Memo from Conservative Activists Warns Against Obama Reform Plans
By Dan Eggen
A group of veteran conservative activists have added their voices to the fight against President Obama's health-care reform efforts, writing in a memo released today that Democratic plans will "bankrupt the country and exacerbate unemployment during these difficult times."
The brief, single-page memo is the latest in a series of talking-points documents to emerge as part of the GOP's intensifying attacks on proposed reforms to the health-care system, which many conservatives have begun referring to derisively as "Obamacare."
The missive is signed by a dozen longtime voices in the conservative movement, including Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist, National Taxpayers Union head Duane Parde and former Reagan budget director James C. Miller III.
The memo focuses primarily on economic arguments, asserting that the overall reform plan will be "a job killer" that will "put America on the brink of economic meltdown" and end up "burdening our children and grandchildren with extra debt."
"It is imperative that rationally-minded Republicans and center-right Democrats join together to bring sanity to this debate," the authors write.
The memo's release follows a prime-time press conference on Wednesday night by Obama, who sought to reassure Americans that they could keep their current health plans if they wished and that the costs of doing nothing are far worse. Obama also said he would not sign health-care reform legislation that adds to the federal deficit.
Seeing opportunity in Obama's sagging poll numbers and increasing nervousness among Americans, Republicans have stepped up their efforts this week to derail the Democratic push. One memo from GOP consultant Alex Castellanos making the rounds this month urges Republicans to cast Obama's reform effort as a risky experiment that "will further bankrupt the country with trillions more in deficit spending" that will "put government in charge of the doctors you can see and the types of treatment you can receive."
The new memo from Norquist and others sounds similar themes, and also seeks to tie health-care reforms to the uneven results so far from Obama's $787 billion stimulus package. The memo is being sent to conservative activists around the country, and will be followed by a letter to members of Congress next week, according to Greg Mueller of CRC Public Relations in Alexandria, Va.
A copy of the memo follows:
James C. Miller III, former Reagan Budget Director
Duane Parde, President, National Taxpayers Union
Tom Winter, Editor in Chief, Human Events
Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform
David McIntosh, former U.S. Representative, Indiana
Kenneth Blackwell, former Treasurer, State of Ohio
Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator
Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Jim Martin, President, 60 Plus Association
Marion Edwyn Harrison, President, Free Congress Foundation
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT
RE: The Obama-Pelosi-Reid healthcare reform bill, if passed, would have catastrophic effects on the economy due to its squeeze on employers and its addition to the already alarming federal deficit.
It is imperative that rationally-minded Republicans and center-right Democrats join together to bring sanity to this debate. Don't allow the government to bankrupt the country and exacerbate unemployment during these difficult economic times while at the same time burdening our children and grandchildren with extra debt. Call your Congressmen and Senators and let them know that we cannot afford to kill jobs with another expensive and reckless bill.
ISSUE IN BRIEF: Out of all the projects from Obama's spending spree, the healthcare bill would be the most massive spending bill yet. Moreover, it would be the largest tax increase in American history, while still adding to our nation's record debt. By adding the cost of this irresponsible health care bill to the mix, we will have created a deficit of at least $1.8 trillion, which will bury our children and grandchildren in red ink for decades to come. The bill basically does two things to the nation's health care system:
A. Increases the cost of care to consumers, and
B. Reduces the quality of care for patients
The bill would be a job killer and put America on the brink of economic meltdown.
1. The bill would add a 1% income tax to all individuals earning over $280,000, 1.5% for individuals over $400,000. For those making over $800,000, the bill would increase taxes by a startling 5.4%.
2. When combined with state, local, and Medicare taxes, in 39 out of the 50 states there would be income taxes of over 50% for top earners.
3. This bill creates a pay-or-play tax, whereby those without acceptable healthcare coverage would pay a tax of 2.5% of their income.
4. Government would tax employers 8% of the average wages for employees for all time when the employer was not offering health insurance coverage, with an exception for companies with a payroll under $250,000. This tax gives direct incentives for employers not to hire workers in a time when unemployment has risen to nearly 10%. This tax would destroy jobs.
5. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that healthcare reform would add over $1 trillion in additional spending over 10 years. In this era of record deficits, we cannot afford to burden future generations with even more debt.
6. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf stated on July 16th that the future costs of healthcare will increase over time if the bill is passed in spite of the Administration contending that the plan would cut costs.
7. Congress is already interfering with business and raising taxes at an alarming rate: the House's recently passed cap and trade bill will have the effect of taxing businesses and adding to unemployment, while penalizing American families over $175 per year in higher energy prices.
8. Previous legislation, such as the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act (The Stimulus Package) has not yielded the results as promised as unemployment has risen by 2% in the months since its passage.
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