AIP column: Taxing our patience

In my new column at American Issues Project, I try to tie together the implications of “taxes” as defined — and not defined — by Barack Obama in his ABC interview from last weekend.  Clearly, Barack Obama has not read any of the plans coming from Congress on his own top legislative priority, the overhaul of the health-care system, especially not the Baucus proposal.  The penalty for violations of the individual mandate is, after all, explicitly called an “excise tax,” but that’s not the only tax heading for American households:

Most Americans recognize that as the tax collection and enforcement agency of the federal government. And most would conclude that it’s no stretch to conclude that a penalty that calls itself a tax and is enforced by the IRS is indeed a tax … except for the President who’s under pressure to keep up appearances on a tax pledge he’s already broken with the cigarette tax increase, and will have to break again and again for his ambitious domestic agenda.

Case in point: Obama’s other signature domestic agenda item this year, the cap-and-trade plan. This plan forces energy producers and manufacturers to pay for licenses to emit carbon in the form of credits. That money goes directly to the federal government, which Obama plans to use for a wide range of “green energy” projects. That is undeniably a tax. Stephanopoulos read the Merriam-Webster definition in the interview, which fits this perfectly: “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

And who pays those taxes? Literally, the energy producers – but they sell their product to consumers. Those higher fees get passed to the consumer in the form of higher prices, and not just at the outlet, either. …

Since that money flows to the federal government, that’s essentially a tax on American households, and a regressive one at that. President Obama can, and likely will, call it whatever he wants, but the money comes out of our pockets and into the coffers of the government. That’s taxation, and middle-class families who voted for Obama based on his promise to keep them free of even a single dime of tax increases know the difference.

And polling shows that people have already begun to realize exactly what Obama’s domestic agenda means for the middle class — less opportunity, higher taxes and prices, and wage depression.

Be sure to read it all.  Don’t forget to check out AIP’s excellent blog and other columnists, either.  Patrick Ishmael follows the case of a state representative in Missouri who will face criminal charges in court today.  Michael Barone does the Time Warp with Barack Obama, who’s stuck on the “jump to the left” step.  John Stossel, one of my favorite TV reporters, talks more about his move to Fox.