90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, December 27, 2012

Taxes To Rise, Even If ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Is Avoided

(Tax Credits/Flickr)

(Tax Credits/Flickr)

Whether or not the U.S. goes over the “fiscal cliff,” new taxes on higher-income Americans will go into effect on Jan. 1, to help fund President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

The top two-percent of earners – couples with more than $250,000 of adjusted gross income per year, or $200,000 if you’re single – will see a 0.9 percent Medicare tax increase on the portion of their wages above those amounts.

Those top earners will also face an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income above $250,000.

David Cay Johnston is an investigative journalist, author and visiting professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

David Cay Johnston is an investigative journalist, author and visiting professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

But according to journalist David Cay Johnston, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his reporting on the U.S. tax code, the impact of these tax increases on these higher earners will not be as significant as it sounds.

“Let me give you an idea of how small that is,” Johnston told Here & Now. “It appears to me that among people making $1 million to $10 million income from all sources, that the average increase in tax for this will be about $13,000 – that’s six-tenths of one-percent of their income. Now why is it the tax rate goes up 3.8 percent, but only six-tenths of one-percent of their income? Because only a minority of the income comes from investments, and then the first $250,000 is excluded.”

In addition, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that if “fiscal cliff” negotiations fail, the average American will end up paying about $3,500 more in taxes in 2013.

“What I believe we’re going to see happen is some kind of changes will come after the first of the year,” Johnston said. “But it’s very clear now that Speaker Boehner is not really in charge in the House, that he’s not able to reach a deal. And I believe in the next two years, we’re going to see some of the strangest political experience in American history because there is a segment of House Republicans who will not make any compromise on anything.”

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Dadoffriday

    To pay for Obamas health care?  Really?  That’s the only bill you can think of?  How about medicare part D?  How about two wars?  How bout 10 years of to low taxes?  How about billions in corporate welfare?  Pork barrel projects, 30 years of raiding the SS fund?  Militray aid in the billions and supporting a standing army that is as large as all the other armed forces of the world combined?  How about wasting billions on the war on drugs.  The media really sucks in America.

  • Whatnow

    I have noticed SS was fine when Congress could borrow from it but now SS is starting to collect on those worthless IOUs they want to change the start age and trim the coverage.  All while protecting the 2%.  I have a problem with all the Republicans that voted for the Bush tax cuts and said they were temporary but have now made them permanent. They complain about Government Debt but when they were in charge they did not mind not paying for their programs like two wars.  One of which was a big lie and as it turned out was mainly a corporate welfare program for Bush friends.  

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 16 Comment

ER Doctor Looks Back A Year After Marathon Bombing

Dr. Ron Medzon, an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, recalls treating victims injured in the bombing.

April 16 33 Comments

Tensions Build In San Francisco Amid Tech Boom

As San Francisco experiences a historic economic boom, some activists say not all city residents are reaping the benefits.

April 15 8 Comments

4 Lamb Recipes, Plus Lamb Cooking Tips

With the weather getting warmer, Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst is thinking lamb. She shares recipes for Middle Eastern-style lamb meatballs and more.

April 15 14 Comments

The Problem With U.S. Tax Policies

Tax expert David Cay Johnston says it's easy to fool the IRS, but there's one catch: "you have to be rich." He says outdated tax policies are hurting the economy.