The latest example is the suggestion that a proposal to levy a tax on employers who don't provide health care for their employeees would hinder the economic recovery, which was recently made by GMU's Brian Caplan. But as Kevin Drum pointed out, the provision wouldn't go into effect until 2013 (see pp. 179-188 of the House bill PDF) -- long after the recession is likely to be over.
Unfortunately, the meme is likely to continue to circulate. Here's the New York Post making an identical claim in an editorial Thursday:
Having abandoned any notion of lightening the load with spending cuts, House Democrats have put forward a 1,000-plus-page proposal dripping with new taxes, surcharges and fees.
The biggest losers? Small businesses -- companies with as few as five employees, who'll have to pay a penalty of up to 8 percent of income unless they provide their workers with health insurance.
Now, these are the same businesses the administration thinks will hire workers laid off during the recession. But why would they do that if Washington effectively imposes a hiring tax?
And here's the Wall Street Journal repeating the claim in an editorial today:
Unemployment is at 9.5% and rising, but Democrats will nonetheless impose a new eight percentage point payroll tax on employers who don't provide health insurance for employees. This is on top of the current 15% payroll tax, and in addition to a new 2.5-percentage point tax on individuals who don't buy health insurance. This means that any employer with more than $400,000 in payroll would have to pay at least 25% above the salary to hire someone.
Note how both the Post and the WSJ suggest that the tax would take effect immediately (and therefore prolong the recession) without ever making the claim directly. In this way, they can maintain plausible deniability while still misleading the vast majority of their readers.