Skip to comments.Dems to grill execs after health-tax whacks (Embarrassing Nostrilitis should be easy)
Posted on 04/02/2010 6:37:35 AM PDT by Libloather
Dems to grill execs after health-tax whacks
By S.A. MILLER, Post Correspondent
Last Updated: 6:25 AM, April 1, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Adding insult to injury, Democratic leaders are hauling CEOs from major corporations before Congress to defend writing off billions of dollars because President Obama's health care overhaul whacks them with a new tax.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, fired off a letter to top executives at John Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and AT&T, calling them to testify about the announced earnings losses caused by a new tax on retiree drug benefits.
"The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern. They also appear to conflict with independent analyses," said the letter to AT&T President Randall Stephenson, who announced the company would charge off $1 billion in earnings.
The three other CEOs got letters signed by Waxman and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the oversight and investigation subcommittee that will grill the executives April 21.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
RUSH: Well, I have a story later on down in the stack, and it's all about how companies are mean and evil and they're going to make their existing employees work even harder and get their productivity up from their current employees, making them more efficient and therefore not needing to hire any new workers.
Everything that is being reported as something sour or bad in terms of economic news, such as all of these corporations taking their first-quarter charge -- one page of the 2,700-page health care bill, one page cost AT&T a billion dollars. And a lot of other companies are adding to it daily. And of course these guys are going to be summoned to Henry Waxman's economy in late April to explain themselves. I hope to hell they do. I hope to hell they do explain themselves instead of caving in. I have no idea what's going to happen, but I sure hope they don't cave. So they're going to be blamed. This is the way it's all being set up. Remember, when Obama first started talking about this brilliant tax credit for every employee hired, small businesses would get a $3,000 tax credit for every employee hired. And even I, who am not an economist, know full well what a joke that is. If you hire somebody, let's just pick a round number at $50,000 a year, and it costs you another ten to get them health care benefits, so you have to pay 60 grand to hire somebody, and they're going to give you a $3,000 tax credit? It ain't worth it. So when small businesses do not take up Obama on his offer, why, guess who gets the blame? He gets to run around, (imitating Obama) "I tried, I tried, small business, I'm on their side, but they still refuse, they refuse to bring on new workers. Greed and the profit motive are more important to them than their workers." And that's exactly what's going to happen here with these companies being brought into Washington to face Henry Waxman.
Bart Stupak, by the way, is the number two Democrat on that committee that's going to be grilling these people, just so you know, and they're going to get the blame for this. Waxman said this bill was designed to reduce prices, but Pelosi said any insurance company that raises premiums will not be allowed to enter the federal exchange. Folks, this is, I don't know how to describe it, Stalinist? Certainly what Waxman is doing is Stalinist. To tell these insurance companies -- they have no choice but to raise premium prices. Oh, by the way, in the health care stack today, do you realize we're back to 46 million uninsured now? We are back to 46 million uninsured. "Can't Afford Health Care? Wait 'til June." This is Parija Kavilanz, the senior writer for CNNMoney.com. "For millions of uninsured or underinsured Americans, health reform legislation will soon remove some of the barriers preventing them from getting the coverage they need. The most immediate changes affecting those who don't have health insurance, or are not buying enough insurance to meet their needs, start in about 81 days." How many people will die in 81 days not having health insurance?
"Underinsured consumers are those who incur high out-of-pocket costs -- excluding premiums -- relative to their income, despite having coverage all year. By one estimate, about 25 million Americans can't afford to cover the gap between what their insurance covers and what their medical bills demand. ... Many other longer term measures will be phased in over the next few years," and wait for it, "more than 46 million Americans currently don't have any health insurance." Now, during the health care debate it was 32 million, remember? Now we're back to 46. I guess somewhere we are actually covering illegals now, somewhere in this 3,000 page monstrosity. Call the Congressional Budget Office, how can this possibly be, 46 million Americans currently don't have any health insurance. I don't know how you expect 32 million, 46 million to be given coverage and have premiums not go up. And Pelosi says if the insurance companies raise their premiums, they're not going to be allowed in the exchange. Well, what is the objective? The objective all along has been to rid the nation of the private health insurance business, to wipe it out and to move as quickly as they can to the single payer government system. That's what Waxman's committee hearing is all about. You just can't trust Americans, they're greedy, they're trying to show up President Obama, they're trying to embarrass President Obama, that's what the storyline is going to be.
