I’ve noticed that many of you have become rather careless with the English language, and frankly, it’s just confusing the children. Recognizing the threat to the next generation’s ability to understand the news on Fox, America’s Family Man, Mitt Romney, bravely came forward today to clarify when a tax that isn’t a tax is really a tax. From the New York Times:
In an interview with Jan Crawford of CBS News, Mr. Romney said: “While I agreed with the dissent, that’s taken over by the fact that the majority of the court said it’s a tax, and therefore it is a tax. They have spoken.”
“They concluded it was a tax. That’s what it is, and the American people know that President Obama has broken the pledge he made,” he added. “He said he wouldn’t raise taxes on middle-income Americans. Not only did he raise the $500 billion that was already in the bill, it’s now clear that his mandate as described by the Supreme Court is a tax.”
On Monday, Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign said that the health care mandate should be thought of as a penalty and not as a tax.
Thank god, that’s all cleared up. So please pay attention, because from now on, you should all use the following standardized conventions or risk having to make yourself as foolish as the people we now have running for President.
1. If you’re subject to RomneyCare, and you fail to have health insurance and aren’t exempt, the fee you must pay to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue when you file your income taxes is a “penalty” designed to encourage individual responsibility and to discourage free riders.
2. If you’re talking about ObamaCare, and you fail to have health insurance and aren’t exempt, the fee you must pay to the IRS when you file your income taxes is “the largest tax increase in history,” except for all the ones that are larger.
3. If you’re Chief Justice John Roberts, and you’re writing the first version of your opinion to take down the entire Affordable Care Act, you must insist that the ACA fee for not purchasing health insurance is not a tax; it’s a penalty, but that won’t save it.
4. If you’re Chief Justice John Roberts and you’re writing the second version of your opinion, which you’re writing because you think your friends Scalia et ilk are crazy, to preserve the mandate in the Affordable Care Act, you must insist that if Congress didn’t call the fee a tax it must be a tax.
5. If you’re the governor of Wisconsin or like-minded state, and you reduce the level of state contributions for health care and pensions and instead force selective government employees to pay more out of pocket for the same levels they had before, you may not refer to that as a “tax” on government workers, nor admit this is balancing the budget on the backs of a select group, because Republican Governors don’t raise taxes; it’s just a fair punishment for people who work for the government.
6. If you are the Administrator of a public university, and you substantially raise tuition fees on new students, you may not refer to that as a selective tax only on parents/students seeking a public education; it’s just applying sound business practices to what used to be thought of as a public obligation.
7. If you decide to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund another few decades by lifting the income cap on FICA withholding, you are required to call that an unfair tax on the job creators. If you try to solve the same problem by reducing benefits, such as by using a lower inflation index, you may not refer to that as an effective tax on beneficiaries; it’s just making sure old people don’t steal from their grand children’s future.
8. If someone proposes to treat carried interest profits as ordinary income, like those Mr. Romney uses to hold the summer Olympics in Connecticut while finishing up the improvements on his new digs in La Jolla, you should harshly criticize such proposals as a tax to kill a very good job creator, even if the jobs are outsourced.
I’m sure there are many other examples, and WE will be listening and watching to correct you whenever you get it wrong. So pay attention.
P.S. Just between us, it’s okay to call the fee a “penalty tax” or a penalty collected as a tax or whatever, to encourage purchase of insurance and to contribute to the costs of health care for the larger risk pool. Shhh.