On MSNBCâ€™s Morning Joe program, columnist Mike Barnicle asked Meet the Press moderator David Gregory about the possibility that the Obama administration, in order to fund universal healthcare, will seek to impose a tax on theÂ medical benefits that American workers currently receive from their employers; in other words, to treat the dollar-value of those benefits as though it were actual income, and to tax it at the same rateÂ as the rest of the workersâ€™ income.Â As Barnicle noted, â€œsome powerful Democrats in the Senate are in favorâ€ of such a planÂ even though they, like Barack Obama, opposed it during the 2008 campaign.
If the Democrats get close to passing a universal healthcare bill, Gregory speculated,Â â€œI think the White HouseÂ would be open to that [taxing medical benefits like regular income].â€
Then Gregory identifiedÂ the key issue:
I think the biggest problem with it is they [Obama and the Democrats] open themselves up to the charge that theyâ€™re going to be taxing, youâ€™re going to effect a tax increase on people making less than $250,000 a year, which is what the President vowed he would not do.
Consider what such a plan would mean to the average American taxpayerÂ – you remember, the man or woman who is among the “95 percent” of the American people whom Obama bedazzled during the campaign with his bold promise of a tax cut. That tax cut, it turned out,Â would net each American taxpayer a paltry $8 to $13 per week.
Moreover, it should be noted thatÂ for tens of millions of people whoÂ were paying no taxes to begin with, it was not a tax cut at all, but rather a government check whose sole purpose was to expand the number of Americans dependent on government handouts (and, by extension, the number of Americans voting for the party responsible forÂ distributing those handouts, the Democrats).Â As the Washington Times pointed out:
[Obama's]Â plan would send checks to tens of millions of tax filers who pay no personal income taxes — payments that critics say look “suspiciously like welfare” â€¦ Because the IRS says that nearly 46 million tax filers — one-third of all filers — had no tax liability in 2006, there is the question of how millions of Americans can receive an income “tax cut” when they pay no taxes.
If Congress and President Obama now impose aÂ tax on healthcare benefits, that tax willÂ cost each taxpayerÂ – depending on his or herÂ income bracket and medical plan, and on the specifics of the new tax itself –Â an additional $1,000 to $4,000 per year.
And donâ€™t forget about the cap-and-trade monstrosity that the House of Representatives passedÂ three weeks ago, and whichÂ will now beÂ considered by the Senate. If that gets signed into law, the average American household will pay yet another $3,100 in extraÂ hidden taxes each year.
Moreover, ObamaÂ has pledged toÂ permit the Bush tax cuts (on income and capital gains) to expire next year, a move — or rather, a non-move — that will more than offset theÂ aforementioned pittance thatÂ Obama gave to taxpayers in early 2009. (The Bush tax cuts were 50 percent greater than Obama’s.) Â The fact that Obama willÂ allow the Bush tax cuts to expire is noÂ surprise, of course, but merely a fulfillment of what he said, quite candidly,Â duringÂ theÂ presidential campaign:
- â€œI want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts,â€ Obama told CNNâ€™s Wolf Blitzer in a May 2008 interview.
- â€œThe Bush tax cuts –Â people didn’t need them, and they weren’t even asking for them, and that’s why they need to be less, so that we can pay for universal health care and other initiatives,â€ Obama said in a June 2007 Democratic debate at Howard University.
If we tabulate the sorry figures above, we find thatÂ the American taxpayer, who was promised a tax cut if he or she earned less than $250,000 annually, will in fact be paying anywhere from about $4,000Â to $7,000Â more in taxes each year.
AndÂ just think: Our benevolentÂ President will have achieved all this in less than a single year in office.Â Imagine what surprises he has in store for us next year. Perhaps yet another tax cut. How exciting.