we are through. It will not be easy abandoning you and the Democratic Party, but a sellout of that magnitude would leave me no choice but to return to an "independent" status.
All apologies if this subject has been diaried to death today. I just got home and read today's front-pagers. Mostly a lot of DICK Cheney's BS and a great deal of waterboarding talk. And believe me, I detest Mr. Cheney and torture apologists as much as the next Kossack. However, this little nugget from "Healthcare Friday " really got my blood boiling:
A new tax on employer-provided health insurance is emerging as a likely option to finance an overhaul of the nation's health-care system, key Democrats say, despite opposition from organized labor and possibly the Obama administration.
Now, you may think I'm over-reacting, and maybe I am, but please follow me below the fold to find out why I'm so angry about this AND let me know what you think about this.
The full article from the WaPo can be seen here.
Before I tell you why I'm so upset about this terrible idea, let me quickly run down my bonofides . . . I don't want to go into a lot of boring detail, but I am a real Obama supporter. I worked very hard for him (as MANY of us did). I don't believe I have any special insight and I certainly haven't done anything many of you haven't done. And many of you did much more. But, I did EVERYTHING I could. I left it all on the road as Markos would say. I am a Democrat today because of President Obama and my admiration and faith in him has met no limit until now.
So, I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the POTUS would even consider taxing health care benefits to finance health-care reform. Is this some kind of twisted joke?
Here are some reasons why I think this is a shockingly bad idea:
- The hypocrisy of doing this would be staggering. The spectacle of a man, who I was so proud of for standing up to John McCain's hare-brained scheme to tax healthcare benefits in the Presidential debates, now reversing himself so absolutely and completely would be a crushing disappointment to me.
- Taxing healthcare benefits is REGRESSIVE. I know, I know there is some talk of making it somewhat less regressive. I'm not holding my breath. If you have not looked at the article look at it now. Sen. Kerry and others are already apologizing for how they simply can't make this tax at least somewhat progressive and still raise enough money. So . . . you are going to save the poor and middle classes by taxing the poor and middle classes? WTF? I don't buy it.
- If you tax healthcare benefits people will lose healthcare or income. Related to point 2, but a bit of a separate point. Who pays these taxes? The employer? I don't think so. I see a lot of people losing healthcare if you think the businesses that provide healthcare insurance can afford to now cover a tax on the benefits. Does the employee pay the tax in the form of an automatic deduction from their pay? Probably. So, you are punishing those with healthcare insurance by reducing their real income. Just what the middle class needs right now--a reduction of their income.
- This will certainly backfire. If a die-hard Obama supporter like myself hates this idea, what about the millions of independents who decide elections will think about this? They're not going to like it. They're going to despise it. There goes our electoral momentum and our winning coalition.
Because there is no spine to stand up to class warfare rhetoric and "socialist" name-calling. Why not reduce the ridiculously enormous defense budget? Why not place a little more responsibility for subsidizing a healthy, productive workforce at the feet of those who benefit the most from such a society? Why tax the excellent benefits of Union members who actually work while sparing the "investor class" any responsibility for the well-being of the workers who make their profits possible?
Dear President Obama, please, I beg you, reject this notion out of hand. Use your voice and "bully pulpit" to explain, as you did in the debates why this is a horrible, regressive idea that penalizes those who work for he benefit of those who invest. Don't let us down.
As always . . . interested in your thoughts . . . on taxing healthcare benefits . . .