RUSH: Obamacare was designed to fool you for a long, long time. Focus on the goodies, the carrots, the talking points, and don't get blindsided by all of the taxes, the bad stuff, for a while. Hush up the costs, the real costs to your premiums, your taxes, to job growth and to the deficit until after the elections. Just talk about all the good stuff that was going to happen, all the uninsured that would become insured, all of the sick would become healthy, all of the wonderful things that were going to happen, your premiums being reduced by $2,500. Most of next year's increases in health care premiums won't take effect until after the 2010 election because most business plans, corporate plans renew every January, so premium increases will not show up 'til January of 2011. Most of the real harm won't come until after Obama's 2012 immaculation, if there is to be one. It was dirty politics, but it was shrewd in a political sense. To paraphrase Biden, "This scheme was a big F-ing deal."
But like most government schemes, unintended consequences hit the fan sooner rather than later, and in this case all it took was a week. The first multibillion-dollar disaster you were not told about is already big news. Just one page of the 2,700 pages of Obamacare already cost at least $1 billion and up to $14 billion to businesses that are supposed to create jobs. AT&T had to take a $1 billion charge. Verizon, hundreds of millions. Caterpillar, ditto. John Deere, Valero Energy, AK Steel and 3M announced the costs of Obamacare to their bottom lines, on just one page. And of course the liberals and the White House and Obama and the media are furious. The grand inquisitor, Henry "Nostrilitis" Waxman, has called the companies to appear before his inquisition, uh, committee. How dare they tell the truth about this plan! So what you have here, my friends, is the liberal dream, total chaos, damned if you do, damned if you don't. If they announced the added cost, if they announce that they have to take this charge based on the tax rule that's being changed, then Henry Waxman will go after them.
If they don't announce this, then the SEC will go after them because they're not being honest and open with investors. And something tells me this is only the beginning. What was it Pelosi said? We have to pass the bill so the American people will learn what's in it. Apparently that was true. Every day the American people are seeing what's in this bill. This is just the first week. And apparently nobody read the bill. Obama didn't read the bill. He didn't care. Nobody in Congress read the bill. The bill was not posted and available to study even for five measly days as promised. So when the country's best accountants and tax attorneys working for America's best companies report the impact of a bill that Pelosi said they had to pass in order for us to know what was in it, they are deemed to be partisan liars and hauled before Congress. And this won't work unless these companies do a Stupak and sell out their principles.
I'd like to give some advice to these companies who reported, as required by law, the impact of Obamacare on the bottom line. Learn from the oil companies the last time they were attacked by Congress and fire back with both barrels. Learn from the Republicans at the propaganda summit at the Blair House. They didn't sit there and take it. Come prepared. Leave as heroes. Be clear and honest and firm because you will be embraced by the country and you will embarrass Congress, which has the lowest approval ratings in its history. Take full advantage of this. This is not a popular Congress, and Waxman epitomizes the old lore that politics is show biz for the ugly. Certainly nobody loves Henry Waxman. I know people that are hauled before these committees get scared to death. I mean these guys can write laws to put 'em out of business, as the health care bill actually will accomplish when talking about the private insurance business. But I think that the Democrats, politically speaking, if the pressure is kept on, are quickly approaching, in a political sense, room temperature here. It's a great opportunity. It needs to be seen as a great opportunity. Don't back down, CEOs. Don't be like the auto company CEOs and go up there and grovel, look what happened to them.
Embarrass these leftists. Set your company free. November is not that far away. This Congress is not going to be in charge for long. Don't treat them as they view themselves. Obama, if you want to understand Obama, everything will fall in place if you just understand that he views himself as a ruler, not as a president, and so do the Democrats on Capitol Hill and Congress and the Senate. They view themselves as permanent rulers. They are historically unpopular stewards working on borrowed time. They occupy a reserved space in The Universe of Lies. And that Universe of Lies will shrink if Americans tell the truth and don't fall victim to intimidation tactics of these kind of thugs.
FoxNews.com: "The CEOs of some of the country's biggest companies are being summoned to Washington to defend claims that the health care reform law would cost them millions -- a move Republicans say amounts to intimidation. Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on Friday fired off letters to the heads of Caterpillar, Verizon, AT&T and Deere after they and other firms reported that the health care overhaul would dig deep into their bottom lines. ... Waxman, in his letters, called these estimates a 'matter of concern' and said they 'appear to conflict with independent analyses' showing the law would lead to a decrease in premium costs for large companies. Waxman called the CEOs to Washington to testify at an April 21 hearing and requested full documentation from the firms detailing how they arrived at their estimates."
