The Corner

Paying for Health Care by Destroying the Economy

That’ pretty much the plan laid out by House Democratic leaders. In order to pay for the $1 trillion health-care plan, they won’t be cutting spending (it’s probably too 1990s for today’s lawmakers) but they will be imposing new taxes — surtaxes in fact — and fees and penalties. Finally, America will become like its European counterparts, a place where it’s painful to work hard and be rewarded for it.

Read this New York Times article about how the plan will be paid for and cry. A sample:

Starting in 2011, a family making $500,000 would have to pay $1,500 in additional income tax to help subsidize coverage for the uninsured. A family making $1 million would have to pay $9,000.

Employers who do not provide health insurance to workers would generally have to pay a fee or penalty to the government. The fee would be equal to 8 percent of wages for an employer with an annual payroll of more than $400,000.

Mais bien sur! In a high-unemployment environment, let’s raise the cost of employing people.


The surtax would apply to any adjusted gross income exceeding $280,000 a year for an individual and $350,000 for a couple filing a joint return. The tax rates would range from 1 percent to 5.4 percent.

Who wants to bet that the number of people filing a joint return will collapse? Moi! (I have to practice my French, since that’s where we are heading.)

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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