Pacemaker (
by Steve Timmer
Dec 19, 2015, 12:30 PM

Ron Way wins a Spotty ™

Graphic by Tild

Graphic by Tild

Ron Way has had several interesting op-eds in the Strib recently, including one on the negative effects of dams on river and riparian life, one on the democratic-socialist mixed economy that we already live in, and one recently on the suspension of the medical device tax contained in the latest budget bill out of Congress. Each could have been awarded the coveted Spotty™, but he gets the medallion for this last one. Here’s just a few grafs:

Never count out a determined, wealthy special interest from ultimately working its will in Congress, especially when that interest lathers politicians with campaign money.

And never bet on low-income folks in cases where they don’t spend a dime — mainly because they don’t have a dime to spend.

Such a saga is playing out right now in Washington, D.C., as Congress votes on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that includes a provision to suspend a 2.3 percent medical-device tax that the industry has feverishly tried to kill ever since it was included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The tax raises up to $3 billion annually to fund help for low-income folks needing health care. These are the little people that U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., likes to say she can be counted on to support against big moneyed interests.

Except when she doesn’t, like now.

“Oh, it’s a job killer,” say Sens. Kloubuchar, Franken, and Rep. Erik Paulsen. Even though it’s not, as statistics recounted by Mr. Way bear out.

The op-ed continues:

The industry peppered the media with claims that “30,000 jobs” would be lost or moved overseas due to the tax, exports would dry up, and research and development would suffer.

Since it was an excise tax, it was levied on all medical devices, including ones manufactured abroad but “consumed” here; it didn’t discriminate against US device makers. Moreover, it didn’t penalize US makers abroad, either, since the tax wasn’t levied on exported devices.

And the manufacturers obviously benefited from a larger market that could afford their products.

But the industry’s campaign of misinformation worked on enough law makers to suspend the tax.

Remember, friends, a Spotty™ is awarded for an op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog post or comment that I wish I had written myself.

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