Patterico's Pontifications

7/2/2012

A Penalty is a Tax is a Penalty

Filed under: General — JD @ 4:24 pm

[Guest post by JD]

SanFranNan calls it a ta-penalty.

Mr Lew says that lawyers make arguments that are not always true.

And we are stuck with their monstrosity.

Links to follow …

— JD

UPDATE BY PATTERICO:

Pelosi:

Lew:

77 Responses to “A Penalty is a Tax is a Penalty”

  1. Brazen liars

    JD (2c0b70)

  2. People are able to switch between the two labels so readily because it doesn’t make one dang substantive difference one way or the other. The end effect is the same whether you call it a tax or a penalty, which is why Roberts ruled the way he did in the first place.

    Leviticus (102f62)

  3. you don’t tax people for not buying stuff

    our Harvard trash chief justice just made that up

    and now the constitution is gayer than putin in a volkswagen cabriolet next to you at the light singing call me maybe

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  4. What’s an income tax, again?

    Leviticus (102f62)

  5. You don’t sales tax people for not buying stuff, I’ll give you that.

    Leviticus (102f62)

  6. “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    -Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland

    aunursa (7014a8)

  7. an income tax is where a dwindling percentage of Americans have to pay the government a certain percentage of what the monies they made in a given year

    you can tell it’s a tax on income cause we call it an “income tax”

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  8. Leviticus, are you saying that this is a tax on income?

    ‘Cause it pretty much looks like a tax on breathing.

    Icy (6e2ac4)

  9. you also don’t sales tax people for when they buy tasty greek yogurts and various edible fowl and kimchi and asparagus and whole wheat pasta and barley and seedless grapes and carrot juice and almond milk but you do on bicylcles and water guns and sex toys

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  10. Rasmussen poll weighs in after Obamacare decision.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

    Obamacare? Still unpopular.

    Here’s Rasmussen explaining what the numbers mean:

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/rasmussen-health-care-conservatives/2012/07/02/id/444211?s=al&promo_code=F5D8-1

    Which is funny. I have Yahoo email. So I get their headlines first before heading to Breitbart and other sources. They featured a report just yesterday that acceptance of Obamacare had picked up after SCOTUS decision. Now I can’t find that article anywhere. I wonder why.

    “Hope and Change” has now become “Tax and no Change.” That seems to be the national mood.

    Brandon (d777af)

  11. also, lawn chairs

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  12. They are going by Gallup, which has Obama up by 5,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  13. This is the one, mind you they don’t see a particular bounce from the decision;

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/155465/Obama-Leads-Romney.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication

    narciso (ee31f1)

  14. 13. Not that I sit for surveys but now laying stone on the in-laws cabin, when not weeding the garden or tubing with the squirt or out of town travelling.

    I try to fit in sleep but we’ve cats. So what do polls mean this time of year?

    Nut ‘n honey.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  15. Roberts, verb. To Roberts: The corporal left his platoon and Robertsed his azz to the rear while an enemy squad shot up the civilians in his charge and took his boys prisoner.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  16. So, what is a mandate?
    Is a mandate only a mandate when you do it or go to jail? Does that even exist?

    @ParisParamus (5eb74d)

  17. If there’s anyone here who understands tax laws as they pertain to how they are passed in congress, I would appreciate some enlightenment on one issue:

    If they’re now calling the individual mandate a “tax” as opposed to a “penalty,” does that not then imply that Obamacare was improperly conceived? From my understanding the law was conceived in the senate, and tax laws must be conceived first in the house due to “no taxation without representation.” That’s probably a huge oversimplification on my part, but I’m not a lawyer.

    Is there a precedent that congress and the SCOTUS have completely overlooked in passing the law then declaring it constitutional?

    If so, I would think that the repeal – beginning in the house would have more constitutional force than the initial legislation.

    Am I wrong?

    Rasmussen in the 2nd link I posted above is suggesting that there might be more bi-partisan effort in the house towards repeal. It will be the senate that will try to block repeal. That pretty much goes without saying considering that the senate has a democrat majority.

    34 democrat reps voted against Obamacare when it was passed, but not one democrat senator did. It passed because several Republican Reps voted for it. Still the vote was largely partisan.

    I personally believe that congress should wait on repeal until after the election when conservatives have a chance to have a majority in the senate; but there’s a bit of a gamble there if Romney doesn’t win. But if they start now and lose in the senate, it’s not likely to come up again next year, as many will have resigned to the notion that it’s just not going to be repealed. That’s my thinking. Anyone have different thoughts?

