In the most recent installment of the increasingly tyrannical Congressional majority’s long train of abuses, the Democrats leave us yet another renewal of hope for 2010. In one of the more strikingly overt acts of special interest in recent memory, party leaders have agreed to exempt nearly 12 million union members from the first five years of a proposed tax on the most expensive health care plans. As if they were attempting the top the public relations disaster that has become the purchase of Sen. Nelson’s vote for the health reform bill, the Democrats offered another rather clear explanation for the Republican turnaround that began tonight in Massachusetts.
The tax is part of the health reform bill passed by the Senate and a key difference between the Senate and House bills. Poorly designed to begin with, the tax would impact 19 percent of Americans with employer based health insurance, and that number would increase due to inflation as the threshold fails to keep up. Prior to the deal, 40 percent of those affected by the tax were to be union members, the primary reason why the tax was not a part of health reform in the more union-sensitive House.
The incident highlights several important points characteristic of the Democratic majority in Congress. First, they are uncomfortable taxing their own supporters, but relying almost exclusively on the wealthiest Americans, a majority of whom did not cast their votes for them, is a perfectly reasonable solution. It is this contradiction – that Democrats spend freely with their opponents’ money – that gives philosophical credence to the notion of wealth redistribution as nothing short of theft. If Democrats genuinely believed in compassion expressed through the paying of taxes (a preposterously nonsensical idea even on the surface), they would begin with those who voted yes for this sort of change. Instead, though the tax is already highly progressive by nature, and thus destined not to include much of the tax-paying Democratic constituency, they exempted even more of those citizens most likely to support the reform.
The related second point is that Democrats are increasingly comfortable with transparently corrupt deals aimed at appeasing key cogs in their machine. Unions are among the most dedicated supporters of the Democratic Party; they are also among the chief culprits of the inefficiency of employer based insurance and a driving force behind current health care reform. When their leaders realized that the Senate bill included many union members in the fund raising plan to finance their much sought reform, they worked a special interest deal to ensure that reform passed without forcing them to fund it.
The bill needed only to raise the premium threshold to be transparently aimed at exempting a key group of Democratic supporters; they made it even easier: they limited the exemption strictly to those supporters. Working families without union membership and the same priced employer based insurance would still pay the tax.
Having exempted their supporters from among the victims of the tax, it isn’t a stretch to call this a tax levied by Democrats on their political opposition. Conceptually that resembles theft far more than it does traditional revenue gathering. Attempting to limit an undesirable aspect of an unpopular bill to only political opposition might have even surprised James Madison, the prophet of encroaching majorities.
It does, however, bring to mind a certain tyrannical government lowering unpopular taxes in the quasi-democratically represented homeland, then attempting to fund their war with taxes on their unrepresented, yet industrious colonies.