“Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wasted no time getting to the floor of the Senate to argue that today’s Supreme Court ruling clarifies that Obamacare is nothing more than a tax on the middle class which—according to McConnell—is precisely what the Administration and Congressional Democrats promised it was not.
Leader McConnell, and his fellow Republicans, should read the Majority ruling before they embarrass themselves further.
In the opening paragraphs of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, he clarifies that the law specificallydoes not involve a tax. If it did, Roberts clarifies, the Court would have had no choice but to reject the case for lack of jurisdiction as a tax case cannot be brought until someone is actually forced to pay the tax. This is, as we know, not the case.
The fact that the Court found that the mandate was constitutional under the taxing authority granted Congress by the Constitution is an entirely different matter. This finding does not reduce the individual mandate to the status of a tax—it merely says that as the penalty for failing to purchase health insurance will fall to the Internal Revenue Service for collection, it was something Congress could provide for under its Constitutional authority.
While I grant you that this gets a bit into the weeds, the effort that is being made by the GOP to use the Court’s basis for decision as a weapon fails on its face and is completely disingenuous. There is a difference between the levying of a tax and the Court finding Constitutional authority for Congress under the taxing authority. But then, anything that is more complicated than your basic “See Spot Run” first grade reading primer has always been fair game and fodder for the GOP message machine which would prefer to base their arguments on misstatements than educating and enlightening its base.
UPDATE (Monday morning)- some support for this position from an unexpected source:
“Mitt Romney’s senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown that he agrees – the fee is a penalty and not a tax, as the Supreme Court ruled last week.
“The governor disagreed with the ruling of the court,” Fehrnstrom said. “He agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice [Antonin] Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax.”