Obama’s Nontax Tax
On a Sunday show, the President offers a revealing definition. The definition is, It’s not a tax unless you call it a tax, no matter that you’re slapping a $3,800 penalty. As the WSJ puts it,
the President thinks a health-care tax is not a tax if he thinks the tax is for your own good.
The President has some rather odd logic going through his argument. For instance,
“Here’s what’s happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average—our families—in higher premiums because of uncompensated care.
What the hey does he mean by “uncompensated care”? What is he talking about?
As the article points out, uncompensated care is a minimal amount (2.2%) of current health spending. So what is he talking about? How does he arrive at that $900 number?
Now what I’ve said is that if you can’t afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn’t be punished for that. That’s just piling on. If, on the other hand, we’re giving tax credits, we’ve set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we’ve driven down the costs,
How? Specifically, how do you propose to drive down costs?
we’ve done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you’ve just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances.
So, is that why you should be punished with a $3,800 penalty, because you are making a rational economic decision?
And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that’s . . .”
Again, Obama doesn’t seem to realize how medical group benefits work. When you “get hit by a bus” your expenses are paid by car insurance policies, or by the municipality (if they self-insure) owning that bus.
George Stephanopolous valiantly pressed on,
Mr. Obama: “No, but—but, George, you—you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”
“I don’t think I’m making it up,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said. He then had the temerity to challenge the Philologist in Chief, with an assist from Merriam-Webster. He cited that dictionary’s definition of “tax”—”a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”
Mr. Obama: “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. . . .”
Mr. Stephanopoulos: “I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.”
Mr. 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 . . .”
Mr. Stephanopoulos: “But you reject that it’s a tax increase?”
Mr. Obama: “I absolutely reject that notion.”
The WSJ asks,
And for that matter, what doesn’t count as a nontax under Mr. Obama’s definition?
Simple: It’s not a tax as long as you don’t call it a tax.