Well, maybe. Still, those other issues aren't going away. Two examples for your consideration this morning.
First, consider this report concerning Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) getting in the face of acting OMB director Jeffrey Zients:
Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., challenged Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients to resign this morning, unless he could substantiate his claim that President Obama's budget does not increase spending.
"Do you propose to spend more money over the next ten years than what the Budget Control Act and current law would cause us to spend?" Sessions asked.
Zients really didn't want to answer that, because the answer would have been yes. Which led to Sessions asking a followup:
After much more equivocation and evasiveness from Zients, Sessions asked: "If you are incorrect in saying that you do not increase spending more than current law, would you consider resigning your office?"
Zients refused to answer that question too.
Well, yeah. He can't answer it, because to answer honestly would require admitting that the Obama administration considers the Budget Control Act a dead letter.
Meanwhile, Ann Althouse calls our attention to something else that our man Zients needed to explain -- how the individual mandate is not a tax, when simultaneously the Obama administration is telling the Supreme Court that it is:
But of course, the government is arguing in the Supreme Court that the individual mandate is a tax, authorized by Congress's taxing power. Read the brief for the United States — PDF — beginning at page 50:
The “practical operation” of the minimum coverage provision is as a tax.... It amends the Internal Revenue Code to provide that a non-exempted individual who fails to maintain a minimum level of insurance shall pay a monthly penalty for so long as he fails to do so. 26 U.S.C.A. § 5000A. The amount of the penalty is calculated as a percentage of household income for federal income tax purposes, above a flat dollar amount and subject to a cap. Id. § 5000A(c). It is reported on the individual’s federal income tax return for the taxable year, ibid., and “assessed and collected in the same manner as” other specified federal tax penalties. Id. § 5000A(b)(2), (g).
Althouse susses out the reasoning for all this:
Well, I suppose it depends on what the meaning of the word "tax" is. It's one thing for the purpose of political argument: Democrats in Congress didn't want to call it a tax when they were jamming it through, and Obama doesn't want to call it a tax now as he's promoting a budget with no new taxes for those making less than $250,000 a year. But for the purposes of legal argument, you might want to characterize it as a tax. The serious question is whether the Supreme Court will accept that characterization for the purpose of upholding the law, even though for political purposes the word was not — and is not — used.
And the answer to that question depends on whether the Justices think that analysis of the political dynamics matters in the interpretation of the scope of Congress's enumerated powers. Whatever the vigor of the Court's role here — and obviously much is left to Congress's political will — it is crucial for the people — exercising their political pressure on the Congress that works its political will — to see what is happening. Even in the thrall of judicial restraint, the Court should reject an argument based on fooling the people about what Congress is doing. The people are especially vigilant about new taxes, so denying that something is a tax is an important maneuver in the political arena. If that move is made to ward off public outrage, it should not be easy to turn around win the favor of judges by calling it what you did not dare tell the people it was.
If I were doing these sorts of things, I guess I'd rather talk about contraception, too. Talking about sex tends to be a useful way of deflecting attention to the other ways people are getting screwed these days.