Posts Tagged ‘8% payroll tax’

Democrats In Process Of Checkmating Themselves

November 11, 2009

Great article from Forbes:

Democrats Checkmate Themselves

November 10th, 2009

Liberals are fond of calling Republicans “the stupid party.” That might need revision. It appears to me that Democrats have checkmated themselves. Here is the logic:

If Obamacare makes it through the Senate, American small businesses will continue to shrink their payrolls to avoid the awful choice of paying higher health care insurance premiums or the 8% added payroll tax. Unemployment is sure to rise. The Dems will face the November 2010 elections with 12% unemployment … closer to Depression levels of 20% by the so-called broader measures.

If Obamacare fails to pass, the left-wing base will be so demoralized as to not show up at the polls in 2010. Or they will be so angry that they might start a 1968-like interparty war.

My Checkmate Theory is based on small-business fear of Obama’s signature issues–health care, cap-and-trade and union card check. Health care is at the plate now. The fate of health care in the U.S. Senate will set the passage odds for cap-and-trade and union card check next year. All three of Obama’s signature issues are opposed by most small businesses, including the American Chamber of Commerce.

Here are two revealing stories reporting the economic struggles and political fears of small businesses:

USA Today

Small businesses often lead the nation out of recession. Not this time.

The unemployment rate jumped to 10.2% in October from 9.8% in September, and economists say a big reason is small businesses. With sales weak, they’re still slashing jobs and faring worse than their larger rivals.

“Small business tends to lead the way out, and that’s just not happening here,” says Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com.

The Wall Street Journal

W. Michael Brown has scaled back hiring plans in his Virginia auto-parts stores. Carl Redman halted an expansion project at his Oregon contracting business. Bill Hammack is preparing layoffs at his road-construction company in Georgia.

The economy remains unsteady 22 months after the recession began, with banks restricting credit and consumers hunkering down. For these small businesses, and many others across the country, there’s an additional dark cloud: uncertainty created by Washington’s bid to reorganize a wide swath of the U.S. economy.

If American small businesses stay hunkered down, unemployment will stay up. That’s because small businesses historically have created the majority of net jobs in any economy. They’ve created almost all net jobs in the first two years of a recovery. But not this time. Not yet.

The liberal writer Michael Lind is happy to see government put the screws to small businesses. In Lind’s opinion, small businesses are nothing more than a collection of Scrooges and Marleys. No doubt his opinion of small business is shared by many in the Democratic Party’s activist wing:

The solution may be corporatism or corporate paternalism–by which I mean the mandatory universalization of private employer benefits. If the politics of ethnic diversity makes movement in a universalist, social democratic direction impossible in the U.S., then the alternative might be to mandate that all employers provide certain benefits to all employees, with no exceptions. The costs of such unfunded mandates might drive some small businesses out of existence. But small-business owners are the most vocal opponents of wage and benefit reform in the U.S. The replacement of Scrooge & Marley by a smaller number of bigger private and public employers who treat Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim better would not necessarily be a tragedy.

Not a tragedy? Don’t be so quick, Democrats. You can’t have it both ways. Stick it to small businesses (through higher payroll taxes, cap-and-trade and union card check) and the assaulted will trim their payrolls until conditions clear, if ever. But if you don’t stick it to small businesses, your party’s activist base will go nuts.

You have checkmated yourselves, Democrats.

I know Democrats thought that pure arrogance and power hunger would be attractive ingredients, but it doesn’t seem to be working out for them.

If ObamaCare passes, small businesses know that they will be forced to pay high costs for every employee on their payroll.  Ergo sum, they aren’t too eager to hire new workers until the coast is clear and Obamacare has finally gone away.

If it doesn’t pass, the Kool-aid liberal base will go even more nuts than they already are and start a war within the Democrat Party.

The horns of a giant dilemma begin to take shape.

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Reuters’ Nine Reasons Democrats’ Healthcare Surtax Is Dangerous

July 16, 2009

Our republic is in the worst kind of danger.  No enemy could do to us from without what Obama and liberal Democrats are doing to us from within.

9 reasons Pelosi’s healthcare surtax is disastrous

by: James Pethokoukis

So what explains the crazy, cockeyed optimism of House Democrats? Maybe they still believe Team Obama’s rosy-scenario forecast that shows the stimulus package a) keeping unemployment under 8 percent this year and b) launching an economic boom next year and beyond. For some reason, though, they think the battered U.S. economy is so strong that politicians can pile tax upon tax on it with no fear of further harm. Less than three weeks after passing a costly cap-and-trade carbon emission plan, Pelosi & Co. have giddily unveiled a $1.2 trillion healthcare plan partially funded by a $544 billion surtax on the work and investment income of wealthier Americans, including small business owners.

[See why Obama’s economic gamble is failing.]

The ten-year proposal calls for a 1 percent surtax on adjusted gross income — including capital gains — between $350,000 and $500,000; a 1.5% surtax on income between $500,000 and $1 million; and a 5.4% surtax on income exceeding $1 million. (Interestingly, the House fact sheet on the surtax forgets to mention the highest tax rate. Hey, they were in a rush.) How bad an idea is this? Let me count the ways:

It’s not the first Obama tax hike. This tax would be in addition to the $1 trillion in new taxes that Obama called for in his budget released earlier this year. (And then there’s cap and trade, remember.) And if healthcare reform costs more than expected — what are the odds of that, you think? — the surtax would go up.

[See 5 economic stimulus plans better than the one we’ve got.]

