An ad from Crossroads GPS accuses Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) of voting for higher taxes and hurting Ohio’s job creators. But ending the Bush tax cuts for top earners, few of whom are actual small businesses, would help reduce the deficit without impeding the recovery, and the Affordable Care Act doesn’t tax most Americans. Furthermore, the ad’s insinuation that Brown bears responsibility for job losses in Ohio ignores the devastating impact of the Great Recession as well as the fact that Ohio has gained well over 100,000 jobs since the recession officially ended.
Sen. Brown Voted To Extend Tax Relief For First $200,000 Of Everyone’s Income
Summer 2012: Brown Voted To Extend Bush Tax Cuts For Middle Class, End Them For “About 1.4 Percent Of U.S. Households” At Top Income Levels. From Businessweek: “The Senate’s vote to extend most George W. Bush-era tax cuts while letting them expire for top earners gave Democrats a political victory without resolving the stalemate over U.S. fiscal policy. The 51-48 vote yesterday, mostly along party lines, shifts the focus to the Republican-controlled House, where lawmakers plan to vote next week to extend the tax cuts for 2013 for taxpayers at all income levels. […] The bill passed yesterday would extend through 2013 the tax cuts for individual income up to $200,000 a year and income of married couples up to $250,000. Above those thresholds, taxpayers would face higher rates for ordinary income, capital gains and dividends. The result would be a tax increase averaging $35,451 for about 1.4 percent of U.S. households, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan group in Washington. The tax increases for high earners would generate about $50 billion in 2013 to reduce the budget deficit. […] Republicans say no one’s taxes should rise in a weak economy and that the tax increase would fall especially hard on those who report business profits on their personal tax returns. Their plan would extend current income tax rates and estate tax rules through 2013. The Senate, on a 45-54 vote, defeated that proposal offered by Republicans as an amendment to the Democratic bill.” Brown voted for the Democratic bill and against the Republican amendment. [Businessweek, 7/26/12; S.Amdt. 2573, Vote #183, 7/25/12; S. 3412, Vote #184, 7/25/12]
Those In The Top Bracket Still Benefit From Middle-Income Tax Cuts. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Furthermore, as Figure 2 shows, under the proposal to allow tax cuts on income above $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers) to expire, taxpayers in the top two brackets would still keep sizeable tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income ($200,000 for single filers).
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12]
CRS: Allowing Tax Cuts For The Rich To Expire Will Reduce Deficits “Without Stifling The Economic Recovery.” According to Reuters: “Letting tax rates for the wealthy rise will not put a short-term damper on the economic recovery, according to a report by the non-partisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. […] Republicans want the cuts continued for all income groups while Democrats favor letting them expire for the most affluent Americans. ‘If the economy is still weak, a temporary extension (of all the rates) will not harm the economy,’ despite adding to the deficit, the CRS report said, citing CRS economist Thomas Hungerford. But allowing the rates to rise just for the wealthy could help ‘reduce budget deficits in the short term without stifling the economic recovery.’” [Reuters, 7/19/12]
Despite Conservative Rhetoric, Few Top Income Taxpayers Are Actual “Small Businesses”
CBPP: “Only 2.5 Percent Of Small Business Owners Face The Top Two Rates.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Allowing the top two marginal tax rates to return to pre-2001 levels as scheduled next year would affect very few small businesses, a recent Treasury Department study found. The study shows that only 2.5 percent of small business owners face the top two rates.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]
- Conservatives Rely On Definition Of “Small Business” That Counts President Obama And Mitt Romney. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners — as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]
- Conservative Definition Of “Small Businesses” Includes Multi-Billion-Dollar Corporations Like Bechtel And PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to the Center for American Progress: “‘That’s 750,000 small businesses in America, the most productive, the ones that are the most successful, getting hit by a tax increase on top of everything else that’s happened to them in the last 18 months of this administration,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But McConnell’s number is only accurate if you take an incredibly expansive view of what constitutes a small business.Included in that 750,000 is the Bechtel Corporation, the largest engineering firm in the country. It is the fifth-largest privately owned company in the United States, posting gross revenue in 2008 of $31.4 billion. […] The auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has operations in more than 150 countries, fits the bill as well.” [Center for American Progress, 10/21/10, emphasis added]
- Former Bush Economist Alan Viard: GOP’s Definition Of Small Businesses Is A “Fallacy.”As reported by the Washington Post: “Which is why Republicans continually define pass-through entities of all sizes as small businesses, a position [former Bush White House economist Alan] Viard called a ‘fallacy.’ ‘How can it be that 3 percent of owners are accounting for 50 percent of small business income? Those firms they’re owning can’t be all that small,’ Viard said. ‘And that’s true. They’re very large.’” [Washington Post, 9/17/10]
