Based on this article, it’s painfully obvious that Obamacare is inflicting pain into the economy but it isn’t helping the American people:

Deere & Co (DE.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) said they are expecting a combined $250 million in charges this year as a result of changes to the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system that President Barack Obama signed into law this week.

Naturally, the Obama administration is trying to spin this to avoid taking a hit politically:

But Commerce Secretary Gary Locke criticized those estimates as premature. The final law is still being tweaked, with the Senate expected to send a revised version of the landmark legislation back to the House of Representatives later on Thursday after eliminating two minor provisions.

“A lot of the regulations on how this will affect big business haven’t even published yet; so for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible,” Locke said in an interview on CNBC business television.

Secretary Locke can tweak the bill all he wants but that won’t erase the major tax penalties that the bill will inflict on corporations. A little tweake here or there won’t shrink the employer or individual mandates. Tweaking the bill won’t eliminate the tax increase on medical device manufacturers.

“It didn’t take 48 hours before the tax increases in this health care bill started to hit manufacturers and other employers,” said Representative Dave Camp, the top Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. “With over one-half trillion dollars in new taxes, the health care bill is the single largest tax increase in American history. It is a government takeover of health care that families cannot afford and our economy cannot afford.”

At issue in Deere’s and Caterpillar’s forecasts is a provision of the health care reform package that makes a subsidy paid to companies to provide prescription drug coverage to their employees taxable; previously this benefit had not been taxed.

Rep. Camp is exactly right. The Democrats’ health care legislation strips out subsidies that help companies provide prescription drug coverage to their employees. This was a predictable result of the tax increases on ‘evil big business’. This didn’t surprise anyone who paid attention.

According to this WSJ article, Obamacare will hurt other businesses, too:

Even before President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, Caterpillar said it would cost the company at least $100 million more in the first year alone. Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers.

Let’s hear this administration attempt to defend Obamacare against the backdrop of Obamacare’s tax increases causing 1,000 layoffs at Medtronics. If the administration plans on making that pitch in person, I’d recommend their representative wearing a flack jacket to the presentation.

Medtronic isn’t the only medical device manufacturer considering layoffs:

“This bill is a jobs killer,” said Ernie Whiton, chief financial officer of Chelmsford’s Zoll Medical Corp., which employs about 650 people in Massachusetts. Many of those employees work in Zoll’s local manufacturing facility making heart defibrillators. “We could be forced to (move) manufacturing overseas if we can’t pass along these costs to our customers,” said Whiton.

There’s plentiful proof that there is a tax increase on medical device manufacturers. Within 48 hours of signing the bill, Medtronic and Zoll Medical have said that laying off 1,650 people combined is possible. That’s before talking about another little tax increase that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to know about:

Mr. Reed specifically cited a change in the tax treatment of retiree health benefits. When Congress created the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, it included a modest tax subsidy to encourage employers to keep drug plans for retirees, rather than dumping them on the government. The Employee Benefit Research Institute says this exclusion ”equal to 28% of the cost of a drug plan”will run taxpayers $665 per person next year, while the same Medicare coverage would cost $1,209.

The direct result of this tax increase is a shift of retired employees from their companies’ plans onto Medicare’s persciption drug plan.

QUESTION: Did the CBO factor this into their scoring of the Democrats’ health care legislation? I’m betting that they didn’t.

Then there’s the dilemma facing companies that hire seasonal workers:

The bill signed into law on Tuesday by President Barack Obama fines businesses that do not provide health insurance to full-time employees who work more than 120 days a year. The assessment is $2,000 per employee, which, according to SkiNH lobbyist Bruce Berke and group president Alice Pearce, could mean as much as $1 million in fines to the big ski resorts, some of which hire as many as 500 seasonal workers.

Also affected would be any business that hires on a seasonal basis, and, like most nationally, do not offer health insurance.

Pearce said the original Senate health care bill contained only a $750-per-employee fine, which kicked in after a worker was employed 150 days. That exempted most ski areas, she said. But the House tightened it to $2,000 and 120 days.

I talked about the possibility of the Democrats’ health care legislation triggering the next round of layoffs. Now that prediction appears significantly closer to being reality.

Speaker Pelosi talked about the Democrats’ health care legislation as being a jobs bill. That’s insulting. It’s nothing of the sort. In fact, the articles listed above indicate that the pain inflicted by the Democrats’ health care legislation will be deep, sustained and widespread. Despite all that, President Obama dared Republicans to repeal the Democrats’ health care legislation:

In his speech, he mocked Republicans for suggesting that passage of the bill means “Armageddon” and dared them to run on a platform of repealing the bill, as many have vowed to do.

“Now that we passed it, they’re already promising to repeal it,” he said. “They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November. And my attitude is, go for it.”

“If these Congressmen in Washington want to come here in Iowa and tell small business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest,” he added.

The president said cable news talking heads are still “shouting about the end of the world” and said that Republicans are offering disingenuous suggestions that the bill means the “end of freedom as we know it.”

“So after I signed the bill I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling or cracks opening around the earth,” he joked. “Turns out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still had their doctors.”

I’d dare President Obama or HHS Secretary Sebelius to tell the people working for Zoll Medical or Medtronic whose jobs might soon disappear that it’s a sunny day with birds chirping. I’m betting that Medtronic’s employees won’t have the sunny disposition that President Obama has because they’re dealing with the harsh realities of the bill. They can’t afford to be oblivious to the affects of the Democrats’ health care legislation.

I’d dare President Obama or HHS Secretary Sebelius to tell the John Deere or Caterpillar employees who might lose their job as a result of the Democrats’ health care legislation that the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.

If they decide to do that, I’d just recommend that they wear a flack jacket when they’re making that speech.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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