In the opening paragraphs of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, he clarifies that the law specifically does not involve a tax. If it did, Roberts clarifies, the Court would have had no choice but to reject the case for lack of jurisdiction as a tax case cannot be brought until someone is actually forced to pay the tax. This is, as we know, not the case.
The fact that the Court found that the mandate was constitutional under the taxing authority granted Congress by the Constitution is an entirely different matter. This finding does not reduce the individual mandate to the status of a tax—it merely says that as the penalty for failing to purchase health insurance will fall to the Internal Revenue Service for collection, it was something Congress could provide for under its Constitutional authority.
While I grant you that this gets a bit into the weeds, the effort that is being made by the GOP to use the Court’s basis for decision as a weapon fails on its face and is completely disingenuous. There is a difference between the levying of a tax and the Court finding Constitutional authority for Congress under the taxing authority. But then, anything that is more complicated than your basic “See Spot Run” first grade reading primer has always been fair game and fodder for the GOP message machine which would prefer to base their arguments on misstatements than educating and enlightening its base.
As I am sure many of the rest of you are as well, I have been especially irritated lately by this steady drumbeat from the Republicans that the language which Justice Roberts used in his opinion proves that the mandate is a tax, and also proves that President Obama lied about it NOT being a tax.
One of the reasons that I have been so irritated is that the GOP has so successfully poisoned the very idea of a tax, that the millions of low information dipshits that heard this talking point would immediately have a hissy fit over it and never bother to find out if it were factual or not.
So I found the above article in Forbes, which I think explains it quite well, but of course it is full of words using multiple syllables and I was still worried the information would not effectively trickle down to the potential voters that are only minimally paying attention at this time.
And right about the time I was pondering this problem, I happened to notice this exchange between Chuck Todd and Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstromon The Daily Rundown this morning.
Problem solved. If the Obama camp says it's not a tax, and the Romney camp says it's not a tax, then regardless of what the Right Wing talking heads want us to believe, it is NOT a tax.
In other words Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner can talk until they are blue in the face (Or in Boehner's case a brighter shade of orange) but it will mean absolutely nothing. The mandate is not a tax, and the American people are hearing that from BOTH candidates running for president.
What that means is that the ACA cannot be used as a wedge issue in the election, which really only leaves the economy, which right now happens to be improving, and which Romney has STILL not offered proof he could speed up if elected.
You know what that means!
P.S. By the way even if the mandate WERE a tax, which it's not, it would be nowhere near the "biggest tax increase in the history of the world" as Rush Limbaugh so ignorantly states.
Here take a look for yourself.
Apparently Oxycontin makes it hard to do math, right Rushbo?