One of the many valuable services provided by FutureOfCapitalism.com is keeping track of the tax increases supported by the New York Times. The newspaper adds to the list today, asserting in an editorial, "The middle class is also going to have to pay higher taxes…That means higher income taxes further down the income scale than Mr. Obama has previously called for, and new sources of tax revenue, like energy taxes or a financial-transactions tax or a value-added tax."
This, by our count, brings the total number of tax increases supported by the Times editorial columns to sixteen (income taxes plus "new sources" suggests at least three separate tax increases).
As a reminder, here are the previous 13 on the list
- tax on bank profits
- tax on on banker bonuses
- the Pelosi Tax, a 5.4% tax on the income of joint filers over $1 million (and single filers over $500,000)
- a tax on "very expensive" health care plans
- a federal tax on "drinks loaded with sugar."
- a $1.5 billion a year increase in property taxes in New York
- a 1% tax on private health insurance premiums
- a new 4 percent tax on income above $200,000 a year for married couples and above $100,000 for single taxpayers
- an increase in the payroll tax of 0.2 percentage points for earners below the $97,500 level and of "3 to 4 percent on wages above the base."
- restoring the death tax, which was scheduled to expire in 2010, to a 45% level on estates of more than $2 million.
- tax increases on fees charged by hedge funds and private equity mangers.
- an increase of $2 a pack in the tax on cigarettes sold in Nassau County.
- a new five-cent a bottle tax on "water, iced tea, sports drinks and juice" sold in New York State.
One could probably even crank the number of Times-backed tax increases even higher if one included three taxes — the tax on tanning businesses, the tax for being uninsured, and the Medicare tax on "unearned" income for joint filers with income above $250,000 — that were included in ObamaCare, which the Times editorialist supported. That would bring the total up to 19.
At a certain point, it just becomes a caricature. To a carpenter, everything looks like a nail. To a Times editorialist, everything looks like a reason for a tax increase. There's a reason so few of the Times's suggested tax increases have become law, which is that most Americans feel like they are taxed enough already. Today's Times editorial concludes, "Mr. Obama must make the case for tax increases, based on reality, not ideology." In what reality can a politician pass or support 19 tax increases and still get re-elected? Isn't responding to every supposed problem with a proposal to increase taxes ideological rather than realistic? And never mind that the New York Times Company issuing the editorials is controlled by a trust organized legally in part to avoid the death tax, and that it sought and got tax New York breaks for its new headquarters building. I used to write that the Times was in favor of tax increases for the "non-Sulzberger rich," but that should be modified, as the Times now favors tax increases for the non-Sulzberger middle class as well. It's maddening, but it's also a useful glimpse into the mindset of the thought-leaders on the left.