Rhetorical Tax Evasion
The IRS says it will fine or jail you for not paying Obama's mandate levy.
President Obama's effort to deny that his mandate to buy insurance is a tax has taken another thumping, this time from fellow Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee.
Chairman Max Baucus's bill includes the so-called individual mandate, along with what he calls a $1,900 "excise tax" if you don't buy health insurance. (It had been as much as $3,800 but Democrats reduced the amount last week to minimize the political sticker shock.) And, lo, it turns out that if you don't pay that tax, the IRS could punish you with a $25,000 fine or up to a year in jail, or both.
Under questioning last week, Tom Barthold, the chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, admitted that the individual mandate would become a part of the Internal Revenue Code and that failing to comply "could be criminal, yes, if it were considered an attempt to defraud." Mr. Barthold noted in a follow-up letter that the willful failure to file would be a simple misdemeanor, punishable by the $25,000 fine or jail time under Section 7203.
So failure to pay the mandate would be enforced like tax evasion, but Mr. Obama still claims it isn't a tax. "You can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase," Mr. Obama insisted last week to ABC interviewer George Stephanopoulos. Accusing critics of dishonesty is becoming this President's default argument, but is Mr. Barthold also part of the plot?
In the 1994 health-care debate, the Congressional Budget Office called the individual mandate "an unprecedented form of federal action." This is because "The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States."
This coercion will be even more onerous today because everyone will be forced to buy insurance that the new taxes and regulations of ObamaCare will make far more expensive. Too bad Mr. Obama's rhetorical tax evasion can't be punished by the IRS.