Obamacare Tax Hikes Literally Killing Small Business Owners

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 14 2012 9:15 AM

Obamacare Tax Hikes Literally Killing Small Business Owners

A Key West man who told his partner that "if Barack gets re-elected, I'm not going to be around" was found dead on Nov. 8, with the words "F--- Obama!" scrawled on his will and two empty prescription bottles nearby.
Henry Hamilton, 64, owner of Tropical Tan off Duval Street, was "very upset about the election results," his partner Michael Cossey told Police Officer Anna Dykes.

Obviously people don't really kill themselves over adverse political outcomes. But it should be said that owners of tanning salons have a uniquely legitimate beef with the Affordable Care Act which includes a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning operations as one of its revenue provisions.

I don't think there's any particularly good reason for this to be in there. As health care policy, more aggressive implementation of the excise tax on expensive health insurance plans or more aggressive implementation of IPAB would make more sense. As public health policy, a modest increase in alcoholic beverage taxes would make a lot more sense and almost certainly raise more revenue anyway. The tanning tax is also an implementation nightmare since, as Sarah Kliff has written, tanning services are often sold as part of a larger bundle—a throw-in with your gym membership, for example. Since bundles tans can evade the tax and there's a high degree of substitutability between bundled and non-bundled tanning services, the tax ends up being incredibly burdensome on owners of standalone salons. On the pro side, throwing this provision into the law was a fun way to tweak John Boehner. But at the end of the day that's not a very compelling rationalization.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.