Pelosi wants “windfall profits tax” on insurance companies

posted at 4:05 pm on October 8, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

What constitutes a “windfall” in an industry that averages a paltry 3.3% profit margin — free donuts on Fridays?  Whatever it is, or rather whatever it is after Congress pounds insurers and providers with previously-proposed excise fees and taxes, Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues want it:

House Democrats are floating the idea of a windfall-profits tax on the private health insurance industry as a way to finance their healthcare overhaul, and to drum up support among members of a divided caucus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the windfall profits tax idea “very preliminary,” saying she’s asked House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) to look at how much the tax could raise.

“I have asked Chairman Rangel to see what is in it for us,” Pelosi said. “There’s more that the insurance companies could contribute to this health care reform. They’re going to get 50 million new consumers, many of them subsidized by the taxpayer. They can put more on the table.”

As Peter Allen once sang, everything old is new again.  Jimmy Carter wanted to pay for his pet energy programs with a windfall-profits tax on the oil industry.  That produced no real revenue at all, though, and Congress finally dumped it during the Reagan administration.

Even without all of the fees, givebacks, and taxes Congress has proposed for the health-care industry this summer, there aren’t any windfall profits to be had in an industry with an average 3.3% profit margin.  Even if there were, the taxes on producers always get passed to consumers.  And if Pelosi & Co rely on mythical  “windfall profits” taxes to fund ObamaCare, we can be guaranteed that this program will massively impact the budget when the revenues never materialize.

It was bad enough when Barack Obama turned into Jimmy Carter.  Now Congress wants to turn into Carter, too.

Update: The NRCC has a new microsite to get signatures on a Fire Nancy Pelosi petition:

In 2008, Nancy Pelosi received 204,996 votes to win reelection in her home district. We need your help today to collect at least 204,997 names on our “Fire Nancy Pelosi” mobile petition. You can put us one step closer to our goal by signing the petition right away.

Nancy Pelosi fired?  I’d call that a windfall … for rational thinking and competent policy.


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Comments

they tried this on the oil companies and it flopped, this is about her realization Baucus is the man of the hour and the fact that his plan taxes employee benefits. Something her caucus loaths. I believe Pelosi is so weak, she knows she can’t her people in line, and now she is scared to exposed as incompetent.

rob verdi on October 8, 2009 at 4:07 PM

That slimy fool . . . lately it’s difficult to even read her name without throwing up in my mouth.

rplat on October 8, 2009 at 4:07 PM

These people have no grasp of economics… Lord help us!

Silent No More – JoeDanMedia

deedtrader on October 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM

I’m really gonna enjoy next November.

jimmy2shoes on October 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Oh of course they want it Ed.

More money for me, not for thee!

upinak on October 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Why don’t they open up a lemonade stand on the Capitol steps?

I’m sure that’s coming soon.

fogw on October 8, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Well sure, if you can’t kill them off with a “public option” then kill them off by excessive taxation.

Rationing only a few years away. Believe it.

FireBlogger on October 8, 2009 at 4:09 PM

They shouldn’t have asked Rangel to look into how much the tax would raise, but how the industry would avoid it. You know, his specialty.

p0s3r on October 8, 2009 at 4:09 PM

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

clorensen on October 8, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Can Pelosi get a windfall profit tax on what she stands to gain if all the “green” legislation is passed?

alohapundit on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Doing my best Mermaid Man impression once again…

Profits are eeeeeevilllllll!!!

Daggett on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Yeah, Pelosi is juuuust about the most despicable human alive.

marklmail on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Blue Cross of Montana’s “windfall profits” for the last fiscal year was 0.5%. Seven of the past ten years BCBSMT has lost money.
What exactly constitutes “windfall”?

mjk on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

It still surprises me–well, not really, the stupid is thick with liberals–that they still do not understand that when you tax corporations they just pass the tax onto the consumer.

Corporations don’t pay taxes. Their consumers do.

Enoxo on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

So basically the plan is to tax the hell out of insurance companies to pay for all of this. Which will inevitably cause the cost of premiums to go through the roof and eventually put most if not all of them out of business.

This leaves thousands of their employees out of work and the American people dependent on the federal government for their health care. Yeah, that sounds like a brilliant idea.

