Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax

Editor’s Note – In a clear example of the audacity of Barack Obama and the Progressive Left, they expect to have it both ways.

While selling the mandate to the American public, Obama clearly states that it is not a tax, yet, while defending it in court, his administration claims it is a tax.

Personally, it is beyond me to understand how anyone can look at this and come away with the idea that Obama is being honest and trustworthy with the people of this country.  And, if he is this deceptive with healthcare, why would he not be equally so with any other part of his agenda. 

It’s reallly not that difficult, either you choose to see or you don’t – we get the government we deserve, folks.

 

Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax

By Robert Pear
New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”

And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s 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.

While Congress was working on the health care legislation, Mr. Obama refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy insurance, enforced by financial penalties, was equivalent to a tax.

“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.”

In addition, the department notes, the penalty is imposed and collected under the Internal Revenue Code, and people must report it on their tax returns “as an addition to income tax liability.”

Because the penalty is a tax, the department says, no one can challenge it in court before paying it and seeking a refund.

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.”

Read More – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/health/policy/18health.html?_r=1&ref=politics

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Tom Tillison

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