First up, this news tidbit published Christmas day:
U.S. holiday retail sales this year were the weakest since 2008, when the nation was in a deep recession. In 2012, the shopping season was disrupted by bad weather and consumers’ rising uncertainty about the economy.
A report that tracks spending on popular holiday goods, the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, said Tuesday that sales in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent, compared with last year. Many analysts had expected holiday sales to grow 3 to 4 percent.
Blame it on the weather… The press will say anything to protect their beloved Obama. However, a much bigger macroeconomic event is staring everyone in the face: ObamaCare. Now, in 2013, we begin paying for it.
Stryker, which makes products ranging from EMS stretchers to knee replacements and surgical tools, is trimming about 1,000 employees from its global workforce of more than 20,000 in anticipation of the 2.3 percent tax on its sales of medical devices.
The company estimates it will owe $100 million in the first year, or about 20 percent of its global research and development investments.
“Stryker remains significantly concerned with the upcoming medical device excise tax and its negative impact on jobs and innovation, and will continue to work with Congress to try to repeal the tax,” Stryker CEO Kevin A. Lobo said in a statement.
Lay off workers, cut research spending. That one way to help the economy. And Stryker isn’t unique.
Melinyshyn, whose company makes specialized catheters, said he thinks that at current staffing levels, his 46-person company can handle the tax — however, he’s expecting to cut back sharply on product development, which hurts in the long run.
“A lot of patients, I think, are not going to benefit from new technologies,” he said. “We’ve literally put all of our new product development on hold … so we can afford to pay the stupid tax.”
The Affordable Care Act imposed the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices with the goal of raising nearly $30 billion over the next decade. Manufacturers say the impact of the tax is far greater than meets the eye — the 2.3 percent tax is on gross sales, meaning it’s a much greater percentage of net income.
Melinyshyn, for instance, said his total tax burden on profits will rise from 43 percent to 65 percent next year.
“It’s huge,” he said.
Another Illinois-based CEO — Greg Huck of Vitalcor, Inc. — suggested lawmakers should at least carve out an exemption for small companies and start-ups.
It’s not just small businesses feeling the pinch, though.
Michigan-based Stryker Corporation, a company of 20,000 people, last year announced it was laying off 1,000 workers in anticipation of the tax — and a $100 million bill in the first year. The company remains concerned about the tax.
“We would rather put this money towards jobs, innovation, clinical research and priorities that will create value-added medical technology for patients while helping us partner with hospitals to deliver cost effective solutions,” CEO Kevin A. Lobo said in a statement.
The Advanced Medical Technology Association estimates that the tax ultimately could cost up to 43,000 jobs.
Way to go low information voters.