Free Markets, Free People
How little interest has the media show in the actual facts of Barack Obama’s history?
The simple answer is “very little”. For instance I expect a minute and basically negative examination of the Mormon religion when Mitt Romney is officially nominated. That’s already being set up by numerous of those type articles already beginning to surface.
But Obama’s 20 years in a church with a reverend who basically preached anti-Americanism and black liberation theology? Meh.
A great example of what I’m talking about is covered by Jonathan Tobin in Commentary’s “Contentions” blog. It is about the story oft repeated by Obama. It is his version of his mother death of cancer because those nasty old insurance companies wouldn’t pay.
It’s a lie. Again, I use the word “lie” much less frequently than do many in the press or around the blogosphere. A lie is a knowing falsehood. I try to restrict my usage to that tight definition. As it turns out, the story Obama has told repeatedly as the truth about his mother’s death is, in fact, a lie. Oh, and the mainstream media knows it.
Proof? Well, they said so.
Never let it be said the New York Times is afraid to tackle an unflattering story about President Obama, even if it’s often a delayed reaction. The paper’s political blog The Caucus deigned to notice today that the new biography of the president by David Maraniss uncovered the fact that much of Dreams From My Father, the highly praised Barack Obama autobiography, is either fabricated or exaggerated. The Times’s Michael Shear opines that having its author now sitting in the White House has brought Dreams more scrutiny than its author could have envisioned when he wrote it in 1995. But the problem with contemporary analyses of the questionable personal history in the book is not so much the peril associated with being a famous political author but whether the book provides proof of a pattern of falsehoods and distortions about his past that has been one of the hallmarks of the president’s public career.
The answer to that question is contained near the bottom of the piece in which Shear lets drop that proof of such a pattern was already provided by his own newspaper last year. Though the Times buried the story when it broke and then never followed up or editorialized on the scandal, it was their own reporter Janny Scott whose research on the life of the president’s mother Ann Dunham revealed that the oft-told story of her dying because of the failure of her health insurance company to pay for her cancer treatment was a flat out lie. But while Shear is right that this year’s election will not turn on how Maraniss’s book is received, the unwillingness of the Times and other mainstream publications to call out Obama for writing fiction and calling it autobiography gives us a good indication of how much of an advantage having a quiescent media is for an incumbent president. [emphasis mine]
You know the standard line here: imagine them discovering something like this about someone on the right. Do you suppose it would not be followed up or be editorialized? Do you suppose they’d skip pointing out it seems to indicate a pattern?
As to that pattern and the specifics of his mother’s death:
The fables Obama seems to have told about his alienation, his girlfriends and the rest of his over-intellectualized voyage of self-discovery actually pale in comparison to the whopper he told when running for election in 2008 that his mother died because she had been denied coverage and treatment of her disease. Scott revealed that in fact the expenses relating to her cancer had been paid by her insurance. Though she had a separate and totally unrelated dispute relating to disability coverage, Scott’s research proved that Obama’s statement during the 2008 presidential debate was fiction:
“For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.”
It bears repeating that the president knew this account was false because he served as his mother’s attorney in all her dealings with the insurance company. [emphasis mine]
And where did the Times run this revelation? What was the White House reaction?
When the Times ran that story (on page 14 rather than on the front page), the White House chose not to deny the truth of Scott’s reporting. But that didn’t stop the Obama campaign from refloating the same falsehoods about Ms. Dunham having perished for lack of insurance coverage in an autobiographical campaign film narrated by Tom Hanks.
So the Times discovered what would be a bombshell revelation were it anyone else, they plop it out on page 14, the White House denies it and that ends it?
Now that’s journalism isn’t it? Duty fulfilled, even halfheartedly, and now safe to ignore. Meanwhile the lie lives on and no one even bothers to address the fact that’s what it is. It is pure political propaganda designed to demonize an industry in order to gain popular consent to all but wreck it and have government take its place.
Yet, it’s only worth page 14 in the “paper of record” and zero followup.
Not only has the president never apologized for lying to the American people about his mother’s plight, he rightly assumed that even though the truth was uncovered by the New York Times, neither that paper nor the rest of the mainstream media would follow up on it as they undoubtedly would had a Republican ever tried to sell the voters such a transparent whopper.
