Though Democrats are still behind the law, many are beginning to worry about the effects of ObamaCare on Americans, including rising insurance premiums and implementation efforts, which Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) described as a “train wreck.”
The worry from Democrats coupled with the law’s unpopularity with Americans presents an opportunity for opponents of the law — and opponents are seizing on it. The New York Times has noted that Republicans plan to make the law a central part of their campaigns in the 2014 mid-term election:
Republicans are trying to make the law perhaps the biggest issue of the elections, and are preparing to exploit every problem that arises. After many unsuccessful efforts to repeal the law, the Republican-led House plans another vote soon. And Republican governors or legislatures in many states are balking at participating, leaving Washington responsible for the marketplaces.
“There are very few issues that are as personal and as tangible as health care, and the implementation of the law over the next year is going to reveal a lot of kinks, a lot of red tape, a lot of taxes, a lot of price increases and a lot of people forced into health care that they didn’t anticipate,” said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “It’s going to be an issue that’s front and center for voters even in a more tangible way than it was in 2010.”
It didn’t take long for House Republicans to hit back at President Barack Obama’s assertion that Americans are “are already experiencing most of the benefits of the Afordable Care Act.”
That was the claim made by President Obama at his press conference on Tuesday as answered a question on the concerns expressed by members of his own party on the administration’s implementation efforts and have begun to voice them to the administration. He touted the “benefits” of ObamaCare, though only mentioned a couple different aspects, and noted that there would be “glitches and bumps” as the administration implements the chaotic state exchanges and costly Medicare expansion.
House Republicans took their message to Twitter on Tuesday and Wednesday linking to a post at their party’s conference website that lists many of the “benefits” that Americans can expect to “enjoy.” Here’s the list from the post:
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is likely facing a tough bid for re-election next year in a state that Mitt Romney carried by 18 points over President Barack Obama. Landrieu has eeked out wins over the past couple of cycles, but her voting record is increasingly out-of-touch with the conservative views of Louisiana. She voted for the wasteful stimulus bill in 2009 and ObamaCare in 2010, as well as the subsequent legislation that would repeal it.
More recently, Landrieu voted against less than 1% across the board spending cut and increasing the debt limit and voted for gun control measures, online sales taxes, and a $1 trillion tax hike on top of the “fiscal cliff” tax hike she supported earlier this year.
To this point, Landrieu has dared Republicans to challenge her and her big argument for re-election is rather arrogant in that she claims that she’s “indispensible”:
Preparing to run for a 4th term next year in a state significantly more conservative and Republican then when she won her first Senate campaign in 1996, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is laying out the major argument she’ll make to voters: That she has the seniority and relationships on Capitol Hill to get things done for her state.
It’s clear that President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats will continue to push tax hikes on hard-working Americans. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is throwing coldwater on their plans.
President Obama managed to get higher taxes rates on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year, which hit many small businesses. But in an interview with FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the United States Chamber of Commerce, McConnell stated very pointedly that there will be no more votes on tax hikes in the Senate.
“[At] the end of [last] year, and unfortunately, a lot of small businesses already got a tax increase,” McConnell noted to FreeEnterprise.com. “S-Corps and LLCs were hit with a tax increase from 35% to 39.5%. That’s more than enough. They shouldn’t have gotten that in the first place, and we’re not going to be voting for anymore tax increases.”
McConnell also noted that the Obama Administration is trying to “create a nanny state” with ObamaCare. Noting the 7-foot tall, 20,000-page stack of regulations that have come with the healthcare law, McConnell said, “It’s no wonder we’re having a tepid growth-rate, the government itself is responsible for this slow recovery we’ve had after a big recession.
In his latest budget, President Barack Obama called for the elimination of tax deductions for oil and gas companies. This industry has been a constant target of the administration over the last four-plus years, so it’s not surprising that the White House would, once again, resort to the same old attacks.
While Americans may not understand the economics of this particular proposal and the impact it would have on them at the gas pump, showing how susceptible they are to the rhetoric of President Obama, they are clearly opposed to raising the gas tax at the state-level.
Maryland recently passed an increase in its gas tax, which will hit drivers with anywhere from a 13- to 20-cent increase in gas prices over the next three years. Other state legislatures may eventually try to pass increases of their own.
But according to a new Gallup poll, Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to gas tax increases in their states that could be used to finance road projects and expand mass transit options:
Two-thirds of Americans would oppose a law in their state that would increase the gas tax to help pay for road and bridge repairs, according to a new national poll.
