Patterico's Pontifications

9/21/2009

Obama: Healthcare mandate is not a tax BECAUSE I SAID SO

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:42 am

[Posted by Karl]

During his Magical Mystery Tour of the Sunday chat shows, Pres. Obama took ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on a trip Through the Looking Glass on the question of whether the health insurance mandate is a tax:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?

***

OBAMA: No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase…

***

STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition.

Stephanopoulos went to the dictionary because — having been in a similar position during the Clinton era — he knew Obama would try to deny that the individual mandate is a tax. Yet Pres. Audacity rejected the notion that a dictionary should be considered as to the definition of a word. Lewis Carroll would be proud:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

Thw Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen may groove on that sort of newspeak, but not even the left-leaning Moderate Voice’s Jazz Shaw was buying it. During the George H.W. Bush administration there was a “duck test” for taxes and the individual mandate waddles and quacks like a tax. Indeed, if you don’t pay the mandate, you also pay a tax.

Nor are these the only taxes mandated by the various flavors of ObamaCare. The Baucus bill would impose a new sales tax on drugs and medical devices and a new federal excise tax on insurance plans that exceed $8,000 for an individual and $21,000 for a family. Sen. Jay Rockefeller — not a member of the VRWC — calls the latter “a big, big tax” on the middle class.

It is not surprising that Obama would deny the mandate is a tax; the mandate is already unpopular, and — if fully debated — likely will fail to attract even Democrats. But people understand that ObamaCare means tax hikes — and they know Obama knows it. Blatant dishonesty only damages the president’s credibility, assuming he has any left on the issue. At some point, all the president’s men won’t be able to put Humpty together again.

–Karl

39 Responses to “Obama: Healthcare mandate is not a tax BECAUSE I SAID SO”

  1. good thing we didn’t elect that idiot Palin…..

    Ear Leader is a fool’s fool, and so are the morons who voted for him.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. Think Mr. Ed:

    A tax is a tax, in fact, in fact
    unless it will run on a mandate track.
    ‘Cuz fees and fines will hide the stacks,
    So says Mr. !O!

    The fees and the fines are so divine!
    They’re hidden at middle class taxing time!
    It’s very much like a legal crime!
    Whispers Mr. !O!

    Tea baggers yack and bray because
    the money’s flown away!
    But Mr. !O! will never say
    A new tax is coming your way!

    Go right to the book that Noah wrote
    and look up the meaning but then, don’t gloat.
    The definition is only smoke;
    SOOOOO SAYS MISSSS – TERRRR !OOOOOOOOO!

    (racists)

    BJTexs (a2cb5a)

  3. If these were all such great and popular ideas, he would not be forced to lie about them. It is really grasping to use an actual definition of a word. Is it safe to say they are anti-English?

    JD (a8fb17)

  4. Don’t try to define what I’m saying and doing. What I say and do defies definition.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  5. Is there some deep strategy I’m not appreciating here? What is the advantage in insulting the intelligence of the public?

    Even some of the duller-knife types I know understand exactly what is going on. They don’t care what it’s called, if it boils down to ‘you have to pay more, a lot more, or else’.

    jodetoad (059c35)

  6. I have the undedited script of the interview. Here’s what Stephanopoulos actually said:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax, boy?

    nk (df76d4)

  7. A tax on the uninsured is not necessarily per se unreasonable or invalid. Society has the risk that when they get sick we will be paying for their health care because they chose to buy a TV, or a Harley, or go to Costa Rica for two weeks, instead of buying health insurance.

    We can analogize it to self-insureds. They are still required to have a self-insurance trust with a certain amount of money in it and an umbrella policy. That “self-insurance trust” and “umbrella” is already in place for uninsureds and it need not be unfair to ask them to pay their fair share in the future.

    nk (df76d4)

  8. He clearly wasn’t buying the spin. As of yesterday, George Steph. may have actually started to peel himself away from the Obama wagon’s bumper. As pointed out by Karl, Steph’s own experience working in the west wing of the Clinton WH makes him more savvy and knowledgeable with respect to messaging, political maneuvering and governing than most of his lap doggish cohorts in the media (who have never been anything but practicing journalists). Former crooks are brought in by the Feds to help solve bank heists and former hackers are brought in to corporations to expose computer crimes for a reason. Well, George the former insider knows (or is at least able to guess) the scurrying going on in the Obama WH about now. His round table discussion was also pretty decent on Sunday morning.

    elissa (a20a4f)

  9. The Freepers have posted a newly-unearthed video of Obama from 2007 which indicates that he clearly though nationalized health care would cost more money, and require tax hikes.

