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Friday, July 10, 2009
The $1.5 Trillion Health Care Taxapalooza
By Heritage Foundation @ 2:01 PM :: 3633 Views :: National News, Ethics

Throughout his campaign President Barack Obama repeatedly promised the American people: “If you’re a family that’s making $250,000 a year or less you will see no increase in your taxes. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your personal gains tax, not any of your taxes.”

Just 15 days into office, President Obama signed a bill expanding Medicaid eligibility that was paid for with a 156% tax hike on tobacco. Since slightly more than half of today’s smokers (53%) earn less than $36,000 per year, Obama’s first effort at expanding government’s role in health care also became his first broken promise. But that first Medicaid expansion was minor league compared to the estimated $1.5 trillion health care plan Congress is considering now.

And how does Congress plan on paying for this $1.5 trillion in new spending. Tax hikes. Some of these tax hikes even conform to Obama’s promise. They only punish our most productive workers and investors. Proposed tax hikes in this category include:

  1. capping the value of itemized deductions including gifts to charities;
  2. a 3% surtax on households earning more than $250,000; and
  3. a millionaires tax.

But the left is beginning to figure out that you can only squeeze so much revenue from class warfare taxation. So Congress is also considering a slew of other taxes that will, again, force Obama to break his not tax hike promise. These include:

  1. a tax on soda;
  2. a tax on beer;
  3. an increase in employer and employee payroll taxes;
  4. a flat tax on health insurance companies;
  5. broaden the Medicare tax on investment income;
  6. an employer mandate; and a
  7. value added tax on everything but food, housing, and Medicare.

And we’re sure we missed some. The left sure can be creative when they are desperate to raise revenue.

What is definitely not being considered by Congress, are any measures to reduce overall health care spending. President Obama recently told the press: “And I’ve said very clearly, if any bill arrives from Congress that is not controlling costs, that’s not a bill I can support. It’s going to have to control costs. It’s going to have to be paid for.”

But as Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf told the Senate this week, nothing in their current health care proposals will actually reduce health care costs. Instead, Elmendorf explained, the left’s health care plan only “puts an additional long-term burden on top of an already unsustainable path.” Elmendorf then suggested that if Congress really wanted to control costs, they would have to reform Medicare.

Our economy is already having a difficult time recovering under Obama’s current policies. Tacking on another $1.5 trillion tax burden, no matter how you structure it, isn’t going to help.

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