Doughboy on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Not so smart this one.Good thing she has those great looks to fall back on.

bbz123 on October 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

What constitutes a “windfall” in an industry that averages a paltry 3.3% profit margin?

8%?

Is that about right? I don’t know. I’ve never understood lefty math.

ROCnPhilly on October 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Well, it could be worse. In the 1930s, those guilty of “windfall” profits were sent to the Gulag. Pelosi is the model of compassion and restraint in comparison.

jwolf on October 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

I have asked Chairman Rangel to see what is in it for us,” Pelosi said.

oh gimme an effin break…

max1 on October 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Yeah! because those heart attack futures are off the charts.

nolapol on October 8, 2009 at 4:12 PM

They really do want to wreck the American economy.

rbj on October 8, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I think there is one tax I could support. Let’s have a wind falls profit tax on trial lawyers! Let John Edwards and his ilk put their money where their mouths are. If we can’t have tort reform, let’s tax them into oblivion.

bopbottle on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

“I have asked Chairman Rangel to see what is in it for us,” Pelosi said.

What an unscrupulous den of thieves.

Terrye on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Oh, good grief!

JAM on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

“I have asked Chairman Rangel to see what is in it for us,” Pelosi said.

Rangel then calls CEO Stephen Hemsley of United Health Care:

Rangel: Hey Steve this Charlie Rangel.

Stephen: What do you want from me Mr. Rangel.

Rangel: We are thinking of taxing your profits.

Stephen: I was thinking of donating to your campaign, the speaker’s, DCCC, and DSCC this afternoon.

Rangel: Thanks, but that is not what I was calling about. I was calling about… Oh, I forgot what I calling about. Talk to later Stephen.

WashJeff on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

bopbottle on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

+1

nolapol on October 8, 2009 at 4:14 PM

I want a windfall tax on Congress and the White House. They can keep no more than 3% of the money they personally invest towards the operating expenses of their job.

justincase on October 8, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Democrat dictionary entry:
Windfall Profit = ANY Profit

oceansidecon on October 8, 2009 at 4:15 PM

The Dems are floating 3 to 5 trial balloons a day in the press (regarding possible future legislation) because they don’t have the balls or brains to make a decision (without poll #s) and stick to it.

Pathetic sackless losers (except Bawney Fwank, I heard he ….)

omnipotent on October 8, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Liberal Lexicon:

Windfall: Gross Revenue (before costs, expenses, taxes, etc..)

BobMbx on October 8, 2009 at 4:16 PM

How about a windfall profit tax on Pelosi’s winery?

ctmom on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

I want the windbag tax on Nancy Pelosi. STFU and start working for our troops!

mike_NC9 on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

Once they kill off all the private insurers, who will the trial lawyers sue?

I don’t think they are thinking this through…

Asher on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

What constitutes a “windfall” in an industry that averages a paltry 3.3% profit margin free donuts on Fridays?

Anything categorized as “better than expected earnings” will qualify as a “windfall profit” even if in reality it is a net loss.

“I have asked Chairman Rangel to see what is in it for us,” Pelosi said.

Careful San Fran Nan, you’re giving the plan away too soon. In his case another couple bank accounts, condos or Cadillacs he’ll “forget” about, and for you a life-time supply of brain-cell eating botox injections.

Left Coast Right Mind on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

I definitely picked the wrong time to get my insurance license.

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

WashJeff on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Legal extortion. I hadn’t thought of that. But I could see it playing it just as you scripted it. ARRGGHH!!! I despise the Democratic congressional leadership!

jwolf on October 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

They will kill off the insurance companies leaving physicians and care givers to be sued, leaving us with squat.

bopbottle on October 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

I definitely picked the wrong time to get my insurance license.

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Hey, if that doesn’t work out, I heard the community organizing business is doing great!

MeatHeadinCA on October 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

How about a “windfall profits” tax on actors and multi-millionaire producer/directors? Hey, how about trial lawyers?

Blacklake on October 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I definitely picked the wrong time to get my insurance license.

