Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

A primer on the fiscal cliff facing us in January 2013: tax hikes and Obamacare

This is a medium-length article from the Tax Foundation. I found it fascinating to read, because I am busy making plans myself to deal with the next four years under Barack Obama.

Excerpt:

On December 31, 2012, a large swath of the federal income tax code is scheduled to expire, an event which has come to be known as the “fiscal cliff.” Among the expiring provisions are the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts enacted under President Bush, a compromise on the estate tax, a “patch” in the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) reducing its impact, the temporary 2 percent payroll tax holiday, increased business expensing, and the “extenders” package of miscellaneous tax deductions. On January 1, 2013, five taxes enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)—popularly referred to as Obamacare—also take effect, along with sequester spending reductions of $109 billion due to the failure of the “Supercommittee” to reach consensus on budget reductions.

In late February, the U.S. government will hit the debt ceiling, exhausting its ability to borrow to finance ongoing spending without an increase by Congress. Finally, the federal government’s continuing resolution appropriating spending expires on March 27, 2013.

Here are some of the things to look out for, which are all described in detail in the article:

  • 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Expiration
  • Estate Tax Increase
  • Alternative Minimum Tax
  • Payroll Tax Increase
  • Business Depreciation Expense
  • Taxes in PPACA (Obamacare)
  • Debt Ceiling
  • Sequestration

I am most concerned about income tax increase, the capital gains tax increase, the dividend tax increase and the payroll tax increase. These are all going to clobber me. I will have less money for charity and savings, and will have to retire later – and have less time for my Christian activities as a result of having to work longer. The voters in the last election have decided that I must sacrifice more of my earnings so that Obama can hand it all out to his constituents in exchange for their votes.

It helps to know exactly what will be changing in the future, because I have to know how to respond to this. Some adjustments that I might make cannot be done at the drop of a hat. Some take months to plan and execute. It’s best to think about things in advance. We have two deadlines: December 31st and March 27th. It will be interesting to see  what Washington decides to do.

UPDATE: James Pethokoukis of AEI explains the significance of the tax increases for capital gains and dividends. Other countries have lower rates on these taxes, so expect the capital that funds businesses and creates jobs to leave the country. Obama likes to rail against outsourcing, but he actually causes it – because of his ignorance.

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The Republican alternative budget

Tired of trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see? Worried that Obama is going to bankrupt the country? Angry about the planned reduction of charitable giving by 9 billion dollars? Or tax hikes on energy companies that will raise consumer energy prices? Are you doubtful that any amount of tax hikes on the productive sector can pay for all this spending?

Well, I spotted this post outlining the Republican alternative to Obama’s budget over at Investors Business Daily. (H/T Club for Growth)

This is definitely worth reading! The first part reiterates how tax cuts have stimulated the economy and job creation in the past under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The article then list all the details of the GOP budget proposal which would get us similar results.

Instead of socialized medicine, the GOP would lower prices by increasing consumer choice and competition among medical plan suppliers. And they would also introduce a simplified tax system that would reward hard work and productivity:

…[The GOP budget] would establish “a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10%, and 25% for any income thereafter, with a generous standard deduction and personal exemption.”

Prefer the current system? The GOP plan lets you stay in it. The capital gains tax would be cut and the Alternative Minimum Tax would be fixed to prevent huge surprise tax hikes each year.

…businesses with fewer than 500 employees would get a deduction of 20% of their income, so “these engines of growth will continue to fuel our economic recovery and companies can compete with their foreign counterparts, while keeping jobs here at home.”

On energy policy, the plan would open the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling and use part of the federal share of revenues for alternative fuel programs. The Arctic Coastal Plain would be opened for exploration and development. Obstacles to new nuclear power plants would be removed.

Read the whole wonderful thing! And don’t forget: they have a podcast of this article read by the professionals at OutloudOpinion.com. Subscribe here!

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