Obama Receptive to Taxing Health Benefits

Under current law employer provided health benefits are withheld from employee paychecks, and then the lower amount of pay is assessed taxes.  In the 2008 campaign McCain proposed removing that exemption and using the revenue to help fund his healthcare reform ideas, and Obama assailed it as the largest increase of middle class taxes in history.  Obama might be softening that position:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/politics/15health.html?th&emc=th

I share the thoughts of that spokesman from the SIEU; I would need to see the big picture before passing judgement.  But my gut reaction is to oppose it; my paycheck is small enough as it is.  Of course, I suppose I might get a larger IRS refund the following spring if I pay more payroll taxes in the first place.  On the practical level, I fear any proposal that ends the payroll exemption would be dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.  Liberals will never go for this, and without a solid Democratic block of votes Republicans can kill the measure, and they will if they can unless Obama moves so far right that it becomes essentially a Republican bill.  And, at that point, he might struggle to get enough Democrats of any stripe to field a majority.  Either way, its a thorny one.

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