Today, Jay Carney fell into the unfortunate trap of attempting to explain President Obama’s view of Obamacare. If it’s a tax, President Obama’s signature plan is legal, but violates Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000 in a major way; if it’s a mandate, it’s illegal under the Supreme Court ruling. But the Obama administration wants it both ways: it’s a tax for purposes of legality, but a mandate for purposes of politics. Here’s how Carney expressed that ridiculous perspective:
But if I could just add as a matter of policy, it is simply a fallacy to say that this is a broad-based tax. That’s not what the opinion stated that was authored by the Chief Justice. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional under Congress’s taxing authority, but this is clearly a penalty that affects less than 1 percent of the American population.
This is asinine. Only taxes are authorized under the taxing authority of Congress. Mandates aren’t. The power to declare war isn’t. Taxing authority gives authority to levy taxes. Of course.
But Obama’s now stuck between a rock and a hard place. It took Mitt Romney a while to recognize the political opportunity in this, but he finally did yesterday when he labeled Obamacare a tax. Now Obama will be held to one standard or another. Either way, he loses.