Healthcare: Tax which Cadillac?

But while the customers of the auto companies were able to get government money in the "Cash for Clunkers" program, the president and the Senate want to tax those policyholders who get a slightly higher-quality clunker in these so-called "Cadillac" plans.

Never mind that the idea is the very one about which candidate Barack Obama ripped apart candidate John McCain. Now President Obama and the Senate Democrats are ripping it off because, heaven forbid, they'd otherwise have to finance some of the healthcare reforms with a higher levy on the wealthy.

Sometimes it's really hard to tell these guys apart from the Republicans. The difference is that the GOP makes no bones about being a tax haven for the rich. The Democrats like to pretend they represent the little guy.

So why do so many of them resist a surcharge on millionaires to make sure everyone has access to what should be an inherent right to adequate medical treatment?

Frankly, why is there just the one break point for the added tax? Why not escalating rates? The higher the bracket, the higher the percentage. For that matter, why not a return to such a setup for all income?

That's what we used to have — it was known as "progressive,” for those who don't remember. It was part of a quaint concept called "fairness.”

The idea was to better share the nation's wealth rather than let just a few hoard it. It could then be used for the greater good, like garbage collection, police protection, education, etc., etc., etc. Shouldn't healthcare be one of those "etc.s"?

There are decent arguments about the so-called "Cadillac" plans: whether, like the luxury cars, they are wasteful and do more harm than good. But those who can pay for them probably can also afford a little more to make sure nearly everyone else at least has the basics. It's essential for the overall health of a nation that provided them the opportunity to prosper.

Of course, this is where we hear the argument that it's the possibility of untold riches that inspires the creative individual to come up with innovation. But wouldn't "told" riches be enough?

How many Cadillacs does one need, particularly when the streets are crowded with so many who can't afford to pay for the most fundamental health protection?


Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.