Moore falsely suggested all small business would be taxed under health care reform

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Appearing on Fox News, Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Stephen Moore again falsely suggested that health care reform legislation would "impose an 8 percent payroll tax on" all small businesses, which would "increase the cost of hiring a new worker." In fact, the "8-percent payroll tax" in the House health care reform bill is a penalty on certain employers who do not provide health care coverage to their employees; businesses that provide health care coverage would be exempt from the tax.

Moore again suggests all small businesses would face 8-percent payroll tax

From the September 3 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

MOORE: By the way, Martha, I can't resist saying the other thing that makes people so angry that are small businessmen and women like this woman, Catherine, is that they are the -- what we call in Washington the "pay for." They have to pay for everything that Barack Obama wants to do. So if you look at who's going to finance this huge trillion-dollar health care bill, it's going to be financed largely through payroll taxes imposed on small businesses.

Now, look, Martha, I've run a small business. I ran a small business with 15 employees once. You know, you -- it's -- it's hard to imagine, if you haven't done it, if you haven't met a payroll, if you don't know what it's like to -- to lose sleep on whether you can keep your business open at night because you don't know whether the next check is coming in -- you're going to impose an 8-percent payroll tax on those small businesses? They're going to have to lay off workers if you do that.

[...]

MOORE: Well, especially because, Martha -- Martha, tomorrow, we got the unemployment numbers that are coming out, and we're expecting a little -- you know, another 250,000 jobs lost. So why in the world would you want to increase the cost of hiring a new worker when we're trying to put 15 million new workers -- unemployed workers back to work?

Moore previously stated: "Every time a business hires a new worker, they'd have to pay an 8-percent tax." Moore previously said: "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." [On the Record, 8/12/09]

Businesses that provide health coverage would not pay 8-percent penalty

8-percent tax is actually a penalty on certain 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)). [America's Affordable Health Choices Act]

Not all small businesses that do not offer health care coverage would face 8-percent penalty. The House bill states that businesses with payrolls of less than $250,000 would not pay a penalty for failing to provide health care coverage to their employees. Of businesses that do not provide health care and whose payroll exceeds $250,000, the penalty varies depending on the size of the company's payroll. The bill establishes an excise tax of 2 percent of payroll for businesses with combined payroll between $250,000 and $300,000; 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. The full 8-percent tax applies only to businesses with payrolls that exceed $400,000. [America's Affordable Health Choices Act]

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

Moore falsely claimed President 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 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 Obama "never used the word 'entrepreneur' " in an April 14 speech on the economy. 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 economic recovery bill includes a provision that would "hav[e] the government essentially dictate treatments." [Fox News' America's Newsroom, 2/10/09]

Transcript

From the September 3 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

MOORE: By the way, Martha, I can't resist saying the other thing that makes people so angry that are small businessmen and women like this woman, Catherine, is that they are the -- what we call in Washington the "pay for." They have to pay for everything that Barack Obama wants to do. So if you look at who's going to finance this huge trillion-dollar health care bill, it's going to be financed largely through payroll taxes imposed on small businesses.

Now, look, Martha, I've run a small business. I ran a small business with 15 employees once. You know, you -- it's -- it's hard to imagine, if you haven't done it, if you haven't met a payroll, if you don't know what it's like to -- to lose sleep on whether you can keep your business open at night because you don't know whether the next check is coming in -- you're going to impose an 8 percent payroll tax on those small businesses? They're going to have to lay off workers if you do that.

MARTHA MacCALLUM (guest host): Well, that's exactly --

MOORE: If you make labor more expensive --

MacCALLUM: -- what they'll do.

MOORE: -- they're going to lay them off.

MacCALLUM: Yeah, and --

MOORE: And by the way --

MacCALLUM: -- that's -- that, you know, makes progress go in the opposite direction in terms of --

MOORE: Exactly.

MacCALLUM: -- producing jobs in this country.

MOORE: Well, especially because, Martha -- Martha, tomorrow, we got the unemployment numbers that are coming out, and we're expecting a little -- you know, another 250,000 jobs lost. So why in the world would you want to increase the cost of hiring a new worker when we're trying to put 15 million new workers -- unemployed workers back to work?

MacCALLUM: Well, you know, these are very good issues and they need to be focused on as, you know, they come back from the break and they're going to sit down, supposedly, and try to rework some of this bill.

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