Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Look at Obamacare by the Numbers

Critics of the President's health care agenda are always looking for the "right words" to convince others about the danger that will come with Obama's radical agenda. Maybe the most effective rebuttal is not in words, but in numbers. It is through reviewing the impact, in numbers, that Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) is tackling this sweeping and far reaching legislation.

One of the major promises of the Obama campaign during his run for President was to show "restraint" when it came to taxes. No one making less than $250,000 would see an increase at all, we were told. The vast majority who made more than that would see very few tax increases of their own, we were assured. According to ATR, the number of new tax increases in the health care bill is 19.

I guess it would not be too bad, if you felt campaign promises (and not the Constitution) is all that mattered and all of these tax increases were directed towards the "super rich" who make more than $250,000. Unfortunately, the number of tax increases that "unquestionably violate President Obama's 'firm pledge' not to raise 'any form' of taxes on families making less than $250,000" is a significant number at 7. In fact, people making as little as five digits a year will find themselves subject to new tax increases.

The number of new taxes is disconcerting and the disregard to promises made by the President in getting elected is enough to make a person's blood boil, but the amount that will be collected through the health care bill is enough to strike fear in even the most liberal tax lover. According to Americans for Tax Reform, "the tax increase over the first decade if the health care bill becomes law" will be "$497 billion."

Two of the weaker countries in the industrialized world -- when it comes to jobs, GDP growth, and other indicators of economic expansion -- are Japan and the United States. They also have the highest top tax rates. This is no coincidence, but the natural consequence of excessively taxing those who create jobs. Number one has been Japan, but when Obamacare becomes law, we will have the dubious distinction of being the "leader" in high tax rates. According to Americans for Tax Reform, "the top federal tax rate on wages and self-employment earnings under this bill: 43.4%" This will translate into an "annual tax hike for every man, woman, and child in America" of $165.

Oddly, Obama's health care bill even takes damaging aim against those who are least able to defend themselves. According to Americans for Tax Reform, "the most parents of special-needs kids" will be able to "save tax-free for tuition in FSAs (currently, the amount is unlimited): $2500."

ATR does not discuss the rationing that will come with this sweeping move towards socializing medicine or the negative impact it will have on innovation, since over 80 percent of all new technologies and drugs come from the US due to our profit system. What it does provide, however, is some serious numbers that show that Obamacare will certainly cause enormous and far reaching damage to our nation's economic health.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is also host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650). Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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