Debunking the GOP’s Obamacare Tax Meme Again


obama aca 11.4 million signups
A popular Republican meme from last year is making its rounds of social media again and I thought I would debunk it here, appealing to both FactCheck and PolitiFact, to provide useful corrections in case you should encounter it, either via relative or stranger. A useful graphic is appended to post in response.

Here is the offending email, as mendacious a collection of lies as ever collected:


Here are the facts you will never see circulated by your Republican friends and family:


“Here is what DID NOT happen, quietly, on January 1, 2015”
These taxes actually took effect on January 1, 2013 as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was passed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and it was quite public and far from “quietly”

“Medicare tax went from 1.45% to 2.35%”
This tax did actually come about as a result of the Affordable Care Act but again, effective on January 1, 2013, and it effects only those earning $200,000 or married couples earning $250,000.

“Top income tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%”
These rates effect only those earning over $413,200 or married couples earning $464,850.

“Top income payroll tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%”
Income and payroll taxes are different things, first of all, but for the record, the combined rate went from 37.9% to 42.5%, NOT 52.2%, a number you can only get close to by adding state taxes but state taxes are NOT part of the Affordable Care Act.

“Capital Gains tax went from 15% to 28%”
The highest capital gains tax went from 15 to 20% and the ACA’s 3.8% Medicare tax for high-income earners makes it 23.8%, not 28%. You can again add state and local capital gains taxes to bring it to 28.7% but again, those are not federally imposed.

“Dividend tax went from 15% to 39.6%”
The December 2012 tax deal made the top marginal tax rate 20% (it was 39.6% pre-Bush). Obamacare turned that 20% into 23.8%. Neither 15% nor 39.6% are accurate, but invented.

“Estate tax went from 0% to 55%”
Estate tax was 0% for one year: 2010, and reimposed at 35% in 2011 and 2012 and raised to 40% on January 1, 2013 and it effects only the richest Americans, the richest 0.1%. If you make less than $5.25 million you don’t even have to file a form with the IRS.

“A 3.5% Real Estate transaction tax was added.”
The National Association of Realtors says this is FALSE, that “The new health care law will not create a new tax on all transfers of real estate.” goes into more detail:

No, with very few exceptions. The first $250,000 in profit from the sale of a personal residence won’t be taxed, or the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple. The tax falls on relatively few — those with high incomes from other sources…only those with incomes of over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) will be subject to it. And even for those who have such high incomes, the tax still won’t apply to the first $250,000 on profits from the sale of a personal residence – or to the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple selling their home.

PolitiFact has this to say:

It says that a 3.8 percent tax applies to all real estate transactions as a sales tax. That is not the case. The email seems intended to scare people, particularly older Americans thinking of downsizing. For that, we award this chain email a Pants on Fire!

“These taxes were all passed solely with Democratic votes. “
Ask yourself how this is possible, when the Democrats did not control either the Senate or the House? In fact, the 2012 fiscal cliff deal was passed with bipartisan support.

“Not a single Republican voted for these new taxes.”
In fact, rather than fiction, in the Senate, the fiscal cliff measure passed 89-8 with 40 Republicans voting for it and only 5 against it. In the House, it passed 256-167 with 85 Republicans voting for it and 151 voting against it.

“These taxes were all passed in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.”
This is a flat out lie, of course, given the fiscal cliff deal had nothing to do with Obamacare. The ACA added to three taxes but the bulk of the increases resulted from the fiscal cliff deal. In the words of PolitiFact, “Less than a third of the total percentage-point increases cited by the email came from Obamacare.”

The original image says it is important for everyone to “know this” but what is important is for everybody to be informed, and the intent of this email is clearly to misinform.

Useful sources to cite when refuting these lies:

A 3.8 Percent “Sales Tax” on Your Home?

Please feel free to post the following image in response to this meme whenever an wherever encountered: