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).