Laurence M. Vance
Campaign For Liberty
April 8, 2010

Buried in Title X — Strengthening Quality, Affordable Health Care For All Americans, Subtitle H — Provisions Relating to Title IX, Section 10907 — Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services in Lieu of Elective Cosmetic Medical Procedures, of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a new tax on tanning salon services. Dubbed “the Caucasian tax,” it imposes a 10-percent tax on the amount paid for indoor tanning services.

Besides the other new and increased taxes in the 2,409-page healthcare bill, there are a number of other federal taxes that Americans are already saddled with, from the excise tax on gasoline to the taxes on airline tickets. And then there is the additional state tax burden (only Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Wyoming have no state income tax and only Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon have no general state sales tax).

The federal taxes that people are the most familiar with are those that are deducted from their paychecks. Employees pay Social Security taxes of 6.2 percent (matched by their employers) on the first $106,800 of income and Medicare taxes of 1.45 percent (matched by their employer) on earned income of any amount. The other tax withheld from paychecks is, of course, the income tax.

The federal income tax is the tax that infuriates Americans the most, just as the federal agency that Americans loathe more than any other is the Internal Revenue Service. Aside from the amount of the tax — which is now measured in the trillions — the federal tax code is also too complicated, too intrusive, and costs untold hours and dollars in compliance and enforcement costs. There are no letters more dreaded than those from the IRS.

But other than the inconvenience of keeping records and filling out income tax forms, many Americans don’t actually pay any income tax at all. This is because of our highly progressive income tax system. A progressive tax system — one of the planks of the Communist Manifesto –* is one in which the tax rate increases as the taxable amount increases. Since the beginning of our current income tax system in 1913 — thanks to the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment — the United States always has had a progressive tax system.

The income tax began with a 1 percent tax on taxable income above $3,000 followed by a series of surcharges of up to 6 percent applied to higher incomes. The maximum rate of 7 percent was applied to taxable income over $500,000. The current tax brackets are 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent. The maximum rate of 35 percent is applied to taxable income over $372,950. If the “Bush tax cuts” are allowed to expire at the end of this year, then the two highest brackets would return to 36 and 39.6 percent in 2011.