When a Tax Isn’t a Tax

In a post this morning, I criticized PA Senate Republicans for their loose definition of “broad-based taxes” with an emphasis on “broad based.”  But perhaps they were simply using President Obama’s definition of tax … which basically exludes any and all taxes.

Cato’s Michael Cannon makes fun of Obama’s statement, concerning the individual mandate to buy insurance or face a tax penalty, “Nobody considers that a tax increase….You can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase”.  Cannon points to Obama’s own advisors who call that a tax increase.


could have used a few more citations.  For instance, I got the crazy idea that the mandate was a tax by reading the legislation before Congress.

The relevant section of HR 3200:

Sec. 401. Tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.

Relevant Section of Baucus legislation:

Excise Tax. The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.

But I guess if the President says it, it’s not a tax.