The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Monday, July 2, 2012

On Romney’s economic spokesman saying the mandate is not a tax:

Look, I think this attempt to be consistent and logical on the issue is a mistake. Even Chief Justice Roberts in his opinion is totally twisted in trying to decide if it’s a tax or a penalty. In fact, at one point in the decision he says that for the purposes of the Constitution it’s a tax, but for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act, an arcane reason why the suit would be invalid in the first place, it is not a tax, it’s a penalty. So even he didn’t have it straight. So don’t worry about getting into a twist over this and forget about consistency. Use whichever end of the argument you need at the time. That’s exactly what Democrats are doing.

What Romney ought to say is “OK, it’s a tax.” It’s like many of the other taxes heaped on you by Obamacare: the augmentation of the capital gains tax, the tax on medical devices — every time you need a stent you actually are indirectly paying a tax on this, and say this is just one of many things that you have to do to sustain a system, a law, that the CBO said will cost $1.76 trillion. The money is not coming out of heaven like manna. You’re going to have to tax people for that. This is one of the many taxes. Stick with that, run with that, and then use other arguments in other places. But try to square a circle that even Roberts isn’t able to — I think is a mistake.

On how Mitt Romney should campaign against the individual mandate:

I think this is a classic case where consistency — and intellectual honesty — is a mistake. Simply accept what the Supreme Court has said. It’s a tax. Forget about the attack on [Romneycare in] Massachusetts. People will decide on Obamacare and not on what happened in Massachusetts.

Say it’s a tax. Say it’s one of dozens that you have to have to pay for the huge, unworkable, essentially government-run healthcare system, and then move on to all the other issues involved with Obamacare — intrusiveness, the getting in the way between patient and the doctor, what it will do to the economy and deficit, et cetera.

I don’t think you get stuck on this [tax vs. penalty] issue. Mention it now and move on. There is no way to square the circle on this, and don’t attempt it.

On Obama falling behind in fund-raising:

I think that if he is running low on money, what he ought to do is to call it a tax and send the IRS out to go and get it. I’m sure… he’ll find a Supreme Court justice who will uphold it.

Look, this is condign punishment. He broke all the rules in 2008. He buried McCain in money. And now it’s going to happen to him.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


The Latest