Health Tax

Whatever their merits, the health care bills rattling around the halls of Congress all require a huge increase in taxes. Some people think that “somebody else” will pay the tax. It’s true that somebody else might write the check, but taxes spreads themselves through society in remarkable ways. Someone (usually “the rich”) writes the check, but everyone can end up paying higher prices for what they buy. Someone else may write the check, but a lot of people pay by losing their jobs and everyone pays by a loss of job opportunity. Exactly how tax impacts wiggle through society depend upon the specifics of the tax, but taxes never stay where governments put them.

Whatever savings and benefits health care reform might bring, it will be balanced by higher costs, lost jobs, and lost opportunities. Some people will be net beneficiaries, others will be net losers. That doesn’t make reform wrong, but it is wrong to discuss reform without considering all the consequences. It’s doubly wrong to try to rush it into law before more is understood about the consequences. This displays a lack of seriousness about a very serious subject.

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