OMG! I can't believe that I actually can agree with George Stephanopoulos on anything, but certainly in raising this question, I do. On ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos which aired today, George interviewed President Obama and addressed the cost of Obama's healthcare program, and in particular addressed the mandate that everyone must be covered or face penalties.
Here's the transcript from Stepanopoulos's Blog:
President Obama signaled in our interview that he was prepared to address some of the concerns raised by key Senator Jay Rockefeller, who called the Baucus bill a "big middle class tax increase" this week.
That means he'll support more subsidies for middle class families.
But in our most spirited exchange, the President refused to accept the argument that a mandate to buy health insurance is equivalent to a tax.
Here it is:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were against the individual mandate...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ...during the campaign. Under this mandate, the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don’t. How is that not a tax?
OBAMA: Well, hold on a second, George. Here -- here's what's happening. You and I are both paying $900, on average -- our families -- in higher premiums because of uncompensated care. Now what I've said is that if you can't afford health insurance, you certainly shouldn't be punished for that. That's just piling on. If, on the other hand, we're giving tax credits, we've set up an exchange, you are now part of a big pool, we've driven down the costs, we've done everything we can and you actually can afford health insurance, but you've just decided, you know what, I want to take my chances. And then you get hit by a bus and you and I have to pay for the emergency room care, that's...
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: But it may be fair, it may be good public policy...
OBAMA: No, but -- but, George, you -- you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase. Any...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here’s the...
OBAMA: What -- what -- if I -- if I say that right now your premiums are going to be going up by 5 or 8 or 10 percent next year and you say well, that's not a tax increase; but, on the other hand, if I say that I don't want to have to pay for you not carrying coverage even after I give you tax credits that make it affordable, then...
See the rest of the interview here:
What was also revealed here is a prime example of how Obama directly contradicts himself in the same interview or speech (wouldn't that be considered lying - hmmm???) and how he uses word games to disguise or confuse the issues that are raised.) However, as is clearly demonstrated in this video, when pressed for which point is the truth, Obama becomes defensive and tries to turn the tables.
When I looked up the online Merriam-Webster definition of "tax", here's what it says:
1 : to assess or determine judicially the amount of (costs in a court action)
2 : to levy a tax on
3: obsolete : to enter (a name) in a list
4 : charge, accuse also: censure
5 : to make onerous and rigorous demands on
It sure sounds like a tax! Please note, this mandate is not applicable only to those who make $250,000 or more; it's on everyone! Regardless what it's called, it's still a large amount of money that will be required from middle-class Americans, and in effect, removes yet another freedom of choice from these individuals.
There is something else to note as well. Obama says that his healthcare plan will not increase the national debt. Of course he's aware that millions of people won't be able to either pay for insurance or pay the penalty. So, as many people are now understanding, in order to insure those individuals, the government will have to cover that expense by cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or other programs, then the cost to continue those programs will in turn have to be raised elsewhere - perhaps a "new mandated compliance" or "tax" increase or further cuts in services. It's a classic "rob Peter to pay Paul" - then stealing from Paul to pay John! And so on.
If you take this mandated healthcare coverage "tax" and add it to the proposed Cap and Trade taxes on energy-producing companies which, of course, will be filtered down to middle-class tax payers, what you have is a huge amount of money that will be removed from individuals' incomes. Most middle-class people live paycheck to paycheck now, so how will they be able to handle these increased "tax" burdens? The answer is they can't.
This run-away governmental reform/restructuring and unlimited spending has got to stop! Those who oppose this mandated coverage (and cost for non-compliance), and especially those who will be hit the hardest, had better wake up and smell the coffee, and come together in opposition of these "taxes" before they are forced into abject poverty. I urge everyone who is concerned to get educated on the issues, share the facts with friends, and make their opinions known to their Congressmen. This fast track that the Obama Administration is on has got to be slowed so that people can become aware of the issues and express their opinions to their representatives - and hold them accountable - or it will very soon be too late for America.