Saturday, June 30, 2012

Is it a Tax or a Penalty?

Since the courts upheld the mandate on the basis that it is within the purview of Congress thanks to the power to tax, the Obama administration has a small problem on their hands. Yes, they got the win they wanted from the Supreme Court, but they got it in probably what was the worst possible outcome for them.

They now have to try to convince the American people that the Individual Mandate is still a penalty, even though the courts say the only way it is legal is if it is a tax.

What to do, what to do?
So let's break this down a little bit. The Mandate says that if you make enough money but "choose" not to buy health insurance you will be fined. This fine will be collected with your actual taxes via the IRS, thus the legal basis of the argument that it is a tax.

There are a few problems with that though. Every other tax is based off of you "doing" something, earning money, spending money, buying something. No other "Tax" in our country is forced upon you because you choose to opt out of spending your money. So now you can take your money put it into a mattress and they can tax you because you didn't spend enough of YOUR money on something THEY wanted you to buy.

Basic freedoms tell me that I am free to do with my money that which I choose. If I find that health insurance is a good use of my money and gives me a positive return on investment then I will buy it. Same thing goes for a new car, gasoline for my new car, new clothes, a house, anything out there. At that point the U.S. government along with state and local governments will tax me on the sale price of my items.

Now I get a non-sales tax is the best way to describe it.

But never fear Obama has released his plan for dealing with this. Ignore the fact that his entire law is only legal because it is what he fought so hard to prove that it is not. So you have Jay Carney still saying that it is a penalty.

So that brings me to my next question, how does the courts rule in favor of something based on an argument that was never argued for. The entire time the Obama administration argued that the law was legal based on the commerce clause. Magically that is not constitutional in this case but the penalty magically became a tax.

Who argued this position? The law itself never calls the "Tax" a tax, it always calls it a penalty. So how I believe this should have went was this. The courts should have come back and said the law is unconstitutional based on the commerce clause, but if the law was re-written to explain that the penalty was being used as a tax and spelled out that way in the bill, then it would be legal under the taxation clause.

That way everyone wins. The law is struck down and even though there would be an open loop-hole for the Dems to push this back through they would have to come out and actually call it a tax publicly. Thus it would never be passed again.

There, now was that so hard CJ Roberts? You could have kept your precious court "above" the political frey and actually gotten the decision right at the same time. All that would have to happen was congress would have to actually pass a 1.6 trillion dollar tax increase on the American people out right. No need to worry about future court cases because they would have already been decided.

But we all know that's not how it happened, and because of it we are all a lot less free because of it.

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