Dems admit that ObamaCare tax writedowns legit

Hey, maybe Henry Waxman can demand that his own Democratic colleagues in the House appear before his Oversight committee to explain why they have corroborated those eeeeeeeeeeevil corporations who announced writedowns after ObamaCare passed.  Waxman abruptly canceled his plans to subpoena CEOs from companies like AT&T and Caterpillar after they informed shareholders of massive losses over the last few weeks, thanks to tax-code changes in the bill.  He apparently wanted to avoid the embarrassment of admitting what his staff now acknowledges:

When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results. …

In a memorandum summarizing its investigation, the Democratic staff of the committee said, “The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the S.E.C. in March and April.”

Moreover, it said, “these one-time charges were required by applicable accounting rules.” The committee staff said this view was confirmed by independent experts at the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the American Academy of Actuaries.

Mr. Waxman, the chairman of the committee, and Mr. Stupak canceled a hearing at which they had planned to question executives on the effects of the law.

A tabulation by the United States Chamber of Commerce shows that at least 40 companies have taken charges against earnings that total $3.4 billion since the law was signed.

As explained here repeatedly, Congress set the rules that required publicly-traded companies to make those statements. The Sarbanes-Oxley laws demand full and complete disclosure of changes to financial positions, especially negative changes. The CEOs would have broken SEC laws had they not announced the writedowns as soon as they were calculated and substantiated.

To some extent, though, this entire episode was a farce. Democrats knew full well that they had ended the tax credit for the subsidy that keeps retirees on private, employer-based prescription coverage. They did that deliberately in order to gain $5.4 billion in revenue to close the gap for the CBO analysis of ObamaCare. That money comes right off of the balance sheets of private industry — in fact, Democrats counted on it.

Now the private sector has $3.4 billion less to invest in new jobs and expansion (with more writedowns coming), plus Democrats have incentivized these companies to dump their retirees into the overextended Medicare Part D program. Small wonder Waxman’s colleagues convinced him to call off the hearing.

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