In the Arena

You Say Tomato, I Call Bullpucky

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Pete Wehner continues his relentless attempts to depict Barack Obama as a despicable human being by vamping on the President for calling the “tax” paid by people who don’t buy health insurance in the Affordable Care Act a “penalty.” Of course, Mitt Romney called this exact same payment a “penalty” in Massachusetts, (Add: and again today) which makes him far more honorable. The precise point is that this a volitional tax, just like the tax on tobacco: if you buy health insurance, you don’t pay a tax, a penalty or a fee. And the moral–and civic–reason why you should buy health insurance is that sooner or later you’re going to get sick, wind up in a hospital emergency room, and the rest of us will have to pay for it if you don’t. I thought Roberts decided the case on the firmest possible grounds–the federal government’s taxing authority, a better bulwark than the commerce clause. The half-crazed rabid Republican effort to use this as evidence that Obama is a high tax President is not only intellectually dishonest, but cynical in the extreme.