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

And I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

Left Coast Right Mind on October 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I figure I’ll be living in a tent in the park by this time next year. But believe me, I’ll be voting if I have to crawl to the voting booth.

hachiban on October 8, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Hey, if that doesn’t work out, I heard the community organizing business is doing great!
MeatHeadinCA on October 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Not qualified. 30 years corporate work, college degree, and I acually love God and my country.

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM

How can we propose a law to move Congress and the White House to the middle of Iowa so that everybody in the nation has an equal opportunity to go personally and protest every crap sandwich this government tries to force us to swallow?

Seriously. We need these people to hear loudly and clearly that we are mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it!

justincase on October 8, 2009 at 4:24 PM

And I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
Left Coast Right Mind on October 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Roger, Roger. What’s the vector, Victor?

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Good grief. KBH was just on Cavuto saying that Texas Republicans need a bigger tent. UGH!

txag92 on October 8, 2009 at 4:25 PM

How about a dumb idea tax for politicians? Every time they come up with a dumb idea they get taxed a million dollars from their campaign fund.

Hellrider on October 8, 2009 at 4:26 PM

how about a windfall on Drug Companies since they sold their soul to get into bed with the Messiah…..about time for him to turn on them too!

SDarchitect on October 8, 2009 at 4:27 PM

Funny how no Liberals ever defend Pelosi, even though she is one of the most powerful politicans in this country and a true Progressive.

visions on October 8, 2009 at 4:28 PM

What constitutes a “windfall” in an industry that averages a paltry 3.3% profit margin — free donuts on Fridays?

All of it, but the Washington junta will be magnanimous and let the insurance companies keep a little.

This is what America voted for on Nov 4th – national suicide.

progressoverpeace on October 8, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Not qualified. 30 years corporate work, college degree, and I acually love God and my country.

kingsjester on October 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Buy some Carbon offsets to take care of the corporate stuff
College degree – Obama has one, right?
Do you think you could love a Rev. Wright Sermon?
Finally, do you think you WILL love your country?

As far as I see, you can remedy your wrong, evil decisions made in life…

MeatHeadinCA on October 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

WashJeff on October 8, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Reminds me of a scene from “Beverly Hills Cop”.

Count to 10 on October 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Good grief. KBH was just on Cavuto saying that Texas Republicans need a bigger tent. UGH!

txag92 on October 8, 2009 at 4:25 PM

As a Texan, let me just say that KBH is cordially invited to STFU.

Midas on October 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Time for a windfall profits tax on Congresspersons. They’re obviously retaining more than 3.3% of their earning. We shouldn’t let these greedy economy-ruining nincompoops retain so much of their ill-gotten gains.

Midas on October 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM

As a Texan, let me just say that KBH is cordially invited to STFU.

Midas on October 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

AMEN!

txag92 on October 8, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I, ____________(enter name: Nancy Pelosi), belong to an entity that survives only by the sacrificial offerings of private industry. I intend to vastly expand such offerings (through coercion via legislation). The best way to collect more is to stunt the the very growth necessary for my own existence.

The Statist Economic Creed.

anuts on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Can someone PLEASE point me to the source for the 14% legal industry profit margin figure I’ve seen around HotAir before?

PURTY PLEASE??

CDeb on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

They’re going to get 50 million new consumers, many of them subsidized by the taxpayer.

What happened to 30 million un insured at oboobi’s address to congress?

The libs need to make up their minds.

SHARPTOOTH on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Pelosi relies on Lackoff’s buzzwords and focus-group polling to generate all of her hare-brained schemes and legislation.

Her party determined that people hate insurance companies, so they are the targeted scapegoats for this legislation. The word windfall is supposed to arouse the ire of the electorate, so she thinks that she has a winner.

She fails to understand that people do not have the kindest feelings towards lawyers, esp., those that gouge a system. She also needs to be reminded that the taxation on our goods, rising as it does repeatedly is the real windfall…for the insatiable government.

onlineanalyst on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

“There’s more that the insurance companies could contribute to this health care reform. They’re going to get 50 million new consumers, many of them subsidized by the taxpayer. They can put more on the table.”

Huh? How are insurance companies going to get new consumers? If anything, they will LOSE millions of customers as employees dump private health care into the public option.

How about a windfall profits tax on malpractice lawyers?

