Crossroads GPS: “Vision”

In an ad accusing Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) of casting votes that ‘cost Ohio jobs,’ Crossroads GPS misrepresents the American Jobs Act, the Affordable Care Act, and Brown’s vote to end the Bush tax cuts for top earners. The American Jobs Act would have boosted employment and GDP while cutting payroll taxes for workers and employers, paid for with a surtax only on millionaires, but all the ad says is that it’s a “tax increase.” To help pay for expanding coverage, the Affordable Care Act levies a small tax on medical device manufacturers, who are likely to see increased business thanks to the law. And the “new small business tax” is no such thing: Brown voted to preserve tax breaks for the middle class while ending them for top earners, few of whom are real “small businesses.”

Brown Supported Jobs Bill Paid For By Millionaires’ Surtax

The ad cites Vote #160 on October 11, 2011, in which the Senate rejected cloture on the American Jobs Act of 2011. Brown voted “yea”.

American Jobs Act Included Tax Cuts And New Spending Designed To Boost Job Creation And Prevent Teacher And Police Layoffs. From the Huffington Post: “The Senate rejected President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill on Tuesday night, a move that was expected and clears the way for the White House to refocus on pressuring Congress to pass smaller pieces of the package. […] Obama’s bill was a mix of tax cuts and new spending aimed at spurring job creation in the short term. It included $270 billion in payroll tax cuts and other tax relief, along with $175 billion in new spending on roads, school repairs and other infrastructure projects, as well as an extension of unemployment benefits and aid to local governments to prevent impending teacher and police layoffs.” [Huffington Post, 10/11/11]

American Jobs Act Was Paid For With Millionaires’ Surtax That Would Have Raised $453 Billion And Reduced The Deficit. From CNNMoney: “The Democrats’ proposed tax on millionaires would raise an estimated $453 billion, more than enough to pay for President Obama’s jobs bill. That’s the latest from the Congressional Budget Office, which on Friday released its cost and revenue estimates for the American Jobs Act of 2011. The bill calls for $447 billion in new and extended tax cuts along with additional spending on infrastructure, jobs training and housing help among other things. On net, the legislation would reduce deficits by $6 billion over the next decade.” [, 10/7/11]

The American Jobs Act Would Have Cut Payroll Taxes Both For Workers And For Employers. From the Congressional Budget Office: “Both bills would reduce payroll taxes for employees and employers. Both bills would also provide businesses with accelerated deductions for the costs of certain investments.” [, 10/7/11]

Zandi: American Jobs Act Would Add Nearly 2 Million Jobs And Boost The Economy 2 Percent. From UPI: “President Barack Obama’s $447 billion job-creation plan would likely add 1.9 million payroll jobs and grow the U.S. economy 2 percent, a leading economist said. The plan, which Obama outlined before a joint session of Congress Thursday, would likely cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point, Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi said as Obama prepared to tout the plan at Virginia’s University of Richmond.” [, 9/9/11]

Macroeconomic Advisers Also Estimated American Jobs Act Would Reduce Unemployment And Increase GDP. According to Macroeconomic Advisers, the American Jobs Act “would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term. […] The various tax cuts aimed at raising workers’ after-tax income and encouraging hiring and investing, combined with the spending increases aimed at maintaining state & local employment and funding infrastructure modernization, would: Boost the level of GDP by 1.3% by the end of 2012, and by 0.2% by the end of 2013 [and] Raise nonfarm establishment employment by 1.3 million by the end of 2012 and 0.8 million by the end of 2013, relative to the baseline.” [, 9/8/11, emphasis original]

ACA Includes Small Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers That Will “Gain Business Due To Health Reform”

The ad cites Vote #396 on December 24, 2009, in which the Senate passed the Affordable Care Act, and Vote #105 on March 25, 2010, in which the Senate passed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.

