Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Clue for the Gray Lady: D'Uh!!

Full disclosure: several years ago, I had the privilege of being interviewed by the NY Times' Reed Abelson, a very nice lady. She apparently has (or shares) the "health beat" for the "Paper of Record," and seems at least interested in what the blogosphere has to offer.

That said, I really wish reporters like Ms Abelson would spend at least an hour or so boning up on simple economics:

"Instead of sharing the pain, as they have generally done in the past, employers chose to keep their costs steady by passing the higher costs onto workers."

Here's that clue, Reed & Co:

Employers don't pay any premiums. They don't share in them, they don't "pass them along."

Once more: Employers. Don't. Pay. Premiums.

They collect them and send them along to the insurer(s).

Of course, reporters aren't the only folks guilty of this ignorance: President Obama (and others) are currently touting a "tax break" for businesses, which is based on another false assumption; as with premiums, businesses don't pay taxes, they (you guessed it!) collect them.

By way of analogy:

A few years ago, I was treated to lunch at a fairly nice restaurant. As I was chewing my salad, I felt something cold, hard and metallic clatter against my teeth. Spitting it out, I saw that - along with the croutons - I had been served a nut (as in "nuts-and-bolts" nut). When I pointed out this faux pas to our server, she offered to take the cost of the meal off the check. Which was nice but, seeing as how it wasn't my check (but they were my teeth!), I failed to see how this helped me.

Just like me and my "free" lunch, businesses don't pay the tax tab, so offering them a "freebie" is of dubious value. What would be beneficial would be a "regulations" break; a respite, as it were, from the onerous new rules encompassed in Obamacare©. Now that would be a break worth chewing on.
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