Steve Z on October 8, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Good grief. KBH was just on Cavuto saying that Texas Republicans need a bigger tent. UGH!

txag92 on October 8, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Funny, I thought the GOP was doing just fine in the Lone Star State.

Doughboy on October 8, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Isn’t it a GOOD thing that insurance companies make a profit? What would be the alternative?

sleepy-beans on October 8, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Once they kill off all the private insurers, who will the trial lawyers sue?

I don’t think they are thinking this through…

Asher on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

The doctors who have medical malpractice insurance.

NJ Red on October 8, 2009 at 4:40 PM

This is some form of dementia she has going there. I say let’s put into practice a little of the progressive party line here and say that anyone over the age of 55 is disqualified to run for office, especially if they have proven to be unstable (her “tears” over the 60’s in San Fran), her frequent use of a dangerous substance (botox), and her inability to string reasonable thoughts together (any non-scripted, defensive speech she’s given in recent months.) Whaddya say folks? Cognition tests for all currently in office?

Driefromseattle on October 8, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Enslavement at the hands of the dumbest people in America.

Bishop on October 8, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Ya know, Mikes Deli made a 7% profit last year. Let’s put a windfall tax on him. Oh yeah ,Bob’s body shop made a 10% profit lets get that frickin capitalist too. Question is where will it end?

faol on October 8, 2009 at 4:42 PM

What exactly constitutes “windfall”?

mjk on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Legally speaking, “windfall” is just an evil-sounding name for unearned income, such as gameshow prizes, lottery winnings, and such-and-so-forth.

Reminds me of how those Democrats like to talk about people “winning life’s lottery,” as though no one out there every works their ass off for the money they have.

gryphon202 on October 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

As a Texan, let me just say that KBH is cordially invited to STFU.

Midas on October 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

God bless Texas.
It, along with whatever other states join it, is our last hope.

justltl on October 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Ya know, Mikes Deli made a 7% profit last year. Let’s put a windfall tax on him. Oh yeah ,Bob’s body shop made a 10% profit lets get that frickin capitalist too. Question is where will it end?

faol on October 8, 2009 at 4:42 PM

It won’t. Tyrants depend on enemies, real or fictional, to keep their power going.

gryphon202 on October 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

pond scum

ultracon on October 8, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Pelosi wants “windfall profits tax” on insurance companies

Better headline: Wind-tunnel power outage causes Pelosi’s face to melt—insurance company drops coverage.

Rovin on October 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM

ctmom on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

+100

becki51758 on October 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM

“We’re going to give you all of this business, because we’re going to force EVERYONE to go to you, and you’re going to make lots and lots of money, and we want it back.” – Nazi Pelousy

GoldenEagle4444 on October 8, 2009 at 4:45 PM

So Pelosi wants to tax us for being healthy?

The insurance company makes money when it collects more in premiums than it pays out ion claims. The healthier you are, the more money they make.

The more money they make the Pelosi wants to tax them.

That tax cost gets rolled into your premium.

You pay a healthy tax.

Stephen Macklin on October 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM

And where do they have to make up those tax increases?

hawkdriver on October 8, 2009 at 4:51 PM


Try This:

How about determining what the actual costs of congress’s health insurance is, and what they have to pay, and tax them on the difference as income…I like that better.
Including their $503 a year payment for unlimited medical, dental care in at the Hill, with their own staff of doctors.

right2bright on October 8, 2009 at 4:52 PM

That tax cost gets rolled into your premium.

You pay a healthy tax.

Stephen Macklin on October 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM

I should scan a couple comments before I post.

hawkdriver on October 8, 2009 at 4:52 PM

How about a tax on congressional and executive branch salaries for every spending bill the pols put forward?
We could also include a sort of value added tax for every amendment or pork added to these bills.

jack herman on October 8, 2009 at 4:53 PM

How about a windfall profit tax on Pelosi’s winery?

ctmom on October 8, 2009 at 4:17 PM

How about just unionizing it first…

right2bright on October 8, 2009 at 4:55 PM

ummm, about windfall losses? Contrary to popular opinion insurance is not a guaranteed stream of free money. If it were it would not be called insurance. Insurance companies can lose money. If they always made money there would be no insolvencies. But there are.

