyone that makes more than you) - is such a key part of class warfare politics that these things just happen. By keeping up the illusion that there will not be a tax increase on a given demographic, the politician's hope is that those within that group will not ask questions. Not asking questions (and demanding answers) has certainly got us this far.

Over 40% of Americans pay no federal income tax and the trend on that demographic is in the form of an increase.

With so many people able to reap the "benefits" of a government that considers handouts to be it's primary means of securing voter support, we've come to the point where turning the phrase "taxation without representation" into "representation without taxation" is not hard to understand yet few seem to worry about the long term effects on a country where nearly half of those eligible to vote may feel they have no immediate interest in reining in government spending.

With this many people exempted from federal income tax, maybe we can get "Tax Day" moved to the end of the fiscal year (and much closer to "Election Day"). I doubt it, but I'd definitely settle for a "flat" tax.

Bachbone said...

I'll second your motion for moving filing taxes to the day before elections, tfhr. Moving elections to a weekend to get everyone to the polls might help, too, though I think most everyone who is really motivated can get there or get an absentee ballot now.

Our parents knew that getting something for nothing meant we didn't appreciate it. That's why our allowance, if we were lucky enough even to get one, required some small chore(s) to be fulfilled (mine were taking out the garbage for mom and shoveling the ashes out of the coal furnace for dad) before we were "paid." I had to save half what I was "paid" to instill senses of thrift and goal setting. When money was tighter than usual, the chores continued, but the allowance got suspended. We learned that tough times meant everybody sacrificed.

Everyone should pay some taxes, and they should not be withheld from a paycheck. Workers should have to write a check to the IRS and FICA every month just so they'd realize exactly what is being confiscated. It's too easy to ignore taxes when workers see only a net income.

tfhr said...


I agree on the idea of expanding the election to a period covering several days. I'd push the absentee methods and also give voters the option to use ATMs in addition to the traditional polling places. If you need assistance, you could still get that at a traditional polling place and above all, proper identification would be required.

As for monthly tax payments, I can only say that I'd like to see that too but it will happen at the same time we see the other great ideas expressed here in this thread come to fruition. For now I'd just be happy to get TERM LIMITS and/or a FLAT TAX.