Is the "individual mandate" a tax? (1 Viewer)

Mr. Sparkle

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I didnt catch Obama's whistlestop tour of the Sunday shows but found this interesting exchange he had with George Stephanopoulos about whether an individual mandate (i.e. legal requirement for everyone to buy health insurance or face a fine) is, or is not, a "tax increase."

Obviously the President is pushing back on the notion because it puts another nail in the coffin of the No New Taxes for Anyone Under $250K promise, but it's an interesting exchange on both sides, including George reaching into the EE bag of tricks by reading him the dictionary definition of 'tax,' followed by Obama deploying the Jedi mind trick to suggest that what he read doesnt mean what he read. Good stuff all the way around.

All I know is, if George Stephanopoulos thinks you're raising taxes, then you're raising taxes.


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IntenseSaint

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Something tells me poor Stephanopoulos isn't going to get any more presidential interviews.
 

BullDawg

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Just as an aside...since when did using the actual definition of a word in a debate considered taboo? We've had that here and now Obama is saying Stephanopoulos was "stretching" by referring to the definition of the word "tax". What the hell is a dictionary good for if you can't reference it for the meaning of a word?
 

mister pc

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i would say the individual mandate is not a tax. taxation is collecting money for government revenue, and thats not whats happening with an individual health insurance mandate. however, if the objective is to catch Obama breaking a campaign promise, its not necessary to play semantic games and make such reaches. remember he originally campaigned against the individual mandate, so he has changed his tune since the campaign, and i assume thats what you were trying to prove with this thread
 

jpcdolphan

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If that's the case, then any new regulation or decision that has the potential to cost anybody any money is technically a "tax".

And, if that's the case, then, yes, Obama and any other President that has ever made the pledge has gone back on it.
 

zenshin

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For the most part, I think a lot of people will look at it as a tax. If you are paying money to the government, the general feeling among most individuals is that they're being taxed. It may not be structured that way, but more money out of pocket going to the government is tax. I'm not saying it's right to feel that way, but the perception will most certainly follow that line of thinking.
 

BIG E

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If I was in my 20's and I decided not to carry insurance because I'm healthy and don't need it (right or wrong). I would be saving $500 a month hypothetically. After this mandate this money I'm using to pay my car note would now go to the government and I would loose my car and this would not be a tax.
 
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Mr. Sparkle

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If that's the case, then any new regulation or decision that has the potential to cost anybody any money is technically a "tax".

And, if that's the case, then, yes, Obama and any other President that has ever made the pledge has gone back on it.

I think the element of confiscating money from citizens if they dont spend money on health insurance takes it into the realm of a tax. This is indeed how it is styled in the Baucus bill (an "excise tax").

Anyway, I thought it was interesting for substantive and style reasons.

On the substance, I'm not hung up on a broken promise per se - there are certainly plenty of those to go around - but I place importance on his trying to wriggle around the issue of what is or is not a tax. That has a lot more importance to me than whether he changes his approach on how to achieve universal health coverage, because it opens up a whole realm of taxes (or fees or whatever we choose to call them) that will affect me directly, and the No New Taxes for Anyone Under 250K was the centerpiece of his economic policy. It certainly got a lot of attention around here.

On the style, I just thought it was fun to watch George Stephanopoulos, of all people, trying to nail him down with Merriam Websters. Also, as a matter of style, I get annoyed with Obama's schtick of saying "we can have an honest debate about this" but then if you try to call him out on something you're a liar or "stretching" or a special interest or whatever. It's getting old.

I've said more than once I would prefer that Obama just come out and say what we all know - health care reform is going to be absurdly expensive but he thinks its worth doing so just get ready to pay. He wouldnt convert much of the right, but he's not going to do that anyway, and I think he would regain some credibility with those of us that pulled the lever for him hoping for the best based on his campaign image but not quite sure what we were getting.
 

