Opinion

You’re about to pay tax on your flu shot, thank Congress

A new bipartisan tax bill is making its way through both chambers of Congress which, like the cigarette tax and the numerous Obamacare taxes, will cut across all income levels. But what the heck — you didn’t really believe that “if you make less than $200,000 your taxes won’t go up a dime” malarky did you?

Senior Medical - OUCH!!
Is it the needle that hurts, or the tax?
Photo credit flufactors.com

It’s a $100 million flu tax, which will be paid by anyone who gets an annual flu shot, and will ostensibly help fund what is called the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund which, as it turns out, doesn’t really exist except on some government accountant’s balance sheet, according to The Weekly Standard.

The bill was co-sponsored in the House by Jim Gerlach, R-Pa. and and Richard Neal, D-Mass. The Senate version was introduced by Max Baucus, D-Mont. and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The Standard’s Jeryl Bier reported:

 The fund is a “no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines.”  However, the fund is by no means in the same kind of trouble that other government “trust funds” are.

The balance in the fund (as of November 2012) was more than $3.5 billion. Since the program’s inception in 1988, the fund has paid out only $2.5 billion in 25 years for cases involving all vaccines, not just the flu vaccine. This means the balance in the fund could conceivably last another 25 years with no further tax revenue.

So if the the so-called “fund” is so flush as to keep things moving along for another quarter-century, why would Congress conceivably think it needs more? Due to the imaginary nature of the fund, every dime would be used to purchase U.S. Treasury Securities. That’s right. Just like any other tax, it’ll be used to help finance our national debt, now teetering close to $17 trillion.

Read more at The Weekly Standard.

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