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March 15, 2009

Candidate Obama: Taxing Heath Care Benefits is Punishing Workers; Don't Vote for McCain
President Obama: Say, You Know What Might Be Fun? Taxing Health Care Benefits

Note too that McCain really wasn't taxing health care benefits at all -- he was providing a $5000 tax credit for every person, which would more than make up for the taxes they might pay for health care. In the net, it was a tax cut for almost everybody.*

But now Obama's on board... at least with the tax part. (At least his administration is considering it.) No word on the tax credit part.

Goldfarb calls this the second-most hypocritical thing Obama's done. I don't know. I want to call it the most hypocritical thing but there sure is a lot of competition at the top. Correction: The second-most hypocritical thing he's done this week, Goldfarb says. Ah. I was looking a broader palette of hypocrisy.

* So why propose it? Well, he didn't articulate this very well -- economics are not his bag -- but I believe he was trying to sever the odd relationship between employment and health care benefits, which just about every economist says is jackass. It freezes workers into a particular job, and freezes them into a particular health care plan rather than letting them choose from among many, etc.

Honestly, given the fact that he didn't seem ready to explain the somewhat complicated economic argument behind the move, I think maybe he should have just said nothing about it.

Still, he was demagogued ruthlessly over what would have been a tax cut for almost everyone. Think you would pay more in mere taxes on your health care plan than $5000? I emphasize "taxes" because even if your health care costs $15,000 per year, you're still only going to pay about $5000 in taxes at the 35% rate.

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posted by Ace at 02:16 PM

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