Photoshop credit: American Power
Remember the proposed Dem tax on investment income to pay for the government health care takeover that I told you about the other day?
Just a follow-up on the backroom deals being cut by Obama and his Big Labor thug-cronies, via The Foundry. Here’s what the tax will pay for:
Yesterday, President Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and nine other lawmakers met face-to-face for seven hours to resolve differences between the House and Senate health care bills. At the same time these talks were going on, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern and United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger met with other Obama administration officials in a separate room in the White House. This all comes after these same labor leaders met personally with Speaker Pelosi yesterday, and after they met face-to-face with President Obama in the White House on Monday. Despite then-candidate Barack Obama’s explicit promises to the American people, absolutely none of these meetings were open to the public or televised on C-SPAN. In fact, Politico reports: “Those involved in the talks sought to keep details of their progress under wraps.”
And just what deals were Big Labor, the leftist majorities in Congress and the Obama administration making behind closed doors? How to pay for President Obama’s likely $1 trillion health care plan without raising taxes on one of the President’s most loyal constituencies: labor unions. Specifically, Big Labor reportedly has struck a deal with health care negotiators to exempt union members from the 40% excise tax on high-priced health insurance premiums. By some estimates, the tax would hit one in four union members. Now Big Labor will get all of the big government health care spending they always wanted, but they will not have to pay for it.
And Obamacare’s Big Labor handouts don’t end there. The legislation also sets aside $5 billion to subsidize the costs of employer health benefits for early retirees. As Heritage fellow James Sherk notes, few nonunion employers, of course, pay pension and health benefits for workers to retire at 55. And then there’s the small business exemption from the employer mandate for businesses with less than 50 employees. At first this applied to all small businesses, but after aggressive lobbying by Big Labor, non-unionized construction businesses were unexempted. Big Labor lobbyists explicitly admitted they wanted to use Obamacare’s job-killing employer mandates as a competitive advantage to drive non-unionized firms out of business.
Most unethical, non-transparent, punitive Congress ever!
More on the backroom deal:
Officials familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday that options being considered to lessen the impact on union members included raising the threshold at which the tax would be levied — it’s $23,000 for family plans in the Senate-passed bill — and exempting collective bargaining agreements negotiated before 2013 from the tax.
Under that scenario the tax wouldn’t hit until union contracts were renegotiated, delaying its impact on most union health plans until perhaps 2015 or 2016. There was also discussion of lessening the impact of the tax in high-cost regions of the country — where insurance premiums cost more — by imposing the tax on a sliding scale.
Obama and Democratic leaders spent all day Wednesday working intensely to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation, which would expand coverage to more than 30 million people now uninsured, bar insurers from denying coverage to people with medical problems, and attempt to rein in ruinous increases in health care costs.
Negotiators were to meet again Thursday at the White House, and Obama planned to go to Capitol Hill to make a personal appeal to House Democrats, who are being asked to make major concessions. Democratic bargainers were also considering seeking more money from drugmakers and other provider groups to help subsidize care for the uninsured.