Joint Committee On Taxation: “3.5 Percent Of All Taxpayers With Net Positive Business Income” Fall Into Top Tax Bracket. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation: The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013 approximately 940,000 taxpayers with net positive business income (3.5 percent of all taxpayers with net positive business income) will have marginal rates of 36 or 39.6 percent under the president’s proposal, and that 53 percent of the approximately $1.3 trillion of aggregate net positive business income will be reported on returns that have a marginal rate of 36 or 39.6 percent. [Joint Committee On Taxation, 6/18/12]
Affordable Care Act Does Not Raise Taxes On Most Americans – And Includes Tax Credits For Millions
The ad cites Vote #396 on December 24, 2009, in which the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act, and Vote #105 on March 25, 2010, in which the Senate passed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
Affordable Care Act “Will Provide More Tax Relief Than Tax Burden” For Middle Class. According to the Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler: “The health law, if it works as the nonpartisan government analysts expect, will provide more tax relief than tax burden for middle-income Americans.” [WashingtonPost.com, 7/6/12]
FactCheck.org: “A Large Majority Of Americans Would Not See Any Direct Tax Increase From The Health Care Law.” According to FactCheck.org: “It’s certainly true that the health care law would raise taxes on some Americans, particularly those with higher incomes. The law includes a Medicare payroll tax of 0.9 percent on income over $200,000 for individuals or $250,000 for couples, and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for those earning that much. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the biggest chunk of revenue — $210.2 billion — comes from those taxes. There are other taxes in the health care law — including an excise tax on the manufacturers of certain medical devices and on indoor tanning services. The health care law included $437.8 billion in tax revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation‘s calculations. Republicans tend to add in fees on individuals who don’t obtain health insurance (which the Supreme Court now agrees can be considered taxes) and businesses that don’t provide it to bump that up to about $500 billion. Some taxes, such as those on medical devices, may or may not be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, but a large majority of Americans would not see any direct tax increase from the health care law.” [FactCheck.org, 6/28/12]
- Individual Penalty Payments “Tiny” Compared To President Obama’s Previous Tax Cuts. According to FactCheck.org, the increased revenue from penalty payments by individuals who do not obtain health insurance represents “a tiny future increase compared with the tax cuts Obama has already delivered, including an estimated $120 billion in 2012 alone from the 2 percentage point cut in payroll taxes.” [FactCheck.org, 5/17/12]
Affordable Care Act Includes Tax Credits For Millions Of Americans. According to Families USA: “We found that an estimated 28.6 million Americans will be eligible for the tax credits in 2014, and that the total value of the tax credits that year will be $110.1 billion. The new tax credits will provide much-needed assistance to insured individuals and families who struggle harder each year to pay rising premiums, as well as to uninsured individuals and families who need help purchasing coverage that otherwise would be completely out of reach financially. Most of the families who will be eligible for the tax credits will be employed, many for small businesses, and will have incomes between two and four times poverty (between $44,100 and $88,200 for a family of four based on 2010 poverty guidelines).” [FamiliesUSA.org, September 2010]
ACA Includes Small Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers That Will “Gain Business Due To Health Reform”
Joint Committee On Taxation: Health Care Law Includes 2.3 Percent Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers And A Fee On Drug Manufacturers. According to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, cited by the Crossroads GPS ad, the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent reconciliation bill “Impose [an] annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs ($2.5 billion for 2011, $2.8 billion per year for 2012 and 2013, $3.0 billion per year for 2014 through 2016, $4.0 billion for 2017, $4.1 billion for 2018, and $2.8 billion for 2019 and thereafter)” and “Impose [a] 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices.” [JCT.gov, 3/20/10]
Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers Is Effectively Just 1.5 Percent. From the Columbus Dispatch article cited by Crossroads GPS ad: “Medical-device manufacturers and their advocates want to eliminate a 2.3 percent excise tax included in the federal health-care overhaul. […] In an industry report in August, Phillip Seligman of Standard & Poor’s said the 2013 start date of the tax gives the industry time to realign its cost structure to remain profitable. Because it’s an excise tax, the tax is deductible for income-tax purposes, making its effective rate about 1.5 percent, he wrote.” [Columbus Dispatch, 5/15/12]