Saint77

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I consider it an indirect tax. Shuffle the shells all you want, the ball is still underneath one of them.
 

daybreaker

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All I know is, if George Stephanopoulos thinks you're raising taxes, then you're raising taxes.
And Glenn Beck said he would have voted for Hillary and that Obama or Hillary were better choices than McCain...

so whats your point about associating an idea's worth to the person who holds it? IIRC, IntenseSaint likes to say "If Hitler liked Mozart, does that make Mozart bad?"
 
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Mr. Sparkle

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And Glenn Beck said he would have voted for Hillary and that Obama or Hillary were better choices than McCain...

so whats your point about associating an idea's worth to the person who holds it? IIRC, IntenseSaint likes to say "If Hitler liked Mozart, does that make Mozart bad?"

If, in the proper context, it turns out Hitler liked Mozart because Mozart was a raging anti-Semite, then yes, that might make Mozart 'bad.'

I was basically saying George S. would know a tax increase and/or slippery language when he saw it. A Clinton joke!!11

Perhaps I should use more smilies when trying to convey light-hearted points to avoid any further confusion.
 

Burtifus

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If I was in my 20's and I decided not to carry insurance because I'm healthy and don't need it (right or wrong). I would be saving $500 a month hypothetically. After this mandate this money I'm using to pay my car note would now go to the government and I would loose my car and this would not be a tax.

The same scenario could be played out in regards to car insurance. You could "roll the dice" and not have any car insurance (saving yourself hundreds of dollars). If you were stopped by the police you'd be fined by the government. Does that seem like a tax to you?

It seems like the Govt. forcing personal responsibility on individuals. Now whether it's their job to do that is up for debate but it has been done before and wasn't considered a "tax".
 

BIG E

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The same scenario could be played out in regards to car insurance. You could "roll the dice" and not have any car insurance (saving yourself hundreds of dollars). If you were stopped by the police you'd be fined by the government. Does that seem like a tax to you?

It seems like the Govt. forcing personal responsibility on individuals. Now whether it's their job to do that is up for debate but it has been done before and wasn't considered a "tax".
You're forced to have liability insurance for the protection of other people. You're not forced to have collision to protect yourself. If you don't have liability insurance, you get a fine or is that a mandate and not a fine.
 

KardiacKat

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The same scenario could be played out in regards to car insurance. You could "roll the dice" and not have any car insurance (saving yourself hundreds of dollars). If you were stopped by the police you'd be fined by the government. Does that seem like a tax to you?

It seems like the Govt. forcing personal responsibility on individuals. Now whether it's their job to do that is up for debate but it has been done before and wasn't considered a "tax".

Exactly. I think most states now require you to carry liability insurance before being issued a tag. Is that a tax? You could look at it that way. But unlike a tax, you still have plenty of choice in the matter. You can choose your insurance carrier, set your deductible wherever you are comfortable, etc. And the point of it is to protect everyone else from your car accident. The point of a public mandate seems to be similar in that the public at large is protected from paying for your illness or injury should you show up in an emergency room uninsured.
 

UncleTrvlingJim

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You're forced to have liability insurance for the protection of other people. You're not forced to have collision to protect yourself. If you don't have liability insurance, you get a fine or is that a mandate and not a fine.

The argument Obama is using though is that if you don't have insurance and you get seriously sick or injured, everyone else has to pay for your health care that you never contributed to. So, while not exactly the same, it is similar.
 
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Mr. Sparkle

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The same scenario could be played out in regards to car insurance. You could "roll the dice" and not have any car insurance (saving yourself hundreds of dollars). If you were stopped by the police you'd be fined by the government. Does that seem like a tax to you?

It seems like the Govt. forcing personal responsibility on individuals. Now whether it's their job to do that is up for debate but it has been done before and wasn't considered a "tax".

You only need car insurance if you're going to drive/own a car. The car insurance analogy is a little bit off because it's still involves a voluntary choice.

Now, if states required everyone to carry auto insurance (or face a penalty tax) just on the off chance they might drive a car in the future, that would be the same thing as the individual mandate, IMO.
 

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