Welcome to the Big League

Obamacare took a hit today. Plus another top White House official, uh, screws up. The Obama administration has argued all along that the penalty for not having Obamacare as a citizen is a tax, thus justifying the Constitutionality of the law. The logic being this proves it isn’t a mandate because one can opt for the fine. In other words the penalty/fine is a tax thus giving Congress the authority to pass the law. Follow this brilliant questioning by New Jersey’s Rep. Scott Garrett to acting White House Budget Director Jeff Zients:

Congressman Scott Garrett: “Thank you and I appreciate your testimony today. I appreciate you also being here from the private sector. You probably feel a little lonely sometime over at the White House in that respect. But I’m glad that you’re here, coming with that experience. One point though, you did just say there are no tax increases for those folks who are making under – “

Acting White House Budget Director Jeff Zients: “$250,000. “

Rep. Garrett: “– $250,000.”

Zeints: “Families under $250,000. Individuals under 200k.”

Rep. Garrett: “So if I am part of a family that does not buy health insurance in violation of the President’s health care program and I got to pay because of that, that is not a tax incre – that is not a tax on me?”

Zeints: “The Affordable Care Act saves money.”

Rep. Garrett: “I understand that, but is that a tax on me then if I do not pay that, or is that not a tax?”

Zeints: “I’m not sure I’m following the question.”

Rep. Garrett: “You said there’s no tax increases on people who make under $250,000. If I make under $250,000 and I do not buy health insurance as I’m required to under the Affordable Healthcare Act , is that a tax on me or is that not a tax on me?”

Zeints: “Well this is –“

Rep. Garrett: “A moment ago you said there’s no tax increase.”

Zeints: “There aren’t.”

Rep. Garrett: “So that’s not a tax?”

Zeints: “No.”

Rep. Garrett: “That’s not a tax. Okay. I just want to be clear on that because that’s not the argument the administration is making. Let’s move on — before the Supreme Court.”

I suspect acting may continue to be in front of Mr. Zients title for some time now.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a fine to me. Kind of like the fine one pays here in Wisconsin for operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

    http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/vehicles/ins-req.htm

    It’s a matter of semantics.

    Speaking of taxes, rumor has it that Governor Walker raised taxes while balancing the budget*. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau seems to agree. See page three:

    http://bdgrdemocracy.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/lfb-tax-and-fee-changes.pdf

    *Rumor also has it that it’s actually unbalanced.

  2. Oh, I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes Rep Garrett’s questioning brilliant, but clearly his answering is not so much so:

    Zeints: “The Affordable Care Act saves money.”

    Rep. Garrett: “I understand that”

    He’s clearly off message with that one.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    This testimony will most certainly be used before the Supreme Court as it totally contradicts the Obama legal position on whether Obamacare passes legal muster. I’m glad you take that same position as well as the Attorneys General of 26 states challenging the valitity of the law. I suspect they very much welcomed Mr.Zients’ testimony.

  4. @Milton, the car insurance analogy is false, and shows either the ignorance of the Obama administration or their intellectual dishonesty.

    You are not required by any state that I am aware of to carry comprehensive auto insurance or even collision coverage. If you drive a car, you must carry liability insurance in the event you cause damage or injury to others. On the other hand, Obamacare requires you to carry personal coverage.

  5. “I’m glad you take that same position as well as the Attorneys General of 26 states challenging the valitity of the law. I suspect they very much welcomed Mr.Zients’ testimony.” – Randy

    Glad I could be of assistance. Let JB Van Hollen know that he can count on me to testify as well.