When he signed Obamacare into law in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama did not say a word how the law would impose a tax penalty on individuals who did not purchase private health insurance.
After the Supreme Court upheld the law’s constitutionality by upholding the individual mandate as a tax in what may be the worst Supreme Court decision since the Kelo decision, in which the Court all but trampled on private property rights, Obama again made comments in the East Room and again did not say “tax” or mention the fines those who do not buy insurance will pay, which Chief Justice John Roberts, in joining the majority in the Obamacare ruling, labeled as a tax.
Obama promised in 2008 that he would not raise taxes on the middle class. And the “tax” is the least popular provision of the law, especially among independent voters.
“I didn’t do this because it was good politics,” Obama said.
Obama is partly right. Tax increases are not good politics, but Obama passed Obamacare so that government could eventually control health care, which was his intention.
But because Roberts ruled that the individual mandate is a tax, Obamacare now becomes political, to be fought over in the political and legislative arena like all tax cuts and raises are.
Well aware of this, Obama focused on some of Obamacare’s more popular provisions, like parents being able to keep their children their health insurance plans until they are 26 years of age. He played coalition and “war on women” politics, saying insurance companies “won’t be able to charge you more because you are a woman” and what the “country can’t afford to do is re-fight the political battles of two years ago.”
Of course, Obama wants to avoid re-fighting Obamacare, because any new battle will be centered around debating the individual mandate as a tax – a fight Obama will be on the wrong side of.
Echoing his campaign slogan, Obama said, “it’s time for us to move forward to implement, and if necessary, to improve upon the law” and continued to say that Americas did not want to fight the battles from two years ago because they are concerned about jobs and “paying down the debt.”
Yet, the regulations Obamacare imposes on businesses will make it harder for businesses to expand and hire, and Obamacare, by many estimates, will add nearly $500 billion more to the national debt. In essence, fighting for more jobs and paying down the debt will involve fighting Obamacare.
In his speech, Obama said that “the highest court in the land has now spoken.”
But now that Obamacare gets thrown into the political arena as a tax issue, the American people have yet to speak.
And by not saying a single word about taxes or penalties, Obama knows where the public will stand if he were truthful with them about what Obamacare really is–a broken promise that raises taxes on middle class Americans.
Like he did when Obamacare was being debated, Obama will try to hide from Americans the fact that Obamacare is a tax increase when he is on the stump. But in 2012, he won’t be able to take credit for Obamacare without admitting that it is a tax increase because the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in upholding his law, called him out on it.