Timothy Noah is right: Let’s talk about the ‘real’ Obamacare taxes
posted at 12:13 pm on July 7, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
In an unusual column, The New Republic’s Timothy Noah wonders aloud why everyone on the right is focusing on the Supreme Court ruling that the funding mechanism in Obamacare is a tax when there are far more punishing taxes written into the statute that could be used to assail the president. Those on the right will wonder why a staunch liberal like Noah is offering up a conservative amicus brief, but he explains that his duty as a journalist compels him. So be it. Ours not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
To excuse his perfidy, Noah prefaces the main thrust of his article with a pair of puzzling liberal talking points that have been circulating: (1) Romneycare is also funded by a tax so … people should also be mad at Mitt Romney or something; (2) if you accept the Supreme Court’s justification for its ruling by arguing that the mandate is a tax, “then you also have to accept that the Supreme Court was right not to strike down Obamacare.” This second point is a particular noggin-scratcher. Why would agreeing with the Court on its interpretation of the mandate as a tax be a sufficient condition for accepting that the law in its entirety is correct? Numerous legal scholars have written that Roberts got the mandate right but the ruling wrong.
But on to Noah’s gift: the Medicare payroll tax increase. (It really isn’t much of a gift, by the way. Tracy Byrnes did a segment on FOX Business Channel last week where she highlighted 21 taxes written into the law, including the Medicare payroll tax increase).
The tax, which is currently 2.9% for all taxpayers, will increase by 0.9% starting in 2013 for couples making over $250,000 (aka, “the rich”). Noah applauds the tax, which he says is “long overdue” and thumbs his nose at Republicans, who he correctly notes will maintain that the tax “punishes job-creators.” What he fails to mention is that this tax will raise $200 billion, an amount that will offset only about a tenth of the cost of Obamacare through 2022.
Further ammunition for opponents of the law comes from The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein, who helpfully writes that all of the taxes in the law combined do not make Obamacare the “largest tax increase in the history of the world,” as Rush Limbaugh characterized it. Instead, Klein notes, seemingly as point of pride, the law’s tax increase of 0.49% of GDP makes it only the tenth largest increase in the past 60 years.
With friends like Noah and Klein helping to make their argument, the Obama campaign doesn’t need enemies.
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- The Buffett Rule hurts Warren Buffett’s secretary
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- Obama sets tone for election with joke about Romney’s stiffness
- Tax the rich—whoever they are
- Obama’s fairness doctrine a recipe for AMP (Assured Mass Poverty)
- Study: Americans’ incomes have fallen more during recovery than during recession
- Solution to the debt crisis: Tap the nation’s “additional income” reserve
Recently in the Green Room:
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- Feelgood video of the day
- New liberal idea: Let’s raise $660 million online in a month to buy the LA Times before the Koch brothers can
- Of Course It Troubles Me. Are You Kidding Me?
- Friendly reminder from the White House about ObamaCare: “It’s. The. Law.”