Issue Profile: The Keeping Promises to Taxpayers Act

Apr 11, 2012

In 2008, while running for President, then-Senator Obama gave a speech in New Hampshire where he proclaimed (emphasis added):

"I can make a firm pledge. 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."

This was the first pledge that now-President Obama broke once he took office. Just 16 days into his Presidency, Obama hiked taxes on tobacco by 156% - 62 cents per pack of cigarettes. Of course, the median income of people who smoke is a little over $36,000, a whole $214,000 below that $250,000 cap. Oops! Pledge broken.

But the President didn't stop there. Since then he has enacted 11 additional taxes that affect those making less than $250,000 a year. Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has proposed the Keeping Promises to Taxpayers Act of 2012 (H.R.4064) that would repeal those taxes. The 12 taxes to be repealed are the:

  1. New tax on small businesses that fail to comply with government health insurance mandates (Obamacare)
  2. New 40% excise tax on certain healthcare coverage (Obamacare)
  3. New ban on the purchase of over-the-counter drugs using funds from FSAs, HSAs and HRAs (Obamacare)
  4. Income threshold increase, from 7.5% to 10% of total income, after which individuals can deduct out of pocket medical expenses (Obamacare)
  5. New $2,500 annual cap on FSA contributions (Obamacare)
  6. New annual tax on health insurance (Obamacare)
  7. New annual tax on brand name pharmaceuticals (Obamacare)
  8. New 2.3% excise tax on certain medical devices (Obamacare)
  9. New 10% tax on indoor UV tanning services (Obamacare)
  10. New tax on insured and self-insured health plans (Obamacare)
  11. Double tax for non-qualified HAS distributions (Obamacare)
  12. Increase in the excise tax rate on tobacco products (SCHIP)

Rep. Mulvaney, on the day he introduced this legislation, gave the following statement:

"We're here today because since President Obama came into office, taxes have gone up on families making under $250,000 per year. That's not right, and in fact it breaks the President's own promise. Folks here at Resolute Forest Products, and all over South Carolina, are paying more taxes now than they were before President Obama was elected.
"Some folks accuse Republicans of only being concerned about preventing taxes on the so-called rich. The truth of the matter is that we are concerned about all tax increases, on anybody. Washington has a spending problem, not a tax problem. And asking people to pay more, just so Washington can continue spending money, is wrong.
"This bill is pretty simple: I think people should be able to keep more of their money, not less. The President used to say the same thing, but apparently his actions haven't matched his words, and it is time to fix that."

It's high time that President Obama be held accountable for breaking this campaign pledge; and Rep. Mulvaney's bill does just that.