If you've ever heard me use the term Stalinist and you wonder what that means, you're watching it. (doing Waxman impression) "You guys have to come before me, how dare you lie and embarrass the president? Everybody knows we are cutting costs here and how dare you do this just to embarrass the president. You come up here and you bring every bit of your financial data so we can go through it and prove you to be a liar because we have independent analysts who have said that this shouldn't be happening." So the setup here, there's nobody with any economic literacy whatsoever who doesn't understand the dire costs of this, the fact that insurance premiums are going to skyrocket, that there will be health care rationing, that the quality of service is going to plummet. There's no other way this can happen. Private insurance is going to be driven out of business. Pelosi said last week if they raise premiums they're not going to be permitted in the government exchanges. That's Stalinist. That's certainly not the kind of thing that happens in a democracy or representative republic at all.
So when these things happen, as they are guaranteed by economic law to happen -- prices go up, quality service goes down, availability goes down -- guess who's going to get the blame? The American private sector. That has been Obama's plan from day one. He doesn't like the private sector. His job is to redistribute as much wealth as he can from the private sector to people who don't work, to people he thinks are the nation's rightful owners. The Democrats have spent years and years and years demonizing businesses large and small from Big Oil to Big Pharmaceutical to Big Retail. Take a look their enemies list and you'll see a business category at every stop on that list. The private sector is the enemy of government desires to expand. They want to take over the role of providing and creating dependence for as many people as possible.
So you set this all up, take years and years and years to demonize business, and then when they come out and tell the truth about what this plan's going to do to them, you blame them. They're required by the SEC to report this. And basically it's the elimination of a tax break that they get on pensions, retired health care benefits they provided former employees. There's a tax break they get for doing that. Now that tax break is gone and that's what's leading to all these new operating costs. If they don't report this the SEC comes after 'em and says they're not being open and honest with investors. If they do report it, as required by law, they get summoned by Henry Waxman. The bottom line, this wasn't supposed to happen. We were supposed to be in sweetness and light. We were supposed to be in shining countenance of Obamacare. And instead, we've got utter chaos, which will play out in Obama's fame and in his own way. They've been talking about this is only the beginning of the health care incremental style, we've got a long way to go.
RUSH: "Boeing Co. will take a charge of $150 million due to the recent health care overhaul legislation, the aircraft maker said Wednesday. The charge will hurt earnings by 20 cents per share in the first quarter of 2010." Now, a lot of people are confused about this because this change, this tax deduction being taken away doesn't go into effect 'til 2013, after the 2012 presidential election. "In 2013 Boeing will no longer be able to claim an income tax deduction related to certain prescription drug benefits for retirees." Now, AT&T has a bunch of retirees which is why their charge is a billion dollars. "Accounting rules require that the company take the charge during the period the legislation is enacted," not when the actual element is implemented. Several other companies have said they will take accounting charges due to all this. In fact, there's an Illinois company: "Illinois Tool to Take $22 Million Charge Due to New Health-Care Law." And the accounting rules again require that the company take the charge during the period the legislation is enacted. Now, what the White House is setting up here, "This is all a Republican plot."
"The White House political and legislative operations were said to be livid with the announcement by several large US companies that they were taking multi-million or as much as a billion dollar charges because of the new health-care law. ... 'These are Republican CEOs who are trying to embarrass the President and Democrats in general,' says a White House legislative affairs staffer. 'Where do you hear about this stuff? The Wall Street Journal editorial page and conservative websites. No one else picked up on this but you guys. It's BS.'" No, the AP's picked up on it, everybody's picked up on it, it's not BS. "On Friday White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett were calling the CEOs and Washington office heads of the companies that took the financial hits and attacked them for doing so. One Washington office head said that the White House calls were accusatory and 'downright rude.' ... 'Most of these people [in the Administration] have never had a real job in their lives. They don't understand a thing about business, and that includes the President,' says a senior lobbyist for one of the companies that announced the charge. 'My CEO sat with the President over lunch with two other CEOs, and each of them tried to explain to the President what this bill would do to our companies and the economy in general. First the President didn't understand what they were talking about. Then he basically told my boss he was lying,'" at lunch. "'Frankly my boss was embarrassed for him; he clearly had not been briefed and didn't know what was in the bill,'" and doesn't understand it anyway.
