Barack Obama is not the only one lying about John McCain’s health care reform plan. Many of his supporters in the establishment media and blogosphere are being equally mendacious. An illustrative example is the following assertion by Joe Klein:
John McCain wants to tax your employer-provided health care benefits. He wants to replace those benefits with an insufficient tax credit–$2500 for individuals and $5000 for families (the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000).
This is a particularly clever piece of agitprop because it combines fear-mongering, fallacious claims, and bogus data in a single, succinct fabrication. But anyone who has actually read John McCain’s health care plan will recognize it as a lie.
The fear-mongering is, of course, obvious. Klein is attempting to scare the bejabbers out his readers by insinuating that John McCain is going to slap them with a hidden tax increase. Never mind that any tax increase will be more than offset by the accompanying tax credit.
Which bring us to Klein’s falacious claim that the tax credits will be “insufficient.” He is clearly implying that McCain’s $5,000 tax credit is not enough to cover the $12,000 increase in taxable income that his plan would impose on everyone.
But even if McCain’s plan raised your taxable income by $12,000, your taxes on that income (at a 30% rate) would be $3,600, well under $5,000. But no one’s taxable income will increase by $12,000 under McCain’s health plan.
Which bring us to Klein’s bogus data. When he writes, “the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000,” he is deliberately misleading his readers. This figure comes from a widely-quoted study by the Kaiser Family Foundation which states:
Annual premiums for family coverage averaged $12,106 in 2007, with employees on average paying 28% of the cost, or $3,281.
In other words, the $12K is the combined premium of the employer and employee. The average cost borne by the actual employee is only $3,281. So, if that amount were suddenly subject to taxation (at the 30% rate) the tax increase would be $984, which even a journalist knows is less than $5,000.
But Klein is only a journalist, and they tend to be a little dim, so one has to make allowances. Sadly, however, many others who certainly know better are promulgating the same lie. Among them are Brad Delong, Joe Paduda, Tom Bozzo, Ron Chusid and countless others.
That Barack Obama and his supporters are so willing to deceive the public is enough reason to support McCain, even if his health care plan were not so obviously superior.