- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 27, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Obama says Democratic health care proposals do not involve tax increases. That’s simply not the case.

The president claimed that a tax imposed on those who don’t buy health insurance isn’t really a tax because if those without health insurance get hurt and require health care, that imposes costs on everyone else. Presidential economic adviser Austan Goolsbee stuck with this canard on Monday, saying: “Nor is it correct to call things that are not tax increases tax increases.” By the administration’s logic, gasoline taxes aren’t really taxes because people are using the roads.

The president also is ignoring all sorts of taxes in the health care legislation that would be imposed on people who have health insurance. The most obvious are the taxes to be imposed on health insurance itself. Pharmaceutical products, medical devices and clinical laboratories are to be taxed. This will not only raise the costs to consumers but also discourage the development of new drugs and medical devices.

There are bizarre taxes in Sen. Max Baucus’ health care legislation that Mr. Obama promoted during his Sept. 9 address to Congress. Up until Tuesday, when the Democrats retreated under ridicule and amended the bill, Democrats were planning to tax tampons, condoms, hearing aids, pregnancy tests and other common “medical devices.” The newly amended legislation still taxes all medical devices that cost more than $100.

Last September, during his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama made what he called “a firm pledge” that “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase - not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” For some reason, the candidate didn’t say anything on the campaign trail about condom taxes. Either way, Mr. Obama is poised to break his no-new-taxes pledge.

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