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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama's Budget Director On Mandate: 'Not A Tax'.... Remember When It was, Then Wasn't, Then Was?

By Susan Duclos

In 2009 Barack Obama insisted the individual mandate from the Obamacare law aka Affordable Patient Care law, was not a tax. In 2010 Obama's Department of Justice tells the courts the individual mandate is a tax. In 2012 Obama's acting budget director Jeffrey Zients tells Congress the individual mandate is not a tax.

Let's take a quick walk through recent history......

Remember in 2009 early 2010 when Democrats kept insisting the individual mandate in Obamacare was not a tax, they weren't raising taxes on every American when threatening them with monetary punishments for not purchasing health insurance?

No worries, if you don't remember, Obama said it clearly in an interview with George Stephanopoulos back in 2009, insisting vehemently that it was not a tax.(Video below)


OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy…

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

Wake up America covered that video back in July 2010, when it first was reported that the Obama administration was preparing to argue in court that the healthcare mandate was "part of the governments "power to lay and collect taxes."

Via NYT, July 17, 2010:

Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.

Under the legislation signed by President Obama in March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.

In a brief defending the law, the Justice Department says the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.

Now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case in March 2012, and the individual mandate is at the very heart of the case. The Obama administration is still arguing, despite Obama's claims back in 2009, and according to their Supreme Court brief filed last month "The practical operation of the minimum coverage provision is as a tax law. It is fully integrated into the tax system, will raise substantial revenue, and triggers only tax consequences for non-compliance."

Seems the Obama administration has come full circle when yesterday, testifying before Congress, Obama's acting budget director Jeffrey Zients, is again taking the position that the penalty that the health care law imposes on individuals who do not purchase health insurance is not a tax.

Via Campaign 2012 we see that the Obama administration is attempting to have it both ways.

Now the administration is making both arguments simultaneously. Before Congress, Zients is arguing that it is not a tax. But before the Supreme Court next month, the administration will argue that it is, in fact, a tax.

Video below and if that isn't a deer-in-the-headlights look on Zients face, I don't know what is.

The Politico asks if Zients didn't get the memo.

If the Supreme Court rules for the Obama administration, then Barack Obama has effectively raised taxes on every American that does not purchase health insurance, regardless of how much money they make.

If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration, by their very own argument, they will have attempted to raises taxes on every American that does not buy health insurance, regardless of how much money they make.

Since the Supreme Court decision is expected to be well before the November 2012 elections, in the midst of Obama's reelection campaign, there is not a scenario here, win or lose, that doesn't hurt Obama politically.

That is what happens when a sitting president decides what the "truth" is depending on who he and/or his administrations representatives are speaking in front of on any given day.