Posted: 01/20/15 09:54
by Dave Mindeman
Right now I am having trouble controlling my anger. I am fed up with the representation that Minnesota gets in Congress - FED UP - with both Democrats and Republicans. The outrage is more than I can bear.
What has me in this state is the "newest" version of the Medical Device Tax repeal and the accompanying corporate greed and manipulation that is so evident in how Erik Paulsen and his cohorts (on both sides of the aisle) are approaching this.
I have talked about this many times. The Device Tax is part of the financial foundation for Obamacare - yet the Medical Device Tax industry has whined about this from the beginning, and our Minnesota delegation has been all too willing to respond.
But this is beyond the pale....
Republicans and many Democrats in Congress want to repeal the roughly $3 billion-a-year tax on medical devices that's part of the Affordable Care Act. Undoing the tax will mean a big boost in profits for the industry. But there's another business windfall buried in the bills that Congress is considering. Not only would the future tax be repealed, but the taxes already collected would be refunded. Any company that had paid the tax would get its money back.
Yet, all 10 - YES ALL 10 - of our Senators and Representatives are signing onto this. It is a sham, a scam, an outrage, and a corporate manipulation of the highest order.
Even Rep. Keith Ellison, the most progressive of the progressives, the most liberal of all liberals is going along with this. And his reasoning?....
"Look, I don't ever begrudge any member of Congress for looking after the jobs in their own district," Ellison said. "And that's what I'm doing here."
Really? Looking after your job? I seriously doubt that the Medical Device companies in Ellison's district have some kind of lock on a large number of votes that can defeat Ellison in the next election. No...they have corporate money that can manage that just fine....via lobbying or political donations or buying a message...all of that is enough for Rep. Ellison to "look out for his job".
Good Lord this is is nuts.
And why is it so important to repeal this? Well, the industry always has the same answer....
Shaye Mandle, CEO of the trade group LifeScience Alley, argued that a refund is appropriate because the tax has led medical device companies to lay off workers and halt expansion plans. "It's an attempt, effectively, to repair the negative aspects of what the device tax has ultimately done to the industry," he said.
And the ACTUAL evidence of "damage" since the device tax took effect in early 2013?
A recent study by the Congressional Research Service estimated that at most, the entire industry may have lost 1,200 jobs due to the tax and likely lost fewer than 100. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show little change in the industry's employment over the past few years.
The industry pays $30 million a year to lobby Congress - and apparently it is money well spent. If this is repealed (and refunds are given which could amount to $6 BILLION), then that will leave a gaping hole in the financing of Obamacare. And guess who will make that up? You and me. They can just stick us with the bill because we don't have multi-million dollar lobbyists looking out for our interests. No, we have to protect all the corporate whiners. Protect their profits. Their right to merge with other companies overseas so they can get out of paying taxes altogether.
This all reeks to high heaven - and I wish I could just blame it on Erik Paulsen who is as much of a corporate shill for the Medical Device industry as John Kline is for the For-Profit Colleges. I wish I could just blame him - but I can't. Because Democratic hands are dirty here as well.
This isn't Democracy - this is business. Just pure and simple business.