    Brandon (d777af)

  18. Here are the links:

    Nancy Pelosi

    and

    White House Chief of Staff Lew

    Ugh.

    Dana (292dcf)

  19. John Roberts is smarter than you biff.

    tye (ed9641)

  20. 14,

    You’re right – polls won’t start to mean much until sometime in November, but the poll is interesting simply because the dems assumed that Obamacare would somehow become more popular eventually. That hasn’t happened, apparently – even after a major win for them in the SC.

    Brandon (d777af)

  21. Mr Lew says that lawyers make arguments that are not always true.

    Obama’s lawyers most of all. They have to; look at the lies that come out of their boss’ mouth.

    But to be perfectly fair, everyone knew that Obama’s lawyers were making arguments they knew not to be true when they were making them. They were throwing all the crap they could at the wall like monkeys in a zoo hoping that at least some of it would stick.

    The dissenters knew perfectly well what the Obama administration lawyers were up to when they were arguing against logic and language that the penalty was a tax:

    These self serving litigating positions are entitled to no weight. What counts is what the statute says, and that is entirely clear.

    Roberts, I’m sure, knew that as well but he was apparently past the point of caring if he looked like a fool.

    He was first and foremost concerned about the reputation of the court. Not the statute before him. Certainly not the Constitution he swore to uphold and defend.

    I guess you have to have an Ivy league education to be able to delude yourself into believing that issuing idiotic, confused, and self-contradictory opinions is the way to enhance your institution’s public reputation.

    Steve57 (9fe8ab)

  22. If it’s not a tax, doesn’t that mean that it’s unconstitutional?

    malclave (4f3ec1)

  23. 23-um… have you watched the news since Thursday?

    tye (ed9641)

  24. @ #2: There is a difference in law between a tax and a penalty. Sorry, but they aren’t the same just because you say so. The fact that Roberts had to transform it into a tax tells you all you need to know.

    Also, Scalia’s dissent was notable for asking what type of tax this was. Roberts did not answer other than to weakly decline to resort to labels. Leviticus, perhaps you can supply a direct answer?

    foxbat (6ef50f)

  25. You don’t sales tax people for not buying stuff, I’ll give you that.

    You also don’t pay property tax if you don’t own any property. Nor do you pay income tax if you have no income. Nor do you pay gasoline tax if you don’t buy gasoline, or liquor tax if you don’t buy alcohol.

    So, there’s a tax for not buying health insurance?

    Chuck Bartowski (775c14)

  26. It’s a living, breathing tax.

    mg (44de53)

  27. This is a serious question, since I am not a lawyer.

    If everyone involved in this tax increase keeps insisting its not a tax increase, is a tort possible to disallow it’s implementation since the court said the only possible solution to implement is to regard it as a tax?

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  28. Mr Lew says that lawyers make arguments that are not always true.

    Who knew?

    AZ Bob (1c9631)

  29. SanFranNan calls is a ta-penalty.

    Really? I was more inclined to call it “FUAmericans”.

    I’m still trying to figure out how this doesn’t just give Congress defacto absolute power over everything we do.

    All they have to do is place a tax on doing or not doing it which is so exhorbitant it’s not even funny.

    What? You didn’t buy a solar panel? Well, that will cost you $50,000!!

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert (8e2a3d)

  30. Not that I agree either with the concept or with Roberts—I most vociferously do not– but is not the general distinction Roberts tries to make the fact that the commerce clause mandate to buy something isn’t the precipitating factor of Obamacare any more if it is to be deemed Constitutional?

    Before Thursday it was “you must buy certain insurance under the commerce clause or else you will pay a (lesser) penalty”. Now, after Thursday it is “you will pay a healthcare tax or you can avoid it by buying certain insurance instead”. Before, it was cc mandate or penalty. Now it is pay congressionally enacted tax or buy insurance. IOW the two piece parts of Obamacare are exactly the same –but they do not have the same place or legitimacy of role under the Roberts ruling. Yes, it’s largely semantics but there really is a difference when you think through the language.

    After seeing excerpts of the Pelosi, Lew etc. performances from Sunday as well as some Republicans, I do not believe they get this distinction–or they pretend they don’t. Lew, Pelosi and Schumer are still saying the buy insurance mandate is most definitely not a tax. Roberts and the majority would agree with that statement. Rather, the “tax” is the former penalty and the former commerce clause mandate is now the suggestion/way to avoid the tax. Of course Obamacare will topple under the weight of fraud and inadequate funding, and many people who used to have health insurance through their employers will not have it anymore. This is why the whole thing must be repealed in congress and be signed by a new president.

    elissa (25876b)

  31. hannity hair-don’t
    a Lew-in-teh-headlights L00k
    meh… what’s not to love?