It pushes income tax rates above a key threshhold. Once you take into account state income taxes, the top tax rate would sneak above 50 percent. Research by former White House economist Lawrence Lindsey has found that rates above 40 percent really start to hit economic growth especially hard.

It’s risky in a weak economy. Democrats love the “consensus view” when it comes to climate change, so how about the economy? The consensus view is for unemployment to hit double digits this year and stay high throughout 2010 and beyond as the economy staggers to its feet. Even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said “it seems realistic to expect a gradual recovery, with more than the usual ups and downs and temporary reversals.” In a “long recession” environment, do we really want a policy that, according to research that current White House economic adviser Christina Romer conducted at Stanford University, is “highly contractionary.”

It actually makes America’s healthcare problem worse. Entitlements, including Medicare, will eventually bankrupt the economy unless action is taken. Agreed. But lowering the potential U.S. growth rate will only make those problems worse by generating lower tax revenue and making the overall pie smaller than it would be otherwise. Yet many economists think government interventions in finance, housing, autos, energy and now healthcare will do just that. And adding layers of additional new taxes helps how?

It makes the tax code more lopsided and inefficient. As it is, the top 1 percent of Americans in terms of income pay 40 percent of taxes. Not only would this plan exacerbate this imbalance, it adds further complexity to the tax code. Most tax reformers favor a simpler system with fewer brackets and deductions matched by a lower rate. Indeed, Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center points out the following:

Many of the uber-rich are unlikely to pay much more in taxes than they do now, despite the rate increase. Since we’d be returning to pre-1986 rates, we shouldn’t be surprised when the very wealthy reprise their pre-1986 sheltering behavior. The hoary financial alchemy of turning ordinary income into capital gains, morphing individuals into corporations, and deferring compensation will return. Remember, the targets of these tax hikes are the people who can most easily manipulate their income. The bad old days of bull semen partnerships may not return, but I suspect the financial Merlins are already cooking up new shelters for what promises to be a booming new market.

It hurts U.S. competitiveness. America already has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. Under the House plan, the top U.S. income tax rate would be higher than the OECD (advanced economies) average of 42 percent. France and Germany, by contrast, are looking to keep rates stable or lower them. Pro-growth China doesn’t even tax investment income.

It ignores the lessons of Clinton. Democrats love to point out how the Clinton tax increases didn’t tank the economy back in the 1990s. Oh, you mean the economy that was expanding for more than two years before he signed his tax increases? The economy is far weaker today and may be anemic for some time given the history of economies that suffered a banking crisis.

It ignores the lessons of 1937. The slowly recovering 1930s economy weakened again in 1937 and 1938. Again, Christina Romer tells all:

In this fragile environment, fiscal policy turned sharply contractionary. The one-time veterans’ bonus ended, and Social Security taxes were collected for the first time in 1937. … GDP rose by only 5% in 1937 and then fell by 3% in 1938, and unemployment rose dramatically, reaching 19% in 1938. The 1937 episode is an important cautionary tale for modern policymakers. At some point, recovery will take on a life of its own, as rising output generates rising investment and inventory demand through accelerator effects, and confidence and optimism replace caution and pessimism. But, we will need to monitor the economy closely to be sure that the private sector is back in the saddle before government takes away its crucial lifeline.

Except in this the case, Uncle Sam is not taking away a lifeline but tightening the noose.

It pays for a wrong-headed healthcare reform plan. Health exchanges, a public option, subsidies, taxes … well, we could go on and on. Or we could try to create a simpler consumer-driven market. Harvard Business economist Regina Herzlinger recommends reforming the tax system by making the money spent by employers on health insurance available as cash, tax-free, to employees. “Insurers would then compete for customers with policies that offer better value for the money,” she wrote in an analysis for consultancy McKinsey. Not even on the Obamacrat radar screen, though.

All in all, it’s another sign from the Obama administration and the Obamacrats in Congress that their top priority is redistributing existing wealth — at least what’s left of it — rather than creating new wealth. That, I guess, explains those ear-to-ear smiles on Capitol Hill.

Small businesses – widely recognized as by far and away the biggest job- and wealth-creating engines for our economy – are about to get hit with a massive double whammy.  Since most file as “S corporations” by which they are taxed on their total earnings, they will fall under the Democrats plans to “tax the rich.”  More than 1 million of our most successful small businesses which employ the most workers will be hit by this tax.  And at the same time, all but the very smallest small business will be hit with Obama’s additional 8% payroll tax unless they provide health care insurance that passes liberals’ scrutiny.

Meredith Whitney, who gained a great deal of credibility after predicting much of the economic calamity that has since come to pass, has predicted that unemployment will surpass 13%, and continue to harm the banking industry and the overall economy for years to come.  What fool thinks it’s a good idea to impose job-crushing policies while our unemployment rate is already soaring?

We are facing deficits and debts that dwarf anything ever seen in human history.  And we are about to reach a critical mass, a point at which the entire house of cards comes crashing down.  And America is going to experience suffering on a scale never even imagined before.

Gerald Celente, CEO of the highly regarded Trends Research Institute, predicted that we will have food riots and tax revolts by 2012.  He said “America’s going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for.”

Obama and his giant nest of liberal snakes have already imposed shocking levels of debt on this nation that will almost certainly result in hyperinflation in coming years.  And he is hard at work poisoning our economy with stupid and immoral health care legislation and even more stupid and immoral cap-and-trade legislation that will kill our economic output without even slightly reducing overall global warming gasses.

What is going to happen in the next few weeks is the difference between whether this nation has any chance whatsoever to recover, or whether we are destined to become a banana republic spiralling down a cyle of violence and repressive government regimes.