By Janice Shaw Crouse
Under the Obama administration, the Democrats are unleashing a bevy of unpalatable surprises for women, including massive up-front government expansions and enormous tax increases that produce problems for American women and their families. As Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, recently said, “The government now owns 51 percent of the private sector.” In just 18 months, the current administration has produced extraordinary “change”; indeed, it threatens a huge transformation of America. The majority of citizens not only disapprove of these changes and transformations, they actively oppose them. Citizens have picketed, protested, held town hall meetings to express their opposition, and responded to poll after poll indicating their overwhelming opposition to the actions of the Democrat majority and the socialist agenda of the president. Yuval Levin called the new law a “ghastly mess” and traced its development: It “began as a badly misguided technocratic pipe dream and was then degraded into ruinous incoherence by the madcap process of its enactment.”
Controversy and secrecy surrounded the passage of Obamacare, but the incident with Joe Wurzelbacher, a plumber in Holland, Ohio, kept echoing in reports and analyses of the bill. Barack Obama, the candidate, said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” That off-the-cuff remark stayed in critics’ minds, even when the president and the Democrat-controlled Congress suppressed open debate and the media focused on other aspects of the bill. Now that the bill has been rammed through and the president has signed it, Democratic politicians, from Sen. Max Baucus to Vice President Joseph R. Biden, are remarkably open about the real purpose of the bill – to spread the wealth around.
The trouble is, women and families are the ones who bear the brunt of Obamanomics’ income redistribution. With the specifics of the legislation a closely-guarded secret known only to the liberal elite in Congress while it was under deliberation, it was not immediately clear that women and families were the ones bearing the brunt of the new taxation hidden in Obamacare. Supporters didn’t talk about the bill’s marriage penalty – the fact that it will redistribute wealth from married couples to cohabiting couples. They also didn’t mention the fact that people on Medicare and Medicaid, disproportionately women, would receive less care and possibly worse care. Plus, nobody talked about the fact that the bill penalizes those employers that hire low-income workers, primarily single mothers and housewives needing a second income. So, instead of encouraging single mothers to marry the father of their children and to become financially independent by facilitating job growth, Obamacare creates another avenue of dependency through health insurance subsidies.
Another issue lies with the impending tax increases and the growing burden on Americans to comply with the federal tax code. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, “The Code has grown so long that it has become challenging even to figure out how long it is.” Their best estimate is that it contains approximately 3.7 million words. The Tax Foundation reported that IRS regulations currently have nearly 7 million words – an 18.7 percent increase since 1995 and, amazingly, almost nine times the total number of words in the King James Bible.
Carrie L. Lukas, in her article, “The Tax Man Cometh,” reports that in addition to losing about 30 percent of our income for federal, state and local taxes (more than the typical family spends on food, clothing and housing combined), Americans spend nearly 4 billion hours in complying with income tax laws. The cost of all this time is estimated at $110 billion. Further, Ms. Lukas reports, Americans paid nearly $30 billion for expert help in preparing their tax forms, including software programs and hiring tax preparation professionals. Do you remember that, among all the broken promises, last year President Obama pledged on Tax Day to “make it easier, quicker and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15th is not a day that is approached with dread every year”? Yet, over the past five years, the time individuals spent filling out tax forms increased a full hour due to the confusing and complex process. For corporations, the process is equally burdensome, costing $159.4 billion. Ms. Lukas explains that “for every dollar the government raises in revenue from corporations, companies have to pay out more than $1.50.”
Compliance with the IRS regulations is a major burden on American citizens. Further, the Tax Freedom Day group acknowledges that the average American works for the government from Jan. 1 to April 8 – a full 99 days – in order to pay his or her taxes. And we haven’t seen anything yet. Unless Congress takes action or the results of the 2010 election shift the power dynamics in Congress after November, Americans face unprecedented tax increases from 2010 through 2013.
We would do well to remember that our society has suffered grievously from programs and policies that meant well but failed miserably – and on a colossal scale – as is documented by an abundance of data and the obvious social trends in America. With Obamacare and tax increases, we face yet another ill-advised call for a return to the old, failed social-welfare policies of entitlement, and it is distressing to contemplate the lapse back into the old ways of victimhood these new initiatives seem destined to rekindle for the nation’s women and families.
Janice Shaw Crouse, author of “Children at Risk” (Transaction, 2009), is executive director of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.