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Analyzing the Obamacare tax increases

A lot of new taxes but no, not the biggest middle-class tax hike ever.

Given the tendency of many Republican opponents of the Obamacare law to exaggerate and mistake the size, nature and number of taxes in the law, it’s hard to keep one’s head straight. But various analysts are trying to help.

This Bloomberg piece provides a decent overview of the taxes in the new law, with links to the good work of others.

The biggest taxes are extremely progressive, meaning they fall only on individuals with incomes above $200,000 and households above $250,000.

A bunch of others, including the famous individual mandate which has now been declared by the Supreme Court to be a sort of a tax, are best understood as incentives to do something wedded to a penalty if you don’t (for example, some businesses can choose between offering health insurance to their employees or paying a tax/penalty that will defray some of the costs to the government of helping your employees get health care).

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After Rush Limbaugh and several Republican office-holders called the Affordable Care Act the biggest tax increase in history, blogger Kevin Drum put together some of the comparisons showing that to be ridiculously false, Politifact gave it a “pants on fire” rating, and Ezra Klein of the Washington Post’s “Wonkblog” put published a graph showing the size of the tax increase, compared with others in crecent history.

But Klein ended on this note:

“I’ve written previously that a major difference between the Clinton and Obama administrations — at least thus far — is that Clinton was much more willing to raise taxes than Obama. That’s an argument I’m going to have to retire.”