It would be nice for once if one person, just one, knew how the industry worked before they started “managing” it.

Plus, just for once can we chip in and buy Congress a $1.00 calculator from WalMart. Maybe then they can divide two numbers to get a rate rather than an absolute number.

Jed_Eckert on October 8, 2009 at 5:03 PM

This actually makes perfect lefty sense! You see, when they tax the insurance companies for “windfall profits,” this will drive up prices for health insurance. Those costs will be passed along to us, the consumer. Eventually, everyone who has private insurance will be paying such high prices that the regular kind of health insurance cost will be considered one of those “extravagant” kinds of health insurance policies–you know, the ones that they wanted to heavily tax so that the money will go to fund a public option?

If Dems keep control of Congress, they could eventually get their public option. They just have to go the long way around Robin’s barn to get there.

Make sense?

jedijson on October 8, 2009 at 5:04 PM

Why is it that the dems have so much trouble with math. 3.3% is barly making it. The always try to fool you with the raw number and I guess that’s all it takes for the Kool-Aid drinkers. Anyone with any business sense knows how tough it is to survive on 3.3%.

ImRight on October 8, 2009 at 5:06 PM

By all means, tax windfall profits. Soon there will be none. No windfalls. No wind. Just nothing but your greed, Pelosi.

spmat on October 8, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Everyone in congress should understand completely the constitution, starting with this

And I agree with Goldberg, we need to have more representation in the house…meaning, they need to have 1 rep per 30,000. Then the people will have better representation.

Conservative Voice on October 8, 2009 at 5:12 PM

Madam Speaker’s statement has been clarified:

There was a foul-up with the teleprompter. Her statement was in reference to taxing waterfalls and windmills, not windfalls, as members of the VRWC are now making accusations about.

BobMbx on October 8, 2009 at 5:14 PM

Can we offer to pay the Congress critters and Precedent $100,000 apiece to go find a deserted island of their own to destroy and leave us the heck alone?

justincase on October 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM

How about a windfall tax on actors, Moby Moore, football players, and members of congress.

Oh, no, it don’t apply to us.

Dhuka on October 8, 2009 at 5:39 PM

How about a special windfall tax on Democrat members of congress tax cheats-

Charlie “hide the bird” Rangel for instance.

Dhuka on October 8, 2009 at 5:41 PM

punitive taxation. Find people you don’t like and punish them with taxes.

Why doesn’t dirty Harry Reid tax the smelly tourists that visit d.C.????

seven on October 8, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Just when you think they cannot dig that hole any deeper, they come out with this beaut on the same day they announce that the Taliban are our allies.

dogsoldier on October 8, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Back in the day, I had to write windfall profits tax calculations into oil company accounting software. Took MONTHS, and the changes cost a fortune to make as the laws shifted to and fro.

Then in ’82, Reagan signed off on TEFRA, which clobbered the financial accounting systems I was working on at a life insurance company. Again, took MONTHS and the changes cost a fortune to implement.

If Pelosi tags a WPT onto the health insurance industry, I need to dig up my old coding skills and sign up for some more compliance accounting loot!

/She’s SUCH a dumbass.

DarthBrooks on October 8, 2009 at 6:22 PM

Interesting……

When the economy Sucks we really want to do more to promote business, I guess Pelozi does not understand that and wishes to tax more and force yet more businesses to Lay-Off more employees!

Let’s go over this again Pelozi: More Taxes = More Lay Offs.

BigMike252 on October 8, 2009 at 7:47 PM

Ed:

I clicked over to the NRCC’s Fire Pelosi petition page — a pointless petition, btw, coming from Republicans. It would more accurately be called the Cellphone Number Collection page.

JM Hanes on October 8, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Pelosi is insane. Totally out of touch with reality. It’s time for her to go down.

BottomLine5 on October 8, 2009 at 8:46 PM

“Claw back”?

I think the word you’re searching for is “steal”…

mojo on October 8, 2009 at 8:59 PM

I would have signed their petition, but I don’t ever give out my cellphone number. Too bad.

unclesmrgol on October 9, 2009 at 2:02 AM

What’s needed is a windfall profits tax on Botox. That might get Nan a little po’ed though.

chewmeister on October 9, 2009 at 12:19 PM