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So if there isn’t much behind the claim that ObamaCare isn’t the largest tax increase in history, what about the claim that it is? On page 19 of the 36-page PDF of the CBO’s analysis of the ObamaCare law from when it was passed is a line that says “total revenues” from 2010 to 2019 and lists the number 525, which is the way people in government write $525,000,000,000 when they are trying to pass a $525,000,000,000 tax increase.
In current dollars, that makes it even on the first-four-year-basis of the Obama Treasury department the largest tax increase of the 27 pieces of legislation since 1968 that were analyzed in the paper. In 1945, at the peak of World War II, the entire federal budget was only about $92.7 billion.
The erosion of the value of the dollar because of the Federal Reserve and Congress’s failure to uphold their responsibilities makes these comparisons harder. And plenty of Americans are still hoping that ObamaCare is repealed or replaced, making Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein retroactively correct that it wasn’t the greatest tax increase in the history of the world.
Barring such corrective legislative action (or a bigger tax increase if President Obama is re-elected), however, a $525 billion tax increase would indeed be the largest in American history, at least in nominal dollars. All of which makes President Obama’s latest campaign-season pose as a tax cutter seem even phonier than usual.