October 19, 2009

The Democrats' extremely regressive tax.

"An excise tax on high-end health insurance benefits is an extremely regressive tax on the middle class."

Well, obviously.

59 comments:

traditionalguy said...

It's those damn middle-class Robber Barons again. A ponzi scheme from smiling Obama is still a scheme. He says to the middle-class, "send in all your money/wealth and then when you need it services will be sent back. You know, those minimum wage health care para-MD's bureaucrats that do what the government needs done to you, instead of what a real MD being paid by you with your own missing money and Insurance Plan would have done for you.

Comrade X said...

what did you do with the kulaks?

we killed them.

Elliott A said...

sadly, these same people will still vote for him after he pulls the fast one

edutcher said...

Am I the only one who is wondering if the Demos are actually trying to get enough people out so that this thing is killed?

Or maybe they want an insurrection, for the purpose Comrade X noted.

Bruce Hayden said...

It is true that the bottom 30% is unlikely to pay very much of the new excise tax, but ,by the same token, the top 0.1% will pay almost none of it either. As Klein admits, the very most expensive insurance plans for CEOs are worth maybe $40,000. While that is a lot, it is only three times as much as an average family insurance plan’s $13,375. On the other hand, a CEO’s financial compensation could easily be more than 50 times as much as an average family’s salary.

Uh oh. Here goes another funding source and hundreds of billions is tax increases - whoops, I meant cost cutting.

One big part of the problem is that unions, private and public, have some of the best (i.e. "Gold Plated") health insurance plans around. Yes, some top execs have better plans, but there are very, very, very few of them, and most of us have worse plans (I like mine, but it definitely isn't at the level of many union plans).

Of course, they could always just exclude union plans, but I am not sure that that would pass the smell test.

WV - I love this one "aseaters" Need another "s" in there, but still...

former law student said...

Generally, the government cuts taxes to promote social goals: homeownership, babies, investment, R&D. Now it apparently wants to penalize employer-provided health insurance. Hitching the tax to the amount the employer pays for the insurance will further penalize companies whose workforces are disproportionately older and iller. Do Democrats really want to be known as the party that keeps older cancer survivors from working?

AJ Lynch said...

Just tax all compensation and income including food stamps, day care subsidies, section 8 housing vouchers, etc. That would raise a billions and billions. [oh I forgot the recipients tend to be Democrats]

Michael Hasenstab said...

Hey, but, but, wait, there weren't supposed to be any more taxes on those of us who earn <$250,000. You promised, Barry.

miller said...

if it doesn't move, tax it.

Pogo said...

Robert Reich said it best: if old people would just quit wasting our money and die, there'd be plenty to spend on health care.

Henry said...

No surprises here. I'm looking at my paycheck. My FICA tax is almost 8 times my Federal withholding. Thanks guys.

AJ Lynch said...

Actually what I said above was brilliant. We tax unemployment compensation right!

Well, I bet we pay welfare type benefits every year of at least $500 Billion including Medicaid. Tax the recipient 10% on that and we'd bring in some real money over ten years. Like half a trillion or more plus we'd create a boatload of tax collector jobs.

[Heh. As if they would ever really pay the tax].

David said...

The middle class is going to love the VAT too.

MadisonMan said...

Seems like a way to cap contributions to health care.

In 2006, the UW's contribution to my healthcare was $12358 (for a family plan). This year it is $14967. If they're going to tax that, they should probably tax the UW's contribution to my pension $6684. In fact, the total non-wage compensation I get is just south of $27K. If that money is going to be taxed, I'd rather just get it as salary and then use it as I see fit.

Bruce Hayden said...



In 2006, the UW's contribution to my healthcare was $12358 (for a family plan). This year it is $14967. If they're going to tax that, they should probably tax the UW's contribution to my pension $6684. In fact, the total non-wage compensation I get is just south of $27K. If that money is going to be taxed, I'd rather just get it as salary and then use it as I see fit
.

Sorry, MM, but that is one of the reasons that state and local governments are in such bad shape financially right now. Benefits were cranked up well above those in the private sector, during the last boom, likely because non-salary remuneration is much less visible than salaries, and can't be cut back in bad times.

And, note, I am not blaming you for taking a state salary (and benefits), but rather, the state governments that provide such "gold plated" benefits.

Balfegor said...

Well, obviously.

How obvious is that really? I mean, it's more regressive than the Democrats' usual "soak the rich" hijinks, but it's less regressive than Social Security taxes, which are one of the few taxes for which rich people pay a lower effective rate than poor people.

AJ Lynch said...

MM said:

"If that money is going to be taxed, I'd rather just get it as salary and then use it as I see fit."

Damn Mad Man, we will make you a conservative yet!

SteveR said...

Well this is just another way to get to a single payer, public "option" system.

SteveR said...

Well this is just another way to get to a single payer, public "option" system.

Balfegor said...

Re: AJ Lynch:

Well, I bet we pay welfare type benefits every year of at least $500 Billion including Medicaid.

