Remedial Economics with Obamacare
Some of us obviously need a refresher in Econ 101 (Ben Bernanke, OMGObama if he ever actually took it, Nancy Pelosi, etc etc) but it's all good; Obamacare is here to teach us that there is no "something for nothing". Pelosi should probably listen to the lesson twice.
AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Friday it would record a $1 billion non-cash charge for the current quarter related to the new U.S. health care reform law, as lawmakers called on the company and three other large employers to testify about expected cost hikes.
AT&T's charge appeared to be the largest in a series of charges announced by U.S. companies this week.
A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee said on Friday it will call on the chief executives of AT&T, Caterpillar (CAT.N), Verizon (VZ.N) and Deere (DE.N) to testify on April 21 about how the reform might adversely affect their ability to provide health insurance.
"The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern," the subcommittee said in the letters.
AT&T, whose annual revenue is expected to be $124.1 billion this year, said the charge is the result of a provision in the law related to the tax treatment of Medicare subsidies.
And where, exactly, are companies supposed to come up with the difference? Public company accounting - in case you are not aware, I'll save you the filthy GAAP details - is not like government (fund) accounting. While the Obama administration may have the advantage of a conveniently-located printing press in town at Bernanke's place and fund accounting on its side, public companies actually have to make balance sheets balance and put something aside or borrow to comply with this awesome new health reform plan.
Way to encourage economic growth, Washington.
Money that could have easily gone into infrastructure, technology, inventory, human capital, or R&D ends up going to Washington (as if the printing press and fund accounting weren't pay day enough in DC. Here's a hint: there is never enough) to be redistributed. Partially to the IRS to pay all these new "auditors".
See where we've gone wrong yet?
And hey! All you asshat iPhone users can also blame Obamacare for the ever-crappier network you'll be on as AT&T will, naturally, have to take $1 billion from somewhere else.