Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Interested in Raising Taxes Through Executive Action

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Seems like I’m making that up to make a point about amnesty, right?

I’m not.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is “very interested” in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action.

“The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans,” Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action.

Obama would not be the first president to try to establish tax policy through executive order. Our Grand Hero of the Depression, FDR, tried to tax people at a top marginal rate of 100% (yes, 100%) by executive order. Historian Burton Folsom explains that FDR

issued an executive order to tax all income over $25,000 at the astonishing rate of 100 percent. Congress later repealed the order, but still allowed top incomes to be taxed at a marginal rate of 90 percent.

The rationale was the rationale always used by government to infringe on your liberties in jaw-dropping ways: We’re at war, don’t you know.

As Allahpundit notes in his post on this, Obama won’t tax the middle class with this tactic. He’ll restrict the action to corporate taxes — since, as we all know, corporate taxes are paid only by corporations, and are not passed on to consumers.

(If you are rolling your eyes at that last sentence, you’re my kind of reader!)

See, Obama has learned that he can do anything he likes, whether the Constitution gives him power to do it or not, as long as it’s popular. Corporate taxes are popular because the public doesn’t understand that they will end up paying them, and sees them as a way to Stick It To The Man. Obama knows by now that, if the policy is popular, Congress will not do a damned thing to oppose it.

P.S. Allahpundit thinks that the courts will rein Obama in if he goes overboard. Don’t count on it.

19 Responses to “Obama Interested in Raising Taxes Through Executive Action”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. It’s good to be King. And King Barack The Benevolent only has your best interests at heart. And if you don’t believe that’s so, just ask him and ignore your lying eyes.

    Skeptical Voter (12e67d)

  3. this makes me very, very uncomfortable

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  4. Taxation without representation.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)


    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  6. okay, i’ll bite. How was FDR’s executive order constitutional ?

    seeRpea (3383a9)

  7. Non-taxation without representation. Congress authorized taxes and gave the IRS authority not to collect them if enough fat cats paid K Street lobbyists enough money to get the IRS to do the math differently. Cry me a river.

    You want to see real taxation by executive action? In 2009 the FDA re-classified loose tobacco that could be rolled into cigarettes as cigarettes, resulting in a 400% retail price increase. Now that’s creative taxation by an agency which was created to make sure that you have no more than thre rat droppings in your Armour hot dog.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. So while the leader of the free world addresses Congress, Obama schemes about how to raise taxes unconstitutionally through executive order then retires to get in 18 holes before dinner.

    Hoagie (58a3ec)

  9. Here is the outline of the editorial that every single left-wing newspaper is working on right now:

    * Order is dubious Constitutionally, but
    * President is only federal officer elected to look out for all the people, not regional or parochial interests
    * Congress should be willing to close corporate loopholes and ask the rich to pay their fair share
    * Reagan raised taxes, so did George HW Bush
    * Economy has prospered under Obama, but vital investments are needed in areas such as education, health, and green energy so that everyone can benefit
    * If Congress doesn’t like this then they can pass a bill that Pres. is willing to sign

    JVW (854318)

  10. How come folks keep on saying reticence when they mean reluctance ?


    faxhorn (b69242)

  11. If he does this, the only choice is impeachment. Regular or short-form.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  12. I don’t see why you think this is a bad idea. I think we need to think about raising taxes, lots of taxes. For example:

    How about institute a federal franchise tax of $15 per movie ticket.
    How about a rule that movie studios cannot shift income from movie sales to external entities and cannot deduct the compensation of actors and actresses when they are paid more than $200,000 and then institute a windfall profit tax on studies equal to 90% over income > $10 million per year.
    How about a ruling that tenure is a form of compensation, valued at 100% of a teachers salary per year.
    How about instituting a federal income tax on distributions from collectively bargained for defined benefit plans at 90%

    I thought this up in 5 minutes. I am sure if we put our heads together we could come up with lots of great tax plans through executive order.

    Jeffrey (2eddb6)

  13. #5: Colonel, you’re an artist! Any chance you could modernize the leggings? I believe thongs are in fashion with UK’s current Royalty.

    bobathome (cb0d92)

  14. Jeffrey, you’re onto something, but I think you’ll find that the administration will be using a different set of tracks going to a different destination. I hesitate to suggest what I think they’ll do, since whatever they do will be horrible enough. No point adding to our misery.

    bobathome (cb0d92)

  15. here’s a pic of some guy in Alaska with malted milk

    a large amount of malted milk as these things go, least to my eye it is

    happyfeet (a037ad)

  16. okay, i’ll bite. How was FDR’s executive order constitutional ?

    He had a majority of votes at the Supreme Court. Because he appointed them.

    It takes surprisingly few people to create a dictatorship.

    egd (1ad898)

  17. Time to get a couple e.b.t. cards, food stamps, phone and some cash for a clunker.

    mg (31009b)

  18. Is there a tax lawyer in the house?
    Because to the degree those “loopholes” are creatures of regulation by the IRS, to that degree they can be clised by decree. But I do not know how much is the creature of durect legislation, and how much the creature of regulatory interpretation of the legislation.

    kishnevi (9c4b9c)

  19. Acto the Fox News article some or all of the tax breaks he plans to abolish were created by questionably legal executive actions. If that’s the case FOTUS (Fool…) gets a freebie. It’ll still cause a firestorm.

    The real problem I have with it is I cannot for the life of me see how the middle class will benefit from it.

    First the corporations increase their prices to make up for the taxes they are charged. That means customers, ultimately mostly middle class, takes a hit.

    Second the middle class worker gets hit by reduced employee counts as corporations downsize to accommodate the reduced market for their higher priced goods. The market shrinks when the price rises – and China takes more US jobs.

    Those two points can be demonstrated to a child with play money and candy.

    The third hit is more subtle. The middle class workers sensible enough to save for retirement get hit as the share prices and dividends on their stocks decline in value.

    In regard to item one, please do note that corporations do not pay tax. They pass it on to the customers. People pay taxes. Were the US to abolish corporate taxes and require corporations adjust pay and dividends to maintain a roughly constant percentage profit the corporations would “be forced” to hire more people to keep up with demand AND would be able to give China some competition pain for a change. The adjustment period would be traumatic. The results would be staggering.


    JDow (770dee)

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