We’re about to be subjected to a huge, hopefully edifying, argument about the constitutionality of Obamacare. Much of the argument will hinge on the government’s ability to tax. Defenders of Obamacare say the mandate and its accompanying penalties, fines, and the like fall under the authority to tax. Of course, when Obama was selling the monstrosity he was adamant, and more than a little smug, about his claim that he wasn’t in fact imposing taxes on anyone. Here’s his exchange with George Stephanopolous:
… Stephanopoulos pressed the president on his plan to require people to purchase health insurance.
“Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?” the host asked.
Obama responded: ” No, but — but, George, you — you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”
Stephanopoulos then offered the dictionary definition.
“I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: ‘Tax, a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes,’” he said.
Visibly taken aback, Obama rejected the notion it was a tax increase and said pulling the dictionary out was a sign the host was “stretching” a little.
“No. That — 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,” Obama said.