September 13, 2010

NYT Howler of the Day: ‘Lawmakers Were Apparently Unaware’ of New ObamaCare 1099 Requirements

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From an item posted online on Saturday and placed in the Times print edition at Page A25 on Sunday:

Many Democrats have joined Republicans in pushing for the repeal of a tax provision in the new health care law that imposes a huge information-reporting burden on small businesses.

To improve compliance, the law requires businesses to file a 1099 tax form identifying anyone to whom they pay $600 or more for goods or merchandise in a year. Businesses will also have to send copies of the form to their vendors, suppliers and contractors.

Oh, I get it now. It’s a way to keep the Post Office in business.

Back to the Times article:

Under the law, businesses will be required to report purchases of items like office equipment, food and bottled water, gasoline, lumber and plumbing supplies if payments to any vendor in the course of a year total at least $600. They will, in many cases, also have to report payments for things like travel and telephone and Internet service.

The annual reports must include the vendor’s address and taxpayer identification number.

Note that the Times never tells readers that businesses will have to generate hundreds of millions (possibly billions) of these busywork documents — not to mention spend millions of hours of personnel and programmer time — generating these 1099s.

But here’s the punch line:

The reporting requirement was in the health care overhaul bill unveiled in mid-November by the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. But it drew little attention at the time — it was one of more than 15 revenue-raising measures in the bill — and many lawmakers were apparently unaware of it when they voted for final passage of the legislation.

Well golly, how could that be, Robert Pear, New York Times reporter extraordinaire?

Could it possibly be because, well, uh, they never read the bill in the first place and had no idea what they were voting for? Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

We wouldn’t want to give anyone the idea that Democratic lawmakers didn’t carry out their most basic duty to read legislation before whipping through statist health care now, would we?

A related entry is at


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