Is Obama Planning a Surprise Tax Hike?

Income tax rates could be headed for the highest levels seen in a generation.

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I have been arguing that Barack Obama's tax hike plan represents a floor, not a ceiling. (And even that floor seems to fluctuate.) I recall that some House Democrats, like Charlie Rangel, were pushing a for a "millionaire" surtax during the last Congress.

Now this: My guy Dan Clifton, superanalyst at Strategas Research, has noticed that Speaker Pelosi is pushing for a permanent refundable tax credit on payroll taxes paid. Clifton thinks that tax credit could be paid for by a five percent surtax on higher income taxpayers.  "While this achieves the same goal of raising the top tax rate, to achieve the permanent middle class tax cut, the 5 pct. surtax will fall on top of the higher income tax rates after the Bush tax cuts expire (39.6% + 5%)."

So we could end up with a top rate of 45 percent, higher than the top rate during the Clinton years. And up it goes.