    Colonel Haiku (005738)

  32. his scat spackeled lips
    nothing quite as hideous
    as the tyena

    Colonel Haiku (005738)

  33. Dems think healthcare
    law has silver lining but
    so did Hindenburg

    Colonel Haiku (005738)

  34. goddam liberals
    their god would be teh gayest
    with teh pierced nipples

    Colonel Haiku (005738)

  35. So, there’s a tax for not buying health insurance?

    Yeah, the distinction here is that Congress now has the power to tax you for not doing something, which really removes all ephing limits on what they can demand of you.

    Vilcum Tu Der Nu Amerikkka!!

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert (8e2a3d)

  36. bienvenidos a la america nueva!!

    hey if it’s so new why does it smell like karl marx’s nutsack?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  37. Colonel Haiku rules……this silly little room.

    Larry Reilly (4156b1)

  38. The end effect is the same whether you call it a tax or a penalty, which is why Roberts ruled the way he did in the first place.

    Comment by Leviticus — 7/2/2012 @ 4:32 pm

    Not quite. A penalty needs a contravention of a lawfully enacted law. Since the mandate did not come under the Commerce Clause, or the War Power, or the Admiralty Power, etc., it could not stand as a penalty. Wherefore, “it’s a tax!”

    nk (875f57)

  39. 31. …Before Thursday it was “you must buy certain insurance under the commerce clause or else you will pay a (lesser) penalty”. Now, after Thursday it is “you will pay a healthcare tax or you can avoid it by buying certain insurance instead”. Before, it was cc mandate or penalty. Now it is pay congressionally enacted tax or buy insurance. IOW the two piece parts of Obamacare are exactly the same –but they do not have the same place or legitimacy of role under the Roberts ruling. Yes, it’s largely semantics but there really is a difference when you think through the language.

    After seeing excerpts of the Pelosi, Lew etc. performances from Sunday as well as some Republicans, I do not believe they get this distinction–or they pretend they don’t. Lew, Pelosi and Schumer are still saying the buy insurance mandate is most definitely not a tax.

    Comment by elissa — 7/2/2012 @ 6:18 pm

    It’s political suicide for them to acknowledge that it’s really a general tax increase that individuals can avoid if they comply with Congress’ demand they buy a commercial product that subsidizes other people’s health care.

    And that only the remaining individuals who choose not to get out of the way of this tax will be hit with it.

    So when it comes up they simply accuse those remaining individuals of not taking individual responsibility for their own health care when in fact what those individuals are doing is refusing to subsidize the health care of others by avoiding the ponzi scheme entirely.

    So at this point they simply have to keep going with the lies that brung ’em this far.

    Steve57 (9fe8ab)

  40. they simply change the subject accuse…

    Steve57 (9fe8ab)

  41. Regardless, two classes of people will be adversely affected by the law:

    The very rich and the very poor.

    The rich can buy health care without insurance because they can. Nonetheless, they will have to pay a new tax simply because the rest of the citizenry exists.

    The very poor are now considered “free-riders” in Pelosi’s terms. To put it in regular speak, it means the poor are free-loaders on the wealth of others even when that wealth is not very much.

    Except, Pelosi doesn’t mean the poor, she means people who will logically just wait until they are sick to buy insurance. By her own words, the law specifically benefits free-loaders to the detriment of hard-working individuals who abide by the rules.

    Although the law was meant to benefit the middle-class or poor, it instead benefits those who use the law for their own purposes.

    The IRS will enforce the rules on the middle-class, which the middle-class cannot defend because of the expense of legal assistance.

    The true free-riders will escape the punishment tax because they have the wealth, or lack thereof, to escape penalty.

    It is a tax on the middle-class without recourse pure and simple.

    Ag80 (b2c81f)

  42. lairwee reilly is
    King of Weak-Suck Libs who don’t
    embarrass easy

    Colonel Haiku (005738)

  43. I was billed for six doses of .375 tranxene, recently. I only got two. Padding or “diversion”?

    nk (875f57)

  44. pa-diversion?

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  45. nk, it sounds more like “addiction”. Perhaps you should change pharmacies.

