Posted on July 15 2012 – 10:00 PM – Posted by: Doug Brady
Here’s a big surprise: President Obama wants to raise taxes on “the wealthy.”
By some counts, this represents the 25th time the president has rolled out this proposal — something to keep in mind the next time he warns against “refighting the battles of the past” over something like repealing Obamacare. Regardless, repetition hasn’t done anything to improve either the policy or the president’s truthfulness in describing it.
First, the president’s definition of wealthy is a little shaky. It turns out that the “millionaires” he refers to in his speeches are actually individuals earning $200,000 per year and couples earning $250,000 — about 2.5 million Americans. While $250,000 is a lot of money in many areas of the country, in high-cost regions such as New York City that earning category would include a teacher with 22 years of service married to a police captain. The president’s definition of “rich” would also include some 750,000 independent and small businesses that do not pay income taxes as businesses; instead, their taxes are paid through the owners’ individual tax returns. We are not exactly talking Warren Buffett here
Moreover, many Americans earning less than $200,000 are likely to suffer collateral damage from this tax increase. For example, the president’s proposed tax hike on capital gains is likely to reduce the value of 401(k) funds that millions of middle-income Americans rely on for retirement. And the business taxes will drive up the prices of goods and services, not to mention costing jobs. Given current unemployment rates, it seems especially hard to think of any reason why raising taxes on small businesses would be a good policy.