Welcome to TAXLAND
“They’ll like it even less when they understand it’s a tax”
—Senator Mike Lee, (R-UT)
Everyone loves to claim victory, especially in politics. Even in situations where there is a setback, one likes to see the silver linings rather than the clouds. Heck, I did it yesterday, and though I stand by my convictions, the other side is also, needless to say, claiming victory. On the surface, they have more right to. The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare does appear validate the effort that Obama and the Democrats put into the law, and having a conservative Chief Justice give it his imprimatur certainly helps. Among some voters, especially among at least a portion of independents, this may give Obamacare a validity it did not have before. It may even have a salutary effect on Obama’s approval and poll numbers . . . for a short time.
This election is not about Obamacare, or about this decision. Four months from now, when people are alone in the voting booth, they are going to be thinking about the economy. If the economy is not better off, Obama will not be reelected. The lasting effect of the Obamacare decision may not be the validity the Supreme Court gave it by letting it stand. Rather, the lasting effect may be the effect that letting it stand has on the economy. The economy, as an aggregated entity, does not like Obamacare. Having it known that its many taxes, regulations, and penalties are going to kick in soon is not going to help the economy break out of its stagnation.
But now, now the Supreme Court has given the Republicans another weapon, one that they did not have before: Taxes. As Hannah said yesterday, taxes are “our issue.” With the Orwellian-named Affordable Care Act, Obama and the Democrats instituted a massive tax increase. And yet, somehow, it escaped notice as a tax increase. The increases are set to kick in in out-years, and they were hidden in a law that was not exclusively a tax bill. It was an impressive deceit, one that will go down in history both for its political cleverness and for its profoundly shady and dishonest nature.
These taxes will no longer escape the public’s notice. They were hidden before, but Chief Justice John Roberts—whatever else he may have done, and for whatever reasons—has laid them bare for all to see. The centerpiece of the law, the hated individual mandate, is now a tax. This opens up the floodgates: now, the GOP can talk about ALL the taxes. Are you a self-employed business owner? Your medicare payroll taxes are about to double. Maybe you’re not that business owner, but do you work for him? Whoops, he just laid you off because of the tax. How about that? Make to much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford your own medical insurance? Well, now you make even less because you have to pay the new individual mandate tax.
Obama promised not to raise taxes on low and middle income taxpayers. But Obamacare is full of taxes, including 12 on the middle class. (See Americans for Tax Reform for a full list.) With the help of a compliant media, he was able to hide the fact that he raised taxes by hiding them in Obamacare and staggering them over time. He cannot hide that anymore. Obamacare was a tax-filled pig in a poke all along. Only now, the cat is out of the bag, and the Republicans get to talk about that cat for the next four months.
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.