Taxation Without Representation
To say that this Committee for the Constitution has not repeatedly warned of the repetitive violation of the original intention of the Constitution for nearly a decade in articles such as A New Birth of Freedom, Lies and Deceptions to Attain Political Power, Taxation Without Representation, The New Frontiers, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, The Imperial Presidency, The Biggest Scandal in U.S. History, and the Declaration of Independence 2010, to name but a few of the more recent, is a gross understatement. Executive branch tyranny, judicial activism, and the Congressional failure to uphold their oaths of office have robbed us of our freedoms and taxed us without representation. What Chief Justice Roberts has effectively done is placed the responsibility back where it rightfully belongs – on us, American citizens. We have elected those who knowingly and willfully violate the Constitution, and Congress and legislatures have failed to remove the judicial tyrants afflicting us. “Tolerance is the enemy of justice.”
Yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) almost called Obamacare’s individual mandate a tax, stopping mid-word to call it a “penalty”. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and other spokespersons echoed this talking point. This is in spite of last week’s Supreme Court ruling that deemed the mandate unconstitutional under both the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, but ruled that it could stand as part of Congress’s authority to “lay and collect taxes.”
Dubbing the individual mandate a tax saved the President’s health care law, but it’s a concept that President Obama himself has strongly denied. In a 2009 interview, President Obama argued that his individual mandate was not a tax increase, stating, “I absolutely reject that notion.”
But after last week, President Obama must now admit it’s a tax or admit the mandate is unconstitutional. It’s can only be one or the other.
The mandate is in fact a tax, and it’s just one of many new taxes that hit the middle class in Obamacare. Lo and behold, another broken promise. President Obama claims that the mandate is holding people responsible, keeping with that spirit, here’s a reminder of the other promises the President and his health care law are responsible for breaking:
Reality: The individual mandate is far from alone on Heritage’s lengthy list of Obamacare’s new taxes and penalties, many of which will heavily impact the middle class. Altogether, Obamacare’s taxes and penalties will accumulate an additional $500 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period. Yesterday, a senior economist for The Wall Street Journal revealed that 75 percent of Obamacare’s new taxes will be paid for by American families making under $120,000 a year. Among the taxes that will hit the middle class are the individual mandate, a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning, and an increase of the floor on medical deductions from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to 10 percent.
Reality: Research continues to show that as many as 30 percent of employers will dump their employees from their existing health care coverage. The Administration itself has admitted that “as a practical matter, a majority of group health plans will lose their grandfather status by 2013.”
Reality: As Heritage analysts explain, “A close examination of what [the Congressional Budget Office] said, as well as other evidence, makes it clear that the deficit reduction associated with [Obamacare] is based on budget gimmicks, sleights of hand, accounting tricks, and completely implausible assumptions. A more honest accounting reveals the new law as a trillion-dollar budget buster.”
Promise #4: “I will protect Medicare.”
Reality: A Heritage Factsheet shows the various ways Obamacare ends Medicare as we know it, including severe physician reimbursement cuts that threaten seniors’ access to care and putting an unelected board of bureaucrats in charge of meeting Medicare’s new spending cap.
Promise #5: “I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”
Reality: Obamacare does not accomplish universal coverage; it leaves 26 million Americans without insurance. Moreover, Heritage research outlines 12 ways that Obamacare will increase premiums instead of reducing health care costs. Requirements that plans allow young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage and offer preventive services with no cost sharing are already leading to higher growth in premiums.
When polled, 70 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view of the individual mandate. It’s doubtful that calling it a “tax” will dramatically change their opinion. Now that Obamacare and its broken promises remain the law of the land, it’s up to the American people to see to it that the law is ultimately repealed by Congress. Then, they can move forward with real reform that puts patients’ needs first.
Obamacare and New Taxes: Destroying Jobs and the Economy
By Curtis Dubay
January 20, 2011
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) imposes numerous tax hikes that transfer more than $500 billion over 10 years—and more in the future—from hardworking American families and businesses to Congress for spending on new entitlements and subsidies. In addition, higher tax rates on working and investing will discourage economic growth both now and in the future, further lowering the standard of living.
- Section 1401 imposes a 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans. This new tax will apply to health plans valued in excess of $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. Those thresholds will grow annually by inflation plus 1 percent. The tax takes effect in 2018 and is projected to raise $32 billion by 2019.
- Section 1411 increases the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) portion of the payroll tax. This provision will increase the employee’s portion from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent for families making more than $250,000 a year (and for individuals making more than $200,000). Combined with the employer’s portion, the total rate will be 3.8 percent on every dollar of income over $250,000 when the tax hike takes effect in 2013.
- Section 1411 also imposes a new payroll tax on investment. This tax provision applies the new higher 3.8 percent Medicare tax to investment income—including capital gains, dividends, rents, and royalties—and is scheduled to become effective in 2013. Together, the Medicare tax hikes will raise $210 billion between 2013 and 2019.
Table 1 lists all of the tax increases in PPACA.
As a result, the tax hikes in PPACA will slow economic growth, reduce employment, and suppress wages. These economy-slowing policies could not come at a worse time. PPACA tax increases will impede an already staggering recovery.
They Will Slow Economic Growth and Destroy Jobs . Taxes transfer money from productive private hands to the less efficient public sector. A politicized allocation is less efficient than market-based allocation because political decisions do not consider the highest-value use of resources, while the private sector considers such issues and therefore does a better job of assigning resources where they will contribute the most to economic growth.
They Will Discourage Work and Savings. Congress must levy high tax rates to take more Americans’ money, and this has a number of negative implications. Higher tax rates decrease the incentives for individuals to work and save more, both of which are essential for economic growth. Additionally, high rates discourage individuals from working harder and saving larger portions of what they earn. Combined, these two effects impede economic growth and reduce the number of jobs that businesses would have created had tax rates been lower.
They Will Not Reduce Deficits. Higher taxes never close budget deficits because, in the short run, Congress will spend all of the extra revenue it receives from higher taxes. Congress always spends every dollar of tax revenue it raises and however much it can borrow from credit markets. In the long run, the extra revenue will dissipate as individuals adjust their behavior to minimize their tax liability. The only way to close deficits is to cut spending and align it with how much revenue the tax code typically raises.
A New Direction
All tax increases have negative economic effects because higher taxes take resources from the productive hands of the private sector and transfer them to the wasteful hands of politicians. Higher taxes also lessen the incentives for individuals and businesses to engage in activities and behaviors that expand the economy and create jobs.
The tax code is a severe drag on the economy and is badly in need of fundamental reform. Ideally, a revised tax code would adhere more closely to the well-known flat tax. This new tax system would tax all wage and salary income at one rate and provide for only minimal deductions, credits, and exemptions. Tax reform is not an excuse to raise taxes. The new tax code would raise the same amount of revenue as the current system but in a more efficient manner in order to enhance economic growth.
Curtis S. Dubay is a Senior Analyst in Tax Policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
The House of Representatives has taken a major step towards full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA—otherwise known as “Obamacare”). Until full repeal occurs, Congress must continue to focus on the core failures and consequences of PPACA and block its implementation to allow time to achieve repeal and lay the groundwork for a new market-based direction for health care reform.
Joint Committee on Taxation, “Estimated Revenue Effects of the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4872, the ‘Reconciliation Act of 2010,’ as Amended, in Combination with the Revenue Effects of H.R. 3590, the ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”),’ as Passed by the Senate, and Scheduled for Consideration by the House Committee on Rules on March 20, 2010,” March 20, 2010, at http://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=3672 (January 14, 2011).