Tax Hikes

Obama produces another tax and spend budget

President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.9 trillion budget for FY 2015, just days after Senate Democrats announced that they have no intention of trying to push through a budget in a what’s expected to be a contentious election year.

The proposal doesn’t offer anything in terms of new ideas or policy changes, though it does respect the budget framework agreed upon by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairs of the respective congressional budget committees, for FY 2015 before blowing past it in later years.

President Obama’s budget is more a nod to the leftist Democratic base than an actual blueprint for governing the country. It’s not passable, and the White House knows it. The proposal is so toxic that no vulnerable Democrat could support it and win reelection.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the budget would impose $1 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. Including new taxes and fees and rather rosy economic projections, the White House anticipates $3.15 trillion in new revenue through 2024, according to Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner.

Happy 2014, America! Have some more Obamacare taxes

It’s not just the Obamacare minimum coverage mandates that have caused health insurance premiums to soar. The litany of new taxes that were included in the law haven’t received a lot of attention, despite a $1 trillion price tag, but the New York Post noted this week that insurers are, predictably, passing them on to consumers:

Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.

But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”

The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.

The focus on the disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange website and the millions of health insurance cancellations are important, but they’ve also distracted from other parts of the law — including the tax hikes — that are a bad deal for Americans.

Sure, expanding access to health insurance is a laudable goal. But, ultimately, that’s not what Obamacare is about. It gives the federal government more control over the already heavily regulated health insurance industry. It’s also income redistribution on a massive scale.

Here’s a rundown of the new Obamacare taxes that Americans will be forced to pay in their health insurance premiums at the beginning of the year:

Tax Hike Mike Huckabee plans 2016 bid

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee announced on Friday that he has quit his syndicated radio gig in what some are calling a clear sign that he is planning a bid for Republican presidential nomination in 2016, telling followers on his Facebook page to “[s]tay tuned” for announcements on his “new endeavors.”

Huckabee, who served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, has been talking like a candidate for some time. Supporters have been pushing polling out of early primary states — Iowa and South Carolina, where social conservatives tend to do well — that shows him ahead of other potential Republican candidates.

But even as Huckabee, an unsuccessful candidate for the GOP nomination in 2008, begins making moves toward a 2016 bid, some conservatives are raising awareness to his record, which is checkered with tax hikes, spending increases, and support for nanny state policies. These policies earned Huckabee the nickname, “Tax Hike Mike.”

The Club for Growth, a conservative group that advances pro-growth economic policies, sent out an email blast to reporters on Friday in which they called attention to a 2007 white paper on Huckabee’s fiscal record.

The white paper (below) outlines how Huckabee repeatedly raised sales and excise taxes and increase spending by 65.3%, triple the rate of inflation. The number of state workers increased by 20% on his watch and Arkansas’ debt obligations rose by $1 billion. He also supported and signed a minimum wage increase into law.

Americans renouncing citizenship reaches a record high, tax laws blamed

passport

The Treasury Department released its quarterly list of Americans who have renounced their citizenship in 2013, finding that another 560 people have decided to leave the country to establish residency in friendlier climates elsewhere (emphasis added):

This year will set a record for expatriations by U.S. taxpayers, with at least a 33% increase from the previous high in 2011.

The Treasury Department published the names of 560 people who either were U.S. citizens renouncing their citizenship or long-term residents who turned in their green cards during the third quarter.

That brings the total so far this year to 2,369, according to Andrew Mitchel, a tax lawyer in Centerbrook, Conn., who tracks the data. For all of 2011, the number of published expatriates was 1,781, he said.
[…]
Taxpayers who expatriate aren’t required to give a reason, but experts said the overall increase was likely because of tougher enforcement of U.S. tax laws.

“Nothing has changed in immigration law that would make people want to renounce,” said Freddi Weintraub, an immigration specialist and partner at Fragomen Worldwide, a New York-based law firm. “Current or anticipated changes in tax law and enforcement are driving this increase.”

Some may question the patriotism of those who are leaving the United States and renouncing their citizenship. But why would anyone want to reside in a country where wealth and success are frowned upon by President Obama and congressional Democrats when its so much easier to uproot and move to a country with lower tax burden? That is, unfortunately, the way many people look at the situation.

Senate Dems willing to discuss medical device tax repeal

During an appearance on CNN yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) hinted at that Senate Democrats may be willing to negotiate with Republicans on repeal ObamaCare’s medical device tax, though they expect Republicans to trade repeal of the tax for revenues elsewhere.

Durbin insisted that proposals to delay or defund ObamaCare in the Continuing Resolution (CR), a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government, were dead on arrival in the Senate. But he said that repeal of the medical device tax was on the table.

“We can work out something, I believe, on the medical device tax. That was one of the proposals from the Republicans,” said Durbin, who serves as the Senate Majority Whip, “as long as we replace the revenue so that we don’t put a hole in our deficit and respond to this in a responsible fashion.”

“That’s one thing the Republicans want to talk about it. Let’s sit down, and put that on the table,” he added.