CBPP: Medical Device Manufacturers Are Being Taxed Because Health Care Law Will Increase Their Business. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The House will soon consider legislation to repeal the excise tax on medical devices that was enacted to help pay for health reform. The provision is sound, however, and the industry lobbying campaign aimed at repealing it is based on misinformation and exaggeration. … The medical device industry is not being singled out. The excise tax is one of several new levies on sectors that will gain business due to health reform. The expansion of health coverage will increase the demand for medical devices and could offset the effect of the tax.” [CBPP.org, 4/31/12, emphasis original]
Repealing Medical Device Tax Would Cost $29 Billion. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that repealing the excise tax would cost $29 billion over the 2013-2022 period. Repealing the tax would undercut health reform in at least two ways. Pay-as-you-go procedures would require Congress to offset the cost of repeal by increasing other taxes or reducing spending; one likely target would be the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that expand health coverage to 33 million more Americans. Also, repealing the tax would encourage efforts to repeal other revenue-raising provisions of the ACA, which in turn would either require still more painful offsets or increase the budget deficit (if Congress failed to offset the cost).” [CBPP.org, 4/31/12, internal citation removed]
Massive Monthly Job Losses Have Turned To Steady Private-Sector Growth
Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [NBER.org, 9/20/10]
- Recession Resulted In 8.3 Million Job Losses. According to the Associated Press, “the Great Recession killed 8.3 million jobs, compared with 1.6 million lost in the 2001 recession.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News, 5/4/12]
Bush Recession Was So Severe That Economy Was Still Shedding Over Three-Quarters Of A Million Jobs Per Month Through First Few Months Of President Obama’s Term. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed 839,000 jobs in January 2009, 725,000 in February 2009, 787,000 in March 2009, and 802,000 in April 2009, for a four-month average of 788,250 lost jobs per month. [BLS.gov, accessed 5/3/12]
Since The Recession Ended In June 2009, The Private Sector Has Added 3.5 Million Jobs While Public-Sector Employment Has Fallen By 569,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 107,933,000 private-sector jobs in June 2009, and 111,499,000 private-sector jobs in September 2012, an increase of 3,566,000 jobs. The BLS also reports that there were 22,570,000 Americans working in the public sector in June 2009, and 22,001,000 working in the public sector in September 2012, a decrease of 569,000 jobs. The private-sector gains and public-sector losses add up to a total increase of 2,797,000 jobs.
The following chart shows the cumulative private-sector job gains and public-sector job losses since the recession officially ended in June 2009:
- Conservative AEI: The Public Sector Is Shrinking, But Private-Sector Growth Is Above Average. From American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry: “In the second quarter of 2012, ‘public sector GDP’ decreased -1.44%, and that was the eighth straight quarter of negative growth for total government spending, averaging -2.88% per quarter over the last two years. In contrast, there have been 12 consecutive quarters of positive growth for private sector GDP averaging 3.07% per quarter in the three years since the recession ended, which is slightly higher than the 2.8% average growth rate in private real GDP over the last 25 years.” [AEI-Ideas.org, 7/31/12]
- GOP-Favored “Government Downsizing” Has Been “A Drag” On Job Growth. From the Associated Press: “Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it — by default. Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over a half million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them as well. States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago — including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month. By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months. But the state, local and federal job losses have become a drag on efforts to nudge the nation’s unemployment rate down from its painfully high 9.1 percent.” [Associated Press, 10/25/11]
The Private Sector Has Added 4.7 Million Jobs Over 31 Consecutive Months Of Private-Sector Growth. The following chart shows the monthly change in private-sector jobs dating back to January 2008.
Ohio’s Unemployment Rate Has Fallen From Recession-Driven High Of 10.6 Percent To 7 Percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio’s unemployment rate peaked at 10.6 percent in July 2009 (one month after the last official month of the recession), remaining above 10 percent for most of the next year. As of September 2012, Ohio’s unemployment rate was an estimated 7.0 percent. [BLS.gov, accessed 10/23/12; NBER.org, 9/20/10]
Over 125,000 Jobs Have Been Created In Ohio Since The End Of The Recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,050,800 people employed in Ohio in June 2009, the last official month of the recession. As of August 2012, there were 5,177,200 people employed, an increase of 126,400 jobs. [BLS.gov, accessed 10/23/10; NBER.org, 9/20/10]
[NARRATOR:] Sherrod Brown is dragging Ohio’s economy down, voting for higher taxes on Ohio’s small businesses, voting for Obamacare and its new tax on Ohio manufacturers, and a massive new tax on the middle class. 290,000 Ohio jobs lost and 90,000 more people out of work. Sherrod Brown votes with Obama 95 percent of the time, votes for higher taxes on job creators, costing Ohio jobs. Crossroads GPS is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Crossroads GPS via YouTube.com, 10/23/12]