Friday, July 02, 2010

Taxing Times for All

It's Clouds in My Coffee's Fifth Birthday!  Join/like on Facebook (search "clouds in my coffee") or become a fan on the right... and let me know if you like the new design!

For this, our nation's celebrated birthday, thought I'd bring in a great reality for us...

"I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." - He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected, September 12th, 2008.

"Taxes will only be raised on people making $250K a year, and I'm guessing you and The Lovely Steph Leann don't make that." -- Friend of mine who argued against my unwillingness to "wait and see" what Obama will do, and my dislike of Obamacare

From The Americans for Tax Reform:

In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief (for a list of expiring tax provisions, click here)

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.  (I read this to The Lovely Steph Leann and she stared at me blankly, then said, "They are going to tax you... when you are dead?" to which I replied, "Oh no, they aren't taxing you, cause you are dead.  They are taxing what you leave behind, even though you've already paid taxes on it, for your loved ones to deal with.")

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

(Sidebar... here's an article from the AP about Obamacare possibly leading to longer ER waits and overcrowding, and here's one from The Hill discussing the possibility that yes, Obamacare can turn away high risk, sick people... you know, those who cannot get insurance and are counting on Obamacare to save 'em)

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.

Original article found at American Tax Reform here.

This is where I step back in...

For those who feel that, darn it, people who are rich should just be taxed more, 'cause its their job to pay more, don't forget the cigerette tax that "Obama, who stopped smoking but has admitted he slips now and then, signed a law raising the tobacco tax nearly 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes, to $1.01. Other tobacco products saw similarly steep increases."  This would be my guess for a "tax on the poor"... I know many people who make over a million dollars, very few of them smoke.  I know a lot of people who don't make jack back in Samson, Alabama, and many of them--including my own dear Mama Dollar, do smoke. 

As someone who doesn't use a tanning bed, but has a friend who owns one, here's a great one for ya... a tanning tax?  Seriously? 

Oh, and one more thing... for those who fight for our country and lose limbs in the process, 54 Democrats decided to vote against a measure that would have exempted the military from a medical device tax, which taxes medical devices like prostetic limbs. 

For the record, I'm not absolving Dubya from anything... his administration, especially in the terrible second term, spent way overbudget, and didn't give He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected much to work with.  There, I admitted it.  But you know what?  I'd take his "tax cuts for the rich", which were actually tax cuts for everyone, the rich just saved more because they were taxed more, any day of the week over what we've got now.

So, how's that hopey changey thing working out for ya?


  1. If you're going to quote me, at least give me credit =)

    This is usually where I'd mention the fact that 53% of our tax dollars are currently going to war(s)-slash-the military, and how that would probably be a good starting point in your complaining about taxes, but I said I wouldn't respond, so I won't...

  2. First, wasn't quoting you, actually. Secondly, Im not sure I care where the tax dollars are going, I'm more concerned that they are being raised and unreasonably so. That's my beef.

  3. And if anything, this would prove my point... rather than lower taxes, or redistribute military expenses elsewhere needed, taxes are being raised. On all of us.

  4. Well I said the same thing to you, so...great minds who debate you must think alike.

    I don't really do economics, so I should probably sit this one out, but I'd argue that you can't have it both ways. If you're ok with military spending being what it is, it has to be paid for somehow, thus, taxes. It's not lining Obama's pockets, it's being dumped into Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, you should care where your tax dollars are going, when over half of them are being wasted.


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