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Economics for Dummies

Nancy Pelosi’s cockamamie ideas.

Apr 5, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 28 • By FRED BARNES
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Companies have already begun to figure out that their cost of doing business will rise, which means they won’t be hiring. Layoffs are more likely. Medtronic, which makes medical implements, said it might have to cut 1,000 jobs. It’s not only what businesses will pay for health insurance that is bound to increase. They’ll lose a tax break for providing drug coverage for retirees. And they’ll pay a higher Medicare tax for each employee.

There is one potential cost-cutting measure in the health reform legislation. High-cost, “Cadillac” insurance plans will face a 40 percent tax, which is certain to kill such plans and trim insurance costs.

But wait a minute. Pelosi didn’t like that tax. Four days after the reform bill passed, the Senate and House passed a second measure, dubbed “reconciliation.” Among other things, it delayed the 40 percent tax until 2018, a pretty good indication that the tax will never be levied.

Pelosi was in a joyful mood when reconciliation sailed through the House. It boosted health care spending, increased regulation, raised doctors’ fees, and added new taxes. Nonetheless, she asserted: “With this legislation in place, families will have access to even more affordable care” [emphasis added]. Her perverse school of economics had been vindicated again.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.

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