There’s the bottom line.
Another example of how poorly a biased media is serving the public. Yet they wonder why the public’s confidence in them continues to drop and newspapers all over the country are dying.
Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And of course, politicians know that. So some of them use that truism to push a lie that will help them hoping that when, if ever, the truth is told, it will be moot. It is all about establishing a narrative and making it last long enough to benefit them.
The internet has made that ploy a lot more difficult. But that doesn’t mean the they don’t continue to try. Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post awards Obama’s latest falsehood their highest, or lowest depending on how you look at it, rating – four Pinocchio’s. Kessler describes that rating with a single word: “Whoppers”.
The lies have to do with decrepit bridges and, of course, Republicans. The great healer, the man who promised to change the way politics was practiced in Washington, falsely attacked his opposition – again:
“I sent them a jobs bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing our roads, our bridges, schools, transit systems, along with saving the jobs of cops and teachers and firefighters, creating a new tax cut for businesses. They said no. I went to the Speaker’s hometown, stood under a bridge that was crumbling. Everybody acknowledges it needs to be rebuilt. Maybe he doesn’t drive anymore. Maybe he doesn’t notice how messed up it was. They still said no. There are bridges between Kentucky and Ohio where some of the key Republican leadership come from, where folks are having to do detours an extra hour, hour-and-a-half drive every day on their commute because these bridges don’t work. They still said no.”
–President Obama, remarks to the Building and Construction Trades Department conference, April 30, 2012
You have to love the little veiled bits of populism he pitches in there – “maybe he doesn’t drive anymore”, as if Obama does.
The point, however, is every bit of that is baloney per Kessler:
Back in September, when President Obama first unveiled his jobs bill, we gave him Three Pinocchios for remarks he made regarding the aging Brent Spence Bridge on the Ohio River. The bridge connects Kentucky and Ohio, the home states of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and it was irresistible symbolism for the White House.
The crumbling infrastructure of the nation’s bridges is certainly an important issue, but symbolism can only go so far. The administration could never explain what, if anything, the jobs bill would do to improve the Brent Spence Bridge, especially since construction was not slated to start until 2015 — and Obama’s jobs bill would spend most of its money in its first year.
Moreover, there is a long history of bipartisan support for this project, but Obama framed it as if the Republicans were blocking its reconstruction with their opposition to his legislation.
When we heard the president’s words Monday, we feared he was slipping back into his old habits. Once again he framed it as GOP opposition to fixing the Brent Spence Bridge. But then he upped the ante by mentioning other bridges “between Kentucky and Ohio” that “don’t work.” So what’s he talking about?
Of course the three Pinocchios awarded then didn’t slow him down a bit, did it. I’ve always been careful when I use the word “lie” or “liar”, because of the propensity today for people to call mistakes and the like lies. A lie is a knowing falsehood. So, after having this “mistake" pointed out previously (and don’t ever think the White House didn’t see that previous rating), Obama doubles down and throws it out there again. That, my friends, makes it a lie.
When the administration was confronted with the facts of the case, the usual prevarication began:
An administration official said the president was referring to the Sherman Milton Bridge, which actually connects Indiana and Kentucky, near Louisville. Back in September, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) had to shut down the bridge because a 2 ½ inch crack had been discovered.
The bridge carries Interstate 64, so the bridge’s closure forced drivers to make major changes in their driving routes. Shortly after the shutdown, a Transportation Department blog declared that this bridge was “another example of why this [the president’s jobs bill] is so crucial.”
But here’s the rub: While Obama claimed “these bridges don’t work,” the Sherman Milton Bridge has already been repaired, ahead of schedule, and motorists are driving over it again.
But again, the claim is found to be baseless.
It turned out that, rather than being an example of an aging bridge, the crack that had been discovered actually had been there ever since the bridge was constructed in 1962, because of the type of steel used at the time. Other repairs were ordered, and the bridge reopened nearly three months ago — without needing any of Obama’s jobs-bill funds.
Another nearby bridge, the Kennedy Bridge, will soon undergo redecking, but officials said the work will not lead to a shutdown. Again, the work is being done without Obama’s jobs-bill money.