Before passing its first budget in nearly four years, the Senate overwhelmingly approved an amendment that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers that don’t have a physical presence within their borders. With the negotiators unlikely to resolve the differences between their respective budgets, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to bring up the online sales tax bill — the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act” — once again, perhaps as early as today:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to move an online sales tax bill directly to the Senate floor, skipping the committee process.
He filed a motion on Tuesday night to begin the process of putting the bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act, on the Senate calendar. The bill could come up for a vote as early as next week.
Under current law, states can only collect sales taxes from retailers that have a physical presence in their state. People who order items online from another state are supposed to declare the purchases on their tax forms, but few do.
The Marketplace Fairness Act would empower states to tax online purchases but would exempt small businesses that earn less than $1 million annually from out-of-state sales.
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) had some choice words for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the man who both wrote and voted for ObamaCare.
During the Senate Finance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Baucus pressed DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Obama Administration’s implementation of the law and education efforts directed toward businesses and individuals. Baucus warned that this could become a “train wreck” and gave the administration a “failing grade” in its efforts.
The spectacle was one with which conservatives can agree. However, for Baucus, who is up for re-election in 2014, it may be too little too late.
In a letter made available yesterday on his House website, Pompeo expressed indignation toward Baucus, noting that “[n]o one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law” than Montana’s senior Senator.
“I was stunned, and also saddened, to read of your complaint that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is doing an insufficient job informing the public about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare,” wrote Pompeo to Baucus. “My shock wasn’t because I disagreed: You’re right to say this legislation has led to great uncertainty for hard-working Americans, small business owners, and families.”
Happy Tax Day! Well, not really. Let’s not kid ourselves — we all dread April 15th. What is usually a lovely spring day has turned into a huge inconvenience as we all rush to get our taxes filed to keep the Internal Revenue Service off our backs.
The tax code is complicated. Americans spend 6.6 billion hours each year filing out tax forms and $163 billion in compliance costs. Unfortunately, the tax code has been made more complicated by politicians and bureaucrats who meddle with it on a daily basis. That’s not an exaggeration either. According to recent report from Bloomberg, the tax code has been altered 4,680 times since 2001 — more than once a day:
It started as 30 words. One hundred years later, it’s almost 4 million.
The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal income tax, and the millions of words in the tax code today provide symbolic data points marking the evolution of a simple concept into a convoluted reality.
The statistics on the burden imposed by the byzantine tax code get wide circulation every year at this time:
Americans spend more than 6.1 billion hours and $168 billion complying with the tax code;
Most Americans hire a professional (60 percent) or use tax- preparation software (30 percent);
The tax code has had 4,680 changes since 2001, more than one a day.
Written by Ryan Ellis, Tax Policy Director at Americans for Tax Reform. Posted with permission from Americans for Tax Reform.
What are the top ten tax hikes in President Obama’s new budget?
There are literally dozens of new tax increases in the FY 2014 Obama budget. In total, they increase taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade. They would permanently bring the federal tax burden to 20 percent of economic output, a level only reached in one year since World War II (FY 2000, when the economy was roaring and tax revenues were pouring into Washington as a result).
Below are the top ten tax increases in President Obama’s budget (all numbers are over a decade):
1. Chained CPI. The budget would change the definition of inflation for all federal budget purposes, including federal tax provisions. Because tax brackets and other tax items are indexed to inflation, slowing down their growth is an income tax increase. This is a tax increase for all Americans who pay income tax, including middle class Americans. In the past, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that enacted “chained CPI” would be a $100 billion tax increase
The new narrative being pushed by the media is that President Barack Obama’s new budget is an olive branch of sorts to congressional Republicans. Politico ran with the headline, “President Obama’s risky ‘goodwill’ gambit,” which highlighted some of the proposed changes to Social Security.
The Associated Press noted the frustration from some on the Left in its piece, “Liberals balk at Obama’s 2nd term overtures to GOP,” which also focused on the proposed cuts to entitlement programs.
While it’s true that the only real measure of good news from the the White House’s budget is the changes to Social Security, there is absolutely nothing here in terms of compromise or reform. The White House has made that much clear by telling Politico — in a separate article from the one mentioned above, of course — that Republicans can take the Social Security changes in exchange for more $1 trillion in tax hikes or leave it:
And Gene Sperling, the director Obama’s National Economic Council, on Wednesday afternoon emphasized that the proposal is ”not an à la carte menu” for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and congressional Republicans to choose what they like and discard the rest.
“You can’t decide to only pick out the concessions the president has made and not include the concessions from the Republican side that need to be part of a bipartisan deal that can pass both houses,” Sperling said.