    Official Internet Data Office (551c17)

  10. Merriam Webster is not only an insidious racist codeword, it is also a tool of the Patriarchy !

    JD (292bc3)

  11. On a related note, the incredibly egregious Hiltzik tries to use the Internet’s creation as a rationale for socialized health care. He completely fails to notice that the government’s involvement was needed solely because it had created conditions that made it impossible for private enterprise to do it alone.

    This needs a serious fisking.

    epobirs (60643b)

  12. He clearly wasn’t buying the spin. As of yesterday, George Steph. may have actually started to peel himself away from the Obama wagon’s bumper

    I agree with this. Stephanopolis has done a great job with This Week and knows that his own credibility is a valuable commodity now. He is not going to lie down under that bus because he sees ahead an implosion of Obama with the 2010 disaster for the Democrats and a worse disaster in 2012 unless Obama can learn the lesson Clinton learned in 1994.

    I always check the Wash Monthly spin to see what they are thinking (using the term loosely as what goes on there has little do with anything above the spinal cord). All I see there is silly stuff like this.

    At that point, Stephanopoulos referenced Merriam Webster’s, to try to nail down a precise definition of a “tax.” The president responded, “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition.”

    The host added, “But your critics say it is a tax increase.”

    Obama replied, “My critics say everything is a tax increase.”

    And here endeth the lesson.

    We haven’t seen this sort of slavish obsequious stuff since Stalin died.

    They do not see the train coming at them but Stephanopolis does.

    Mike K (addb13)

  13. Yeah I glanced at Hiltzik’s pile of tripe this morning. I knew he was wrong when he stole the credit from Al Gore–who we all know was the actual inventor of the Internet–to give it to some obscure government agency. You just can’t trust these liars in the Times, can you?

    But having pulled my tongue out of my cheek, Hiltzik was setting up a strawman to demolish the arguments of those folks who, like me, sometimes believe that government can’t do much of anything right. And after all, if the government got the Internet right. obviously [to Hiltzik at least] the goverment will get the healthcare takeover right.

    And so it goes on Big Rock Candy Mountain, where we’re all drinking that free Bubbleup and eating that rainbow stew. And where a “mandate” is not a tax.

    Mike Myers (d62fe4)

  14. Meh. This is weak tea.

    Doesn’t anyone remember the rules? We’ve been through this before.

    – The president, member of party X, gets to parse, wiggle and sometimes outright lie to push for their desired policy outcomes (war, healthcare, etc.).
    – The members of party Y get to wave pictures of Hitler.

    I don’t make the rules, I just live here.

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    fishbane (9d079e)

  15. Testing… being eaten by a spam filter?

    [Yep. Akismet can be a slow learner. Fished this one out too. --Stashiu]

    fishbane (9d079e)

  16. Al Gore–who we all know was the actual inventor of the Internet

    Time out: Gore proclaimed himself to be a FOUNDER of the Internet.

    And it wasn’t Kool-Aid at Jonestown, Guyana. It was Flavor Aid. Kool-Aid never had a cyanide grape flavor.

    Gore invented Flavor Aid. Let’s get our stories straight, people.

    [joking, joking, joking...is this mic on?]

    political agnostic (7afa7b)

  17. Another data point on this is US families earning over $66K with no health insurance will be fined $3800 by the IRS. (Imagine how that IRS database and audits are supposed to work.)

    Of course, the fine for illegal immigrants having no insurance will be $0 because they won’t be eligible for the government run health plan. Many illegals earn off the grid, besides. The Obama guys are very sneaky – they’ll be able to turn this into a big gift to his political supporters.

    Wesson (03286d)

  18. It’s like depends on what the definition of “is” is.

    jwarner (0a2a75)

  19. President Obama’s heath care promises won’t be kept. Costs will rise exponentially, NOT fall. Therefore, our taxes will be the ones to pay for it. We need to support the goal of covering all individuals through private health insurance. We are NOT prepared to turn our health system over to the government.
    http://www.friendsoftheuschamber.com/issues/index.cfm?ID=300 .

    Audrey (d2dd1b)

  20. “…Of course, the fine for illegal immigrants having no insurance will be $0…”

    Another reason for “going Galt”…
    We’re all “illegals” now!

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  21. “US families earning over $66K with no health insurance will be fined $3800 by the IRS.”

    So, if you don’t pay up they can get a tax lien on your house, right? Or just seize it.

    Nice.

    cassandra in MT (5a5d33)

  22. No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase…

    Damn, the guy now in the Oval Office lies through his friggin’ teeth without batting an eye. He really is one disgusting, scroungy, half-assed, ass-backwards, flaky dude.

    What the hell is wrong with the portion of the American electorate (at least the part that isn’t idiotically leftwing) that fell for him?

    Yea, I realize he has a winning smile and bright, shiny eyes, which make a lot of people want to, if not swoon for him, give him a lot of benefit of the doubt. But the power of the superficial and the persona is what con artists use to their advantage time and time again.

    The United States right now has become like a big version of stereotypical urban politics — sloppy, foolish and corrupt — a cross between the city halls of Detroit, Chicago and Washington DC (ie, Marion Berry’s DC).

    Mark (411533)

  23. A tax is not a tax unless Barcky says it is a tax. Screw Merriam Webster.

    Did anyone ask him about his dishonest claims that this will have to be deficit neutral for him to sign it?

    JD (9019c8)

  24. JD…You know that his words lose all veracity in the time it takes them to traverse from his lips to your ears.
    Consider yourself denounced for even bringing this up.

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  25. Yeah, I know, AD. It just amazes me that not one of the so-called JournoLists was willing to commit a simple act of journalism and ask him about something as basic as his claims of deficit neutrality.

    JD (9019c8)

  26. Geez, JD…Now you’re calling for “professionalism” too?
    Have you been taking VeVian’s meds?

    AD - RtR/OS! (8c7b14)

  27. Now, you have gone too far, AD. You are right in that we should never expect actual professionalism from the MSM lapdogs.

    JD (9019c8)

  28. Another “right” taken away! All of the pundits,Politicians etc tell us “everybody else pays the bill if they use services and dont have insurance”. BULL if you go to a hospital, doctor etc they will HOUND the hell out of you until you pay. You get sent to collections and your credit is screwed unless you pay them. Thats the truth. So big brother is again “helping” us. YEA right. It will end up with no “public option” and more than help the insurance guys NOT US. He talks about auto insurance like its the same thing-IT ISNT. I have POLITICIAN FATIGUE, and would really like to find a “cure” for it. If the bribe taking,campaign money making turds would stop worrying about themselves and start actually thinking about their constituents we wouldnt be having this kind of “debate” over healthcare. If they really want to do this why not make the insurance companys a PUBLIC UTILITY? Like all utilitys they would be regulated by both the feds and the STATES-duhhh. This would give the states control of all the companys that want to do business in their state. The utility can be regulated as far as their profits, policys etc are concerned. Am I just stupid or doesnt this fit the “bill” for the healthcare? Somebody tell me why we cant do it this way. Seems to me if the ALL the states are involved, the insurance companys arent being competed by the feds(public option)and they are treated like a utility ALL win. This is a farce all the way around.

    rick (e2df3b)

  29. rick, health insurance companies already are regulated by the states they operate in.

    I don’t know that I’ll call you stupid, but you certainly don’t seem to understand what you are talking about.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. Umm spqr are they to the point of how much they can charge or what percentage of profit they can make? iN CASE YOU dont know the State Corporation Commission’s require the utilitys to prove the need for an increase. Do they do this now? Your vision of the regulations and mine are not the same. And yes I know they regulate the insurance companys but NOT like a utility.

    rick (e2df3b)

  31. rick, clearly you don’t have a clue what the state regulatory authorities do.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. Even the trolls seem discouraged. When they disappear, you know Obama’s in trouble.

    Mike K (addb13)

  33. Actually, Mike K, the absence of trolling is not a good sign. When things are going really poorly, or when they perceive them to be, they increase in their frequency and vitriol. Fortunately, the local trolls appear to have moved on to other places, as the other sites I routinely read are being inundated with asshattery.

    JD (9019c8)

  34. Shucks, I was hoping to get “rick” into a discussion of the differences between utilities and health care insurance.

    But evidently, we found his limitations earlier than that …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. [...] Pres. Obama looked silly trying to deny that forcing people to buy health insurance is not a tax. Even the Associated Press was not buying it. Pres. Obama was willing to look silly on network TV because taxes are not popular — but the underlying issue is much bigger. [...]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Obamanomics: Hidden Regressive Taxes (e2f069)

  36. [...] Pres. Obama looked silly trying to deny that forcing people to buy health insurance is not a tax. Even the Associated Press was not buying it. Pres. Obama was willing to look silly on network TV because taxes are not popular — but the underlying issue is much bigger. [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Obamanomics: Hidden Regressive Taxes (e4ab32)

  37. [...] Obamanomics: Hidden Regressive Taxes posted at 8:33 am on September 22, 2009 by Karl Pres. Obama looked silly trying to deny that forcing people to buy health insurance is not a tax. Even the Associated Press [...]

    What the global warming issue is really all about - Page 54 (22847d)

  38. Without his teleprompter he’s a genuine nitwit. Obama is an actor playing a role for money and a sense of being in control.

    Roland Ansgar (f788d9)


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