Tuesday, July 03, 2012
ObamaCare's Individual Mandate - A Tax Or A Penalty?
There still appears to be a great deal of confusion over whether the money assessed via ObamaCares' individual mandate is a tax, or a penalty.
Chief Justice John Roberts based his vote on the idea that it is a tax, and therefore comes under the Federal Government's mandate to levy taxes. On the other hand, even after the questionable decision that saved ObamaCare, both President Obama's campaign and Romney campaign adviser Ed Fehrnstrom are telling us it's a 'penalty'.
The answer's perfectly obvious, and it amazes me that anyone even questions it.
The individual mandate is obviously a tax, which is why the IRS in in charge of collecting it. They have no mandate whatsoever according to federal law to collect anything else but taxes levied by the federal government and penalties and liens directly resulting from those taxes.
But it's also worth mentioning that if it is a tax, it's an illegal tax according to the Constitution, which severely and narrowly defines exactly what kinds of taxes the federal government may levy. And a 'tax' on inactivity for not performing a certain action or purchasing something isn't one of them.
There are only three kinds of taxes the federal government may collect. There are capitat or head taxes equally levied on everyone, income taxes, as per the 16th Amendment or excise taxes, based on economic activity - interstate commerce, tariffs on goods of foreign origin, sales taxes, and so on. The assessment based on the individual mandate fits in none of these categories, and there is no precedent for anything like this in U.S. law.
As Jesus himself once said, "Thou art neither hot nor cold, so I will spew thee out of my mouth."
As perfect a description of the individual mandate as I can imagine.