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The Grinches Stealing America’s Christmas

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are behaving a lot like the unrepentant Grinch Who Stole Christmas — urged on by Grinch in Chief Joe Biden.

Only, this wholesale theft inflicts real-world pain on American entrepreneurs, innovators and those who benefit from their entrepreneurial and innovative talents. The victims include those who work at the businesses these entrepreneurs create and those whose lives and well-being are enhanced through American innovations.

The partisan budget reconciliation legislation (H.R. 5376) contains many nefarious, Grinchian provisions that spell trouble for our nation’s future. This legislation assaults Americans’ property rights, including intellectual property. It weighs down our most productive citizens with heavy, even confiscatory, tax burdens and diminished economic freedom.

This monstrosity injects government bureaucrats into our economy in breathtakingly socialistic, centralized ways. It solidifies command-and-control measures intended to quash America’s ability to advance our industrial competitiveness, which we could do by taking advantage of our abundant resources that could make us energy-independent and assure our economic strength.

Consider some examples:

The highly successful, extremely popular, market-based Medicare Part D prescription drug program and Medicare Advantage private health plan choices option get saddled with onerous bureaucratic restraints, including price controls. H.R. 5376 seriously undercuts these programs’ cornerstones of consumer choice and private sector competition for seniors’ selection.

The reconciliation bill puts price caps on Parts B and D medicines and charges a 95% excise tax penalty if a drug’s price rises above the rate of general inflation. That’s regardless of market forces (e.g., supply shortages of components, supply manufacturer worker strike) beyond the pharmaceutical innovator’s control.

H.R. 5376 also gives government authority to dictate the price of certain brand drugs. That’s common in government-run health systems. It hasn’t been allowed in Medicare. Even worse, these government-fixed drug prices apply to the private sector — directly interfering with private right of contract.

Bogus, partisan congressional “reports” on drug costs notwithstanding, thanks to the Hatch-Waxman Act which balances biopharma innovation and generic drug competition, generics’ prices average 39% less than brand drugs costed before a generic’s introduction. FDA data indicate a single generic competitor today reduces a brand medicine’s price more than the drug price controls of H.R. 5376 would achieve. Thus, H.R. 5376 sacrifices pharma innovation while producing less in cost reductions and causing the number of new cures and treatments to fall.

And the bill effectively forces Medicare Advantage health plan enrollees to pay for new dental, hearing and vision care coverage this legislation creates in conventional, fee-for-service Medicare. Never before has Medicare tapped one beneficiary population to underwrite another groups’ benefits.

Heads-up, Baby Boomers: These dramatic, disruptive changes come just as MA plans’ enrollment approaches 30 million enrollees.

Between H.R. 5376 and Senate budget reconciliation negotiators, wealth creators and job creators have a target on their backs in the death tax arena. The House bill cuts the estate tax exemption in half. It also contains “indirect death tax hikes in the form of severe restrictions on legitimate grantor trusts and on common-sense family business valuation rules.”

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (AKA Horace Greeley) is pushing a “double death tax” called “mark to market,” which taxes unrealized capital gains upon death. This is a killer for family businesses, farmers and ranchers.

Ben Franklin warned about the inescapability of death and taxes. These greedy politicians want to leech more money from America’s wealth creators and innovators, and even turn death itself into a taxable event.

And what shall be the result of such legislative theft of private property and quashing of free enterprise and innovation? Among many other detriments, H.R. 5376, whatever it looks and smells like when it comes out of the Senate, will make inflation worse.

Americans have now suffered eight straight months of inflation above 4%. Six of those months exceeded 5%. October surpassed 6%, while November was just shy of 7% — a 39-year high. This appears to be a troubling trend.

Can stagflation be far behind, given the extensive government manipulation and intervention in the productive part of our economy H.R. 5376 contains? The Grinches driving this socialist train (increasingly resembling Jimmy Carter’s economy) won’t admit it, but . . . .

We can kiss this and a lot of future Christmases goodbye if H.R. 5376 becomes law.

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