Now, let's take this at face value and let's say that this is true. It is almost believable to me that Obama would not know this is in there. And it's almost believable to me that he would not understand when people who know something, form of expertise, would explain to him why X is going to happen because of Y or Y is going to happen because of X. I think these people just assume the golden goose is always going to be there. They must assume this with all the debt we're piling up, all the planned new taxes they have on people that we cannot afford, all this new spending. But Obama is impervious to facts, impervious to the truth. All he's concerned about is seeing to it that he can shrink the private sector as much and as quickly as possible with most of what is being shrunk taken over by government, and the biggest expansion that we have ever seen.
RUSH: You know what I would do? I really mean this. You know, for some reason, my friends, I had no fear of these people, and I perhaps should have based on their stated intentions for people like me. But if I were one of these CEOs, I would parade up there and I'd take my financial data as required by Commissar Waxman and then after he goes through my financial data, I would say, "By the way, Congressman, can we get a full accounting of how you arrived at your estimates for the cost of health care reform? You say you've got these independent analysts. Could we see what they came up with? Because frankly, Congressman, we live in the real world, and these analysts don't know what they're talking about."
It's very simple. All of this is a result of Enron, all these new accounting rules. It basically stems from this fact. Companies used to be able to deduct part of their costs for providing drug benefits to their retirees. Obamacare cancels the deduction. "Roland McDevitt, director of health care research at Towers Watson, tells the Wall Street Journal, they 'have a stream of tax benefits they are losing way out in the future,'" meaning these companies. And since they "had counted on these deductions for current and future retirees as an existing asset under the old law, accounting rules require firms to take the full loss for the change in the same quarter in which the tax law is changed. Hence Fridays announcement to inform shareholders that AT&Ts bottom line was about to take a $1 billion hit."
Now, it has been estimated that this alone, when you add up all of the tax changes here that would affect all companies in the country you're looking at a $14 billion hit. "Towers Watson estimates that just this tax change alone will eliminate $14 billion in US corporate profits. That's $14 billion less American employers have to spend creating new jobs when our unemployment rate is still 9.7%." And don't forget Kathleen Sebelius. (imitating Sebelius) "Yeah, our goal here is to really reduce the insurance company profits, we really want to get those down." I think it was Hillary or Obama that said during the campaign, "The oil companies are not going to give up those profits easily." So I think what they want is for companies to stay in business at a zero-sum game. No profit, no loss, or maybe a loss, the job was the thing. Companies exist to provide health care and jobs, not to make profits. Profits are evil.
FedEx has a target painted on itself now, it announced a big profit. This bunch simply doesn't like profits, even though it requires profits for them to get half of what they need to finance their big government. So it's an all-out war on prosperity that's happening here, and it shows no signs of letting up.
RUSH: Joe in Idaho Falls, Idaho, welcome to the EIB Network. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush, thanks for having me on. Hey, I just wanted to briefly bring up that letter that Waxman sent out to those corporations. I read the letter, I think it's a complete and total joke. Let me tell you what's going to happen. These corporations are going to show up and they're going to lay their financials out, and they're going to be able to defend the position that they've made because they have to do the reporting, and they're not like the government -- they can't just print money out of thin air -- so once they do that, then Obama is going to have to keep to the one promise of making sure nobody else loses their health care, and the way they're going to do that is they're going to offer to support these companies, that they're too big to fail, too many people are going to suffer and lose their coverage, and so they're going to nationalize these companies. They're gonna offer to support them and the people that --
CALLER: -- are at risk of losing their health insurance --
CALLER: -- to these corporations are going to support that position.
RUSH: Interesting. I hadn't considered that. That will be interesting to watch.
So, the very Congress persons who were so proud of voting for this mystery legislation are now going to pretend that they know what is in it?
It should be amusing to watch the Democrats try to prove that they are smarter than those in private industry who actually create jobs, pay the bills, pay the taxes and successfully keep companies afloat.
Perhaps the Dems will just “deem” the CEO’s to be incorrect in following SEC rules if they announce that they are following the rules and it embarrasses Obama.