    Icy (6e2ac4)

  46. Perhaps Mr. Romney could hire Casey Stengal to run his campaign?
    Casey’s used to leading a group that doesn’t know how to play the game.

    AD-RtR/OS! (2bb434)

  47. Hospital. I suspect the nurses of “diverting” it, or the suits of triple-billing. Who knows?

    At my doses, it’s a muscle relaxant. But it can also be “diverted” for abuse.

    nk (875f57)

  48. Though the “mandate” originated in the Senate, the bill that it was amended to originated in the House (even though its original language had nothing to do with O-care); therefore, under the arcane proceedures of the Congress, it is a bill that imposes a tax and it originated in the House, thereby being in concert with the proceedures set down by the Constitution.
    BTW, would you like to buy some waterfront property in Las Vegas?

    AD-RtR/OS! (2bb434)

  49. AD-RtR/OS!, is it cheap?

    nk, was that an itemized inpt bill?
    Could be a mistake, could be diversion. Could ignore it, could talk to someone at the hospital. Hospitals and facilities don’t like to let people get away with that, but then again I’ve known one hospital to slay a sacrificial lamb for their own sake instead of allowing the punishment fall on the one who really deserved it.

    Then again, did you get any doses half-asleep, a different dose,??

    I doubt it was intentional padding of the bill, more likely diversion or mix-up/mistake. How much can 4 tranxene cost, anyway?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  50. How much can 4 tranxene cost, anyway?

    I mean, at present, while the medical system still often functions adequately.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  51. How much can 4 tranxene cost, anyway?

    I mean, at present, while the medical system still often functions adequately.

    Comment by MD in Philly — 7/2/2012 @ 9:11 pm

    $12.37 per .375 dose.

    nk (875f57)

  52. ___________________________________________

    Yeah, the distinction here is that Congress now has the power to tax you for not doing something,

    The situation has become so contemptible and disgusting, and — as I’ve noted before — since the current head of the IRS is a tax cheat, and given the example of people like Greeks often favoring tax-and-spend policies and politicians and yet also being notorious for fudging on their taxes, one thing I do hope comes out of this is for more and more Americans feeling that if it’s good enough for Greece — or Tim Geithner — it’s good enough for us.

    Mark (90205b)

  53. It will always be my regret, until I die, that I learned too late, that my father’s fentanyil and morphine were being stolen by the nurses, PTCs and CRNAs, and he was in pain, and I did not realize it until it was too late. Until I met nurses and CRNAs who were addicts and stealing from the patients. They went into diversion and rehabilitation, instead of jail and loss of license. Makes me wish for a Devil and Hell.

    nk (875f57)

  54. That is downright ridiculous, nk. Tranxene has been around since I was a med student. In fact, it is almost since I was in med school that I saw it last used.

    That is like the price per tab of a new HIV drug.

    Yo no comprende porque demasiado caro.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  55. I think for MD’s things are the rehab route if the doc comes forward to get help under the supervision of the state board- which is a strong encouragement for impaired docs to get help instead of being dangerous with their patients. OTOH, if doc gets caught, I think things are harsh.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  56. Got the bill right in front of me, MD. $12.37 per .375 mg dose. Chest X-ray, 2 views, $346.25. Observation, first hour, $1,355.00. Total hospital charges 4/15 – 4/16, $16,294.23.

    I love the $0.23. 😉

    nk (875f57)

  57. There is an issue of respondeat superior, the employer (the hospital) responsible for the tort of the employee, and ADA, and Family Leave Act, so the f***ing druggies get away with it because they have all sorts of cover.

    nk (875f57)

  58. 49

    Though the “mandate” originated in the Senate, the bill that it was amended to originated in the House (even though its original language had nothing to do with O-care)

    I know. It was originally called the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act” in the house. Seems to me it started out as a tax bill that had absolutely nothing to do with health care.

    Then when they decided it did have something to do with health care after Obama got involved and told them he wanted a healthcare bill, it magically becomes “not a tax.”

    Service Members – i.e., military. Who would be against a tax that helps military members buy a house?

    Pretty darned sneaky if you ask me.

    Brandon (d777af)

  59. I guess I should clarify;

    In other words, they took a tax act that was benign in the thinking of most tax payers, because it was for the good cause of America’s military and they decided to slap a healthcare bill in with it – as I understand congress often does; due to the number of bills of a certain type they are allowed to pass each year. They tend to sneak in things in bills that have nothing to do with the bill itself.

