Pearlstein's analysis is a bit technical (why is it that I so frequently get lost when I try to conceptualize the incentive-effects of different tax structures/mechanisms?), but this paragraph summarizes his main point fairly concisely:
"Of the roughly 13 million taxpayers who derive most of their income from business profits, fewer than 500,000 would be subject to any surtax at all -- and of those, fewer than 100,000 subject to the full 5.4 percent surtax. That 5.4 percent rate, by the way, kicks in only after a taxpayer's income (salary and profits) rises above $1 million, which would typically be a business with more than $10 million in revenue and more than 100 employees. That's hardly the small, cash-strapped start-up that animates the Republican anti-tax fantasy."The interesting part of Pearlstein's piece is that he starts off by stating his opinion that the tax surcharge is a bad idea. He says he's willing to defend it anyway because Congress will likely fail to muster the political will to accomplish Pearlstein's preferred option: "lowering the costs of the health-care system while redistributing its benefits."
267. To what extent is the health care reform debate skewed by the fact that the decision-makers, in both the executive and legislative branches, don't have to pay for their own health insurance? My understanding is that Congressional benefits are quite comprehensive; this reality must decrease -- particularly in the eyes of members who have not worked in the private sector for many years -- the perceived need to confront the problem of rising premiums.