Having lost the argument over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are now seizing on the fact that the law was upheld under Congress’ taxing power to falsely claim that it is a “massive tax hike” on the middle class. And some Republicans have gone even further, claiming that the law is the “largest tax increase in history.” As Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said today on CNN:
BLACKBURN: Uh, we said all along it was a tax. And as I was out over the weekend at farmer’s markets and at church and at the grocery store and visiting with constituents, so many people said, ‘You know, back in August ’09, we were all saying that this seemed to be a tax,’ and if it was a tax, then this was going to be the largest tax increase in history. Indeed it was, and is.
Actually, as a percentage of the economy (which is the proper way to measure the size of a tax increase), the taxes in Obamacare are smaller than those in several tax packages of the last half century, including President George H.W. Bush’s in 1990, President Bill Clinton’s in 1993, and President Ronald Reagan’s in 1982. And of course, Obamacare will actually cut taxes for millions of middle class families. The bulk of the Affordable Care Act’s tax increases are on upper-income Americans.
The Incidental Economist put together this chart showing the difference: