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White House: The mandate is not a tax

By Doug Powers  •  June 30, 2012 11:30 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

After Justice Roberts went out of his way to come up with the “it’s constitutional as a tax” angle they can’t do him a solid and just go along with that notion for a few days? Guess not:

The White House argued Friday that there was a clear distinction between Congress’ taxation powers and the individual mandate — calling the consequence for not carrying insurance a penalty.

“It’s a penalty because you have a choice. You don’t have a choice to pay your taxes, right?” press secretary Jay Carney said. “You have a choice to buy — if you can afford health insurance.”

“So if you don’t buy it, and you can afford it, it is an irresponsible thing to do to ask the rest of America’s taxpayers to pay for your care when you go to the emergency room. So your choice is to purchase health care reform or a penalty will be administered,” Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

Alternate headline: White House declares Obamacare unconstitutional, Supreme Court unimpressed

Charles Rangel also claimed the mandate isn’t a tax. Ditto for Deval Patrick. Nancy Pelosi said it doesn’t really matter what it is because Americans are pretty stupid and don’t care anyway.

The White House in particular can’t go along with the notion that the mandate is a tax (even though that’s what saved the law), because from day one Obama pledged not to increase the tax burden from the middle class on down. No matter how anybody spins it, according the Supreme Court’s definition of the madate, millions of mostly middle class Americans will be paying an additional tax (or “fee,” “penalty,” “financial outlay opportunity” — whatever they to call it).

Incidentally, at some point in the very recent past, those without coverage went from being “uninsured Americans who need help” to “free riders.”

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: 2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Media