Obama Willing to Consider Tax on Employer-Paid Health Benefits

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

President Obama, in a pivot from some of his harshest campaign rhetoric, told Democratic senators yesterday that he is willing to consider taxing employer-sponsored health benefits to help pay for a broad expansion of coverage.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Obama expressed a willingness to consider changing the existing tax exclusion. The decision would probably anger liberal supporters such as labor unions, but such a tax change would raise enormous sums of money as Congress and the White House are struggling to find the estimated $1.2 trillion needed to pay for health-care reform over the next decade.

“Yeah, it’s something that he might consider,” Baucus told reporters after the meeting between Obama and Democratic lawmakers. “That was discussed. It’s on the table.” Obama had summoned about two dozen senators to the White House to keep up the pressure to enact a comprehensive health-care overhaul this year. –snip–

What is it that Baucus and his cronies just don’t get?  

Sounds like Obama could use some help pushing to the left.

White House officials moved quickly to clarify that taxing the health insurance provided by businesses is not Obama’s first choice, but aides refused to rule out the possibility.

“The president made it clear during the campaign that he has serious concerns about taxing health-care benefits, and he has introduced his own revenue proposal, which he reiterated in today’s meeting,” spokesman Reid Cherlin said.

Obama instead urged senators to reconsider his proposal, which would raise federal revenue by reducing itemized deductions such as charitable contributions and mortgage payments for the wealthiest Americans, according to one adviser in the meeting. Obama included that idea in his budget, reporting that it would raise $317 billion over 10 years, a sizable “down payment” on the cost of health-care reform. But Congress immediately labeled the proposal a non-starter.

So if you call to support a real public option, tell those turncoat Democrats to pay for it with a VAT on imports or by getting the hell out of Iraq and Afghanistan, repealing the Bush tax cuts, repealing the ban that stops the government from negotiating Sr. prescription drugs costs with big pharma, or by simply supporting the plan their Democratic President has put on the table.  

People are losing their jobs, homes, savings, retirements, and medical benefits.  What few employer paid medical benefits remain already require employee paid premium and high co-pays and deductibles.    People have no money.  Wages have been stagnant for years, and between inflation and the dollar sinking like a rock, the cost of living will continue to climb. Yet, these dumb ass politicians in Washington seem to think that the last ten employed people in this country should pay for national health care for all of the uninsured.  They create the devastation, and we have to pay for their mess

Contrary to popular belief, the United States actually spends just as much on social programs (pensions, health care, education, etc.) as just about any other country in the world. The key difference between the United States and other wealthy democracies is where the money comes from. Specifically, in the United States, many people pay for social services straight out of their pockets, rather than having the public sector (aka, the government) provide the services.

From the OEC, here are 2005 figures on social spending, by country, broken out by private and public sources:

Net social spending, in percentage of GDP, at market prices, 2005

Country Public Private Total
France 26.2% 2.8% 29.0%
Germany 25.1% 2.2% 27.3%
Belgium 23.1% 3.6% 26.8%
USA 17.1% 9.4% 26.5%
UK 20.1% 5.9% 25.9%
Sweden 23.1% 1.7% 24.8%
Netherlands 17.7% 5.9% 23.6%
Austria 22.2% 1.4% 23.5%
Italy 21.5% 1.7% 23.1%
Denmark 20.2% 1.3% 21.6%
Canada 16.6% 4.4% 21.0%
Japan 17.6% 3.2% 20.7%

The United States actually spends an above average amount of its GDP on social programs. The difference between the United States and other wealthy democracies is not the total amount of spending on social programs, but that we place an abnormal burden–over 35%–for such spending on private consumers.  OpenLeft

Today, I heard a person say that General Motors is the perfect symbol for America.  Once, it was prosperous and a place of opportunity.  Today, it is just a shell of what it use to be.  If that doesn’t describe what is left of this country and the middle class , nothing does.  


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    • dkmich on June 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    for saving this diary and fixing DD after I broke it.   sorry buhdy

    • Inky99 on June 5, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again — when they’re done looting every penny we have, every dime we make, where are they gonna find more money to loot?

    I guess they’ll move on to the workers of other countries.  

  1. if they only tax benefits from employers who buy private insurance for their employees?  

    If employers buy the public option, no tax.

    Can’t think of a better way to promote use of the public option and dry up private insurers, can you?

  2. imports.

    And there is no plan to stop the wars anywhere.  

  3. and make some tax money off the obscenely wealthy who offshore their loot in special accounts in Switzerland and in the Caribbean? huh? No, that would be too troublesome. Instead let’s just go ahead and gouge the poor stupid sheep who actually produce something of value in this country, the middle class. Let’s stick it to them again, because it is so convenient and expedient and they never seem to do much about it when we do.

    Fuckit all to hell man! This is absolute fucking bullshit. If Obama and his cretins on K Streeet and Wall Street get their way we will see the end of the safety nets in this country as though Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman were reincarnated in some unholy nightmare of a union within the American Body Politic.

    Medicare and Medicaid are next, then they will kill Social Security. Just can’t afford it. But you bet your bippy that the Titans of Globalism will avoid their share of socially and legally responsible financial system maintenance from which they have looted and become absurdly rich.

    Ahhhh that felt good. Now I can get to work. 🙂

  4. What is it that Baucus and his cronies just don’t get?


    Fairness!  Honesty!  Integrity!  Decency!


             The Will of the People!  

    • dkmich on June 5, 2009 at 11:09 pm
  5. that the US can force people to pay for private insurance, which is apparently still “on the table” as well.

    That is going to get ugly if it passes.

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