(CNSNews.com) – President Obama’s assertion on Sunday that he “didn’t raise taxes once” is “blatantly false,” a taxpayer watchdog group says. Obama made the claim in his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
According to Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), President Obama has signed into law at least two dozen tax increases. The first one – a federal tobacco tax hike – came just 16 days into his presidency.
ATR says the $1 trillion health care overhaul alone added numerous taxes, including the individual mandate that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or else pay a fine.
During the legislative debate, Obama and Democrats in Congress argued that a penalty for not carrying insurance is not a tax. But in recent attempts to defend Obamacare as constitutional, the Obama Justice Department has called the penalty a tax.
The health care law’s employer mandate provision also should be considered a tax, ATR said. That provision requires companies to report all business-to-business sales of goods and services exceeding $600 to the Internal Revenue Service. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate recently voted to repeal the so-called 1099 provision, and Obama says he supports the repeal.
The health care law also includes a tax on medical device manufacturers, as well as a higher tax on withdrawals from health savings accounts and a cap on flexible spending accounts.
Other taxes in the health care law cited by ATR include a surtax on investment income, an excise tax on comprehensive health insurance plans, a hike the in the Medicare payroll tax and a tax on indoor tanning services. (See complete list)
On Feb. 4, 2009, Obama signed a federal tobacco tax hike, raising the excise tax 62 cents per pack. Critics, including ATR, said that tax alone violated Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on couples earning less than $250,000 and on individuals earning less than $200,000.
During Sunday’s interview, Bill O’Reilly asked Obama if he is “a man who wants to redistribute wealth,” as The Wall Street Journal has described him.
The president denied it, again saying, “I didn't raise taxes once; I lowered taxes over the last two years.”
Responding on Monday, ATR said Obama’s claim of being a net-tax-cutter “rests on the temporary tax relief he has signed into law. “That tax increases Obama has signed into law have invariably been permanent. In fact, Obama signed into law $7 in permanent tax hikes for every $1 in permanent tax cuts,” ATR said.
“Over 90 percent of the dollar value of the tax cuts Obama signed into law are only temporary,” said ATR. “100 percent of the tax increases Obama signed into law are, however, permanent … Permanent changes to tax law signed by Obama amount to a net tax hike of $618.7 billion.”