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June 29, 2012

Obama Surrogate: ObamaTax is Not a Tax

Devall Patrick, an Obama surrogate, re-stated on a conference call that the ObamaTax was not a tax, but a penalty.

“Don’t believe the hype that the other side is selling,” Patrick said on a conference call organized by President Obama’s campaign.

“I just want to respond to the frankly bizarre attack, which is the claim this act represents a big tax increase on the middle class,” Patrick said. “First, this is a penalty. It’s about dealing with the freeloaders -- the folks who now get their care without insurance in high-cost emergency room setting. And all the rest of us pay for it today."

Taxes are for the purpose of raising revenues, not for penalizing activities (or inactivities) the government doesn't favor. So on that score, he's right.

Okay, let's put this in writing. Let's pass a law that states, unambiguously, that neither Congress nor the President believe that this is a tax, and do not intend it to be a tax, and do not mean for it to have the legal classification of a tax. That it is and shall be American law that the mandate is not a tax for any purposes, including as parsed by the courts.

Let's pass that bill, and send it on over to the President for his signature. After all, he says it's not a tax.

Or Do It The Other Way... and propose that Democrats state it's officially a tax.

If they decline, bring suit again.

via @tsrbike.

Good Piece By Richard Epstein: He wrote in the NYT, but I'm linking American Thinker.

As a matter of constitutional text, legal history and logic, the power to regulate commerce and the power to tax should not be separated. It is not good for the court or the country that the chief justice's position in such an important case is confused at its core.

...

Through the early 20th century, the Supreme Court was cognizant of this tight relationship between the power to regulate an activity directly and to the power to tax it. The basic idea relies on a simple economic insight: taxation and regulation are close substitutes, so a limitation on one power matters little if the other power is still available. There is no practical difference between ordering an action, and taxing or fining people who don't do that same thing. If the Constitution limits direct federal powers, it must also limit Congress's indirect power of taxation.

...

Chief Justice Roberts has ignored this fundamental principle: If direct regulation is beyond the scope of the Commerce Clause (as he held), then taxation as an indirect route to the same regulation should be off limits as well (as he failed to hold).

Obama's lawyers urged to Roberts that the federal government's powers were unlimited, via the Commerce Clause.

Roberts sharply disagreed -- he ruled the federal government's powers were unlimited, via the taxing power.

Color me unpersuaded by the chorus of "Wow, we super-won the long-game!"

That last bit via Andy, @theh2.


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posted by Ace at 01:24 PM

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