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May 04, 2011

Liberal Wunderkind Ezra Klein Doesn't Seem To Know What A Mandate Is

I'd like to find an honest liberal to read but I've given up hope.

Here Washington Post blogger Ezra Kelin tries to show that the Ryan entitlement reform plan has not one but two "individual mandates".

Obvious question: Does the Republican budget have an individual mandate? Obvious answer: Of course not. Republicans think imposing a tax penalty on people who donít purchase health-care insurance is an unconstitutional assault on liberty.

Correct answer: It has two.

...Hereís how the Ryan plan works: If youíre an individual whoís not covered by Medicare, youíre eligible for a tax credit up to $2,300 to purchase insurance. If you donít purchase insurance, you get nothing. So, in practice, thereís a $2,300 penalty for not purchasing insurance. In essence, youíre giving the government $2,300, and you only get it back if you buy health-care insurance. Itís slightly more roundabout than an individual mandate, but itís the same idea.

His plan for Medicare is even closer to an individual mandate. There, everyone has to pay into the system through payroll taxes. When youíre 65 years old, you get a voucher that will pay part of the cost of health-care insurance. If you decide not to use the voucher, or the voucher is insufficient, all the taxes you paid into the system are forfeit. Either you buy insurance as a senior, or you face a tremendous lifetime tax penalty.

You see! Republicans are hypocrites and love mandates! They have twice as many as ObamaCare.

Of course, this only works if you define "mandate" as "personal choice to take advantage of a tax break/incentive or not". Actually, now that I read that, that's pretty much the exact opposite of a mandate.

I wonder if Klein thinks there's a mandate to have children. After all if you do, the government will give you a $1,000 credit. If you pay income taxes but don't have children you don't get that $1,000 back and in Klein's world, that's a mandate.

Of course this is all nonsense. As Klein admits, the ObamaCare mandate REQUIRES you to either show you have health insurance or they will fine you 2.5% of your income or $700, whichever is greater. No choice, no options just a requirement (aka a Mandate).

This is part of the problem that Ace wrote about earlier. It's simply impossible to engage in an honest debate when liberals simply feel no obligation to be consistent or factual.

One party is serious about dealing with our existential financial threat and one, along with their enablers in the media, are simply trying to score cheap political points.

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posted by DrewM. at 02:59 PM

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