Today marks the second anniversary of the signing of the jobs-killing Obamacare law. That law contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small employers. At least seven of these tax increases fall directly on families making less than $250,000 per year. This is a direct violation of candidate Obama’s “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on these families.
Candidate Obama actually got quite specific about this many times. To pick but one episode, he said on September 12, 2008 that: “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.”
Pretty strong language. This was backed up by vice presidential candidate Biden in his debate where he said, “No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama’s plan will see one single penny of their tax raised.”
Once in office, President Obama broke this pledge a mere 16 days into his administration when he signed a tobacco tax hike into law (industry statistics say that the average smoker earns less than $40,000 per year). Undeterred, President Obama repeated the promise in his first address to a joint session of Congress, telling middle class families that their taxes would not go up “one single dime.” Even White House spokesman Robert Gibbs got in on the action on Tax Day 2009 when he said that the president’s oft-repeated tax promise “didn’t come with caveats.”
Then Obamacare hit the president’s desk. In signing that jobs-killing bill into law, he broke his promise to middle income families at least seven times.
The individual mandate has an excise tax for non-compliance of at least 2.5 percent of adjusted gross income. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
The medicine cabinet tax prevents families from using their health savings accounts (HSAs) or workplace flex-savings accounts (FSAs) to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines on a pre-tax basis. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
The “special needs kids” or “braces” tax puts a cap of $2,500 for the first time on FSAs. Prior to Obamacare’s passage, families with very high medical bills could put an IRS-unlimited amount in their FSAs to pay for things like special needs tuition or braces on a pre-tax basis. Obamacare changed all that. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
Obamacare imposes a 20 percent “surtax” on non-medical, early withdrawals from HSAs. This results in a tax rate on these distributions which can easily exceed 60 percent. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
President Obama’s signature law decreases the amount that families can deduct in medical expenses from their taxable income. Under present law, medical expense claims must be reduced by 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. Obamacare increases this “haircut” to 10 percent of AGI. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
Searching under every rock for more tax money, Obamacare has already imposed a 10 percent excise tax on tanning bed sessions. There is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
Finally, in 2018 Obamacare will levy a 40 percent excise tax on high-cost (“Cadillac”) health insurance plans — which will, of course, have to be built into the health insurance premium, making them even more expensive. As you might have guessed by now, there is no exemption for families making less than $250,000 per year.
These are simply the most direct Obamacare tax increases on families making less than $250,000. One could argue that all of them will eventually get paid by the little guy. But this list alone tears to shreds any credibility President Obama had on the issue of taxation.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and co-author (with John Lott) of Debacle: Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future.