Among the many items bundled into the fiscal cliff fix there was another delay in implementing cuts to physician payments for Medicare services. It wasn't hard, though. Congress has had plenty of practice handling what is called the "doc fix," since it has been doing it almost routinely for the last decade.
President Barack Obama said that he stands by the medical device tax in Obamacare, despite growing bipartisan opposition:
"No," Obama told WCCO in an interview today, when asked whether he's changed his mind about the medical device tax. "And here's why: The health care bill is going to provide those medical device companies 30 million new customers. It's going to be great for business. And they're doing really well right now."
The Wall Street Journal editors are unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn't? They're also, I gather, unhappy about "Beltway sages" who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, says he “burst into laughter” Thursday when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the administration proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. He wasn’t trying to embarrass Geithner, McConnell says, only responding candidly to his one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts.
The chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, revealed yesterday that President Barack Obama believes "the payroll tax cut, among others, should be on the table." Krueger suggested Obama favored letting the payroll tax cut expire, which would result in a large tax increase at the beginning of next year.
In an interview on CNN, Grover Norquist likened his no-tax pledge to marriage.
"The pledge is not for life, but everybody who signed the pledge including Peter King, and tried to weasel out of it, shame on him," said Norquist, according to Politico. "I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something."
Warren Buffett is by now no stranger to the national debate over federal tax policy. In 2009, he penned a New York Timesop-ed calling for "truly major changes in both taxes and outlays." Two years later, he returned to the Times with a widely publicized call for large tax increases on the "super-rich," noting that his own effective federal tax rate (17 percent) was far less than his employees' rates (ranging from 33 to 41 percent). President Obama liked the idea so much, he called for Congress to pass "the Buffett Rule" in his 2012 state of the union address.
A new study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum finds that President Barack Obama's spending plan would raise taxes on the middle class. "[T]axpayers making as little as $30,000 will carry $1,500 more in taxes annually over the next 10 years," the study finds.
According to a statement released by the Romney campaign that summarizes the rate of taxes the Republican presidential nominee paid between 1990 and 2009, the rate at which Mitt Romney paid taxes is approximately equal to what President Barack Obama paid last year.
Regardless of whether the Obama administration and campaign insist on calling Obamacare a penalty, most Americans now believe the president's signature legislation is a tax, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac. Sixty percent of Hispanics believe Obamacare is a tax, and 59 percent of independent voters believe the same thing.