Obama Campaign Spokesman: It’s a Penalty, Not A Tax

Some of us were highly critical of the Roberts decision on health care — finding that the federal government could impose the individual mandate as a tax even if it could not be justified under the Commerce Clause. This followed the Court rejecting the tax status for the purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act and the fact that the Obama Administration — including the President — long denying that it was a tax. The Administration changed its position in court and argued that it was a tax, if the Commerce Clause did not sustain the mandate. That has produced a political backlash after the Court recognized it as a tax all along. However, now Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said that President Obama denies it is a tax and even denying that the Administration ever said it was.

In an interview with Soledad O’Brien, LaBolt was asked: “The Supreme Court has said it’s a tax. What does he believe?” He responded “That it’s a penalty. You saw our arguments before the Supreme Court…”

O’Brien:”So then he disagrees with the Supreme Court decision that says it’s now a tax?” O’Brien asked.

LaBolt: “That’s right. He said that it’s a penalty. You saw our arguments before the Court.”

When O’Brien correctly noted that Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, argued before the Court that it is a tax, LaBolt says she is simply wrong: “It never referred to it as a — it never referred to it as a tax,” LaBolt said. “It said that it was a penalty. And that’s under the section of the law that is the tax code, but it said very specifically that it’s a penalty.”

This rhetorical fight is likely to increase with the campaign since the law was saved only by the Administration saying in court what it denied to the public. More importantly, it highlights in my view the problematic aspect of Roberts declaring this to be a tax — and endorsing a “functional” approach to taxation that allows the government to tax people to influence their choices or decisions. Ironically, LaBolt is agreeing with Scalia and the dissenting justices that this is clearly a penalty — a view that would mean the mandate was unconstitutional.

It is a curious position for the President — to take the win but deny the basis for it. It is a lot like winning Wimbledon and following the cup ceremony by noting that your winning shot really was outside the line. Notably, the Solicitor General is supposed to advance the arguments of the Administration — and ultimately the Chief Executive. Here the President is insisting that this is a penalty but his lawyer argued it was a tax. Verrilli would likely respond that the Justice Department is given the authority to frame the legal argument needed to sustain federal law. However, you appear to have both Congress and the President denying that this was ever a tax. In the very least, it will fuel criticism of Roberts who will look a bit foolish if neither the President nor his opponents agree that this was ever a tax.

Source: CNN

64 thoughts on “Obama Campaign Spokesman: It’s a Penalty, Not A Tax”

  1. Seems to me that if the IRS will insist that the ACA money charge is a penalty and not a tax, when extracting it from some citizen’s wallet, that citizen would be in a perfect position to contest the penalty as unconstitutional – as explicitly held by the SCOTUS.
    Those here who say the appellation of tax vs penalty means nothing, are half right. In effect the SCOTUS said the executive branch can make us do anything they want us to do, as long as they don’t say they are penalizing us for not doing it. If they say they are taxing us for not doing it, well that is another matter, and alright by SCOTUS.

  2. The bottom line is that John Roberts has created an entirely new kind of tax that never existed before, the “Inactivity Tax.” Hopefully, the editors of Black’s Law Dictionary will add this new listing and use the definition invented by judicial activist John Roberts, with proper attribution for his invention.

    One of the things the media is strangely silent about is that John Roberts recently went on a trip to Malta for a vacation without his wife and adopted children. Anybody care to venture on just why Roberts is going there alone and what he’s doing there after creating his new tax?

    The evidence suggests that Roberts his going there to indulge himself in his real sexual orientation: homosexuality. for the record, Scherer is married, as is Lazarus.

    Take a look at some of the photos of John Roberts. The ones that were produced from online searches typically show Roberts with a thin, tight-lipped smile, not a genuine one, and rarely with his mouth open to make his teeth visible, as it would be in a natural smile. Sometimes haughty, sometimes supercilious, and sometimes just a fake posed would-be smile; Roberts’ smile is more of a smirk, and immediately suggests a man hiding deep personal secrets, conveying a message that says: “I know something about me that you don’t.”

