Promise expired: Obama budget tax hikes hit “nearly every income level”

posted at 10:01 am on April 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Actually, Barack Obama’s promise that his tax hikes wouldn’t apply to 95% of Americans expired a long time ago, but his new budget drives a stake right through its heart.  Earlier, I pointed out that Obama had underreported his tax hikes in his new budget proposal by at least half.  Today, the Washington Post looks at the impact and discovers that it raises taxes in “nearly every income level”:

President Obama’s budget would raise taxes mainly on people earning more than $200,000 a year, although earners at nearly every income level would face a somewhat higher tax burden, according to a new nonpartisan analysis.

The study by the Tax Policy Center finds that in 2015, 86 percent of the increase in taxes would be borne by people earning $200,000 or more a year. That would largely be a result of dramatically scaling back tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy and establishing a minimum level of taxation for people who earn $1 million a year.

But the study also finds that some Americans of more modest backgrounds would face more taxes. Some people earning between $100,000 and $200,000 a year would pay about $150 more, while some earning less than $100,000 a year would pay less than $100 in additional taxes.

The increase in taxes on middle-class earners is notable because both political parties have said that they do not want to raise taxes on people earning less than $200,000 a year. The president’s budget was released this month but is not expected to be taken up by Congress anytime soon.

“We knew the president wanted to raise additional revenue focused on high-income folks,” said Donald Marron, director of the Tax Policy Center. “The old idea of not raising taxes on people earning below $200,000 and $250,000 seems to have gone away.”

Just as a reminder, this is what Obama promised in 2008. Note the comprehensive nature of this “firm pledge”:

And 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.

So now the threshold has dropped to $200,000, while even those below it are paying lots of dimes in increased taxes.  What happened?  Well, anyone who can do simple math can see that the federal government can’t keep spending $3.78 trillion a year while only taking in $2.7 trillion in revenues.  The gap can’t be filled just by taxing the rich — even at an effective rate of 100% of income, the deficit wouldn’t be closed even in a single year.  That means the government has to get the money from the middle class, or stop spending as much money.

Obama made his choice. Welcome to the One Percent, er … everyone.


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