Yeah, uh, I think total welfare spending (social security + medicare + medicaid + SCHIP + unemployment and other welfare entitlements) is actually somewhere north of $1.6 trillion.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yeah, uh, I think total welfare spending (social security + medicare + medicaid + SCHIP + unemployment and other welfare entitlements) is actually somewhere north of $1.6 trillion.

Medicare alone is just a tad shy south of $500 billion/year. That's for 42 million beneficiaries. I think SS is in the neighborhood of $600 billion annually so just those two programs alone amount to over $1 trillion, annually.

rhhardin said...

Don't knock the FICA tax. It's the best tax we have, a flat tax.

They ought to raise it, take away the upper income limit, and do away with the income tax.

Nothing changes voting patterns like having to pay the rate that you vote for yourself.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Just for clarification, I don't consider Medicare or SS to be welfare in the same sense of someone collecting a gummbit check and housing allowance for sitting on their ass.

Balfegor said...

They ought to raise it, take away the upper income limit, and do away with the income tax.

The upper income limit for the social security contribution is the reason it's not a flat tax. I also think it's assessed only on payroll, not on, e.g. investment income. At least, I hope that's the case, because Turbotax has never (as far as I know) required me to pay extra FICA tax on capital gains or dividends. Am I pulling a Geithner here?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Don't knock the FICA tax. It's the best tax we have, a flat tax.

They ought to raise it, take away the upper income limit, and do away with the income tax.


Well keep in mind taking away upper limit means that Mr. Bigbucks has to pay more in FICA taxes but then so does his employer in matching. That will do wonders for job creation.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yes Balfegor, I believe you are correct. It's a payroll tax so investment income shouldn't count.

Then again knowing Obambi is monitoring Althouse 24/7 that will probably be changing soon and we will all be blaming you ;-)

AJ Lynch said...

"Am I pulling a Geithner here?"

Only if you have your dick in your hand. Heh.

Brian O'Connell said...

The tobacco tax hike Obama signed into law when he took office is also hugely regressive. As are all the fat & sugar taxes Dems are always toying with.

By this point one has to conclude that the Democrats aren't opposed to regressive taxes. That is, surprise shouldn't be your reaction when you find out a Dem-supported tax turns out to be regressive.

AJ Lynch said...

Hardin, you have that backward.

They should lower the FICA tax and give a uniform retirement check to all of us. By doing this, it allows those of us who work to save or spend more of our own money.

They should then extend the income tax so way more people on the lower scale will have to pay FIT. Today they don't pay any FIT and some get the EITC.

Shanna said...

Yep. Those of us who can count were already aware of this, but it's nice that some other folks are clued in now.

Jeremy said...

Speaking of taxes, etc.

Read this and tell me what they're putting in the water in South Carolina:

Two South Carolina County Republican Party chairmen stepped up to rebut criticism of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in a newspaper editorial Sunday. But their defense of the senator might be overshadowed by their use of an anti-Semitic stereotype to praise him.

After a Democratic state senator wrote that DeMint didn't bring enough money back to the state, Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer responded that he was just looking after the nation's pennies -- like a Jew would.

*It's almost like they're competing to see who is the dumbest fool on the planet.

AJ Lynch said...

Well they were from Bamberg and Orangeburg! So it seems self-explanatory to me. Heh.

traditionalguy said...

A little known and never discussed fact of taxation is that the really wealthy have an army of advisors and freedom to cherry pick losses and deductions to offset income. The result is about a 10% tax rate. the middleclass is moving on up and is decimated by the increasing tax rate until the are paying 38%. Do you see why the wealthy do not mind a tax increase on the high earning middleclass moving up the ladder towards wealth. Their wealth itself has no value to the wealthy if everyone else has it too.

knox said...

Hey, but, but, wait, there weren't supposed to be any more taxes on those of us who earn <$250,000. You promised, Barry.

Don't forget, they were constantly changing that number, altering it almost weekly. Anyway, he'll just get up there and deny he ever said it. Or, more likely, he'll deny that it will affect the middle class.

knox said...

Also, look for them to dumb down the definition of "high-end" benefits.

Mark O said...

Does anyone still believe anything Obama says. Like news from the Nixon Whitehouse, these promises become inoperable.

He'll say he didn't want to raise taxes, but the health care emergency made him do it.

Then, he'll explain how a bomb in Iran is a good thing.

AllenS said...

If everyone is all worried about paying more tax, then the next time that hdhouse shows up, ask him about those loopholes. He doesn't worry about taxes.

Bruce Hayden said...

Speaking of taxes, etc.

Nice try in changing the topic. It didn't work, so maybe better luck next time.

Stephen Snell said...

*It's almost like they're competing to see who is the dumbest fool on the planet.

I vote for the douchebag who always introduces ridiculous non-sequitirs under a procession of troll aliases.

Michael Hasenstab said...

*It's almost like they're competing to see who is the dumbest fool on the planet.

No worries. You're a lock.

Bart DePalma said...

Perfect example of the hypocrisy of predatory socialism. Big labor is perfectly content to support legislation looting someone else's wallet to pay for socialized health insurance, but squeal like little piglets when it is their wallets being lightened.

Penny said...

