Don't Tax Me, Bro

By Tyler Grimm

Do only 5 percent of Americans drink soda, smoke cigarettes, go tanning or get cosmetic surgery? That appears to be the delusional impression  the Obama administration is under. On the campaign trail, the president promised—in nearly every stump speech and debate—that the 95 percent of Americans making less than $200,000 a year would not see their taxes increase "by a single dime." Yet, taxing soda, tobacco, tanning and plastic surgery are only a few of the ways the White House and Democrats on CaCapitol Hill have sought to get their hands on your money.

So why have many of these tax proposals gone as unnoticed as party crashers at a state dinner?

Despite a campaign meant to appeal to fiscal moderates (recall the president touting "middle-class tax cuts" and "transparency" ad nauseam), they have been able to use a lack of transparency to push for tax increases. In previous eras, it was abundantly clear when taxes went up. Who could forget George H. W. Bush breaking his "read my lips, no new taxes" promise?

Recently, however, increases have been tucked into big pieces of legislation and never referred to as "taxes"—they are discussed as "revenue enhancers" or "fees." For instance, Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C., calculated that there were 13 different taxes in the House of Representatives’ version of the health care bill. Many of these include changing how deductions are calculated or how health savings accounts work. Don’t be fooled by the complexity, these are taxes.

Likewise, the Obama administration’s 2011 budget also calls for the repeal of many tax credits for energy companies. The tax increases won’t be borne by the energy companies though—they will pass them off to customers in the form of higher prices.

But can you blame politicians? With a $1.6 trillion deficit and a never-ending liberal wish list, Washington’s imagination for new taxes knows no bounds. Even Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined the fun last year, proposing to tax the amount of miles Americans drive, saying that he was "thinking outside the box on how we fund our infrastructure in America."

Here is a quick rundown of a few of the more straightforward tax increases that have already passed or been given serious consideration since President Obama took office:

- Raise the cigarette tax by 62 cents per pack

- Raise beer taxes by 48 cents a six-pack

- Raise wine taxes by 49 cents per bottle

- A new tax on soda at 3 cents per 12-ounce serving

- A new 10 percent tax on visits to indoor tanning beds

- A new 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery

- Raise the death tax from 0 percent this year to 45 percent permanently

- Raise the 33 percent income tax rate (applied to families making between $209,250 and $373,650) to 36 percent

- Raise the 35 percent income tax rate (applied to families making over $373,650) to 39.6 percent n Raise the capital gains tax rate from 15 to 20 percent

The last three tax hikes listed above result from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. This is eminently convenient for the Obama administration—they will increase taxes without having to sign any legislation.

A sensible, pro-growth approach would be to extend, or make permanent, the tax cuts. President Obama’s inaction is the equivalent of not side stepping an oncoming train.

Allowing these tax cuts to expire means increasing taxes for 3.2 million small businesses and high-income Americans. This is certainly no way to treat an economy recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

As for the "middle class tax cuts" that the president so vehemently campaigned for: If he were serious about helping the middle class, he would fix the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT was instituted in 1969 to hit 155 high-income earners who had gotten out of paying taxes. Because it wasn’t adjusted for inflation, the tax now affects 27 million Americans (mostly middle class) and has to be "patched" every year by Congress. Permanently reforming the AMT would be a good place to start when it comes to middle class tax relief.

In terms of future tax increases, the recently launched Deficit Commission will almost certainly recommend a Value-Added Tax at the end of the year. This would be a disaster. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw recently wrote, "It would raise consumer prices, lower real wages, discourage work and depress economic growth."

Tax policy is complex, and Washington uses that to its advantage. The simple truth of the matter is that, any time the government taxes, it pulls money out of the private sector—the efficient part of the economy responsible for producing goods and services—and puts it into the inefficient hands of government.

The real problem the country faces is not how to tax money out of Americans’ pockets; it’s how to keep money out of the hands of politicians.



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Glenn Beck has been warning since last summer that you would not recognize your country in a year. Well, it's not even summer yet, and he says he already doesn't recognize the country.

Do you recognize an America in which people are making more money off government unemployment benefits than they can make by working, inflation is ramping up, housing, supply and labor shortages are widespread, and the current administration gives cybercriminals from Russia a free pass after the biggest cyberattack on our nation's infrastructure to date?

On the radio program this week, Glenn pointed out that while businesses all over the nation are downsizing, one brand store is actually booming — and it says a lot about the state of the economy and what it means for our country's future.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

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The largest American gas pipeline shut down on Friday due to what experts told the media was the "most dramatic cyberattack on U.S. soil to date." Investigators are looking at a group believed to be based in Russia known as "DarkSide."

It's time our leaders in the White House take national security seriously because this isn't the first time enemies of the U.S. — namely Russia and China — have used the cyber world to attack our nation and weaken our infrastructure, Glenn Beck argued on the radio program. Between Russia, China, and Iran — which President Joe Biden is now trying to make another nuclear deal with — it looks like the "Axis powers" of a "digital World War III" are lining up

"The journalists seem to care about the price of gasoline for the first time. Is it because they actually care? Or is it because they're trying not to focus on the fact that this was an attack most likely from Russia? And it isn't the first cyberattack from Russia of the year ... maybe we should be paying attention, to Vladimir Putin," Glenn began.

"And by the way, the pipeline going down, that's not the only [cyberattack] happening now," he added later. "Thirty thousand U.S. victims, small businesses and local governments, were hacked by cyber espionage units backed by the Chinese government in January of this year."

"There is an 'Axis power.' It is Russia and China. And, by the way, who is also aligned with Russia and China? Iran. Wow, this is weird," Glenn surmised. "But don't worry about that. Just leave your dog tags on another table. Let's not talk about China. Let's not talk about who actually crashed the jugular of our oil pipelines. I don't want war. But I got news for you ... this Biden administration is doing the job for our enemies."

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:


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Canadian clinical psychologist, author, and cultural firebrand Jordan Peterson is no stranger to cancel culture. Ever since he was thrust into the culture war, he has faced one controversy after another, stirred up by the woke elites who hate him with a passion. But although they have tried to make him pay for speaking out so fearlessly against their message, he refuses to back down and he believes you should, too. He joined "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to explain why.

"There is a growth of the reluctant hero in all stories ... so many people think that they don't have what it takes, that they're not the hero," Glenn said to Peterson. "How do you get people to recognize and then have the courage to stand? You've taken a beating ... why is it worth it and how do you get there?"

"I think it's worth it because I believe the alternative is worse ... to stay silent when you have something to say," Peterson replied. "You don't know what it is within you that requires your voice, right, because you feel like 'I have something to say.' Where does that come from exactly, that feeling that you have something to say?

"Maybe you're disgruntled at work and you're choking on your own bile because the situation is not just in your estimation," he continued. "You're dying to say something, but you won't. Well, you'll die if you don't say it. Maybe it's a death by a thousand cuts. I don't like deferred punishment. I'd rather take it now and keep the future clean, which is why I encourage people to have the fights now, not to hide things in the fog for later. They grow and metastasize. It's better to confront what you need to confront when it's small and you have some possibility of victory."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation, or find the full podcast with Jordan Peterson here:

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Top officials at the Federal Reserve are doing what they can to sugar coat what's ahead for our economy, telling Americans we may hit a "transitory" period of inflation that will settle by 2022. But Bank of America is saying something different. The bank's latest earnings call commentary warned "at the very least" transitory hyperinflation is ahead.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn Beck explain what this means for prices and for our economy.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.