Why we won’t be able to pay for Obamacare

From Wall Street Journal. What everyone knows, except -apparently- liberals, is that when tax rates go up, tax receipts go down. Why? Because people aren’t sheep.

The plan?

President Barack Obama’s new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% “Medicare tax” on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000.

The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions.

It won’t work.

• Professionals and companies who currently file under the individual income tax as partnerships, LLCs or Subchapter S corporations would form C-corporations to shelter income, because the corporate tax rate would then be lower with fewer arbitrary limits on deductions for costs of earning income.

• Investors who jumped into dividend-paying stocks after 2003 when the tax rate fell to 15% would dump many of those shares in favor of tax-free municipal bonds if the dividend tax went up to 23.8% as planned.

• Faced with a 23.8% capital gains tax, high-income investors would avoid realizing gains in taxable accounts unless they had offsetting losses.

• Faced with a rapid phase-out of deductions and exemptions for reported income above $250,000, any two-earner family in a high-tax state could keep their income below that pain threshold by increasing 401(k) contributions, switching investments into tax-free bond funds, and avoiding the realization of capital gains.

• Faced with numerous tax penalties on added income in general, many two-earner couples would become one-earner couples, early retirement would become far more popular, executives would substitute perks for taxable paychecks, physicians would play more golf, etc.

Some economists estimate that the intended tax hikes will raise NO revenue at all from the highest income levels. Because the more a person makes, the more likely it is that they are going to take action to avoid paying an onerous tax. And, it’s a double-edged sword.

Yet the higher tax rates will harm economic growth through reduced labor effort, thwarted entrepreneurship, and diminished investments in physical and human capital. And that, in turn, means a smaller tax base and less revenue in the future

In short, we’re fucked.

In a free society, people will ALWAYS act in their self-interest. The only way to avoid this, is to decrease freedom; you know, like forcing people to buy healthcare. This is the road to serfdom.

Bonus Hope and Change from the WSJ:

Following today’s signing ceremony, Sallie says it will have to fire 2,500 of its 8,600 employees, though perhaps they can look for jobs at the Department of Education. Sallie’s saga is almost certainly the future of health-care insurers as liberals attempt to resurrect their “public option” once insurance premiums inevitably rise.

As for the cost of college, expect it to become even less affordable as the subsidies keep flowing. The main achievements of this new legislation will be to give more power to government, and to transfer more of the costs and risks of college financing to taxpayers. There’s no such thing as a free entitlement state.

Oh goody.

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