When Sen. Rockefeller Warns of a “big, big tax” on the Middle Class

Senator Rockefeller warning of a big, big tax on the middle class to pay for ObamaCare is very, very strange.

It would be like a staunch Republican warning that a planned tax cut is too big.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that health care reform has so stressed and strained Members of Congress and their constituents that these stresses are manifesting themselves in very, uh, unique ways.

Here is how ABC News reports the Sen. Rockefeller view:

“It’s not every day that you hear a Democratic senator charge that a fellow Democrat is proposing to raise taxes on the middle class, but that is what happened on Tuesday when Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ripped into the health-care bill developed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Baucus proposal would impose, starting in 2013, a 35 percent excise tax on insurance companies for “high-cost plans” — defined as those above $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for family plans.

Health economists believe a tax on high-priced benefits could help slow the growth of health costs by making consumers more sensitive to prices.

The tax contemplated by Baucus is also a big revenue raiser. It is expected to raise $200 billion, money that Baucus is hoping to use to pay for subsidies for the uninsured.

Given how much money this kind of tax can raise, Rockefeller says he understands why it is “tempting.”

The West Virginia Democrat worries, however, that a lot of middle class workers, like the coal miners in his state, will end up facing “a big, big tax” under the Baucus bill because they currently enjoy generous employer-provided health care benefits which they receive tax free.”

The real question is if Senator Rockefeller is trashing the Baucus bill with the blessings or winks and nods of the White House — who were against such a tax in the Presidential election campaign.

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