Ten Miles Square


July 02, 2012 7:37 AM Obamacare Is the Biggest Tax Increase in History … If You Ignore History

By Austin Frakt

Maybe you’ve heard that Obamacare is the biggest tax increase in history. Not so. Not even close. Kevin Drum posted the evidence in a table. I turned it into a chart. More here and here.

By the way, the evidence also suggests that Obamacare is neither unconstitional nor likely to be job killing. It’s not wrong to oppose the reform, but let’s at least be clear about what is true about it. Or, at least let’s be so here.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

Austin Frakt is a health economist and an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He blogs at The Incidental Economist.


  • Neil Bates on July 02, 2012 4:09 PM:

    Mr. Frakt, you must be referring to the combined taxation including e.g. to subsidize those who can't afford insurance? The mandate penalty tax itself (assuming a guesstimated noncompliance fraction, I suppose) is rather small according to this graphic:

  • Kuji on July 03, 2012 9:23 AM:

    Just so I'm clear - how does one read this chart exactly? GDP is not a fixed figure. It changes over time and many of the items being compared on this chart span several decades. Is it % of current GDP of item itself during it's own time period? If so is that the best indicator over actual hard dollar figures excluding GDP? Because even though there was a 140% tax increase to GDP in 1951, Obamacare at the current GDP may still have cost millions/billions more. So tax increase to GDP vs. actual tax increase are probably two separate figures each with their own merits. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • June on July 03, 2012 1:32 PM:

    To the author - please, read or re-read George Lakoff's "Don't Think of an Elephant." Including the GOP meme as part of a "big" headline helps them perpetuate their nonsense and overshadows the argument!