    Brandon (d777af)

  60. Comment by MD in Philly — 7/2/2012 @ 9:10 pm

    It might not be “cheap”, but it’s tasteful.

    AD-RtR/OS! (2bb434)

  61. 57 – Comment by nk

    I love the $0.23.

    That’s probably the original cost of the pill to the pharm company.

    Brandon (d777af)

  62. This government has to tread very carefully if they do not wish to become a rehash of Frederick North.
    We kicked the ass of the pre-eminant power on Earth before, we can do it again if we have to.

    AD-RtR/OS! (2bb434)

  63. nk’s pills are so expensive because the are individually distributed, in a hospital, and documented to a faretheewell, ignoring the theft and falsification, for which there’s no extra charge.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  64. I love the $0.23

    Years ago we almost had a collection agency sent after us because I mistakenly underpaid a hospital bill by $1.00.

    One thing which I don’t understand about healthcare is how institutions make one official charge, but contract with insurance companies for different prices, and then vary on policy of how much they charge for people paying cash. So, as kevin suggests, the price of the tranxene inclkudes overhead for the in-hops pharmacists and nurses, etc, oh well.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  65. It’s automated and the computers do not have executive judgment or talk to each other. I had some interesting telephone conversations with my doctors’ billers where the computer that billed was different from the computer that “posted” the payment. I was polite –I do not swear at working girls.

    nk (875f57)

  66. John Hinderaker at Powerline has a lengthy post up this morning detailing Administration arguments to the SC and Democrat arguments in Congress in support of the mandate as a tax. His conclusion, conservatives did not pay enough attention to these arguments and that Roberts is perhaps the only Justice who got the case right on the law rather than ideology.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  67. R.I.P. Andy Griffith

    Icy (ed07f1)

  68. The ideology was whether America can haz a hed tax. If the law sez so, why nuts?

    Roberts is brilliant, but so are the other eight Justices. They all knew the score. Roberts saw nothing that they did not.

    nk (875f57)

  69. Abbott and Costello do the routine better than Jay Carney.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  70. Comment by MD in Philly — 7/3/2012 @ 5:26 am

    One thing which I don’t understand about healthcare is how institutions make one official charge, but contract with insurance companies for different prices, and then vary on policy of how much they charge for people paying cash.

    One reform I might like would be that uninsured people, or self-pay, could not be charged more than the 15th percentile of whatever they charged. That might help to straighten things out. It would be very disruptive.

    It never was announced when institutions went to this, but that’s what theyd did many years ago, and people still don’t know.

    this is one reason catastrophic with a high deductible can save money for people. Even if aclaim gets denied, processing it through an insuranbce company would give people the discounted rate.

    By the way of course they actually don’t charge the high list proice. they settle for much less. theya re also supposed to ofefr charity care or absorb costs but don’t in many places.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  71. Comment by MD in Philly — 7/2/2012 @ 9:36 pm

    Yo no comprende porque demasiado caro.

    There is no competition (on price)

    Only 12% of medical costs are paid for out of pocket.

    ObamaCare would reduce that further.

    Prices would get more irrational.

    You know prices are too high (and irrational) when the price for the same thing varies by a multiple of 5 or 6 times, and even the lowest price is way too high.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  72. Now there is a difficult problem to solve here. Worse than maybe gettinbg an verifiable secret ballot.

    Not only does not everybody have the same resources, not everybody has the same health needs.

    There are thinbgs that can be done.

    I have thought of a complicated system.

    And not everybody has to be in the market.

    Right now almost everyonbe is a free rider on the market. They rely on other people to set the price. They pay the going rate, whatever it is.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  73. Comment by nk — 7/2/2012 @ 9:32 pm

    my father’s fentanyil and morphine were being stolen by the nurses, PTCs and CRNAs, and he was in pain,

    I don’t know what disease he had, but I don’t think these things work with cancer – they only help people die sooner.

    What he needed was Vitamin B1 (mostly) as a preventative.

    It prevents beriberi.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  74. one thing I do hope comes out of this is for more and more Americans feeling that if it’s good enough for Greece — or Tim Geithner — it’s good enough for us.

    Funny, I was hoping for something much more American in nature… something more along the lines of “Lookin’ like its time to get out the tar and feathers… yuuuupp.”

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert (8e2a3d)

  75. “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    -Humpty Dumpty, Alice in Wonderland

    Ah, me. Would that someone had assisted Mr. O to leave off at seven… :o9

    Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert (8e2a3d)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.7898 secs.