If my understanding is correct – and I make absolutely no claims that it is, given that far smarter and better-educated people than me are still arguing over the specific details – the following has transpired:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – colloquially known as “ObamaCare” – was passed with strict and absolute adherence to the notion that it was not a tax. Specifically:
STEPHANOPOULOS: That may be, but it’s still a tax increase.
OBAMA: No. That’s not true, George. The — for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I — I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary: Tax — “a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but…
OBAMA: …what you’re saying is…
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I’m taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we’re going to have an individual mandate or not, but…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it’s a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
However, the Supreme Court of the United States of America just ruled that the “individual mandate” section of ObamaCare constitutes a tax, and is therefore acceptable under the law.
Taking those two data points in and of themselves and discarding everything else surrounding this discussion, it would seem to me that passing a law as not-a-tax in the House, not-a-tax in the Senate, and not-a-tax on the President’s very desk, and then turning around and clarifying / transforming / explaining the law as an actual tax after it has already been signed and added to the United States Code constitutes the very definition of “taxation without representation”, or, as a certain document once put it, “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”.
I genuinely have to wonder if our government, and, worse, the people who elected our supposed “representatives” into their respective positions, comprehend the fact that people have died, wars have been fought, and countries have been shattered and reformed over “a long train of abuses and usurpations” as the one they are constructing today…
On a somewhat related point, did you know that the “lay and collect Taxes” part of the enumeration of Congress’ power in Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution means the Congress can tax you for not owning something? According to Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority decision, it does:
Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.
The lengths and extents to which that ability could and will be abused are simply mind-boggling. Oh, you do not own an electric car? You do not own super-expensive impossible-to-get firearm-owner’s liability insurance? Oh, you do not own a telescreen? Well, that lack of ownership is “just another thing the Government taxes”.
It will be completely impossible for me to take seriously anything further said by someone who whinges about how D.C. vs. Heller “rewrote” the Constitution but simultaneously praises this ruling, and I will be very sorely pressed to not smack said person upside the head for good measure.
The same holds for any Republican who has the unmitigated gall to tell me I have to vote for Romney, because having a “conservative” picking Supreme Court Justices is essential! Guess what, dumbasses? Roberts was chosen by none other than President George W. Bush.