“I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it,” President Obama told an Ohio crowd yesterday. Indeed it is—because in a sluggish economy, American taxpayers are about to be clobbered by the largest tax increase in history.
Starting January 1, 2013, Americans will face a $494 billion tax increase, the highest ever in one year. According to The Washington Post, congressional aides started calling it “Taxmageddon”—a chilling reference fit for an apocalyptic nightmare. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that it will be a “massive fiscal cliff” for the economy.
Baby boomers’ average increase will be $4,223, and low-income taxpayers can expect a $1,207 increase. Millennials will be hit with an average hike of $1,099, and retirees $857.
Taxmageddon falls primarily on middle- and low-income Americans. That’s because, contrary to the President’s rhetoric about “the wealthiest Americans,” 60 percent of the Bush tax cuts went to middle- and low-income taxpayers. The expiration of the patch on the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will cause these taxpayers to pay a tax that was never supposed to hit them, and the expiration of the payroll tax cut is a tax hike almost exclusively on middle- and low-income families.
This is only the direct impact on individual taxpayers. Americans at all income levels will feel the pain of Taxmageddon, because it will slow job creation and wage growth. At 8.2 percent unemployment, it’s the last thing the economy needs.