Hidden Health Taxes

January 8, 2010

A friendly warning to taxpayers from the Chamber of Commerce as America moves toward government-run health care:

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]


Creigh Deeds: I Will (Not) Raise Taxes

September 17, 2009

Look no further than Creigh Deeds, the Democratic candidate for governor, right here in Virginia, for an explanation of why no one believes a politician who says he won’t raise taxes:

Deeds couldn’t give a straight answer to a simple question because he knows in his heart he will raise taxes. He just can’t say it because people won’t vote for him if he does — especially not in this year of protest against big government.

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]

Cash In A Clunker, Pay The Tax Piper

August 26, 2009

When the government decided to redistribute up to $4,500 of taxpayers’ wealth to people who drive old cars, the owners of the “clunkers” jumped at the chance to get their cut. And why not? It’s free money.

Not so fast. You suckers should know by now that what one government giveth, another government taketh away.

Uncle Sam agreed to give your dealer cash so you could get that big discount on your car, but Aunt Virginia is going to take her cut from you by taxing that cash discount as income. And if your dealer doesn’t get you all of the proper paperwork in time, you’ll be paying interest and penalties, too.

Enjoy the ride.

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]

The Botox Tax

July 28, 2009

Gun-loving Americans made a rush on gun stores after Barack Obama was elected president because they wanted to buy while they still could. Plastic surgeons may see a similar surge in business now that word of the tax plan is out:

Face-lifts, tummy tucks and hair transplants could be hit with a new tax to help finance the trillion-dollar healthcare overhaul plan, according to sources familiar with the Senate talks.

The Senate Finance Committee has discussed imposing a 10 percent excise tax on cosmetic surgery deemed unnecessary for medical purposes. The idea was broached in a meeting with OMB Director Orszag in mid-July, after which Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus told reporters he had heard some “interesting,” “creative,” and “kind of fun” ideas.

Interesting, creative and fun — that’s the way politicians approach economically repressive changes to the tax code. And that’s why nothing, not even the vanity surgeries of Hollywood liberals, is sacred when it comes to raising money for Obama’s healthcare plan.

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]

Tax ‘Creativity’ In California

June 10, 2009

Unions in California are doing their best to see that the state replaces Massachusetts (nicknamed “Taxachusetts”) as the place best known for taxes.

The Golden State is in dire financial straits, and even though voters there sent a loud-and-clear message that they don’t want new or higher taxes, that’s exactly what the American Federation of State County Municipal Employees is urging lawmakers to impose.

The list of proposed taxes is comical enough that Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, a Republican Senate candidate for the U.S. Senate in next year’s race, repackaged it online into a petition against “31 Flavors Of New Taxes For California!

AFSCME wants to raise money by imposing new or higher taxes on sales, services, income, gas, alcohol, property, businesses, software, research, stocks and much more. Read the whole list — and be thankful if you don’t live in California.

[Cross-posted at The Enlightened Redneck]

The Nanny Tax Rap

May 7, 2009

This blog is dedicated to the proposition that all taxes are equally annoying and that politicians will tax anything and everything. The Tax Foundation captured that premise perfectly in a clever video featuring Uncle Sam. It’s called the “Nanny Tax Rap.”

The punchline at the end is the best. Uncle Sam sings, “Well, I save you from yourself, better keep those payments current. Raising taxes on this stuff — well, it works as a deterrent.” And the taxpayer answers: “So if paying taxes on something creates a deterrent, wouldn’t the same principle apply to taxing income?” Uncle Sam then stammers and bolts from the room.

The only thing missing in the video is a cameo by Aunt Virginia.

[Cross-posted at my main blog, The Enlightened Redneck]

What Whoopi Said: ‘Back Off Me!’

March 11, 2009

An anti-tax rant from the mouth of actress and talk-show hostess Whoopi Goldberg:

“I don’t mind payin’ a little more tax ’cause I make a good living. But I don’t wanna get it comin’ and goin’. I don’t wanna get the federal raised, and then the state raised, and then the phone tax raised, and then the television tax raised, and then the city tax. Back off me!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Hat tip to the National Taxpayers Union)

Free Content May Cost You

January 14, 2009

Citizen journalists beware. If you give your videos and other content to Fox News, CNN and other outlets that are more than happy to take it for free, you may have to pay taxes on it.