Joint Committee On Taxation: Health Care Law Includes 2.3 Percent Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers And A Fee On Drug Manufacturers. According to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation, cited by the Crossroads GPS ad, the Affordable Care Act and the subsequent reconciliation bill “Impose [an] annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs ($2.5 billion for 2011, $2.8 billion per year for 2012 and 2013, $3.0 billion per year for 2014 through 2016, $4.0 billion for 2017, $4.1 billion for 2018, and $2.8 billion for 2019 and thereafter)” and “Impose [a] 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices.” [, 3/20/10]

Tax On Medical Device Manufacturers Is Effectively Just 1.5 Percent. From the Columbus Dispatch article cited by Crossroads GPS ad: “Medical-device manufacturers and their advocates want to eliminate a 2.3 percent excise tax included in the federal health-care overhaul. […] In an industry report in August, Phillip Seligman of Standard & Poor’s said the 2013 start date of the tax gives the industry time to realign its cost structure to remain profitable. Because it’s an excise tax, the tax is deductible for income-tax purposes, making its effective rate about 1.5 percent, he wrote.” [Columbus Dispatch, 5/15/12]

CBPP: Medical Device Manufacturers Are Being Taxed Because Health Care Law Will Increase Their Business. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The House will soon consider legislation to repeal the excise tax on medical devices that was enacted to help pay for health reform.  The provision is sound, however, and the industry lobbying campaign aimed at repealing it is based on misinformation and exaggeration. … The medical device industry is not being singled out.  The excise tax is one of several new levies on sectors that will gain business due to health reform.  The expansion of health coverage will increase the demand for medical devices and could offset the effect of the tax.” [, 4/31/12, emphasis original]

Repealing Medical Device Tax Would Cost $29 Billion. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that repealing the excise tax would cost $29 billion over the 2013-2022 period.  Repealing the tax would undercut health reform in at least two ways.  Pay-as-you-go procedures would require Congress to offset the cost of repeal by increasing other taxes or reducing spending; one likely target would be the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that expand health coverage to 33 million more Americans.  Also, repealing the tax would encourage efforts to repeal other revenue-raising provisions of the ACA, which in turn would either require still more painful offsets or increase the budget deficit (if Congress failed to offset the cost).” [, 4/31/12, internal citation removed]

Sen. Brown Voted To Extend Tax Relief For First $200,000 Of Everyone’s Income

The ad cites Votes #183 and #184, both from July 25, 2012, for its claim that Brown backs “backs Obama’s new small business tax, burdening Ohio’s small businesses and threatening job creation.”

Summer 2012: Brown Voted To Extend Bush Tax Cuts For Middle Class, End Them For “About 1.4 Percent Of U.S. Households” At Top Income Levels. From Businessweek: “The Senate’s vote to extend most George W. Bush-era tax cuts while letting them expire for top earners gave Democrats a political victory without resolving the stalemate over U.S. fiscal policy. The 51-48 vote yesterday, mostly along party lines, shifts the focus to the Republican-controlled House, where lawmakers plan to vote next week to extend the tax cuts for 2013 for taxpayers at all income levels. […] The bill passed yesterday would extend through 2013 the tax cuts for individual income up to $200,000 a year and income of married couples up to $250,000. Above those thresholds, taxpayers would face higher rates for ordinary income, capital gains and dividends. The result would be a tax increase averaging $35,451 for about 1.4 percent of U.S. households, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan group in Washington. The tax increases for high earners would generate about $50 billion in 2013 to reduce the budget deficit. […] Republicans say no one’s taxes should rise in a weak economy and that the tax increase would fall especially hard on those who report business profits on their personal tax returns. Their plan would extend current income tax rates and estate tax rules through 2013. The Senate, on a 45-54 vote, defeated that proposal offered by Republicans as an amendment to the Democratic bill.” Brown voted for the Democratic bill and against the Republican amendment. [Businessweek7/26/12; S.Amdt. 2573, Vote #183, 7/25/12; S. 3412, Vote #184, 7/25/12]

Those In The Top Bracket Still Benefit From Middle-Income Tax Cuts. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Furthermore, as Figure 2 shows, under the proposal to allow tax cuts on income above $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers) to expire, taxpayers in the top two brackets would still keep sizeable tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income ($200,000 for single filers).


