Originally published MAy 31, 2012
Baseball season is in full swing, but there’s never an off season for the tax code. Despite big league expectations, a tax credit incenting businesses to offer healthcare insurance seems to be in a prolonged slump. As part of the Affordable Heathcare Act of 2010 (aka Obamancare) some 4 million businesses were expected to take advantage of a special tax credit built into that legislation. According the Associated Press, only 170,300 have done so to date. That’s a batting average of .043 – in any league enough to get you scratched from the roster.
The reason for the credit’s lackluster reception is familiar. Businesses cite the time consuming effort to qualify doesn’t justify the paltry benefit. Documentation, calculation and form completion all take time to assemble. This weighs more heavily on small businesses, our primary job creators. Not only that, but the credit expires in 2016 so mastering the red tape has limited future payoff.
The reaction of the administration has been to go back to Congress to fix this little hitch in its swing. Of course election year politics being what they are and the GOP’s eagerness to swap Obamacare for a “player to be named later” make this a pretty steep challenge. The usual accusations will fly in both directions.
Wouldn’t it be a lot better to address the real problem? The tax code continues to be an excessively complex behemoth used to further the cause of every would be social engineer and political crony. It should be dumped faster than a .043 hitter.
Under the FairTax, this failed credit as well as other maladies of the tax code would go away. Then frazzled businesspeople might welcome, rather than dread, the coming of April and renewal of the national pastime.
Let’s swing for the fences and pass the FairTax.