    To me, the physiognomy of Roberts’ facial features indicates the characteristics of an effeminate male. Of course, I’m not saying that all homosexual men have effeminate features. Many well-known homosexuals or bisexuals evince no such features (e.g., Rock Hudson, Raymond Burr, and Montgomery Clift come to mind). But many do have those features. One prominent example that comes to mind in the political realm is former Governor of New Jersey, James McGreevey, particularly in photos when he served as Governor.

    If you Google “John Roberts” and “gay” you will find several websites that lay out all the facts and circumstances about Roberts as a possible gay person. One website includes an early photo of Roberts with two friends that shows Roberts actually smiling in a genuine manner. He’s happy, he’s carefree, he’s with friends, and they all appear to be in gay spirits, both literally and figuratively. Now, I don’t pretend to have the “gaydar” that those in the homosexual community have, but I’ve known enough homosexuals in my lifetime to be able to recognize those that are comfortable in that lifestyle. And there’s no question in my mind, that the photo shown of Roberts in his younger days with his two friends shows three homosexuals. The website also offers facts and circumstances that support the inference that Roberts is a homosexual or bisexual. I won’t repeat them here, but I’ve provided a link to the website below with the information.

    Now, some might argue, “Why is Roberts sexual orientation important, and why should his private affairs be anybody’s business?” That’s a fair question, and in most jobs, I don’t think it is anybody’s business. But when we’re talking about the job of being a judge, or serving as the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS, I think that this isn’t just Roberts’ personal business. And I’m aware of the rumors about Kagan and Souter. But those cases are different than Roberts. Roberts is married and has two adopted children, and he with his wife are presenting a phony, regular all-American Ozzie & Harriet type family image (for those of you familiar with that iconic TV show). Kagan and Souter, on the other hand, were not, and are not married; and, consequently, the possibilities that Kagan was a lesbian and Souter was gay were explored to some extent, and their judicial predilections on issues was and is relatively predictible. Not so with Roberts.

    On the other hand, Roberts’ decision in the ACA case to side with the liberal subset of the SCOTUS seems to have taken most legal pundits by surprise. Clearly, Roberts was not properly vetted to unearth at least the rumor of Roberts’ gayness. And I think that George W. Bush can be blamed for that. Not only for recommending him several times for leading court positions in the first place, but also because I now believe that Bush knew that Roberts was a homosexual, and, that was one of the reasons that Bush favored Roberts. After all, there are plenty of indicators that Bush, at a minimum, is bisexual. (For evidence of that, Google “Victor Ashe” and/or “Jeff Gannon” and “gay,” and you will read documented stories about Bush and those two, and you will even see photos of Bush with each of them and others in male embraces that go far beyond a platonic hug.

    Had the facts and circumstances of Roberts background been discussed, and the possibility of his homosexuality been a matter of public discussion, as it should have been, I believe there would have been sufficient opposition from the conservative wing of the Republican party to squelch Roberts’ nomination.

    Roberts might have ended up like Nixon’s failed SCOTUS nominee, G. Harrold Carswell. Some years after Carswell was rejected for the Court, Carswell was convicted of battery for advances he made to an undercover police officer in a Tallahassee men’s room. And in a later incident, Carswell was attacked and beaten by a man whom he had invited to his Atlanta, Georgia, hotel room in similar circumstances.

    Instead, we are now stuck with John Roberts for life.

    And here’s the link I spoke of, “Underneath Their Robes:
    News, gossip, and colorful commentary about the federal judiciary”—


    Note: Although this blog attempts to to suggest that you should ignore all the indicators about Roberts being gay, citing such flimsy evidence as the allegation that Roberts two friends in the picture–Scherer and Lazarus–are “married,” as though gays don’t get married to women as a cover for their real sexual orientation. A quick search for Scherer indicates that he lives in San Francisco. Surprise, surprise. I could not locate Lazarus, and I’m sure that neither of them are going to be available for interviews anytime soon.

  3. Of course it is a tax. They should be required to admit that since the ONLY reason it is legal is IF it is a tax. If Obama says it isn’t then he is saying it isn’t constitutional.

    Simply call it a tax on everyone. Show proof you have insurance and you receive a tax credit equal to the new tax imposed.

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