January 25, 2018

Shutdown Deal Has Obamacare-Related Tax Cuts; AP’s Gordon Is Not Pleased

The Associated Press reported early Thursday that the bill which ended the government shutdown contains Obamacare-related tax cuts, indicating that Republicans got even more of what they’ve wanted as a condition for ending the government shutdown. The AP’s Marcy Gordon seemed quite unhappy about all of this, as she whined about a projected increase in budget deficits that isn’t even a rounding error.

Over 30 Senate Democrats agreed to allow these cuts to take effect. Now they’ll have to tell their far-left base why they approved further dismantling of former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

Gordon’s dispatch (also saved here) indicates that Democrats got more thoroughly outmaneuvered than previously thought:

How Congress used the shutdown deal to cut more taxes

The deal that ended the government shutdown also further cut taxes, adding billions more to the national deficit.

They (the tax cuts) were added to entice Republicans to line up behind the temporary spending bill, even before the Democrats dug in and forced the three-day shutdown.

In other words, Democrats, assuming that they or their staff members read the legislation before voting, should have known about these proposed tax cuts days before the shutdown deadline.

Continuing:

The bill suspended three taxes that came in under President Barack Obama’s health care law: on medical devices, on high-cost health care plans offered by employers, and on health insurance companies.

“Suspended” appears to mean that the taxes are no longer in effect unless they’re proactively voted back in.

Republicans tried for years after Obamacare’s passage to get rid of the medical-devices tax, to no avail.

The tax “on high-cost health care plans” is the much-reviled 40 percent excise tax, also known as the “Cadillac tax,” on the premiums of healthcare plans considered too generous according to Affordable Care Act guidelines. It was scheduled to go into effect in 2020. The “suspension” of this tax is a big break for members of high-wage labor unions like the United Auto Workers. Republicans have thus “suspended” a tax Obama imposed on his supposed best friends in Big Labor.

The tax on health insurance premiums was a hidden tax all consumers and companies had been paying. Its “suspension” should have a tiny holdback effect on health care premium increases.

Here what supposedly justifies Gordon’s concern over budget deficits:

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, delaying the three taxes will add $32 billion over 10 years to the deficit.

Good grief. That’s barely $3 billion a year less in tax collections that Uncle Sam will receive out of a total of $3.3 trillion collected during the most recent fiscal year.

In other words, the AP’s Gordon hyperventilated over tax “suspensions” amounting to less than 0.1 percent of all federal collections.

This news indicates that Republicans might actually have learned something about effectively negotiating after having displayed little such talent for years. I wonder how that happened?

Left-leaning AP reporters’ grumpiness is understandable if they believe the GOP’s effectiveness at negotiating has genuinely improved.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at NewsBusters.org.

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