The facts don’t at all support the President’s statement. So what was the purpose of the lie? To cast political opponents in an unfavorable light – the usual purpose of deliberate political lies. And these were deliberate political lies.
Of course you’d think, confronted with the facts, the administration might back down a bit? But instead they apparently thought that doubling down was the best way to go:
“The President was making a point about the need to rebuild our infrastructure and the job creation opportunities that come with that, and was pointing to Ohio River area projects to illustrate the point that these kinds of projects are right in the Congressional Republican leadership’s backyards,” the administration official said.
Yup. And they were being handled by a bi-partisan state level coalition without a dollar of Obama’s “jobs-bill funds”.
Kinda stings, doesn’t it Mr. Obama?
Well done, Mr. President. A record that may be tied but never bested.
Wow … it has to be a pretty bald-faced lie when Obama can’t even get PolitiFact to cover for him:
In an interview on Super Bowl Sunday, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked President Barack Obama to react to a Wall Street Journal editorial that accused Obama of being "a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society."
"Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?" O’Reilly asked.
Obama first noted the conservatism of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, then denied the charge "absolutely."
"I didn’t raise taxes once. I lowered taxes over the last two years," Obama said.
And to deny his claim so emphatically:
The idea that Obama did not raise taxes is just plain wrong. He signed legislation raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products soon after taking office; that money goes to pay for children’s health insurance programs. The law went into effect in 2009. He also signed the health care law, which includes taxes on indoor tanning that went into effect last year. (Regular PolitiFact readers will remember our fact-check of reality TV star Snooki and her complaint about the new tax last year.)
The new health care law also includes a tax on people who decide not to have health insurance, as an incentive for them to get coverage. The tax phases in gradually, starting in 2014. By 2016, the tax would be $695 per uninsured person up to a maximum of three times that amount, or $2,085. The law includes exemptions for people who can’t find affordable insurance, and a few other special circumstances.
More significantly, the health care law includes new taxes on the wealthy, starting in 2013. Individuals who make more than $200,000 and couples that make more than $250,000 will see additional Medicare taxes of 0.9 percent. They will also, for the first time, have to pay Medicare taxes on their investment income at a 3.8 percent rate. (Current law is that all workers and employers split a 2.9 percent Medicare tax; the self-employed pay all of it.)
Then, of course, there’s the tax increase that failed. Although he can’t be held responsible for the failure to enact it (the increase in taxes on “the rich”) it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Like I’ve said repeatedly, Obama has a real disadvantage this next election cycle – he actually has to run on a record for a change. And nonsense like this should and will be consistently confronted and shot down.
Not good for the image, Mr. Obama.
As I observe the "civil discourse" debate, I’ve pointed out the left seems peerless in their ability to be uncivil. And opinions like mine have sent the left scurrying to find some example that would rebut that conclusion – something so outrageous that it would force those on the right, like me, to abandon the premise and admit the right is just as bad.
And yesterday I thought they may have found it. Today, not so much. The subject is a segment by Glenn Beck. Full disclosure – I don’t watch Glenn Beck. I don’t listen to Glenn Beck. So I was open to the argument that he might have said something that would indeed provide an example of the rhetoric some folks on the left were attributing to him.
Here’s the snippet of a Beck segment that some lefty sites have been using to make their claim:
"Tea parties believe in small government. We believe in returning to the principles of our Founding Fathers. We respect them. We revere them. Shoot me in the head before I stop talking about the Founders. Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government.
"I will stand against you and so will millions of others. We believe in something. You in the media and most in Washington don’t. The radicals that you and Washington have co-opted and brought in wearing sheep’s clothing — change the pose. You will get the ends.
"You’ve been using them? They believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head. But warning, they may shoot you.
"They are dangerous because they believe. Karl Marx is their George Washington. You will never change their mind. And if they feel you have lied to them — they’re revolutionaries. Nancy Pelosi, those are the people you should be worried about.
"Here is my advice when you’re dealing with people who believe in something that strongly — you take them seriously. You listen to their words and you believe that they will follow up with what they say."
