« Against Slavery | Main | Lives And Deaths Of NY Transit Workers »

December 21, 2005

I'm Rich, I'm Rich!!!

Or so at least TPM Cafe's David Sclar seems to think:

Can We Eliminate the $130 Billion Health Insurance Tax Break That Favors the Wealthy?

Nearly everyone views this tax subsidy as a valuable means to encourage the purchase of health insurance, but it means we're already spending billions in tax dollars. The problem with this form of spending is that it goes to those who need it least. According to Porter, the federal government expects to provide about $130 billion in tax breaks in 2006 to employed and self-employed Americans. About half of that tax break currently goes to families with incomes over $75,000, and over 25 percent to families earning over $100,000 per year. These numbers are from President Bush's advisory panel on tax reform.

Why not eliminate these subsidies - and their associated problems of "job lock" and distortions to business decisions, as discussed in a previous post on GM - and spend the same money to insure those just above the poverty line?

Why not? How about because there are a lot of middle class people -- including some of the striking transit workers -- who couldn't afford good quality health insurance without that subsidy.

Why is it that so many people who are supposedly on our side are flacking the conservative line on cutting middle class subsidies? I'm a strong proponent of single payer and any other sane system for ensuring that everyone has access to good quality health care. And I wouldn't have a problem with capping or phasing out the health insurance subsidy for people who are truly wealthy. But unless you're a conservative, how does sticking it to middle class people in order to help the poor make sense?

The next time you're wondering, why is it that so many working people don't trust Democrats to look out for their interests, the answer is, we're saddled with people like David Sclar.

UPDATE: if you want to know what unions are trying to do to solve our health care crisis, check out UFCW's Health Care for All initiative and SEIU's Americans for Health Care campaign -- and if you live in Maryland, be sure to help Americans for Health Care override Governor Ehrlich’s veto of Fair Share Health Care, which is scheduled for a vote on January 11.

Posted by RalphTaylor at December 21, 2005 05:37 PM