The health care bill creates a tax, and therefore is Constitutional - right?

We’ve had this discussion in several threads in the past two weeks – links on request. Most defenders of the health care bill say that it’s within Congress’ taxation power, and therefore constitutional.

Me, too, although I’m not really a defender of the bill. But I believe it’s constitutional for just that reason.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview the President had with ABC News:

So… does this change anyone’s mind?

Not mine. But here’s Obama saying, flat out, that it isn’t a tax.

Sounds to me like he is saying it is not a tax “increase”.

OK, fair point.

But that seems pretty indefensible too – there’s a tax, and it didn’t used to exist, and now it does. How is that not an increase?

Political parsing.

Say I lower tax rates and also close a tax loophole at the same time. Overall taxes are lowered but for some few who exploited the loophole may see a tax increase. Total taxes received by the government are lower however.

Did I raise or lower taxes?

The context that I read into their discussion is that of the evil expression, “tax increase.” As in “OMG the anti-christ raised my taxes.” Or in a couple years we’ll hear conservative politicians reminding us over and over about how liberals are tax and spend, look at the tax increase the health care bill caused.

Just because it’s a new tax doesn’t mean it’s a tax increase. If there was a new tax on gas to fund highways, and that meant my state taxes went down, it would not be a tax increase. It would be “OMG tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Or if it means taxes go up, but insurance premiums go down, it’s just another shell game.

Well if they decrease taxes by an equivalent amount as they are now forcing people to pay directly to their insurer…

You raised taxes on those who “exploited the loophole.” You lowered taxes on everyone else.

And the net effect was a tax decrease overall.

But does that apply here? Is there a related tax decrease somewhere?

What does this post mean? I have read it four times now, and I cannot figure out exactly what you are saying.

Please dumb it down for me. Are you saying it is a tax increase? It isn’t? It is, but that phrase is so politically charged that its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial value? What?

But this bill doesn’t do that.

It’s a tax increase but if he calls it a tax increase he’s going to get nailed for it. All you’ll hear come election time is ‘Obama Raised Your Taxes!’ I like Obama but he is a politician, he’s going to spin or evade sometimes.

Well, he went out of his way to say, over and over again, that he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone making less than whatever the amount was-- 200k or 250k, can’t remember exactly. So if the other side screams “Obama Raised Your Taxes”, they would not only be correct, they’d be pointing out a political promise that was broken. I like Obama, too, but he can’t have it both ways.

Yes, I am saying the phrase “tax increase” is politically charged that its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial value.

Without asking you to fully clarify your motives, which I admit I should probably do, you give the impression that you are trying to stick Obama with a “tax increase” while at the same time accusing him of lying.

From your title, and the last line in your OP, it looks as though you thought you had Obama in a gotcha moment. That the constitutionality of the bill hinged on taxes being constitutional. If Obama said, “I reject the notion that this is a tax” you would have won. Instead he rejected the notion that this is a “tax increase” so you fail.

What do we call it if a stated action causes some people’s taxes to go up, while other people’s taxes go down?

And what do we call it if a stated action causes some people’s taxes to go up, but then causes everyone’s takehome back to be higher?

He pledged not to raise taxes on the middle class.

It matters not one whit what Obama calls it as far as its constitutionality is concerned.

To people with logic and reasoning ability.

It matters not one whit what Obama calls it as far as its constitutionality is concerned–to people with logic and reasoning ability.

It’s standard operating procedure. Criticize Obama, and encourage the Obamanites to rush to his defense. Use their blind ideology to say this isn’t a tax.

Then BAM hit them from the other side by saying, “ah HA if it’s not a tax than it isn’t constitutional.”

Except he didn’t say it. So now we shift the topic to “is it a tax increase?” Then we can say Obama lied about not increasing taxes.

If we can show Obama lied, we can bring him down to the level of all the other politicians, and he loses his magical powers.

First of all, I don’t think it’s remotely legally significant what Obama says. It either is a tax or it isn’t. In this case, it’s a tax, which places it well within Congress’ powers to enact, and it’s fully and completely constitutional.

If Obama denies that it’s a tax, that doesn’t affect the constitutional question one bit.

I thought the discussion about “Is it a tax or not” which we had recently in a number of threads was interesting, in part because the ABC interview at the time spawned this thread, in which some posters took positions on the same issue.

I answered that above. It’s a tax increase as to the first set of people, and a tax cut as to the second set of people.

A tax hike, with the results offset by umpty-frotz, “umpty-frotz” being whatever the particulars are that raise the take-home.

So now I’m a bit disturbed by your claim – we can’t call something that is a tax hike a “tax hike” because it’s too charged a phrase.

What should we call it?

Are you denying John’s claim that he explicitly DEFINED who he wouldn’t raise taxes on? That he didn’t mention a figure of $250,000 per year as a cutoff?

It seems to me you’re pretty much in the, “Yes we all know what this is, technically, but we can’t say the words or they will be used against us.”

Why not simply say, “Technically, yes, it’s a tax, and it may be levied against people making less than $250K, but the overall savings more than wipe out the increase.” What’s wrong with that?

It’s an optional tax for those who don’t want to buy health care.

It was $200K, and he has kept that promise.

The charaterization of a perfectly avoidable penal tax as a “tax increase” is a false one, and that’s the end of it. You haven’t caught your President in any kind of inconsistency here. This is about him not getting sucked into accepting a false characterization.

My bad. Not sure where my head went when I wrote that but (inexplicably) missed those very relevant pieces of John’s post.

I agree in general.

The problem these days is the nuanced, “Yes, there is a new tax but overall you save more money than before it” gets lost as the right hollers, “Ha! You raised taxes! You’re a liar! Liar liar pants on fire! Nope, nothing else matters, LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU! LA LA LA he raised taxes!”

So, unsurprisingly Obama shorthands it to “this is not a tax increase”. Politicians, they all do that.

If you want to make the case that Obama broke a campaign pledge we can have that discussion. Start a new thread or green light the shift in gears for this thread. The OP was on about the constitutionality of HCR because Obama said it was not a tax (which I think has been dispensed with).