If it's so popular, why is the White House already denying it's a tax?
“It’s a penalty, because you have a choice. You don’t have a choice to pay your taxes, right?” Carney said.Now that I have Jay Carney's permission to call it what I want, I'll call it a tax.
Carney was initially reluctant to assign a label to the fine when pressed repeatedly by reporters Friday. “Call it what you want,” he said.
As for the notion that you have a choice, I think we should give that a rest, as we are reminded here:
This is how it works: the government insists that you have to health insurance. It's for your own good, so you have to have it. It'll save you money and, possibly, save your life.
But if you don't want it or don't find a plan that you can afford that meets their standards, well, that doesn't matter. Then the argument shifts that it isn't just for your benefit, it's for ours -- we don't want to have to pay for you should you get sick or injured. That potential cost is too much risk, so you gotta pay for insurance.
In P. J. O'Rourke's brilliant classic "Parliament Of Whores," he described this effect: every single government mandate comes with an implicit threat: do this, or else. Obey the law, or be fined. Pay the fine, or go to jail. Try to get out of jail, and be shot. Or, more precisely, "Would you kill your grandmother to pave I-95?"
That's the underlying, oft-unstated message behind RomneyCare and ObamaCare: sign up, or pay a fine. Pay the fine, or go to jail.
And this points out Mitt Romney's biggest weakness as a candidate: he put forth something similar to Obamacare in Massachusetts. Up to this point, Romney has been unwilling to repudiate his handiwork. I think he'll have to do it soon. And I predict he will.