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Lobbyists will be the big winners under ObamaCare

Wednesday 16 Democrats who voted for ObamaCare suddenly decided that they don't like the new 2.3 percent tax on medical devices that is scheduled to take effect on Jan 1, 2013.

Good! They're hypocrites, but at least they've finally figured out that taxes kill good things. Minnesota Senator Al Franken calls it a "job-killing tax." No kidding.

The 2.3 percent tax is particularly evil because it will take 2.3 percent of sales, not profits. Some companies' profit is less than that, so this tax will kill them off. That's tragic. We need more medical devices, not fewer.

Al Franken was once my neighbor. Our kids went to school together. I tried to educate him about economics. I failed.

I assume what woke Franken up was learning that his state has the most medical device makers per capita of any state in the country. They donate to his campaigns. They pay people to lobby him. So suddenly he opposes this particular new tax.

That's how politics works. Online gambling is banned in the U.S., but online gambling on horse-racing is legal. That's buried in subsection (10)(D)(i) of Section 5,362 of Chapter 53 of Title 31 of the US Legal Code, where it says:

‘Unlawful Internet gambling' shall not include any activity that is allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978.

The horse-racing industry pays lobbyists.

A new bill proposed by another clueless senator, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, would allow online gambling, but only for poker, and only to existing casinos "that have an established track record of complying with a strict regulatory environment."

That's logical, coming from a senator from Nevada. His state has most of the existing casinos! They'd love a government-supported monopoly on online poker.

Reid's bill would also require places that want to take bets on horse-racing to have:

(i) at least 500 gaming devices at one physical location; or

(ii) ...at least $225,000,000 in all-source gross wagering... during any 3 of the last 5 calendar years preceding the date of the enactment of this Act

How sleazy is that? Looks like Harry doesn't want his casino buddies to have competitors. His bill would even increase penalties for all other online gambling.

This is why companies spend billions on lobbying, and why land values in Washington, D.C., are at record highs. Law-making is good for lobbyists and politicians, but usually bad for America.

John Stossel is the host of "Stossel" (Thursdays at 9 PM/ET), a weekly program highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint. Stossel also appears regularly on Fox News Channel (FNC) providing signature analysis. Click here for more information on John Stossel.