Obama’s Second-Term Taxes
How will he tax us? Let us count the ways:
• Most basic, of course, will be an increase in tax rates. Those paying 33 percent will now pay 36 percent. People paying 35 percent will now pay 40 percent. Most people accept and expect that Obama will raise these brackets if he is reelected. But they don’t realize what else he will do.
• As he advocated in the 2008 campaign, he will eliminate the ceiling on wages that must be taxed for Social Security. Currently, wages are taxed at 6.2 percent (now, temporarily, at 4.2 percent) up to a ceiling about $100,000 per year in income.
The ceiling rises with the cost of living. But Obama will eliminate the ceiling and subject all wages to FICA taxation. (In his campaign, he spoke of a “carve-out” for those making between $100,000 and $200,000, where income would be exempt from FICA, but don’t count on it.) For those who are employed, the increase in FICA taxes will mean an effective increase in their tax bracket of 6.2 percentage points. For the self-employed, it will mean a whopping 12.4 percentage point increase, bringing their effective tax rate, if they are in the top bracket, over 52 percent.
Obama has refrained from addressing Social Security’s financial problems and will do so until after the election. But his solution will be higher taxes, not curtailed benefits.
• All deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving and state and local tax payments would likely end for those making more than $250,000.
• Even for those making less than $250,000, the Bowles-Simpson recommendations call for replacing the current tax deduction for mortgage interest, charitable giving and state and local taxes with a tax credit. Usually 8 percent is mentioned as the tax credit level.
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