2:21 PM Eastern - July 22, 2009
Ad check: U.S. Chamber of Commerce pushes phony numbers in new offensive against health care reform
BY KATE THOMAS
The Chamber of Commerce continues their "Just Say No!" strategy against health care reform with a new ad this week that flaunts a series of misleading numbers to make the case (or rather, their lack thereof) against legislation that will guarantee Americans access to quality, affordable health care. After all, who needs real facts when you can just distort the reality of what fixing health care will mean to millions of Americans and small businesses instead? Not the Chamber!
Now for some truth: We all know America's health care system is broken. But instead of proposing solutions to help ease the crushing burden of rising costs, the right-wing continues to spend millions to champion the status quo and attack common-sense health care reforms. At a time when small businesses are crumbling under the weight of rising healthcare costs, the last thing they need is more attacks on legislation that will guarantee small businesses and their employees' access to quality, affordable healthcare.
Here are the facts on how small businesses and taxpayers would actually be affected by the latest proposals for fixing our broken system.
IN NEW AD, U.S. CHAMBER CITES MISLEADING NUMBERS TO MAKE THE CASE AGAINST HEALTH CARE REFORM
False U.S. Chamber Claim: Proposed Surtax On America's Wealthiest Will Push Tax Rate Over 50% in 39 States. In a new print ad, the new U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims that the proposed health care surtax will push "the top marginal tax rate over 50% in 39 states." This information is based on a study by the Tax Foundation. [U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad, accessed 7/21/09; Tax Foundation, 7/14/09]
REALITY: Tax Foundation Numbers Apply to Only .2 Percent of Nation's Households. The Tax Foundation numbers apply only to the households in the United States that make over $1 million, which is only .2 percent of the population. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/30/2006]
REALITY: Tax Foundation Assumes Tax Rates Would Rise After Two Years. The Tax Foundation's analysis assumes that the tax rates would rise again in 2013. This is because "If additional savings didn't materialize at some specified date, this would 'trigger' higher rates coming into effect in 2013." However, the Tax Foundation assumes these higher rates in 2011. [Citizens for Tax Justice, 7/15/2009; Tax Foundation, 7/14/2009]
REALITY: Proposed Surcharge Would Help Recover Some of $700 Billion In Tax Breaks Given To America's Top Earners. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, "the graduated surcharge included in H.R. 3200 to finance health care reform would require the richest one percent to give back some, but not all, of the tax cuts they received over the 2001-2010 period." [Citizens for Tax Justice, 7/15/2009]
U.S. Chamber Ad Also Cites Misleading Wall Street Journal Claim. In the new print advertisement, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also cites the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that the surtax "would hit job creators especially hard because more than six of every 10 who earn that much are small business owners, operators, or investors." [U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad, accessed 7/21/09]
REALITY: The Wall Street Journal Numbers Are Very Misleading and Overestimate Number of Small Businesses Affected.
According to Factcheck.org, it is unlikely that the number the Wall Street Journal used is that high, arguing the number "is a guess" and "some evidence suggests the true percentage is lower." Indeed, "only 2.2 percent of filers with small business income would be in the top two income tax brackets..." [Factcheck.org, Factcheck Wire, 3/6/2009; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/26/2009]
THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES WOULD NOT BE AFFECTED BY PROPOSED SURTAX TO FUND HEALTH CARE REFORM
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims to defend the interests of small businesses, but even a quick examination of their legislative record shows them opposing bill after bill that may help small businesses--and health care reform legislation is no different.
More Than Nine Out of Ten Small Businesses Will Not Be Affected By Surtax. According to the Center on Budget on Budget and Policy Priorities, "More than nine in ten small businesses would feel no impact whatsoever," meaning "some 96 percent of taxpayers with business income would not owe the surcharge." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/17/2009]
Even Those Paying the Surcharge Will Not See Any Impact On Business. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the surcharge will only affect business profits, and "a small business owner deducts any money that she paid to employees as compensation, as well as any other operating costs...it is only business profits that are taxed." In addition, "even purchases of equipment to expand business operations would not be affected..." [Citizens for Tax Justice, 7/15/2009]
SMALL BUSINESSES WILL BENEFIT ENORMOUSLY FROM HEALTH CARE REFORM
A Number of Small Businesses Will Benefit From Tax Credit Provided in the House Bill. According to the House Ways and Means Committee, "a substantial number of small businesses would benefit from a new tax credit included in the bill...the House proposal provides a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the employer's coverage for certain small businesses that choose to provide health coverage for their employees." [House Ways and Means Committee, accessed 7/21/2009]
Health Care Reform Can Save Small Businesses 36% Of Their Health Care Costs and Reduce Profit Losses By More Than 50%. With health care reform, "small businesses can save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent." In addition, "over the next ten years...small businesses will lose $52.1 billion in profits to high healthcare costs. Healthcare reform can reduce these losses by more than 56 percent, saving $29.2 billion in small business profits..." [Small Business Majority, 6/11/2009]
Health Care Reform That Includes Shared Responsibility Will Save Workers Billions In Wages. According to a recent study, "Reforming healthcare, and providing support to small businesses under a new system of shared responsibility, can save workers up to $309 billion in wages over the next ten years. [Small Business Majority, 6/11/2009]