Health care reform, even though certainly needed in some aspects, will affect every family in this country. It is one of the most expensive bills to pass Congress (the Congressional Budget Office projects it to cost $940 billion over ten years) and also one of the most widespread in terms of effects.
Of course I’m all for reform and making sure people get some of the care they need, but how in the world are we going to pay for the reform? The answer is ironic – the two ways Congress promised they wouldn’t – by taking money out of Medicare and by charging taxes. Specifically, the tax system would be progressive, meaning that those with higher incomes will be taxed more; those individuals who earn $200,000 or more and married couples who earn $250,000 or greater will be taxed.
Normally I try to refrain from being this outspoken, but this is simply not the time to be levying taxes on anybody. During economic downturns, more taxes are exactly the opposite of what the government should be doing to encourage growth.
The press talks about how the economy is “showing signs of recovery”, but if that is true, then where are the jobs? This recovery has been fueled entirely by government spending, not by the markets. As a result, unemployment still hangs at 10.4%, but this number does not accurately reflect the situation because it does not factor in those individuals who have stopped looking for jobs.
What does the health care bill have to do with unemployment?
In short, a tax on those with incomes greater than $200,000 is an indirect tax on small businesses.
In 2006, according to salary.com, the average income of small business owners was $233,600. If faced with new taxes, these small business owners might be forced to cut costs. When this happens, the first things to go are employees. These new taxes will slash jobs and have no impact on creating new ones.
Instead, the government should be incentivizing small businesses for offering insurance instead of penalizing them for not providing it.
Likewise, the government mandating that employers must offer insurance will also cause higher unemployment. If employers are required to offer health insurance, this will increase their cost per employee. When faced with higher costs, as discussed, employers will cut jobs. The government is not doing the private sector any favors here.