Oh my, Beck is saying "shoot them in the head" (assuming the “them” is the left and he’s instructing his viewers to do so). Well at least on the first quick pass. But then, when you read it for meaning, it just doesn’t quite add up. It is the way it is worded. It seems to be saying what the left claims it says, but not really. You’re left not quite believing it.
Enter Patterico who does what apparently the left wasn’t able to do – or found inconvenient to do: obtain the entire segment’s transcript. Make sure you read it all.
In a word, it provides context. I know, what a concept, eh? And it completely demolishes the contention claimed by the left. They really didn’t want to look beyond the snippet of words they had. Context was inconvenient to their disingenuous claim. In fact, it flips it on its head.
When you read the entire segment, you suddenly realize who Beck is talking about – and it isn’t an incitement to the right to go shoot anyone in the head as the lefty sites insist.
As Dan McLaughlin notes the "you" Beck talks about is the Democratic leadership in Congress. And McLaughlin says:
I’m almost embarrassed for anybody gullible enough that they fell for this one.
Yup. I’m not surprised, naturally. But I’d be embarrassed. And that doesn’t even begin to address those who used this to try to spin it into something it isn’t. In their case it isn’t about “embarrassment” but about their credibility.
Of course I’d be interested to hear the opinion of those who eschewed context in this case to comment on something Paul Kanjorski said. You know Kanjorski – the former Democratic Congressman who had to temerity to publish a piece in the NY Times lecturing the rest of us on "civil discourse" in the wake of the Giffords’ shooting? A few months back, speaking of then FL candidate for governor Rick Scott, he said:
"Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he’s running for governor of Florida.
The context of the quote is he was upset that a guy who was involved with a company that was involved with one of the largest Medicare and Medicaid fraud scandals in history wasn’t in jail. Legit bitch, but even in that context, does it excuse the language? I mean if you want to be internally consistent and all.
The left? Crickets.
And in the realm of inciteful and violent rhetoric, it kinda makes the Palin cross-hairs map seem, oh, I don’t know, silly in comparison, doesn’t it?
So? So the left remains peerless in the rhetoric realm and are also adding to their lead in the “deceitful claims” department as well.
Remember this promise (it begins at about the 1:10 mark):
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage.
Under Medicare Advantage plans, the federal government pays private health insurers to sell customers over 65 years old enhanced policies, many of which offer prescription drug coverage not covered by standard Medicare. But the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been seeking to reduce the amount it pays to private insurers for such programs.
Medicare told Harvard Pilgrim to notify customers that its Medicare Advantage program, known as First Seniority Freedom, was being canceled. In a mailing, the insurer was required to list alternative Medicare Advantage plans, including those offered by its competitors.
It will be “slightly more expensive’’ than the Medicare Advantage plans, but competitive with supplemental insurance plans offered by rivals such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, Bowman said.
Now I assume anyone who has read this blog for more than a day knows I’m not trying to argue for subsidized health insurance here.
Far from it. What I’m pointing out is the basic dishonesty that was rampant in the President’s promises about health care. An integral part of the plan to "pay for it" involved cutting out Medicare Advantage – an insurance supplemental plan that many seniors had and wanted to keep.
As you hear in the video, the promise wasn’t ambiguous or couched in rhetoric that gave a lot of wiggle room. Obama flat out says "if you like your insurance you can keep it. Nothing changes", or words to that effect.
A pure and unadulterated lie that he still tends to throw out there when trying to hype this white elephant Congress rammed through.
The simple fact – something anyone who took to understand where the Democrats were headed with this turkey – is that there was no way everyone could keep their insurance because the law was written to change the way insurance was delivered. And on the table, from the beginning, were cuts in Medicare that focused on eliminating what? An insurance program called Medicare Advantage.
It is one thing to watch a politician shade the truth a bit. It is quite another to watch one tell a bald faced lie (and I mean “lie” in the truest sense of the word, not how some tend to use it today). This one fits the latter category.
HT: Arley Ward
Ben Smith at POLITICO reports that Democrats are switching their messaging strategy when it comes to the ObamaCare legislation (and I’d guess one of the strategies is not to call it “ObamaCare”). Seems they’ve conceded the argument that it will lower the deficit and cost less. Facts are stubborn things and few have bought into the claims given the justification for them given by Democratic leaders.
