Brigit Helgen, communications director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, wasn't jazzed about a story from earlier this week,Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken Are Paid Well to Shill for the Medical Industry, which intimated the Minnesota Democrat was pimping for corporate interests who'd flooded her campaign coffers.
In defense of her boss's efforts to quash the 2.3 percent federal tax on medical devices -- which actually amounts to just 1.5 percent due to tax deductions -- Helgen provided examples of how the levy was killing American jobs.
She pointed to a story from early last year. It said Boston Scientific, one of the world's largest medical device companies with employees in Minnesota, planned to cut 900 to 1,000 jobs because of the tax.
But financial records don't bear out any claim of hardship. Six months later, Boston Scientific reported record quarterly earnings of $130 million, and its stock price rocketed to levels unseen since 2009.
Helgen also supplied a 2011 story, which reported that medical device maker Stryker Corp. had plans to nix 1,000 jobs, largely to offset costs "related to the scheduled implementation of the new Medical Device Excise Tax in 2013."
But by the end of 2013, the company reported a 4.2 percent uptick in annual net sales to $9 billion. Stryker's fourth quarter profit margin was a stunning 65.5 percent.
Finally, Helgen supplied a report from the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the industry's trade group, claiming 33,000 American jobs had been impacted by the tax in 2013.
Yet in a story published in the Washington Post last week, an association official admitted, ""I don't want to attribute everything to the tax because there's a lot going on in the industry besides the tax...."
Helgen failed to mention that the study was funded by the very industry that doesn't like being taxed.
She also avoided mention of a recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), which called the tax's effects "relatively modest," and said that job losses industry-wide were estimated between 47 and 1,200 workers.
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