Free Markets, Free People

Is the health care individual mandate a tax?

If so, that’s precisely the opposite of the claim from Obama and the purveyors of health care reform. But it appears that’s what the administration is arguing in court in order to keep the courts from killing the provison:

Late last night, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the Florida-based lawsuit against the health care law, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the State of Florida and fellow plaintiffs haven’t presented a claim for which the court can grant relief. To bolster its case, the DOJ cited the Anti-Injunction Act, which restricts courts from interfering with the government’s ability to collect taxes.

The Act, according to a DOJ memo supporting the motion to dismiss, says that “no suit for the purpose of restraining the assessment or collection of any tax shall be maintained in any court by any person, whether or not such person is the person against whom such tax was assessed.” The memo goes on to say that it makes no difference whether the disputed payment it is called a “tax” or “penalty,” because either way, it’s “assessed and collected in the same manner” by the Internal Revenue Service.

You may remember the rather testy interview with George Stephanopoulos in which Obama used the dictionary to bolter his argument that the individual mandate wasn’t a tax? And he also said this:

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.

Apparently his critics were right. And what should also be evident is this will be one of the largest tax increases the middle class has ever seen.

So much for the 95% no-tax-increase pledge (which went by the boards almost immediately, but this is another example of that broken pledge and another reason to distrust whatever Obama says).

~McQ

[ad] Empty ad slot (#1)!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

12 Responses to Is the health care individual mandate a tax?

  • Liars lie.  Obama is an immense liar.
    But the argument that the mandate is a tax will hardly avail to make this steaming pile of dog crap constitutional.  Call the money what you will, you and I are being forced by Federal mandate to engage in commerce.  That cannot be constitutional.

  • It’s safe to admit that it’s a tax now.

  • I propose a tax on newspapers and magazines. Every newspaper and magazine will have to be stamped with the new federal media tax stamp. This doesn’t violate the first amendment because it’s “just a tax”.
     

  • Here’s a simple test: if the government says you must pay a certain monetary amount that it set, and you will be fined and/or imprisoned for not complying, that’s a tax. Caca by any other name…

    In New York City, some companies make the euphemistically named “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” to the city government. These are “negotiated” amounts that are lower than the “actual” taxes the companies would supposedly pay otherwise. But it’s not a tax if the government says it’s not a tax…right?

    The liberal rag Daily News has complained that PILOTs cause the city to “lose” millions in tax dollars. The NY Times, to my knowledge, has not expressed the same criticism. After all, it pays PILOTs itself.

  • Here’s a simple test: if the government says you must pay a certain monetary amount that it set, and you will be fined and/or imprisoned for not complying, that’s a tax. Caca by any other name…

    That is not a bad point, ordinarily.  However, it misses the point about being compelled to enter commerce.  You merely note the compulsory mechanism.  The much larger issue is that the mandate itself CANNOT be squared with ANY predicate view of the Commerce Clause.  To uphold the mandate would mean that the Federal government can do anything, literally, without limit.

  • Even as a supporter of many of the provisions of the health reforms, I agree that the mandate to purchase health insurance is a form of tax in its most simplistic form. However, the point is that boiling down health reform to a decision as to whether or not it is a tax completely misses the point about it being an attempt to correct social inequities. Fixing any problem requires changes in how money is used. In this case, protecting the 20% of the population who are chronically ill from extreme financial hardship or lack of access to health care at all involves mandating subsidization from those who are healthy. Reducing the problem down to nothing more than a tax increase minimizes the seriousness of this inequity in access to health care.

    • ” In this case, protecting the 20% of the population who are chronically ill from extreme financial hardship or lack of access to health care at all involves mandating subsidization from those who are healthy.”

      No, that is completely false. Even the WHO, which rates the US system badly overall because of its total expense, acknowledges that the poor in the U.S. have more equal access to health care than any modern industrial, and get better care than in any other nation on the planet. Completely subsidizing the health care of the poor and chronically ill with the money from the working healthy has done nothing to improve the health care of the poor in the dozens of nations where it has been tried already.

      Secondly, the lies about the problem and the requirement for universal coverage as the only solution completely misses the point of what is really being attempted – ‘correcting social inequalities’.  Any system which allows for personal freedom will have social inequalities, whether it’s in health care, working conditionsor housing because people aren’t identical.   Eliminating ‘social inequalities’ for entire nations has been tried before too, and it hasn’t help the poor and chronically ill. They’ve even got names for government systems that attempt it, depending on how much progress has been made toward eliminating those inequalities – Socialism and Communism.

      • Phil[T]he lies about the problem and the requirement for universal coverage as the only solution completely misses the point of what is really being attempted – ‘correcting social inequalities’.  Any system which allows for personal freedom will have social inequalities, whether it’s in health care, working conditionsor housing because people aren’t identical.   Eliminating ’social inequalities’ for entire nations has been tried before too, and it hasn’t help the poor and chronically ill.

        Amen.
        I’m not sure where it is written that it is the government’s job to see to it that those who have MUST give to those who have not.  One thing I do notice is that quite a few of those folks who yap about “eliminating social inequalities” NEVER seem to do it with their own money.  Look at people like Imeme, Algore, SanFran Nan, the Hollywood crowd, Michael Moron, etc., etc.: they are all filthy rich.  Anybody see them volunteering to give up all but about $40k of their income to help the poor?  Nope.  Typical lefties: they are very generous… but only with other people’s money.

  • McQ – [T]his is another example of that broken pledge and another reason to distrust whatever Obama says.

    Maybe for you and maybe for me, but the morons who voted for him likely aren’t fazed at all by this.  They will simply repeat their favorite mantra that is their balm whenever Imeme is shown up to be less than the messianic lightworker they were assured – and assured the rest of us – he would be:  Two legs bad, four legs gooood.  Two legs bad, four legs gooood.  Bush did it, too!

  • Of course it’s a tax. Nobody can trust anything that comes out of the mouth of a politician these days of whatever political ideology. No system can ever be completely and equally fair to everyone. It’s about the optimum compromise and then a bit aof honesty to say that’s what it is.