Friday, March 26, 2010

Which Is It: Tax On Life Or Unenforceable Mandate?

Since health care passed, there has been a frenzy on the right to find a way to reverse course on the legislation, from various states trying to pass legislation against the federal bill to numerous Republican state attorney generals preparing to sue the federal government over what they believe to be an unconstitutional bill. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, and Republican gubernatorial candidate, had gone as far as stating that the health care bill and it's individual mandate is essentially a "tax penalty on just living," which makes it unconstitutional, but then there was this little article today by Morgen Richmond over at fringe central, Big Government.

According to Richmond, the bill "hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate." Richmond points to an excerpt of a report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, which includes the following:
The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
While I have not had the opportunity to read the report yet, a thought crossed my mind. Republicans, such as Bill McCollum, are arguing that health care is unconstitutional because of the individual mandate forcing Americans to purchase health care, which McCollum calls a "tax penalty for living," but then conservatives, such as Morgen Richmond, argue that the individual mandate is not enforceable, so basically the bill creates a fine that nobody can do anything about.

So which is it? A tax or a promise of a fine? The way I see it, conservatives are just arguing for the sake of arguing.

Again, I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and read this report, so I have no clue whether or not Richmond had taken this excerpt out of context, like fellow Big Government propagandist, Jason Mattera, who recently wrote about the health care bill funding Native American sexual predators, taking a single line of the legislation out of context, but it doesn't really make a difference if he did or did not misrepresent the report, because it is just evidence of the right's attempt to destroy health care from any angle they can find, whether it is an alleged unconstitutional tax, an assault on states' rights, or just some fine that will sit in limbo for eternity...

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