Grover Norquist’s Group: Obamatrade Tax Hike Was a ‘Tax’ Inside Obamacare, But Not with Paul Ryan’s Support

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) called a small business fine collected directly by the IRS that is currently included in Obamatrade’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) package a tax hike when Democrats put it in Obamacare, but they’re insisting a nearly identical policy is not a tax now in Obamatrade, because House Ways and Means Committee chairman

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) supports the small business tax increase.

“The provision in question increases the penalty for a business not filing a required 1099-MISC tax form from (in most cases) $30 to $50. This is a fine for failing to comply with tax law, not a tax increase,” Ryan Ellis of ATR wrote on Monday afternoon. “This penalty is intended to police bad actors in tax compliance, not ordinary businesses. There are already provisions in the penalty for holding small firms harmless, and this is not changed by this language.”

The exact same Ryan Ellis of ATR—when Democrats put a nearly identical tax increase inside Obamacare—called the tax increase a tax increase.

In a post on ATR’s website on April 5, 2010, Ryan Ellis wrote about how this was a tax hike in a post titled: “Obamacare and Taxes: The Final Tab.”

Sure enough, halfway down the list of taxes on working families worth over $500 billion that Obamacare raised was exactly what Ryan Ellis is calling “not a tax” in 2015.

“Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting ($17.1 bil/Jan 2012): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers,” he cited was a tax back then.

Norquist’s organization’s communications director John Kartch also argued to Breitbart News on Sunday that the Obamatrade tax increase was not in fact a tax increase—but he did publicly advocate against TAA entirely.

But sure enough, back in 2011, Kartch too wrote a post for ATR’s blog under his byline—just like Ryan Ellis—calling the tax increase now in Obamatrade that they argue isn’t a tax increase… a tax increase.

“President Obama on Thursday signed into law the first repeal of an Obamacare tax hike: the 1099 small business paperwork tax,” Kartch wrote when Obama relented and repealed that portion of Obamacare. “This Obamacare tax would have required every business in America to issue a ‘1099’ tax form to every office supply store, gas station, restaurant, etc. from which they bought at least $600 in goods and services throughout the year. The President’s signature on 1099 repeal means that there are now 20 new or higher taxes left in the Obamacare law, down from the original 21 tax hikes.  Taken together, these constitute one of the largest tax increases in American history.  Seven of the remaining tax hikes hit families making less than $250,000 per year, in direct violation of President Obama’s campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on these families.”

Kartch then proceeded to list the rest of Obamacare’s taxes in that 2011 post.

When asked about the contradiction between ATR’s positions on that tax hike now, and back in 2010 and 2011, Kartch wouldn’t answer what changed in the group’s assessment of the material. All he responded with to Breitbart News was an email containing a link to the 2015 post from Ryan Ellis from Monday afternoon. Most of the focus of Ryan Ellis’s article attacks anti-Obamatrade activist Curtis Ellis, whom he argues—alongside a post from the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay—that Curtis Ellis is a “left-wing Democrat” and that as a “source” he is not “legitimate.”

Put aside the fact that Curtis Ellis is a conservative activist and not a liberal Democrat—he in fact writes a column frequently for the very conservative World Net Daily—for a moment; he’s hardly the only conservative making these points. Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning is, as is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—a 2016 Republican presidential candidate—and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), among others.

What’s more, Speaker John Boehner of 2011 called the exact same tax increase that he’s now pushing desperately for Republicans to support in TAA “one of Washington’s dumbest ideas” in a full-blown press release when it was repealed. That’s of course before he tried to bring it back to life.

“The 1099 mandate is a textbook example of what happens when sweeping legislation is written behind closed doors in the Speaker’s office and rammed through Congress on a partisan vote,” Boehner’s office said.

Sound familiar? It should. Because that’s how Obamatrade—which contains the exact same tax increase as Obamacare did before Boehner fought to repeal it and won—has been done on Boehner’s watch, even though it’s close to being killed once and for all on TAA if and when TAA fails again on Tuesday.

Perhaps tellingly of just how embarrassing and awful this is for House GOP leadership, Boehner spokesman Matt Wolking didn’t answer when asked if the Speaker still believes the tax he fought to get out of Obamacare, while he has since helped Ryan sneak it back into Obamatrade, is still “one of Washington’s dumbest ideas.”

Ryan’s office hasn’t answered any questions either, but one thing’s absolutely clear: If any Republican votes for Obamatrade on Tuesday, expect campaign ads to slam them for backing “one of Washington’s dumbest ideas,” a tax increase on small businesses that violates a pledge they all took against tax hikes to get elected.

So, with all that said, 86 Republicans voted for a tax increase–and to violate Norquist’s pledge–when they voted for TAA last Friday. If they do it again on Tuesday, they’ll be violating it again–and of course if any other Republicans vote for TAA on Tuesday, if there is a vote, they’d be voting to violate Norquist’s pledge as well.


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