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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2012

Say That Again, Joe

On Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., Vice President Joe Biden criticized GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax cut plans, saying:

How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years? How in Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?

There are probably lots of taxpayers who wish the Obama administration had tried raising their taxes with tax cuts, instead of raising their taxes with tax increases. According to Americans for Tax Reform, President Obama has signed 21 tax increases into law. Those increases include a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, and the lack-of-federally-approved-health-insurance excise tax, which used to be called the ObamaCare individual mandate. [Americans for Tax Reform, September 27]

Like all excise taxes, the tobacco tax, hits lower-income taxpayers disproportionately. The lack-of-health-insurance tax is expected to hit 6 million Americans. Many of those will be younger—and therefore typically lower-income—Americans who decide that pricey health insurance doesn’t make sense for them given their good health.

But Biden was right that the last four years haven’t been good for the middle class. Indeed, inequality has grown under Obama, notes John Merline:

Since 2009, the middle 20% of American households saw their average incomes drop 4%. In 2011 alone, they fell 1.7%. The poorest 20% have fared even worse under Obama, Census data show. Their incomes have dropped more than 7% since 2009, and are now lower than they’ve been at any time since 1985, after adjusting for inflation.

Meanwhile, the wealthiest have managed to eke out gains in two of the past three years. In 2011, the top 20% saw their average income climb almost 2%, the Census data show. [Investor’s Business Daily, October 2]

Posted on 10/03/12 06:10 PM by Alex Adrianson

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