Critical Condition

Taxpayers v. Taxeaters, Health-Care Edition

With Scott Brown’s victory still echoing throughout the blogosphere, it’s easy to forget that, as Yogi Berra so famously noted, “it ain’t over til it’s over.” Speaker Pelosi and the White House aren’t conceding anything, and still seem determined to ram the Senate bill through Congress at all costs.

So if they are determined to pass a bad bill, we need to keep reminding people just how bad the bill is. Take the recent union carve-out from the Cadillac Tax. As my colleague Steve Malanga points out in his Real Clear Markets piece today, this turns health reform into a “conspiracy against taxpayers.”

The health care deal, then, represents an unprecedented victory for public sector unions, and the deal shows where the next front in the growing battle between taxpayers and those who devour tax revenues will be fought. The burden these outsized public worker salaries and benefits costs have placed on government budgets everywhere has sparked a crisis and a search for new revenues. By exempting public employees from a significant revenue raiser, Washington has pointed the way. Expect more creative deals at the state and local level where government workers will be relieved of paying new taxes or otherwise have their tax obligations subsidized.

These “union rules” are just a small taste of windfall of political patronage that will come from the Democrat’s legislation — and the eternal lobbying frenzy that will follow, distorting health-care markets even more than they already are.

Brown’s win, however, is encouraging because it shows that if Obamacare isn’t popular in Massachusetts, it isn’t likely to be very popular anywhere else. Even if Democrats win the Obamacare battle — by ignoring the transparent will of the voters – they are likely to lose the war over health reform. 

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