That’s the word from StinkyJournalism.org, which claims to have “uncovered a real hornet’s nest for both for-profit media companies’ business models and citizen journalists who must now examine how much work they have ‘donated’ to any one media outlet over the past year.” Tax forms and even accountants may be necessary.

But citizen media expert Dan Gillmor said odds are slim that the dreaded federal gift tax will hit most amateur reporters. He also suggested that it could benefit them in the long run by forcing a change to business models that established news organizations have adopted to get free content.

[Cross-posted at my personal blog, The Enlightened Redneck]

Give Me A Brake!

December 18, 2008

Make that two brakes for the front of our Toyota Sienna. I took the car to the shop tonight for a quick and cheap oil change but ended up spending more than $325 to replace the front brakes. They were almost below the legal limit and would have failed inspection in January anyway.

Thankfully, the tax tab was only $2.81 because most of the work involved labor rather than parts.

North Carolina Plans Mileage Tax

December 18, 2008

Give politicians enough time and they’ll find 100 different ways to tax each and every good and service in the American economy. North Carolina’s call for a mileage tax based on how far people drive is the latest proof. The mileage tax would be an add-on to the regular gas tax.

Tax Hiker Of The Year

December 17, 2008

New York Gov. David Paterson wins the award for this laundry list of items he has proposed taxing:

  • — Downloaded music — the “iPod tax”
  • — Cable and satellite television
  • — Movie tickets
  • — Taxi rides
  • — Massages
  • — Tobacco and alcohol

And that’s just a sampling of the 80-plus new fees and taxes on his list. Paterson also is the brains behind the call for an “obesity tax” on soda. Yet another reason to be thankful that I live in Virginia.

The Tax Maker

November 24, 2008

Most people know Arnold Schwarzenegger as “The Terminator” from his days in Hollywood, but by the time he leaves office as governor of California, he may be remembered instead as “The Tax Maker.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Schwarzenegger appears ready to follow the hypocritical lead of supposedly anti-tax Republicans in the state by tripling the fees for vehicle registration. The man he replaced as governor, Gray Davis, supported the same idea and was removed from office.

But Schwarzenegger doesn’t want to stop there. He wants to impose a Fido fee on pets, too, by applying the Golden State’s sales and use tax to veterinary services. Those taxes also would be added to appliance and furniture repair, vehicle repair, and golf.

If you live in California, you’ll be lucky to see any good or service free of new or heavier taxation when The Tax Maker leaves office. Maybe Aunt Virginia ain’t so bad after all.

(Hat tip to Michelle Malkin)

I’d Rather Live In Russia

November 19, 2008

The 22-year-old winner of the World Series of Poker has a rude tax awakening before him when he returns home to Denmark.

Of the nearly $9.2 million he won, he will have to pay 73 percent in taxes and will get to keep a mere $2.5 million for all of his hard gambling. The second-place finisher, a Russian, won $5.8 million but will net more than $5 million after he pays taxes.

I don’t gamble, but if I did, I’d rather live in Russia than Denmark. Russia’s flat tax lets rich people keep more of their money. Who’d have thunk it?

Yet another reason to support a flat tax in America. (Hat tip, Club For Growth)

UPDATE: Also via The Club For Growth, you can see a rundown of the tax bite for all of the winners at Taxable Talk, plus commentary on the sin taxes against gambling at Card Player.

The United States Of Sales Taxes

November 17, 2008
How much do you pay in sales taxes? The Tax Foundation has the answer.

How much do you pay in sales taxes?

Joseph Henchman of the Tax Foundation created this helpful map of the states with the highest and lowest sales taxes (hat tip to The Club For Growth):

You might think I would be grateful that my family lives in Virginia, but as a Virginian, I know we pay a higher price in property taxes and income taxes. Aunt Virginia and her political kin will get their pound of flesh one way or another.

Tax Bites By The Numbers

November 13, 2008

The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation has created an enlightening chart that estimates how much more money Americans must pay for certain goods and services because of taxes. Some of the taxes — the kind I have tracked here — appear on consumers’ bills, but many others are hidden.

