Boeing: $150 Million Kick In The Shorts From Obamacare

Add Boeing to the list of major American companies falling victim to the prescription drug tax benefit takeaway in Obamacare:

Boeing Co. will take a charge of $150 million due to the recent health care overhaul legislation, the aircraft maker said Wednesday.

The charge will hurt earnings by 20 cents per share in the first quarter of 2010.

In 2013 Boeing will no longer be able to claim an income tax deduction related to certain prescription drug benefits for retirees. Accounting rules require that the company take the charge during the period the legislation is enacted.

Several other companies have said they will take accounting charges due to the health care reform bill including AT&T, AK Steel Corp., Caterpillar Inc. and 3M Co.

Boeing, which is based in Chicago, gave a cautious outlook for 2010 in January after dealing with program delays and declining orders in 2009.

At the time, it said it expected to earn $3.70 to $4 per share this year on revenue of $64 billion to $66 billion.

But Boeing said it will now review its guidance in light of the health care reform and update it when it releases first-quarter results.

Shares fell 92 cents to $72.61 during morning trading.

So that’s one more major American corporation expressing their real-world estimate of the economic effect of Obamacare.

But don’t be surprised in the least to see Boeing CEO James McNerney hauled in front of Henry Waxman’s House Energy and Commerce Committee. While some of the CEO’s of other corporations announcing writedowns in the wake of Obamacare’s passage indicated donations to both parties, McNerney fits the meme of “Republican CEO’s looking to embarrass the president” the American Spectator reported on earlier this week. He hasn’t donated to a political candidate since 2005, but prior to that he was fairly active and outside of $1,000 donations to Ben Nelson and Tom Daschle (McNerney gave Daschle and John Thune $1,000 each) for Senate races in 2004, he was a Republican donor.

Because he is thus easily marked as an enemy, by all means McNerney can expect to be a target of Waxman’s committee. If he hasn’t cleared his schedule and informed the scheduler for Boeing’s corporate jet he’ll need to be in Washington on April 21, he probably ought to consider doing so tomorrow.



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