Can Protectionism Pay for Health Care Reform?

Today, Josh Gerstein at Politico, reported that the White House updated budget calls for a massive increase in “user fees” charged by the U.S. Custom and Border Protection. The new budget calls for collecting a total of $124 billion in CBP inspection user fees every year starting in 2010. In 2007, the CBP collect only $33 billion in revenue. The new increased user fees would be quadruple what they were in the past.

This increase in CBP inspection user fees will have strong protectionist implications. Somebody will need to pay this extra $91 billion in fees. The cost of imported goods will rise as a result.

What will the Obama administration use this extra $91 billion a year for? Universal health care legislation is estimated to cost roughly $1 trillion over the next decade or roughly $100 billion a year. Interestingly, $91 billion a year from CBP user fees should be enough to pay for a new health care reform bill.

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