WSJ's Moore falsely claimed health bill requires employers to pay extra tax for every "new worker"

››› ››› ADAM SHAH

On Fox News, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore falsely claimed that the House tri-committee health care reform legislation includes "an employment tax," under which, "[e]very time a business hires a new worker, they'd have to pay an 8 percent tax." In fact, the "8 percent tax" is a penalty on certain employers who do not provide health care coverage to their employees, requiring them to pay 8 percent of their payroll; businesses that provide health care coverage would be exempt from the tax.

From the August 12 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

MOORE: People forget that one of the major ways that this health care bill is paid for is on the backs of small businesses, and there's an employment tax. Every time a business hires a new worker, they'd have to pay an 8 percent tax under this bill -- my goodness.

At a time when we've got, you know, record high unemployment, why in the world would you want to put more taxes on small businesses that create the jobs at a time when we've got nine-and-a-half percent unemployment? It makes no sense. Let's suspend this health care bill and this new tax on employment until we get the jobs back.

Businesses that provide health coverage would not pay 8 percent penalty

8 percent tax is actually a penalty on employers who do not provide health care coverage to their employees. The House tri-committee bill states that the tax applies only to employers who elect not to provide sufficient health care coverage as described in the bill:

''(c) EMPLOYERS ELECTING TO NOT PROVIDE HEALTH BENEFITS. --

'(1) IN GENERAL. -- In addition to other taxes, there is hereby imposed on every nonelecting employer an excise tax, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to 8 percent of the wages (as defined in section 3121(a)) paid by him with respect to employment (as defined in section 3121(b)).

Businesses with payrolls of less than $250,000 are exempt; those with payrolls of $250,000 to $400,000 pay a lower rate. The House bill also states that businesses with payrolls of less than $250,000 would not pay a penalty for failing to cover their employees. The full 8 percent tax applies only to businesses with payrolls that exceed $400,000. The bill also establishes an excise tax of 2 percent of payroll for businesses with combined payroll between $250,000 and $300,000 that don't offer health insurance to employees; a 4 percent penalty for businesses with $300,000 to $350,000 in payroll; and a 6 percent penalty for businesses with $350,000 to $400,000 in payroll.

Moore has repeatedly advanced falsehoods and misinformation about Democrats' economic policies

Ignoring problem of underinsured, Moore argued that insured don't need health care reform. Moore claimed that the "bigger" problem for the Obama administration in passing health care reform is that "the vast majority of Americans do have health insurance," ignoring the fact that tens of millions of Americans are underinsured and that the reform bills contain several provisions intended to benefit those currently insured. [Fox News' America's Newsroom; 7/30/09]

Moore falsely claimed Obama "won't ... cut taxes" after Obama already had done so. Moore said of the Obama administration's plans for dealing with the economic situation: "The one thing this administration won't do is cut taxes." In fact, the recovery act included $288 billion in tax relief. [On the Record; 7/7/09]

Moore pushed widely disputed Spanish study to attack American Clean Energy and Security Act. Moore cited the findings of a widely disputed study by a Spanish economist to assert that the United States would lose two jobs for every one green job created if the American Clean Energy and Security Act passed. [CNN's Your Money; 6/27/09]

Moore falsely accused Frank of "involvement in giving a blank check to Fannie and Freddie." Moore falsely accused Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) of "involvement in giving a blank check to Fannie and Freddie," echoing the oft-repeated myth that Frank fought efforts to strengthen congressional oversight over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [CNBC's Street Signs; 5/13/09]

Moore falsely claimed Obama "never used the word 'entrepreneur' " in speech. Moore falsely claimed that President Obama "never used the word 'entrepreneur' " in an April 14 speech. In fact, Obama said in the speech: "If businesses and entrepreneurs know today that we are closing this carbon pollution loophole, they'll start investing in clean energy now." [CNBC's The Kudlow Report; 4/14/09]

Moore advanced McCaughey health care falsehood. Moore echoed a falsehood advanced by former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey in claiming that the recovery act includes a provision that would "hav[e] the government essentially dictate treatments." [America's Newsroom; 2/10/09]

Transcript

From the August 12 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

MOORE: People forget that one of the major ways that this health care bill is paid for is on the backs of small businesses, and there's an employment tax. Every time a business hires a new worker, they'd have to pay an 8 percent tax under this bill -- my goodness.

At a time when we've got, you know, record high unemployment, why in the world would you want to put more taxes on small businesses that create the jobs at a time when we've got nine-and-a-half percent unemployment? It makes no sense. Let's suspend this health care bill and this new tax on employment until we get the jobs back.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think that the -- I think that the members of Congress are getting an earful while they're home -- at least a number of them -- on this health care bill, and that --

MOORE: I hope they are.

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