“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase,” Obama said on Feb. 4, 2009. “Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”- Barack Obama
Raising the Medicare tax on wages would raise an estimated $87 billion over 10 years. But when combined with a new Medicare tax on "unearned income", the revenue collected will jump to $210 billion, making it the biggest single revenue raiser to pay for health reform.
A package of amendments to the Senate-passed health care bill include a new tax on unearned income. Pelosi said this tax would cover all unearned income, “whatever category that is.” This tax was a concession to the Unions, who told Obama that they would not support the Senate bill if it imposed a tax on generous so called "Cadillac" insurance plans for union members.
The tax, originally proposed by President Barack Obama, will levy a 3.8% increase on all “unearned income” for so called "high earners".
The tax will exempt only those married couples, filing jointly, who make under $250,000 a year, and any other taxpayer making under $200,000 per year.
This distinction between married, joint filers and everyone else means that the new tax apparently violates Obama’s pledge that “no family making less than $250,000 per year” would see a tax increase.
“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase,” Obama said on Feb. 4, 2009. “Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
In fact, the plan levies the tax specifically at any “married taxpayer filing a separate return” who makes more than $125,000 per year.
The tax will also hit any inheritance a person might receive if that person falls into the categories above: joint filers making more than $250,000 per year and everyone else making more than $200,000 per year.
In addition, the Medicare payroll tax is going up for individuals making more than $200,000 in wages, and couples making more than $250,000.
Currently, the Medicare payroll tax is 2.9% on all wages -- with the worker and his employer each paying 1.45%.
Under the new law, starting in 2013, high-income individuals will pay another 0.9 percentage points -- so their share will total 2.35% of their wages.
“This is essential to strengthen Medicare, and in this legislation we will make it solvent for nine more years,” Pelosi claimed. "The Medicare fee is 'help for health.' In our bill we have a surcharge at the high end – this is a health fee on unearned income.”
In other words, its a matter of when, not if, ALL taxpayers will be subject to an additional 3.8% tax levy on ALL their income, including "unearned income" which has ALWAYS been exempt from both Medicare & FICA (Social Security) taxes.
“Unearned income” is all income that is not earned. Some common types of unearned income are:
In-kind support and maintenance (food or shelter) given to an individual or received by an individual because someone else paid for it (see §§2140-2142);
Private pensions and annuities;
Periodic public payments such as Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs pension and compensation payments, civil service annuities, workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and payments based on need involving Federal funds;
Life insurance proceeds and other death benefits, to the extent that the total amount is more than the expenses of the deceased person’s last illness and burial paid by the individual;
Gifts and inheritances;
Support and alimony payments in cash or in-kind;
Prizes and awards;
Dividends and interest;
Rents and royalties (except those royalties defined as earned income); and
Certain payments not considered wages for Social Security purposes:
In-kind payments to certain agricultural workers;
Tips under $20 per month;