Absolutely Not A Tax But Now It Is

In September of 2009 when Barack Obama was pushing for his health care takeover and trying to get votes to pass a bill that would require people to buy insurance or be fined, he clearly stated that his individual mandate would not be a tax. Interestingly, Obama was against forcing people to buy insurance when he debated Hillary Clinton:

Obama: “Senator Clinton believes the only way to achieve universal health care is to force everybody to purchase it. And my belief is, the reason that people don’t have it is not because they don’t want it but because they can’t afford it.” WSJ

He said that he believes the reason people do not have it is that they cannot afford it and the inference is that a mandate will not help that.

But back to the tax issue. Obama was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos and George told Obama that the mandate was a tax increase. Obama flat out denied it and said that it absolutely NOT a tax. When George told him he looked it up in the dictionary and it fit the definition Obama told him that looking it up meant he was stretching things a bit:

STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it’s still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…

OBAMA: No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase. Any…

Read more here [emphasis mine]

Obama is adamantly telling George that this is NOT a tax and that he can’t just make things up.

OK, so when it came out the Democrats in Congress said they could do it under the Commerce Clause.

A lot of states filed lawsuits against the federal government claiming the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The states contend that not buying insurance is not commerce so the Commerce Clause cannot apply.

The case went to court today in Florida and the federal government, probably realizing they could not win the issue on the Commerce Clause, defended the individual mandate because it is a tax and Congress has the right, under the Constitution, to tax. One can debate whether the authority to tax applies to this kind of situation but that is not really necessary because Obama adamantly told us that it was NOT a tax.

I think the judge was unimpressed with this tact and realizes the government is playing games. Nowhere in the 2000 plus page law is the money paid for noncompliance referred to as a tax. No member of Congress called it a tax and Obama said it was NOT a tax. In fact, the law (PL 111-148) [in sections 1501 and 5000 A] clearly states that the individual mandate is commerce in nature and that any one who does not get insurance will pay a penalty. A penalty is NOT a tax:

(1) IN GENERAL.—The individual responsibility requirement provided for in this section (in this subsection referred to as the ‘‘requirement’’) is commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce, as a result of the effects described in paragraph (2). [section 1501]


‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—If an applicable individual fails to meet the requirement of subsection (a) for 1 or more months during any calendar year beginning after 2013, then, except as provided in subsection (d), there is hereby imposed a penalty with respect to the individual in the amount determined under subsection (c). [Chapter 48 Section 500A]

The intent of Congress and Obama should play heavily in this lawsuit because the court will have to look at what they said it would be and take that as their intent. Additionally, they worked hard to ensure it was a commerce issue with a penalty attached as evidenced by the language of the law.

This will eventually go to the Supreme Court where it will be overturned on a 5-4 vote.

America, this is happening because the progressives are working hard to transform America into a Socialist nation.

It is November or never and I can see November from my house…

Cave Canem!
Never surrender, never submit.
Big Dog


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3 Responses to “Absolutely Not A Tax But Now It Is”

  1. Intent should not factor into the Court’s decision on this subject. “Tax” versus “penalty” is irrelevant to the larger issue. Whether ObamaCare falls within the enumerated powers of Congress should be the only matter of importance.

    That won’t be the case, of course. The Court has become quite as political as Congress. The old saw that “the Supreme Court follows the election returns” is unfortunately truer than ever.

    Apropos of which, how ’bout that Steven Breyer, arguing for the dismantling of free-speech protections so we won’t offend any more seething Muslims?

    • Big Dog says:

      I would agree that intent should not play into interpreting the law but the issue is whether this is a tax or a penalty and the court would have to rule on what the intent was in that regard if it were to decide to rule based on the tax vs. penalty issue. It is also important with regard to the Commerece issue. Was the intent of the law to use the Commerce Clause or taxing power. That will need to be decided before they can rule on the issue.

      I would contend that it cannot be a tax because a tax has to be ON something and this is not taxing anything, It is a penalty and the issue was commerce. Since not buying something is NOT commerce, it cannot be regulated under that clause. Congress simply cannot force people to buy something.

  2. Blake says:

    It is NOW a tax increase, because they believe that that would be the only way to COMPEL people to buy the insurance, which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, period.,
    They like to make the argument that since you will need to see the doctor at some point, you should pay, but what if I never need to see the doctor, say my immune system is great, and I live to the age of 90, then drop dead of a heart attack, never needing a doc, just going straight to the coroner and mortician?
    Then I would have been taxed for nothing, and bought useless insurance.
    It should and will be up to me- the bill will be defunded, and marginalized and eventually written off as bad law.