The Taxman Cometh, Again And Again

Originally published by American Issues Project
By K. Daniel Glover

If you heard it once during the 2008 presidential campaign, you heard it a thousand times: Barack Obama will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

Obama made the pledge most emphatically in New Hampshire, where people live free and die knowing they paid low taxes. “I can make a firm pledge,” he said last September. “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

A majority of voters either believed that pledge or didn’t care that Obama was inviting them to read his lips because they sent him to the White House and gave liberals control of Congress to boot. Now the taxman is in town, and he will be knocking on taxpayers’ doors again and again.

He has already staked his first claim. Congress passed and Obama signed into law a bill that increased tobacco taxes to help fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The new rates, including some increases of more than 2,000 percent, took effect April 1. Cigarette smokers now pay $1.01 per pack in federal taxes, up from 39 cents. Smokers who prefer small cigars pay the same $1.01 rate, but they previously paid a mere 4 cents. Roll-your-own-tobacco fans have to pull $23.68 out of their wallets for each pound instead of $1.10.

The law, endorsed by Obama just days after his inauguration, reminded the country that while liberals love to talk about taxing the rich, they are just as eager to tax the poor.