[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12]

CRS: Allowing Tax Cuts For The Rich To Expire Will Reduce Deficits “Without Stifling The Economic Recovery.” According to Reuters: Letting tax rates for the wealthy rise will not put a short-term damper on the economic recovery, according to a report by the non-partisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. […] Republicans want the cuts continued for all income groups while Democrats favor letting them expire for the most affluent Americans. ‘If the economy is still weak, a temporary extension (of all the rates) will not harm the economy,’ despite adding to the deficit, the CRS report said, citing CRS economist Thomas Hungerford. But allowing the rates to rise just for the wealthy could help ‘reduce budget deficits in the short term without stifling the economic recovery.’” [Reuters, 7/19/12]

Despite Conservative Rhetoric, Few Top Income Taxpayers Are Actual “Small Businesses”

CBPP: “Only 2.5 Percent Of Small Business Owners Face The Top Two Rates.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Allowing the top two marginal tax rates to return to pre-2001 levels as scheduled next year would affect very few small businesses, a recent Treasury Department study found.  The study shows that only 2.5 percent of small business owners face the top two rates.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]

  • Conservatives Rely On Definition Of “Small Business” That Counts President Obama And Mitt Romney. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The claims that allowing the Bush tax cuts for high-income people to expire would seriously harm small businesses rest on an exceedingly broad, and misleading, definition of ‘small business.’ The definition is so broad, in fact, that under it, both President Obama and Governor Romney would count as small business owners — as would 237 of the nation’s 400 wealthiest people.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/19/12, internal citations removed]
  • Conservative Definition Of “Small Businesses” Includes Multi-Billion-Dollar Corporations Like Bechtel And PricewaterhouseCoopers. According to the Center for American Progress: “‘That’s 750,000 small businesses in America, the most productive, the ones that are the most successful, getting hit by a tax increase on top of everything else that’s happened to them in the last 18 months of this administration,’ said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But McConnell’s number is only accurate if you take an incredibly expansive view of what constitutes a small business.Included in that 750,000 is the Bechtel Corporation, the largest engineering firm in the country. It is the fifth-largest privately owned company in the United States, posting gross revenue in 2008 of $31.4 billion. […] The auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has operations in more than 150 countries, fits the bill as well.” [Center for American Progress, 10/21/10, emphasis added]
  • Former Bush Economist Alan Viard: GOP’s Definition Of Small Businesses Is A “Fallacy.”As reported by the Washington Post: “Which is why Republicans continually define pass-through entities of all sizes as small businesses, a position [former Bush White House economist Alan] Viard called a ‘fallacy.’ ‘How can it be that 3 percent of owners are accounting for 50 percent of small business income? Those firms they’re owning can’t be all that small,’ Viard said. ‘And that’s true. They’re very large.’” [Washington Post9/17/10]

Joint Committee On Taxation: “3.5 Percent Of All Taxpayers With Net Positive Business Income” Fall Into Top Tax Bracket. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation: The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013 approximately 940,000 taxpayers with net positive business income (3.5 percent of all taxpayers with net positive business income) will have marginal rates of 36 or 39.6 percent under the president’s proposal, and that 53 percent of the approximately $1.3 trillion of aggregate net positive business income will be reported on returns that have a marginal rate of 36 or 39.6 percent. [Joint Committee On Taxation, 6/18/12]

[NARRATOR:] Senator Sherrod Brown’s vision for Ohio jobs is out of focus. Sherrod Brown supported President Obama’s $453 billion tax increase. Higher taxes on manufacturers that could cost Ohio jobs. Brown even backs Obama’s new small business tax, burdening Ohio’s small businesses and threatening job creation. Sherrod Brown: an out-of-focus vision that costs Ohio jobs. Crossroads GPS is responsible for the content of this advertising. [Crossroads GPS via, 10/8/12]