You Want Tax Hikes? Max Baucus Has All Sorts of Tax Hikes.

When it comes to health-care reform, Congressional Democrats are behaving a lot like newlyweds eying their dream home: They've finally found something they truly love — trouble is, they have no idea how to pay for it.

Well, maybe that's not entirely fair. In response to the news that Senate Democratic leadership has taken the idea of taxing employer-provided health benefits off the table, depriving reformers of some $300 billion they assumed they had in the bag, the Politico reports that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus has come up with plenty of ideas about how to come up with the $1 trillion necessary to pay for the bill.

His varied and creative set of ideas include: raising taxes, raising taxes, and raising taxes. In a list presented to other Finance Committee members yesterday, Baucus recommended expanding the Medicare tax on earned income to other income sources, including capital gains and rental properties; charging "fees" (otherwise known as "taxes") to drug makers and insurance providers; and, of course, taxing rich people — in this case, individuals who make more than $500,000 and couples who earn more than $1 million — for making too much damn money. Baucus also proposed a tax on sugary drinks like soda, but that option is reportedly unpopular, perhaps because government officials have already tired of finding the smokers necessary to pay for previous expansions of publicly funded health care.

And if raising taxes doesn't work, maybe they can just lean on the CBO to give them a better score. From the Politico story:

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said the bipartisan group of negotiators agreed in a Thursday afternoon meeting to renew their effort to find more savings in the health care system.

More aggressive care coordination for chronically ill patients could save hundreds of billions of dollars, Conrad said. The challenge is convincing the Congressional Budget Office to recognize these initiatives as true cost-savers, he said.


I used to try the same strategy with my teachers in high school whenever I got a grade I didn't like. The worrying thing is that in this case, it might actually work.

Reason's archive of health-care coverage is online here.

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  • Tomcat1066||

    A democrat wants to raise taxes? Nooooooo.

  • ||

    More aggressive Denial of care coordination for chronically ill patients could save hundreds of billions of dollars, Conrad said.

    So that's what they're calling it these days.

    I'm waiting for the disability rights groups to rise up against this whole care management/rationing thing. The vocabulary being used on the worth of life, etc. has got to be very frightening for them. Are they that in the tank for Obama?

  • Xeones||

    Max Baucus Has All Sorts of Tax Hikes.

    Fuck Max Baucus, yo.

  • ||

    RC, this could cause even more people to smoke pot illegally, resulting in an even greater police state and everyone incarcerated eventually. To these polticians, I'm guessing that's a feature, not a bug.

  • ||

    As a self employed person,I've always believed health insurance from a employer should be treated as income.

  • EJM||

    When it comes to health-care reform, Congressional Democrats are behaving a lot like newlyweds eying their dream home: They've finally found something they truly love - trouble is, they have no idea how to pay for it.

    They could always press the time-release bar.

  • ||

    Allow me to throw my support for a yo suffix.

    The yo prefix throws the rhythm out of whack.

  • hmm||

    There's at least over 500m in staffer and congressional salaries alone. There's a good start. (that's some rough math)

    Anyone have a link to Congressional expenditures in total?

  • Xeones||

    Get it right.

    As the creator of the meme, i reserve the right to put the "yo" wherever the fuck i want. Fuck always doing the same thing, yo.

  • ||

    One of the Democrats' problems is that they overwhelmingly represent the wealthy, high cost-of-living states in the Senate. But any tax structured to not affect anyone who's middle class in NYC (as Chuck Schumer claims to want), including extremely lucrative union-negotiated health care plans, won't really raise that much money. Especially not if they want to use those same people's money to pay for everything that Obama is proposing.

  • Seward||

    Does anyone actually think that the real figure will be one trillion? As I recall, the Urban Institute says the figure for universal coverage is more like two trillion. I think it will be higher than that myself; more like four to five trillion.

  • Tricky Prickears||

    So, he's going to try to pay for it with "smoke and mirrors"? Christ, at least the single-payer advocates are proposing an across the board 4.5% (in addition to the 1.45% Medicare) flat payroll tax. But I guess he wouldn't know about that since he didn't even allow them a seat at the table.

    Regardless of whether you are for or against single-payer this is delicious.

  • ||

    I wonder how many voters think it's okay because it won't affect their taxes?

  • Zeb||

    I'm disappointed with how Baucus spells his name. I always imagined it as "Bacchus".

  • Peter||

    I think it will be higher than that myself; more like four to five trillion.

    Per month??

  • ||

    Yo, fuck people who want to regulate Xeones, yo.

  • ||

    I wonder how many voters think it's okay because it won't affect their taxes?



    That's usually how it goes. As Megan McArdle notes, there are a fair number of Manhattanite singles making $200k a year who voted for Obama and assumed blithely that any tax increases wouldn't hit them, because they're not "rich" in their own minds.

    Part of the fun of calling for taxes only on "the rich" is that almost everyone in the US defines themselves as some sort of middle class, with "the rich" starting with that guy down the street that makes more than you do.

  • ||

    Our household gross income last year was under $30,000. My loose tobacco for cigarettes went from $10.69 a can up to $21.95. No taxes on the poor my fat hairy ass.

  • Mike M.||

    If the Democrats keep barreling full speed ahead on this road they're going down, next year will be almost an instant replay of '94.

    They're overreaching their political mandate every bit as absurdly as they did when Clinton first got elected, and it's starting to show in those tanking poll numbers.

    The Blue Dogs in particular know full well that they're already in deep trouble, and as a result they're starting to go into open revolt over the health care proposals.

  • ||

    As a self employed person,I've always believed health insurance from a employer should be treated as income.

    Me too, me too.

  • ||

    And- as Max Baucus is *my* Senator, allow me to say, "Fuck you, Max. Eat shit and die."

  • ||

    As a self employed person,I've always believed health insurance from a employer should be treated as income.



    Sure. But it doesn't poll well. And the Democratic leadership thought that that particular bit of hypocrisy would lead to really terrible poll numbers, after Obama spent what seemed like most of his advertisements bashing McCain for suggesting that an individual tax credit was better than just making employer insurance tax exempt.

    Also, of course the unions wouldn't stand for it.

  • kinnath||

    A trillion here, a trillion there, . . . .

  • ChrisO||

    I almost want to say "full speed ahead." The sooner the statists bankrupt this country, the sooner they might be discredited. Of course, that's not a certainty based on other nations that have gone belly up. But we're headed for it, one way or the other.

  • ||

    There are 2 basic types of Democrats in Congress: those calling for higher taxes for government-provided health care and those who are asserting that it will really save money, and besides, we can always pay for the costs with hope and change and pixie dust.

    I'd rather have honest big-government types than pathological liars.

  • ||

    The same people who want to lower healthcare costs want to raise funds for Medicare by raising taxes on drug makers? Makes perfect sense.

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