Monday, September 21, 2009

totalitarian taxation

Indent, from today's Wall Street Journal

What is a tax?

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Obama was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about the "individual mandate." Under Max Baucus's Senate bill that Mr. Obama supports, everyone would be required to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty as high as $3,800 a year. Mr. Stephanopoulos posed the obvious question about this kind of coercion when "the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't [buy insurance]. . . . How is that not a tax?"

"Well, hold on a second, George," Mr. Obama replied. "Here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average—our families—in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's . . ."

"That may be," Mr. Stephanopoulos responded, "but it's still a tax increase." (In fact, uncompensated care accounts for about only 2.2% of national health spending today, but that's another subject.)

Mr. Obama: "No. 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. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore . . ." In other words, like parents talking to their children, this levy—don't call it a tax—is for your own good.

So let me get this straight, Mr. President, if you decide something is "good" for me, then you will mandate it, and if I still disagree, you will use the power of the federal government to punish me monetarily. And what if I refuse to pay? This sounds very much like "do goodism" at best and totalitarianism at worst.

What do the words freedom mean to you, Mr. President?

Who do you think you are?


  1. Even his car insurance analogy is faulty.

    The individual mandate requires each person to purchase health insurance in the event they need medical assistance.

    Car insurance, on the other hand, works the opposite way. We buy car insurance to insure OTHER people. You can buy motorist coverage to hedge your risk of getting injured, but it is not necessary.

    By law, you are only responsible to pay for damage you incur to other people. This follows the basic tenets of property rights. His individual mandate plan follows no such tenets.

  2. Here is a simple idea. Make people who incur medical bills, as a result of not having insurance, actually have to pay their bills and or go bankrupt. I just bet in a few years time the incentives for people who should have medical insurance will be great enough for them to decide they need to purchase it.

    If we keep stepping in and subsidizing poor decisions, then the incentives will never be there to change. This is much different than bullying people into getting insurance by fear of fiscal retribution. Look, if you don't want insurance, you don't have to buy it, but don't look to not pay the costs if and when you need the services of a doctor or hospital.

    If your air conditioner is having problems, no one is going to fix it and then charge it to other taxpayers. It is your responsibility as a home owner to plan for such costs, and if you don't have the cash then have the credit to pay to fix the system. Health care is no different.

    There is no free ride, and if you provide it, there will always be plenty of riders.

  3. What's in a name? That which we call a tax
    By any other name would smell as vile.