Monday, September 21, 2009

“I Absolutely Reject that Notion.”

President Obama ran into a problem from an unlikely source yesterday during his television marathon of five Sunday talk shows. ABC host George Stephanopoulos confronted the president on whether the large penalties in the bill ($3,800 per family) for those who refuse to buy health insurance constitute a tax.

The president, understandably, was adamant in denying it was a tax. If it is a tax, then he is violating his pledge not to raise taxes on middle class families – a political disaster.

As Stephanopoulos pressed the point, Obama said, “No. That’s not true, George.” A few minutes later, he objected again, and said, “No, but, but, George, you – you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”

Stephanopoulos then cited a Webster’s dictionary, which defines “tax” as “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”

Obama objected again, and told Stephanopoulos that by looking up tax in the dictionary, he was “stretching a little bit right now.” Stephanopoulos gave up and asked, “But you reject that it’s a tax increase?” President Obama responded, “I absolutely reject that notion.”

The president may reject that notion, but right about now Congressman Joe Wilson might again need to yell “You lie!”

Several news outlets took a look at the Senate bill to see what it called the penalties. There it was in black and white on page 29: “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.”

According to Politico, the legislation goes on to state that the tax would be collected: “through the tax code and applied as an additional amount of federal tax owed.”

By the way, here is another $1,800 middle class tax increase the administration is pushing and trying its best to deny.

~ Gary Bauer

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