Our Views: Slow at first, but set to rise

It’s 2013, and the taxman cometh.

Whatever the outcome of the maneuverings in Washington over the nation’s budget mess, the reality this new year is that Americans will see higher taxes in one way or another.

Some new taxes, even if indirect ones, will be part of the wide-ranging Affordable Care Act, which is better known as Obamacare after President Barack Obama. Now that he is safely re-elected, the reality is that the costs as well as the potential benefits of insurance coverage for just about every American will continue on track, despite Republican opposition over the last two years.

The highest-income families will see an increase in Medicare taxes, less than 1 percent on wages of couples earning more than $250,000. There is also an additional 3.8 percent tax on investment income. Together, those are the largest tax hikes in Obamacare.

Still, there are other taxes, on insurers and medical device makers, that indirectly affect consumers as the different parts of the law take effect this year and next. A tax on high-value insurance policies, a so-called Cadillac tax, is scheduled to take effect in 2018.

And that’s leaving aside the distressing reality that during the year just ended the national debt hit a record $16 trillion.

Amid all the political disputes in the nation’s capital, out here in the hinterland anyone who knows how to balance a checkbook understands that the budget deficit cannot be curtailed, nor the debt reduced, without some new tax increases.

The taxman assuredly will arrive, and the grim reality is that he cannot be avoided much longer — because the costs of “kicking the can down the road” are growing, and eventually would be deadly to our nation’s capacity to pay its bills.