Liberals suddenly discover tax incentives when taxes are aimed at labor unions

It's amazing how liberals suddenly understand the power of economic incentives whenever those incentives are turned against one of their priorities

Without even stopping to think, they will raise taxes, impose devastating, costly health and safety regulations that make little difference to health or safety, implement draconian environmental rules, and expand opportunities for trial lawyers to prey on businesses. When they do, you won't get very far trying to point out to them that such policies cause Americans to lose their jobs and their health care. Liberals envision robust government as the solver of workplace problems and guarantor of a more equitable distribution of wealth.

But try to impose even the slightest restrictions upon, or create a legal cause of action against an abortion clinic, and suddenly there's a huge problem.

Bob Herbert's column of today in The New York Times offers a great example of this. The Senate version of ObamaCare imposes a tax — he correctly calls it “confiscatory” — on gold-plated insurance plans. This provision will not affect most middle or even high-income workers, but it strikes squarely at labor unions and their members, and everyone knows it. And so he writes:

There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate's version of President Obama's effort to reform health care.

The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it's a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

Herbert argues that such a tax will encourage businesses to scale back their health care plans so as to avoid the tax. Bob Herbert is 100 percent correct. Welcome to the real world, sir.

— Beltway Confidential

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