Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: November 19, 2009


Harry’s Version Of The Health Care Monstrosity

Over 2,000 pages (yeah, nothing can be hidden in there, can it?) the bill sets up at least 370.2 billion in new taxes over the next 10 years:

1. 40% excise tax on health coverage in excess of $8,500/$23,000 ($149.1 billion)
2. Employer W-2 reporting of value of health (negligible revenue effect)
3. Conform definition of medical expenses ($5.0 billion)
4. Increase penalty for nonqualified health savings account distributions to 20% ($1.3 billion)
5. Limit health flexible spending arrangements in cafeteria plans to $2,500 ($14.6 billion)
6. Require information reporting on payments to corporations ($17.1 billion)
7. Additional requirements for section 501(c)(3) hospitals (negligible revenue effects)
8. Impose annual fee on manufacturers & importers of branded drugs ($22.2 billion)
9. Impose annual fee on manufacturers & importers of medical devices ($19.3 billion)
10. Impose annual fee on health insurance providers ($60.4 billion)
11. Study and report of effect on veterans health care (no revenue effect)
12. Eliminate deduction for expenses allocable to Medicare Part D subsidy ($5.4 billion)
13. Raise 7.5% AGI floor on medical expenses deduction to 10% ($15.2 billion)
14. $500,000 deduction limitation on taxable year remuneration to health insurance officials ($0.6 billion)
15. Additional 0.5% hospital insurance tax on wages > $200,000 ($250,000 joint) ($53.8 billion)
16. Modification of section 833 treatment of certain health organizations ($0.4 billion)
17. Impose 5% excise tax on cosmetic surgery ($5.8 billion)

That’s according the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (via Tax Prof).

According to the CBO, this turkey comes in at 849 billion over 10 years. Let me again stress that the cost is a bogus cost because of the way the spending is structured. CBO is limited to a 10 year window. So what it is saying is that within that 10 year window, if passed exactly as written and with no changes, it will cost that much over that 10 year span. It isn’t chartered to look beyond that. So, over the years, the Democrats have learned how to use that restriction to sell budget busters as deficit reducers.

Here’s how. See all those taxes above? They begin immediately. However the major costly programs don’t begin until 2014. Consequently, the taxes are going to have a plus effect on the deficit over those first few years. Then, as the spending kicks in, since we’ve already pre-paid it with the taxes, it will appear as much less spending than it really is. Once outside that 10 year window, it explodes. The real cost, not the gamed cost to get past the CBO and attempt to fool the public, is estimated to be about 1.8 trillion over 10 years – or twice what is being claimed – and that’s if nothing changes or is added.  And it doesn’t include the 250 billion “doc fix” which will put it over 2 trillion.

One other thing to note – all the taxes above are only part of the plan to “pay” for this. Don’t forget the 500 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well (cuts that will never happen at the size projected if at all).

It’s pretty simple when you look at the numbers – this is another huge, costly program we can’t afford and we don’t need – at least in the form Congress insists on putting it in.  Common sense reform – ok.  But common sense reform doesn’t cost 2 trillion in “deficit reducing spending”.

I still can’t imagine anyone actually believing 2 trillion in new spending will reduce the deficit.

But they are – hook, line and sinker.

~McQ


Quote Of The Day

I‘m sorry, but this bit of hubris is so over the top I don’t even know where to begin:

“I think that we’ve restored America’s standing in the world, and that’s confirmed by polls,” he told CNN’s Ed Henry in a wide-ranging interview this week during his trip to China.

“I think a recent one indicated that around the world, before my election, less than half the people — maybe less than 40 percent of the people — thought that you could count on America to do to the right thing. Now it’s up to 75 percent.”

Or it could be that 75% are pleased that George W. Bush is gone and anyone else is now in office. Or it could mean that 75% like the more humble and apologetic US. Or 75% like the fact that he’s done nothing since he’s been in office but give flowery speeches chase nuclear non-proliferation. Or …

You get the idea. He’s been in office 10 months and hasn’t done a thing but apologize for the US and indulge his narcissism with trips abroad and that has “restored America’s standing in the world”? This reminds me very much of his belief that the US was changed for the better when he was elected and he had a mandate to do whatever he pleased when he took office. How’s that working out? How are those approval polls looking today?

Look, the world is going to love him as long as he sticks to apologies, flowery speeches and such dated issues as nuclear non-proliferation. But if he actually steps up, puts the interests of the US as his first priority (which is his job, by the way) and leads, he’ll be in Bush territory in no time. My guess is he’d rather be popular than respected. We’ll see what our “improved standing” buys us in realpolitik terms down the road.

~McQ


Race: Down On The Plantation…

One phrase sure to stir outrage or at least discussion is what I’ve used for the title when referring to the issue of race.  But I’m darned if it doesn’t best describe this quote from Jesse Jackson:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Wednesday night criticized Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) for voting against the Democrats’ signature healthcare bill.

“We even have blacks voting against the healthcare bill,” Jackson said at a reception Wednesday night. “You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.”

When you give race baiters like Jesse Jackson the opportunity to define what it means to be a “black man”, he then gets to define what it means to remain one. And that usually entails towing a particular party line of which he approves – not thinking for yourself, not doing your job (representing your constituency), not being your own person. You see if someone does any of that, as did Rep. Davis did, they threaten the dying power the race warriors hold – that of the legislative “bloc” based in race. The Sharptons and Jacksons of the world have built a career out of making everything about race. Like unions, they once had a purpose. Now, however, with their purpose fading and their time in the media’s light waning, they have to make more and more outrageous statements to get noticed.

I’ll be so happy when those who can’t see past their own skin color on every issue pass from the scene. Then, and only then, will real progress among and within the races be made. In the meantime, blacks certainly shouldn’t let someone like Jesse Jackson define what it is to be anything, much less a “black man”.

~McQ

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