Frankly, Brian, I think labor's thinking is simpler than you think. It goes something like this:

"The Democrats. They have been very, very good to me."

Penny said...

OOPS, that should have been BART DePalma.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeremy, you got my vote!

wv = umbelit

Anyone remember this football cheer:

Fumble it Fumble it F U M B L E it!

Go Phils!

Alex said...

Jeremy - corruption does not only exist in the GOP.

William Jefferson's Cash Freezer

Anthony said...

Anyway, he'll just get up there and deny he ever said it. Or, more likely, he'll deny that it will affect the middle class.

"I have been very consistent. . . ."

Frank Lee said...

All that is obvious is that you did not read any of the details. The tax would be on premiums over $24,000/year. Exactly how many middle-class people do you know with health insurance that expensive, Althouse?

You really just make it up as you go along. Facts be damned! THAT is what's obvious.

SH said...

Ah, FDL are middle class socialists... why should they be spared [the fun] forced equality [utopia]? We won't, they might as well dive (or get thrown) in. :) Coercion is progressive. Ignorance is strength. Do they [dare] doubt this and what the rest of the left collective says?

SH said...

Frank Lee said...

"All that is obvious is that you did not read any of the details. The tax would be on premiums over $24,000/year."

Is it indexed to inflation?

I remember someone saying it may take 10-15 years but he supported phasing out private insurance...

Reliapundit said...

I BLAME TURKEYS LIKE YOU ALTHOUSE WHO VOTED FOR THIS LYING SACK OF SOCIALISM.

JOE THE PLUMBER FIGGERED HIM OUT BUT YOU AND YOUR ILK WERE TOO INTELLECTUAL TO SEE BARRY OBAMA FOR WHAT HE WAS.

MaxedOutMama said...

No, the tax starts on plans for an individual over 8K a year and over 21K a year for family plans. It is indexed to CPI. However, since medical costs are not just a function of overall costs, but also of an aging population, medical costs have risen far more quickly than CPI so yes, bracket creep is expected.

What seems strangest about this proposal (I downloaded the 1,500 page Senate plan and will read it) is that an older individual might have to pay more than 8K for an individual plan right now. Maybe they are counting on these costs lowering, but that isn't going to happen because of the higher number of people on Medicaid, which will raise private insurance costs more quickly than was previously expected.

Ralph L said...

Social Security taxes,...for which rich people pay a lower effective rate than poor people.
Poor people get a much, much better return on their contribution, if they live long enough to collect it a few years. It's a disguised welfare program. They resist means-testing SS and Medicare because then everyone will know it.

If Obamacare encouraged high-deductible insurance or HSAs, it might reduce demand enough to lower costs. Instead it discourages or prohibits it. I was paying $40/month in the 90's before I was 40. I guess they want young people to pay in a lot more. Screw the people who voted for you!

You'd better hope any insurance tax threshold is indexed for medical cost inflation.

Revenant said...

All that is obvious is that you did not read any of the details. The tax would be on premiums over $24,000/year. Exactly how many middle-class people do you know with health insurance that expensive, Althouse?

2.4% of them do, as you would know if YOU had read the article. You would also have discovered that the cause for concern is that rapidly rising premiums will push the middle class into that territory in a few years. The same thing happened with the AMT, which originally targeted "the rich" but which now hits a good portion of the middle class as well.

EvilDave said...

Remember Ann you voted for this.

TmjUtah said...

Everybody is dissecting the aimless wanderings of this administration like they expect some sort of a plan to emerge.

There is no plan. Over regulating, over taxing, and over spending. Betraying our traditional allies and coddling our enemies. And most damningly, betraying our troops in the field where ever they are.

Stop looking for an agenda that bears any relationship to the duties of the executive. It's a coup, nothing more, nothing less.

It's the scenario hatched in hundreds of dope smoke filled dorm rooms since the 1960's. Except they are finally in a position to make it happen.

Geeze. Wake the hell up. You can argue tax policy, troop levels, and tariffs till the pope performs abortions but you are missing the damned point.

Bruce Hayden said...

Compounding this is the fact that the penalties for not carrying insurance are low enough in that bill that for many, it would be far cheaper to pay the penalty, and then get insurance later if and when the need arises (since insurance companies couldn't reject or rate up for preexisting conditions). This is likely to cause severe adverse selection problems, with the sicker people paying for health insurance, and the healthier ones paying the penalty.

Compounding this even more, ratcheting down the Medicare reimbursement rates, esp. without effective enforcement that everyone must be covered, is going to just increase the amount that those with non-governmental insurance cross-subsidize those with governmental insurance (such as Medicare).

Thus, instead of making things better, and bending the cost curve down, the result will be just the opposite, with costs, and thus insurance premiums, rising even that much faster than inflation.

Plumb Family In Turkey said...

Of course a couple of the taxes most cherished by liberals, FICA and Medicare, are extremely regressive too.

Revenant said...

Remember Ann you voted for this.

I'm not convinced that McCain would have been any better on this issue. He was a big-government type just like Bush.

Maddad said...

Being forced to carry insurance is a tax as well. That will fall on the middle class, mostly on people who will see no benefit.