I don’t get it. They are TOLD by LAW to fill out a form that presents their financial viability. They fill it out and it shows they are losing billions in profit. The format comes from the government, and if it is filled out incorrectly or is not filled out, they go to jail. Simple. So READ THE FORM to the Democrats that created it and FILL IN THE BLANKS with the truths they asked for. This should be the PROOF we need to prove that Health Care is BS. Seems the companies would welcome this spotlight to SHOW THE WORLD what health care is really going to cost. If done right, Waxman has aimed a political weapon right at his own head. This one should be “easy” ... why are they making it difficult?
Just once, I would love to see some of those people who are called to testify in front of Congress grow some balls and instead of going up there and grovelling and snivelling like they always do, act like they have a set and say something like this:
“Mr. Chairman, you’ve got a lot of gad damned gall calling us away from the important things we have to do to come over here like some lawn jockey who is at your beck and call. In case you haven’t been informed yet, we do not work for you. Rather it’s quite the opposite and you should consider yourself as working for us. Until you clean up your own act and perform as if you took seriously the trust that has been given to you by the people of this country, you should leave us well alone.
We are actually out there every day working and producing something and employing people and paying our taxes. In short, we are what makes this country run and not the likes of you. This may be the last time we extend you the courtesy of showing up and being civil because you don’t even deserve the former by your own performance lately.”
I would pay a lot to see that.
Not so much. Nostrilitus can throw them in jail for contempt if they speak out of turn.
We cannot weaken; we cannot be defeated - America rides on their shoulders per these hearings!
I’ll put my B in Fundamentals of Accounting up against Zero’s degree in Political BS anyday. I hope Waxman does jail the CEO’s when they say FU to congress. That will “incite” the people.
the New McCarthyism.
Except far more insidious. They are being punished for complying with the law! (i.e. GAAP, SEC Regs and SOX) The problem is that these idiots in congress had no clue how this was actually going to impact the real world.
We read the bill. Apparently Mr. Waxass you have not. I suggest before you vote on a bill you actuall READ the sucker. Maybe then you will be as informed as I am here today. So don’t call me here to berate me on something you are so ill informed on. Do your homework PIG NOSE! Just a thought
I would give half my net worth to see every CEO pull their own version of Hank Reardon’s response to the Bureau of Economic Planning inquisition.
See post 13.
It really is shocking.
Our Government is now run by full fledged Communists.
There is no difference between Hugo Chaves, Fidel Castro, or our Kenyan Presidente.
Does anyone know what "independent analysis" he's talking about? I expect there's a story of it's own to be told there.
Dear Commissar Waxass,
As our government has now alleviated it self of the burdensome responsibility of working for the people, and instead now forces the people to work for it, please then Mr. Waxass, tell me how to report my earning so that they may fool the people on your behalf and further your goal of destroying the private sector.
Honorable Waxass, I have no other statements. Thank you.
If you peruse it, you'll be astonished by the man's knowledge, his perspicacity in analysis, his grasp of the politics, intrigue and psychology of the issue.....and in general, the brilliance of his mind as he AD LIBS his thoughts without the er's, um's and telprompters of the False Prophet.
I hope we have the benefit of Rush's acumen and mastery for many more years to come. Wow, he's incredible. He IS a gift from on high.
It seems pretty obvious that these companies have been put in a bad position, and I hope republicans on the committee ask “how many employees will you lay off to remain solvent so that you don't go bankrupt because of these new laws?”.
Then, leave the hearing, issue a press alert, and start laying people off.
The first response from any of these CEOs should be:
“Congressman, before we begin, I want to ask one question. With respect to who answers to who, do you think I answer to you, or do you answer to me and the American people? With the answer to that question, we can proceed.”
Except the Honorable Senator Joe McCarthy was RIGHT.
I honestly don’t know why not one journalist in the MSM is not addressing the tactics used by this administration. They are making a concerted effort to shut down free speech if they don’t like what is being said. They are trying to shut down everyone from the tea partiers to Fox News, to talk radio to corporations. Unprecedented!
Looks like a cross between Porky Pig and Miss Piggy.
President Obama’s health care overhaul whacks them with a new tax.The CEO’s will pay for telling the truth however I wonder what laws will Obama change or alter to fit his agenda?.
But then they wouldn't get invited to the cool DC parties, or win a spot in the (Liberal) Journalism Hall of Fame!