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January 04, 2023

Wednesday Morning Rant [Joe Mannix]


It turns out that I'm rich

I never knew I earned so much, but I have learned otherwise. I'm incredibly affluent in ways I had never imagined. It isn't reflected on by W-2 or my 401(k), but it turns out that I earn more than $400,00 per year. I had no idea, but it is surely great news. I can't wait to get my first pay stub that reflects my monthly earnings of more than $33,000. I am imagining the possibilities already. This came to my attention courtesy of recent legislation, specifically the Inflation Reduction Act. That act was not just a spending orgy, but also a taxation expansion.

When Joe Biden was in the campaign basement, he promised that no American earning under $400,000 per year would face higher taxes. Given that I - and everyone else - am now facing higher taxes, the only conclusion I can draw is that this year I will earn more than $400k. I don't know where the extra money is going to come from, but I do know that I can rest assured that it will magically appear in my bank account. After all, Biden cannot tell a lie!

The new taxes are particularly pernicious and regressive, because most of them are taxes on energy. Per the description by Americans for Tax Reform, the energy taxes are going to be rough. First up is a new tax on imported crude oil, amounting to 16.4 cents per barrel. After turfing domestic production and dumping us firmly back into dependence on imported oil, we now get a new tax on that imported oil. Foreign oil is bad now that we're dependent on it, I guess.

Next up we have new taxes on coal. The rate varies based on how it is obtained (surface vs. sub-surface), but in both cases the rate went up by the same amount: 2.2x. The taxes are now either $0.55 per ton or $1.10 per ton. Per EIA, coal is running at anywhere from about $41 to about $205 per ton. More than doubling the tax rate is meaningful. It will add between a quarter and half-dollar to every ton of coal extracted, before the market even gets involved. Your price per kWh will go up if you're in coal-fired territory.

Of course, if you're not in coal territory then you probably are in natural gas territory. Don't worry, though - you also get to pay your fair share. For natural gas, our benign and honest government that is a good steward of the society and economy expects to raise about $6.5 billion and - according to the gas industry lobbying group the American Gas Association - should only result in a 17% increase to your natural gas bill. A small price to pay.

Of course, none of these are new taxes on me. These are new taxes on the energy products that make the world go 'round and on which I depend, but they aren't direct taxes levied on me - so I guess that Biden kept his basement promises, at least technically. But I choose not to interpret it that way. He promised that I would not get higher taxes. He didn't couch it as "higher direct taxes," but he left it general. So be it.

Hey, Big Guy? Break into that 10%. I want my $400k.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:00 AM

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