“It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” -Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts
As disappointing and reckless as the Obamacare decision was, I have to give Justice Roberts a tiny bit of applause for the above statement. When you go back to the roots of Obamacare, it wasn’t going to be a tax. It wasn’t going to be a mandate. No one talked about the word “penalty”. Now we have all three. No matter what creative wordplay and Orwellian doublespeak the statist lovers try to spin, the American public has just been awarded the consequences of its political choices. And it will be ugly.
By now, you have heard ad nauseam how Thursday was a banner day for those whose votes are easily purchased using the Democrat tools of seduction such as increased entitlements, handouts and free government cheese. Good liberals, nonthinkers and reality deniers everywhere who live with crack-like addiction to warm fuzzies, unicorns and rainbows are doing the dance of joy. And those that have the capacity for understanding the constitution and real world economics are asking WT …? The financial train wreck waiting to happen known as Obamacare has been given permission to go full speed down the broken tracks of government ineptitude and mismanagement.
Looking back on how this all played out over the last four years is really quite interesting. A well-executed plan of deceit can have a strange, inquisitive quality of making one stop, look, and almost admire the art of the con – which explains my strange sense of awe as to how President Obama and the Democrats have pulled off the biggest fraud in taxpayer history, at least with those that actually bought into this lie from the very beginning.
A major portion of the sales pitch for the Affordable Care Act was that it was not a tax, and then just months ago, the administration argued in front of the Supreme Court that it can be thought of as a tax. On Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed. What is interesting is that President Obama, when running for the Democratic nomination in 2008 against Hillary and just before the media gave him a big wet kiss and journalistic free pass, America’s favorite community organizer was emphatic that it should never be a mandate, and certainly not a tax. I’m sure the left will make the case that President Obama has once again “evolved”, just as he did with gay marriage. The one-man evolution revolution strikes again!
No one expected Chief Justice Roberts to find himself on the side with lockstep liberal Justices Kagan, Breyer, Sotomayor, and of course, Justice Ruth Ginsburg, who you may remember is not the biggest fan of the United States constitution. But like it or not, this is the end result. We now can expect if the Democrats remain unchecked and in control of the executive and legislative branches, that nearly 20% of the nations gross domestic product (GDP) will forever be in the competent hands of government bureaucrats and will ultimately result in a single payer system. Somehow, in liberal logic, those that couldn’t afford healthcare can now afford healthcare and a government bureaucracy to administer it. Just dwell on that for a moment, and then continue reading.
So, what do we get for our little $1.8 trillion gift of healthcare from the government? Not surprisingly, there was no mention Thursday of the 20 other different taxes hidden in Obamacare, many of which affect families earning less than $250,000 a year. The new taxes, which conservatively are estimated at around $675 billion (I’ll give 10 to 1 they will cost more) over the next decade, include:
- A 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that’s already devastating the medical supply industry and its workforce. The levy is a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs roughly 400,000. (By the way, with this little gem, here are a few fun facts to enjoy and ponder, especially if your looking for work: Michigan-based Stryker Corp., blames the tax for 1,000 layoffs; Indiana-based Zimmer Corp., which cites the tax in laying off 450 and taking a $50 million charge against earnings; Indiana-based Cook Medical Inc., which has scrubbed plans to open a U.S. factory; Minnesota-based Medtronic Inc., which expects an annual charge against earnings of $175 million, and Boston Scientific Corp., which has opted to open plants in tax-friendlier Ireland and China to help offset a $100 million charge against earnings.)
- A 40% excise tax on so-called Cadillac, or higher cost, health insurance plans (Elitism is frowned upon under Obamacare – wonder what the unions think of this one? Oh, wait … that’s right – big unions got a deferral!)
- A 3.8% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends that applies to single filers earning more than $200,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $250,000.
- A $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance” and other rules set by the Health and Human Services Dept.
- A $24 billion tax on the paper industry to control a pollutant known as black liquor.
- A $2.3 billion-a-year tax on drug companies (After all, they’re big and deserve it just because, don’t they?)
- A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. (No big deal. It’s always been cheaper to go the beach anyway.)
- An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed (And we all know how greedy those capitalist-loving self-employed are!)
- A hike in the threshold for writing off medical expenses to 10% of adjusted gross income from 7.5%.
- A new cap on flexible spending accounts of $2,500 a year, (Because after all, we need more tax revenue, not savings!)
- Elimination of the tax deduction for employer-provided prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients.
- An income surtax of 1% of adjusted gross income, rising to 2.5% by 2016, on individuals who refuse to go along with Obamacare by buying a policy not OK’d by the government.
- A $2,000 tax charged to employers with 50 or more workers for every full-time worker not offered health coverage.
- A $60 billion tax on health insurers. (Hmm … wonder where they’ll recoup the costs on this one?)
All told, there are 21 new or higher taxes imposed by Obama’s health care law — and 21 more reasons to repeal it.
In its ruling, SCOTUS has made the point that the government can’t force you to eat broccoli, but they can tax you if you don’t. Nice. We can now be taxed for behavior, not just income, and the slippery slope of that concept can only lead into a tyrannical chasm of behavioral control. Too much sugar in your diet? Tipping the bathroom scale in the wrong direction? Time for a fat tax. Firing up your grill on a bad ozone day? Polluter tax. No energy efficient windows in your home? Energy waste tax. Have a car bigger than the government thinks you need? Small car incentive tax. Own more guns than the government thinks you need? 2nd amendment tax. And on it goes.
This is a wake up call for those who are producers – those folks that work for their own benefit and success; those that provide for themselves and their families without asking for any assistance from anyone, but pay federal taxes for everyone else. For all who despise the leviathan of government expansion into our daily lives (and wallets), the mission in November is clear, and the plan must be executed with the aid of each and every American who still believes in freedom and rejects the choking effect of taxation and government intrusion.
Enjoy your new government healthcare plan, people. Keep in mind President Obama is our elected leader – and we truly deserve what we elect.