Politics
              President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at a Congressional picnic on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
              President Barack Obama waves as he arrives to speak at a Congressional picnic on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)   

With court ruling, $1.7 trillion Obamacare tax now violates Obama’s 2008 tax pledge

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Neil Munro
White House Correspondent
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The Supreme Court’s move to uphold the individual health insurance mandate in President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul as a tax means that President Barack Obama’s far-reaching law massively violates his 2008 campaign-trail pledge to not raise taxes on middle-class and poor Americans.

“I can make a firm pledge – under my plan, no family making less that $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase,” he said in a September 2008 campaign speech in New Hampshire.

Prior to Obamacare’s passage in 2010, Obama denied it was a tax. In September 2009, Obama told ABC News that the law “is absolutely not a tax increase.”

The court’s conversion of the law into a huge tax may also boost the GOP’s ability to persuade voters to back GOP candidates in 2012. The Obamacare program may amount to $1.7 trillion over a decade, according to a Congressional Budget Office projection.

The court’s conversion of the mandate into a tax also suddenly eases the GOP’s practical problems of passing a reform through the Senate.

That’s because Senate rules allow a bare majority of 51 senators — not a super-majority of 60 Senators — to rewrite the controversial and unpopular law through reconciliation.

Senate Democrats won’t be able to filibuster a reform if they have less than 50 senators, especially if the Republican Party reclaims a majority in the Senate this November.

Seventy-five “percent of the [Obamacare] mandate penalty… falls on Americans earning less than $120,000 a year … [so] President Obama has imposed one of the largest tax hikes in American history on the middle class,” said a statement from the Republican minority of the Senate budget committee.

Twenty-one percent of the tax increase will fall of people who earn just above the poverty level of $11,800 per individual, or $24,000 for a family of four, according to a statement from the committee’s Republicans, who are led by Alabama’s Sen. Jeff Sessions, a staunch opponent of Obamacare and big government policies.

People who earn between two and three times the poverty level will pay 25 percent of the Obamacare tax.

People who earn between three and four times the poverty level will pay 18 percent of the law’s cost.

People who earn between four and five times the poverty level will pay 11 percent of the tax bill.

The wealthiest slice of the population, those who earn more than five times the poverty level, will pay 25 percent of the taxes.

The mandate-into-tax distinction was underlined by Ari Flesicher, a spokesman for former President George W. Bush.

The “press should stop calling the ‘fine’ a ‘penalty,’” he tweeted. “Now if you don’t buy insurance, it’s more accurate 2say your taxes get raised,” Fleischer tweeted.

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