So now they’ll go more nebulous instead. Call it the medical care “hope and change” approach. Now instead of lower deficits and less cost, they’re going to tout the law as a way to “improve” health care.
As one slide in the presentation – available here – says, “Many don’t believe health care reform will help the economy.” That’s absolutely correct. And, unlike Washington DC, most in flyover country passed their "Common Sense 101” course years ago while holding a job or running a business, raising a family and managing a household. Most of them can spot a scam fairly easily and this was always in that category given the machinations necessary to make it “bend the cost curve down”. Immediate taxes and delayed benefits were the first sign some game was afoot. “Doc fixes” and half a trillion Medicare cuts that would never happen plus some double counting used to claim deficit reduction were the second. And a new and extensive bureaucracy promised health care would be much more complicated and expensive. Of course everyone loved the new individual mandate as well, not to mention the billions of dollars in mandates shifted to the states.
So this is the pig they’re trying to sell as “improved” as in “this law improves health care”.
One slide says, “Tap into individual responsibility to blunt opposition to the mandate to have individual insurance.” It then says, “Those who choose not to have insurance and use the emergency room for routine care are increasing the cost for the rest of us who have insurance.”
Interesting slide for the group most singularly responsible for attempting to make more and more people dependent on government throughout it’s history. Suddenly it’s about “individual responsibility” while defending one of the biggest government takeovers of an industry in our history.
Oh, and, as pointed out with MassCare – ObamaCare’s little brother – the use of emergency room facilities went up with their mandated insurance law:
When the Bay State passed its health-reform law in 2006, 9 percent of non-elderly adults lacked insurance; that’s now down to 5 percent. The law didn’t reduce expensive emergency-room use as predicted. Instead, emergency-room visits have climbed by 9 percent, or about 3 million visits, from 2004 to 2008.
And, of course, so have costs with health care now consuming 35% of the state’s budget as compared to 22% before the law’s passage. All predicted (back to Common Sense 101) and all coming true as expected.
Last, but certainly not least, Democrats will use a little class warfare to "please” voters, one assumes:
Obviously anyone with the cognitive ability to open a box of crayons knows that the rich can’t pay for all of this by any stretch. Another in a long line of lies about “paying for” this monstrosity. The second part of the slide is just a flat out lie. Remember, ObamaCare is based on the primary care physician. And that’s a medical care area that has a shortage now and that shortage is going to get worse:
The number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped 51.8% since 1997, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
That’s right, dropped 51.8% since 1997. So tell me again about that “unprecedented number of new healthcare providers” being trained? Because I don’t know who they are, but they aren’t the supposed foundational specialty on which ObamaCare is based according to the AAFP.
And those doctors who are in primary care are cutting their hours. Why?
Payment issues may have played more of a role. The overall decrease in hours coincided with a 25% decline in pay for doctors’ services, adjusted for inflation. And when the researchers looked closely at U.S. cities with the lowest and highest doctor fees, they found doctors working shorter hours in the low-fee cities and longer hours in the high-fee cities.
Yup, no pending crisis at all – aided and abetted by a government that has decided it will “lower costs” even though it is no longer going to emphasize that point to the proles.
And what about nurses?
In the July/August 2009 Health Affairs, Dr. Peter Buerhaus and coauthors found that despite the current easing of the nursing shortage due to the recession, the U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025. A shortage of this magnitude would be twice as large as any nursing shortage experienced in this country since the mid-1960s.
Amazing what they try to put past you, isn’t it? Which brings us to the irony of the day:
Yup – keep those claims “small and credible” like the lies about more health care providers – and for heaven sake “don’t over promise or ‘spin’ what the law delivers’ – like lower cost, the ability to keep your plan and your doctor and, of course, control over your own health care.
Because we wouldn’t want to see this new and “improved” law repealed or neutered, would we?
And it isn’t a pretty picture. It also emphasizes how wrong many of the claims that have been made for ObamaCare are. For instance, remember the claim made that when everyone has insurance it will cut the use of the emergency room dramatically.
