July 1, 2012

A few random thoughts now that the dust has started to settle on the Supreme Court ruling that Obamacare’s individual mandate passed judicial muster:

I have to believe that, as much as far-left Democrats are “spiking the football” in celebration of their grand achievement being upheld by the courts, the Obama campaign secretly wishes the decision went the other way. If the Court had ruled differently, the President could have run on a kind of “Hope and Change version 2″ message” saying that he needs another four years to get his agenda completed; now, the only thing he really has to run on is the economy, and blaming Republicans for not agreeing to spend billions more in stimulus to get the economy moving. That’s not going to fly.

As if employers needed another reason not to hire people, the Obamacare decision comes at a really bad time. Had the Court thrown out at least the individual mandate, there would be at least a glimmer of hope in the business community that, even if Mitt Romney wasn’t elected in November, Democrats and Republicans would be forced to come together on a compromise solution that (at least theoretically) would bring a sense of relief. Now, watch employers choose to pay the penalty of not employing people and dropping existing coverage rather than let government bureaucrats stick their nose into even more of their daily lives. If I’m right, and the unemployment numbers start ticking upward again over the next three months, Obama is doomed.

The biggest winner as a result of the Court’s decision? The Tea Party movement. A week ago Democratic strategist James Carville said the Tea Party was dead. Three days after the Court’s decision I’m seeing an enthusiasm and re-dedication to the TPM unlike anything since 2010. Conservatives were lukewarm at best at the prospect of a Romney presidency, now they’ll be coming out of the woodwork to organize a get-out-the-vote movement that will swamp whatever the Democrats have in place. As I wrote the other day, elections matter, and how elections are decided is by whose side is more motivated end enthusiastic. Democrats might have had it had the Court thrown out Obamacare, now the passion factor goes to the conservatives. Hell, even I sent money to Romney the other day. And I know from the numbers plenty of other lukewarm conservatives did as well.

You won’t see it in the models the pollsters use or hear it from the same tired prognosticators in the Beltway media, but voter sentiment in 2012 will now be more like what was seen in the 2010 midterms elections rather than in 2008. If that happens (and granted that’s still a big “if” at this poin)t, Obama is toast. Rather than listen to the pollsters and the prognosticators, watch where the campaigns are spending their time and money, that will speak volumes as to where this election is heading. Both campaigns will be spending big in Florida and Ohio, but if you see Obama spending significant time and money in places like Minnesota, Michgan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he’s toast. Likewise, if you see Romney spending any significant time anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon sans Virgina, he’s toast.

The final word on Obamacare is the massive amount of taxation and regulation about to be unleashed on the American people. Even for someone who knows just how much Democrats love to tax, spend, and regulate the scope is truly breathtaking:

• A 2.3% excise tax on U.S. sales of medical devices that’s already devastating the medical supply industry and its workforce. The levy is a $20 billion blow to an industry that employs roughly 400,000. (By the way, with this little gem, here are a few fun facts to enjoy and ponder, especially if your looking for work: Michigan-based Stryker Corp., blames the tax for 1,000 layoffs; Indiana-based Zimmer Corp., which cites the tax in laying off 450 and taking a $50 million charge against earnings; Indiana-based Cook Medical Inc., which has scrubbed plans to open a U.S. factory; Minnesota-based Medtronic Inc., which expects an annual charge against earnings of $175 million, and Boston Scientific Corp., which has opted to open plants in tax-friendlier Ireland and China to help offset a $100 million charge against earnings.)
• A 40% excise tax on so-called Cadillac, or higher cost, health insurance plans (Elitism is frowned upon under Obamacare – wonder what the unions think of this one? Oh, wait … that’s right – big unions got a deferral!)
• A 3.8% surtax on investment income from capital gains and dividends that applies to single filers earning more than $200,000 and married couples filing jointly earning more than $250,000.
• A $50,000 excise tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet new “community health assessment needs,” “financial assistance” and other rules set by the Health and Human Services Dept.
• A $24 billion tax on the paper industry to control a pollutant known as black liquor.
• A $2.3 billion-a-year tax on drug companies (After all, they’re big and deserve it just because, don’t they?)
• A 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons. (No big deal. It’s always been cheaper to go the beach anyway.)
• An $87 billion hike in Medicare payroll taxes for employees, as well as the self-employed (And we all know how greedy those capitalist-loving self-employed are!)
• A hike in the threshold for writing off medical expenses to 10% of adjusted gross income from 7.5%.
• A new cap on flexible spending accounts of $2,500 a year, (Because after all, we need more tax revenue, not savings!)
• Elimination of the tax deduction for employer-provided prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients.
• An income surtax of 1% of adjusted gross income, rising to 2.5% by 2016, on individuals who refuse to go along with Obamacare by buying a policy not OK’d by the government.
• A $2,000 tax charged to employers with 50 or more workers for every full-time worker not offered health coverage.
• A $60 billion tax on health insurers. (Hmm … wonder where they’ll recoup the costs on this one?)

Expect to see A LOT more details on the effect of this in the coming weeks and months.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 12:07 | Comments Off on The Dust Begins To Settle
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