Obama calls for more tax hikes even as revenues hit record high

During a speech on Monday marking the fifth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis, which ushered in the “Great Recession,” President Barack Obama once again repeated calls for more tax revenue to flow into federal government coffers.

President Obama praised several parts of his post-recession economic agenda, including ObamaCare, financial reform, and heavier spending on infrastructure projects, and then shifted to the tax hikes that went into effect at the beginning of the year.

“We also changed a tax code that was too skewed in favor of the wealthiest Americans.  We locked in tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans,” he said. “We asked those at the top to pay a little bit more.”

“As I said before, our deficits are falling fast. The only way to make further long-term progress on deficit reduction that doesn’t slow growth is with a balanced plan that includes closing tax loopholes that benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class,” he added later, transitioning to tax reform. “That’s the only way to do it.”

While President Obama is pushing for higher taxes, it’s worth noting that the United States Treasury has collected a record amount of tax revenues through the first 11 months of the year, notes CNS News, which adjusted the numbers for inflation:

Obama: Reporters think my ideas “sound great”

Obama's media lapdogs

During his big economic speech last week in Illinois, in which he rehashed old themes and failed ideas, President Barack Obama told the crowd that reporters think his economic ideas “sound great.” He even said that some Republicans are supportive, but are afraid of backlash or primary challengers.

“It’s interesting, in the run-up to this speech, a lot of reporters [said] that, ‘Well, Mr. President, these are all good ideas, but some of you’ve said before; some of them sound great, but you can’t get those through Congress. Republicans won’t agree with you,’” recalled Obama. “And I say, look, the fact is there are Republicans in Congress right now who privately agree with me on a lot of the ideas I’ll be proposing. I know because they’ve said so. But they worry they’ll face swift political retaliation for cooperating with me.”

We’re shocked — absolutely SHOCKED — to learn that the media falls over themselves at just about anything President Obama says, despite the news that his administration has threatened journalists simply doing their jobs. And while there may be some Republicans in Congress that agree with President Obama, likely the members who keep going to dinner with him, those of who disagree with him are slammed as supporters of “inequality,” a word that the White House is trying to bring back into the political lexicon after a rough last few months.

Majority of House co-sponsors ObamaCare tax repeal

 A Hard Pill to Swallow

Undeterred by President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats resistance to revisit healthcare reform, the House of Representatives is still pushing to make changes to ObamaCare that could help lower insurance premiums and costs for Americans.

The latest effort is legislation sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to repeal the tax on health insurance plans, one of the 20 new taxes or tax hikes that were included in ObamaCare. The Hill notes that the legislation, H.R. 763, has received the backing of a majority of the House:

The bill would repeal a new tax on health insurance plans, which is expected to raise roughly $100 billion over the next 10 years. Insurers and small businesses strongly oppose the tax, saying it will drive up premiums.
[…]
It’s not especially surprising for a majority of the GOP-led House to support repealing the tax. The House has passed bills to repeal the entire healthcare law and to repeal or defund myriad individual provisions.

Still, hitting 218 cosponsors is a key benchmark for the law’s critics.

“This largely symbolic yet important benchmark for repealing the health insurer fee shows the level of bipartisan support in Congress to do away with this misguided policy,” said Joe Moser, interim executive director of the Medicaid Health Plans of America.

According to GovTrack, the legislation now has 221 co-sponsors, including six House Democrats.

San Francisco Fed: Tax Hikes are Slowing Economic Recovery

Since the sequester took effect in March, the White House has been quick to claim that lagging job growth is a result of the these very modest cuts to spending growth. In Obamanomics, government spending and deficits are virtues. But last week, Conn Carrol pointed to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco making the case that tax hikes — not spending cuts — are to blame for the poor economic recovery:

Why is the Obama recovery the weakest recovery since the Great Depression? According to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, it is not because the federal government failed to borrow and spend too little during the height of the economic downturn.

In fact, the San Francisco Fed reports that “federal fiscal policy was unusually expansionary during the Great Recession” thanks largely to the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009. As a consequence, federal government saving in the recession fell faster—that is, the deficit grew faster—than our historical norm would predict.”

Looking ahead, however, the Fed does see fiscal policy slowing growth, but not, as liberals would have you believe, due to spending cuts:

Taxachusetts: MA Dem can’t Remember Opposing a Tax Hike

Ed Markey

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who has served in Congress for 27 years and is a candidate in the special election for the Senate in Massachusetts, cannot recall a time when he’s opposed a tax increase.

During a recent campaign stop, he was asked if there was an instance he’s opposed Democratic leadership on taxes. Markey sheepishly replied, “Well, I would review my record and I will get back to you on that.”

Unbelievable.

Markey leads his Republican opponent, Gabriel Gomez, by an average of 10 points, according to Real Clear Politics. He holds a lifetime score of 8% from FreedomWorks and 15% from the Club for Growth. If all of the legislation Markey proposed in the 112th Congress were enacted, federal spending would have increased by $81 billion.

Needless to say, Markey is no friend to the taxpayer.


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