America's race toward the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic, massive tax increases is only part of the problem. This Thelma has her Louise -- the Obamacare taxes -- and hand-in-hand, these two terrors are racing toward Jan. 1.
The only thing worse than President Obama's broken Obamacare promises are the promises he intends to keep: the tax hikes. Remember when Mr. Obama promised he'd never raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 a year? He'd prefer you didn't, but when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on Obamacare, Mr. Obama became a court-certified tax-raiser.
Most of the president's health care takeover won't begin until 2014, but Democrats just couldn't wait that long to start taxing you. The "Top Five Worst Obamacare Taxes Coming in 2013," compiled by Americans for Tax Reform, is worth reviewing.
Obamacare Medical Device Tax. From pacemakers to MRI machines, if your health depends on a medical device, you will pay more. Manufacturers will face difficult decisions to compensate for the 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales -- levied even if a firm is not profitable. Will these firms charge you more, lay off workers or sacrifice research and development? Answer: Yes, yes and yes.
Obamacare "Special Needs Kids Tax." The newly imposed $2,500 cap on flexible spending accounts is "particularly cruel and onerous" to families of special needs kids whose expenses can be many times that amount.
Obamacare Investment Income Surtax. What do your investments have to do with health care? It doesn't matter. If it moves, the Democrats will tax it. Capital gains taxes will increase by more than half and dividend taxes will nearly double. A hostile investment climate will starve business of capital and is a recipe for a double-dip recession.
Obamacare "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deductions. Limiting the amount of medical expense deductions will impact families with sizable medical expenses -- chief among them, near-retirees.
Obamacare Medicare Payroll-Tax Hike. An increase in the payroll tax by nearly a third just made you more expensive for your employer to keep around.
Of course, this is just the start. The labyrinth of new Obamacare regulations will kill businesses. The 2,700-page law has already generated tens of thousands of pages of regulations, and it's growing. Here's one example: The president's crackerjack bureaucrats required an impressive 18 pages just to define what a full-time employee is. Businesses will need to hire their own in-house bureaucracies to stay in compliance with the Washington bureaucracies.
It gets worse -- much worse. Obamacare imposes a $40,000 fine for daring to hire a 50th employee without providing government-sanctioned health insurance. Small businesses will start to resemble the television show "Survivor" as anyone above the magic number is voted off the island. Think this won't have an impact? There are already 2.4 times as many businesses in America with 49 employees as those with 50. Good luck.
800,000 Jobs. That's what Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf estimated in 2011 that Obamacare will destroy, and the day of reckoning has begun. In the wake of Mr. Obama's re-election, companies large and small have already begun announcing layoffs, 45 so far, including (but certainly not limited to): Boeing, Hawker Beechcraft, U.S. Cellular, Husqvarna, Caterpillar, Bristol-Myers and on and on. Expect more -- lots more.
Small businesses are especially vulnerable, particularly without the resources for throngs of lobbyists and lawyers. A recurring theme is unfolding: "Elections have consequences," said one Las Vegas business owner as he explained that the survival of his company demands that he lay off 22 of his 114 employees. The Twitter aggregator website Twitchy.com has compiled distraught business owners facing the new normal. One user tweeted: "I own a small business ... as of today. I will be laying off 10 of my 60 employees ... Thanks Obamacare."
These tragic stories are accumulating, and the human toll is devastating despite the administration's assertions of a recovery. "The private sector is doing fine," claimed the president earlier this year. This is fine? Mr. Obama came into office promising us change, and now he's delivering it: 800,000 layoffs and lost jobs during a "recovery" would indeed be some kind of change.
Be sure to thank a Democrat.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama's cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.
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