September 22, 2009

A tax by any other name still leaves a hole in the wallet. Call it a fee, a penalty, a surcharge, an "I'm going to play the race card" levy, or an "I'm worse than Jimmy Carter" payment; in any case, a tax is a tax is a tax. The problem is that Barack Obama promised not to raise taxes on most Americans, and now he's doing it. He just won't admit it.

When pressed in an interview that his health care mandate amounts to a tax on the American people, he did his usual teleprompterless umms and errs, and said the "fee" or "penalty" was anything but a tax. Guess what the actual health care bill calls it? Yep... it's a tax.

We all know that Obama is quite capable of raising taxes on the American people. He wants to do it directly to those who already pay the vast majority of the taxes by raising upper income tax rates. He has already done it to all Americans with cap and trade proposals that will raise energy prices for all Americans. Yet, even though he can raise taxes on all Americans, he just can't say the word. Well, unlike the first President Bush, we don't need to read his lips.... we know what Obama is doing.

The issue of whether a tax is a tax started this past Sunday when Obama made the rounds of all the Sunday talk shows. This media blitz was designed to bolster his position on health care. Then, on ABC's "This Week," Obama and host George Stephanopoulos had this exchange:

I love the fact that Stephanopoulos broke out the dictionary. Obama, of course, used that to someone justify that the host was off base. In reality, the dictionary was the perfect tool because Obama is trying once again to pull one over on the American people, but it's just not happening.

If the government issues a policy, mandate, high order, or proclamation by King Obama that results in the government collecting more money from the American people, it's a tax. You know it, and I know it. I just wanted to state it again in case his people are reading this. (After all, it's a fishy message about health care, right?)

Here's the good part. As noted in a story by FOXNews.com, "A proposed requirement that all Americans buy health insurance does in fact include a 'tax' increase, according to the Senate -- even though President Obama insisted Sunday that it 'absolutely' does not."

But the language of the health care reform plan proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., explicitly labels the penalty attached to the mandate as an "excise tax."

Penalties for failing to obtain coverage would range from $750 to $3,800 under the plan. This is addressed in a section labeled: "Excise Tax."

"The excise tax would apply for any period for which the individual is not covered by a health insurance plan with the minimum required benefit," the Baucus plan says.

An Associated Press story points out that the House version "uses a complex formula to calculate the penalties, calling them a 'tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.'" Oh... and guess where people would report their insurance coverage? That's right... on their tax returns.

And so Obama is calling this tax by a new name: personal responsibility. If he really believed in personal responsibility, then he wouldn't be advocating left wing policies that take more power from the people and put it in the hands of government. People can decide if they want to save money by driving a more fuel efficient car. If the demand is there, car companies will make them. People can take even more responsibility for their own lives if they had more of their own money in their pockets so they could save, spend, and invest.

Obama may "absolutely reject that notion" that the health care mandate is a tax, but it is. We all know it. The bill says so. It's just nice to see him called on it... for once.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.