First, the obvious: Yes, the “individual mandate” in ObamaCare as described by the president in his speech to Congress week before last is a tax. It’s a tax with a twist — you can choose whether you pay it to Uncle Sugar directly or to an insurance company on Uncle Sugar’s orders — but you don’t get to decide not to pay it. It’s “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes” (The Merriam-Webster definition quoted by Stephanopoulos).
The “public purpose” in question is somewhat nebulous, but Obama himself acknowledges that the whole mess isn’t about your health. Rather it’s about making sure that a government program to provide health care to the poor or indigent is neither over-enrolled nor under-funded. The “individual responsibility” he refers to is not responsibility for your own health, but responsibility for making his program “work.”
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
My latest at the Center for a Stateless Society:
Posted by Thomas Knapp at 12:45 AM