Nowhere is this more true than on health care. The House bill is the very definition of a job killer, funding another entitlement program with a payroll tax equal to 8% of wages on businesses that don’t offer insurance even as it inflicts a huge 5.4-percentage-point marginal rate tax hike on those earning over $500,000. The Democrats’ own Joint Tax Committee says that one-third of the $460.5 billion this is estimated to raise over 10 years will come from small businesses that create most new jobs.
The tragedy is that while ObamaCare is running into ever-deeper problems among moderates and sinking in the polls, Democrats could easily shift gears and build a genuine bipartisan health reform. The compromise worked out earlier this year by Bob Dole and Tom Daschle is not our policy ideal, though it would address some of the cost drivers created by the tax code and maybe garner durable political majorities. Even the bill released this week by House Republicans, and quickly trashed by Democrats, would hand out $50 billion in “incentive payments” to states that reduce the number of uninsured. Once upon a time in Washington, $50 billion counted as a lot of money—and it still does to most voters.