Here’s the rundown from ATR:

  • Cigarettes: 81.3 percent more
  • Distilled spirits: 79.6 percent
  • Car rentals: 60.6 percent
  • Beer: 56.2 percent
  • Domestic airfare: 55 percent (much more for international, based on reports from a friend who travels abroad frequently)
  • Landline phones: 51.8 percent
  • Gasoline: 51.2 percent
  • Hotel stays: 50 percent
  • Cell phones: 46.4 percent
  • Cable television: 46.3 percent
  • Firearms: 45.6 percent
  • Restaurant meals: 44.8 percent
  • Soda: 37.6 percent

I don’t drink or smoke, so I’m not personally affected by the “sin taxes.” And while I own a couple of hunting guns, I haven’t bought a new one in almost 20 years, so firearms taxes aren’t likely to rob me of more cash. But I have been hit by every one of the other taxes on the list more than once this year.

I keep a copy of ATR’s chart in my office at work as a stark reminder of how intrusive the government is in my life and my wallet. You should print a copy, too, at fiscalaccountability.org.

A ‘Green Tax’ Is Still A Bad Tax

November 11, 2008

My friend and former National Journal colleague Troy Schneider thinks there is a “smart way” to raise gas taxes — a “green tax swap” that offsets the higher tax on gases with a corresponding cut in the payroll tax.

I have three problems with that idea:

1) Gas taxes already are too high. Gasoline currently is selling for the bargain price of $1.97 a gallon in the section of suburban Virginia where my family lives, and the gas tax for our state is now 44.6 cents a gallon, according to the latest data from the American Petroleum Institute. That means 22.6 percent of every gallon we buy goes toward federal, state and local taxes. The percentage that went toward taxes was lower when prices were higher, but 45 cents a gallon is more than enough taxation.

2) Raising gas taxes won’t necessarily lower consumption. Troy argues that it will based on the fact that consumption has declined dramatically in recent months because of higher prices, and he is right to an extent. But think about how high prices had to go before consumers and businesses changed their behavior. I’m confident that a majority of politicians won’t support, and American voters won’t tolerate, a $2-a-gallon hike in the gas tax, and it took that much before the market forced gas prices down.

3) Payroll taxes won’t stay lower. Even if politicians were to make the swap of payroll taxes for a supposedly green-friendly gas tax, it wouldn’t last. The same politicians eventually will increase the payroll tax. As this blog proves, raising taxes is what they do. The inevitable result of a higher gas tax would be less money in the wallets of consumers, not a better environment.

4) Barack Obama promised tax CUTS. It has only been a week since America elected as president a man who ran as a tax-cutting Reaganite. Odds are good that Obama, like the last Democratic president who promised tax cuts but quickly gave us one of the largest increases in history, sold voters a bill of goods. But give the man a chance to keep his word. Don’t start pushing taxing ideas that will fall heavily on the lower and middle classes two-plus months before he even takes office.

The bottom line: There is no smart way to raise taxes.

Have Fun In Jail, Melissa Etheridge

November 8, 2008

This blog exists because I hate paying taxes and hate even more the passion that so many politicians have for taking even more money out of my wallet. But as a Christian, I pay every penny of taxes I owe, whether to Uncle Sam, Aunt Virginia or their cousins across America.

That’s why I was a bit irritated to read that singer Melissa Etheridge, who had plans to marry her lesbian lover in California until the state voted this week to ban gay marriages, said she won’t pay a half-million dollars in taxes to the Golden State because she didn’t get her way at the ballot box.

Uh, excuse me, if everyone stops paying their taxes when democracy doesn’t work in their favor, nobody will pay taxes. That’s a recipe for anarchy, and it’s not a legal form of civil disobedience.

My guess is that Ms. Etheridge is all bluster. She’s making an idle threat to make a public point. But if not, she can say hello to convicted tax-evading actor Wesley Snipes when she ends up in the slammer.

Bailouts, Bailouts Everywhere

October 22, 2008

And rest assured that your taxes will go up eventually as the government keeps trying to save us from bankers who gave bad loans and greedy Americans who took them — and us — for every penny they could.

With that in mind, it’s worth your time to check out the new Web site BeyondBailouts.org. You can sign a petition against any more bailouts.