When the Bay State passed its health-reform law in 2006, 9 percent of non-elderly adults lacked insurance; that’s now down to 5 percent. The law didn’t reduce expensive emergency-room use as predicted. Instead, emergency-room visits have climbed by 9 percent, or about 3 million visits, from 2004 to 2008.
Or, how about the claim that it would significantly lower the cost of medical care – to the patient and the government:
Health care now consumes 35 percent of the state budget, up from 22 percent in 2000. Patrick recently asked Washington for $473 million to help make the Massachusetts reform work — on top of the $1.2 billion in support the feds have already kicked in over three years, more than $3,000 per person in the state.
And physicians? Why they’ll be competing for your business as government cuts payments to hospitals and doctors:
Reimbursements are already so low under the state-subsidized plans (most of whose 152,000 enrollees pay nothing) that doctors are already refusing to accept new patients with that "coverage."
Oh, and if you like your doctor and your plan, you can keep both – guaranteed:
Yet small businesses are clearly finding it necessary to dump their employees on the public health plans. The Boston Globe recently reported on a broker who helps firms do just that; his practice is booming. He’s seen about 90 business owners terminate their plans since April.
MassCare is almost identical to ObamaCare – many of the same people who authored it were instrumental in putting the federal monstrosity together. Reviewing the above 4 items, I’d say they’re 0 for 4 in their promises. The sad thing is we had this example at a state level there to study and as usual, the media wasn’t able to manage the comparison during the weeks of hype surrounding the bill before its passage.
This is you life on ObamaCare. More money, fewer choices, less care.
That’s what happens when the gullible buy into the “something for nothing” political promises of a pack of charlatans and snake oil salesmen.
Having made it up as they go, the Obama administration is now arguing that the mandate to buy insurance coverage under Obamacare is a perfectly legal tax.
That, of course, after the President denied it was a tax in order to sell it:
“For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” the president said last September, in a spirited exchange with George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program “This Week.”
When Mr. Stephanopoulos said the penalty appeared to fit the dictionary definition of a tax, Mr. Obama replied, “I absolutely reject that notion.”
You can tell he was a constitutional expert when he taught, can’t you?
So much so that the Department of Justice, in a brief defending the law, claims it to be a "valid exercise of the Congressional power to impose taxes:
Congress can use its taxing power “even for purposes that would exceed its powers under other provisions” of the Constitution, the department said. For more than a century, it added, the Supreme Court has held that Congress can tax activities that it could not reach by using its power to regulate commerce.
Except Congress doesn’t argue that at all. Instead it relies on the Commerce Clause as its justification for the mandate:
Congress anticipated a constitutional challenge to the individual mandate. Accordingly, the law includes 10 detailed findings meant to show that the mandate regulates commercial activity important to the nation’s economy. Nowhere does Congress cite its taxing power as a source of authority.
And then, per the White House, if any additional authority is needed – other than the power to define and then levy taxes (Congress) or the commerce clause, why just consult the General Welfare Clause. They have more Constitutional ways to make you buy something you may not want than you can imagine:
“The Commerce Clause supplies sufficient authority for the shared-responsibility requirements in the new health reform law,” Mr. Pfeiffer said. “To the extent that there is any question of additional authority — and we don’t believe there is — it would be available through the General Welfare Clause.”
One has to assume they just plan on overwhelming the Court with as many “viable alternatives” as it takes to get their way.
One Yale professor says the tax argument – the one Mr. Obama denied – is the strongest argument:
Jack M. Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School who supports the new law, said, “The tax argument is the strongest argument for upholding” the individual-coverage requirement.
Mr. Obama “has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill,” Mr. Balkin said last month at a meeting of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization. “This bill is a tax. Because it’s a tax, it’s completely constitutional.”
Smoke, mirrors, deceit and debt. That’s what you get for trusting a snake-oil salesman with your health care. Oh and this:
“This is the first time that Congress has ever ordered Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah.
If this survives the court challenge, it won’t be the last – trust me on that.
The irony, of course, is the Constitution was written to limit government and keep it off our back. Instead it is now being used to expand government and intrude more and more deeply in our lives.
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).