Conservative Group to Urge Johnson and Johnson to Rethink Its Decision to Stop Working with Mainstream Conservative Group at Behest of Left-Wing Extremists
Also Will Ask Health Care Giant to Endorse Plan to Repeal ObamaCare's Medical Device Tax
New Brunswick, NJ / Washington, D.C. - Today, at the annual meeting of Johnson & Johnson shareholders in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the National Center for Public Policy Research plans to criticize Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky's decision to stop working with a respected, 40-year-old national organization of supporting state legislators, while also urging the company to support a proposal to repeal a key component of ObamaCare.
In June 2012, Johnson & Johnson caved to Color of Change after it pressured Johnson & Johnson to stop working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because ALEC once promoted voter ID laws and so-called "stand your ground" legislation.
"Color of Change is a fringe organization founded by '9/11 truther' and one-time communist Van Jones. It operates as a racial bully for the organized left, collecting online petitions and running advertisements in black and geographically-targeted media against targeted corporations," said National Center Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq., who is attending the meeting. "By contrast, Johnson & Johnson is an international pharmaceutical giant that earned $65 billion in revenues during 2012."
By the time Johnson & Johnson left, ALEC had stopped its work on voter integrity legislation and "stand your ground" laws. Furthermore, even when ALEC had worked on voter ID measures, Johnson & Johnson played no direct part in the ALEC working group related to that legislation.
"This exposes Color of Change's likely intentions - to defund conservative causes," explained Danhof. "Even though ALEC was no longer working on voter ID legislation, and Johnson & Johnson never worked with ALEC on those laws, Color of Change still spent $10,000 on radio advertisements unfairly tying Johnson & Johnson to that work and labeling the company as racist."
"Johnson & Johnson's true sin was not dropping its support of ALEC, but lending corporate clout to radical racialists and their efforts to vilify conservatives," said Danhof. "I hope Johnson & Johnson's CEO sees the error the company made and rejoins ALEC's private enterprise board. ALEC's current work towards free-market reforms is badly needed in our current era of big government dominance."
Johnson & Johnson has a varied history when it comes to supporting big-government initiatives. As a member of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Johnson & Johnson played a prominent role in promoting ObamaCare. However, now that the law is starting to take effect, some of its provisions are harming the company. Specifically harmful is ObamaCare's 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, which, according to DrugWatch.com, may cost the company between $200 million and $250 million this year alone.
"Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urged her colleagues to pass ObamaCare saying 'we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.' From health care exchange delays, to employers cutting workers' hours, to the Obama Administration's admission that health care premiums will increase for many Americans, 'what is in it' is turning out to be one bad idea after another," said Danhof. "And the innovation- and economy-crushing medical device excise tax is just another of ObamaCare's market evils. Johnson & Johnson can repair some of the damage they caused in promoting ObamaCare by working to rid the medical device industry of this tax."
Repeal for the medical device tax has broad bipartisan support. Realizing the damage it is already causing to job creation and innovation, the U.S. Senate recently voted 79-20 in favor of a non-binding amendment to repeal the tax.
Danhof plans to present Johnson & Johnson CEO Gorsky with a proposal to repeal the medical device tax while pairing the repeal with an end to wind subsidies, as detailed in the National Center's new National Policy Analysis paper, "Let's Take the Wind Out of ObamaCare's Medical Device Tax," by Senior Fellow David Hogberg, Ph.D.
The plan calls for Congress to repeal the medical device tax and make up for the loss of much of that tax's anticipated revenue by declining to renew federal wind power subsidies when they expire at the end of 2013.
"The medical device industry produces devices that save our lives and improve our health," explained the paper's author, David Hogberg. "By contrast, the wind-energy industry produces less than 2% of the nation's electricity, despite decades of tax credits and government subsidies. Repealing the medical device tax will eliminate a burden on an industry that provides great value for Americans. Eliminating the two-decade old wind-energy production tax credit will not only help replace some of the revenue from the medical device tax, it will end a tax credit for an industry that provides little benefit for the U.S."
The National Center has concluded that repealing the medical device tax while ending the wind production tax credit would lead to a net increase in U.S. jobs. Nearly a fifth of U.S. medical device manufacturers expect to lay off employees because of the medical device tax. Some medical devices companies, such as Stryker, Smith & Nephew and Zimmer Holdings, have already laid off employees as a result of this tax. Meanwhile, a study published in March jointly by the American Energy Alliance and the National Center found that employment benefits of wind subsidies have been grossly overestimated by lobbyists for wind subsidies.
Yesterday, Danhof presented this proposal to General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt at the annual meeting of General Electric shareholders in New Orleans.
A copy of Danhof's question at the shareholder meeting, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Johnson & Johnson shareholder.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. In 2012-13, zero percent of its contributions came from the fossil fuel industry or related foundations.
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