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It Sure is “Taxing” to Deny a Tax is a Tax

July 05, 2012

The Obama Administration seems to have amnesia.  Less than a week ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is constitutional and noted that the basis for the ruling was an argument put forth by the Obama Administration: that the individual mandate is a tax.  However, at least twice over the last week, the Obama Administration has seemed to deny the “it’s a tax” argument they made before the Court.  Perhaps that is because the individual mandate tax is one of 21 new taxes included in the Democrats’ health care law.  It is also one of 12 taxes that will hit the middle class – on whom President Obama promised not to raise taxes.


  • Today, Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt denied the tax is a tax.  When asked again by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien about the argument by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, LaBolt denied that it was ever represented as a tax.
  • On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew denied the tax is a tax.


  • The President’s lawyer, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli before the Supreme Court: “In particular, just as deductions, exemptions, and credits operate to reduce an individual taxpayer’s federal income tax liability based on the personal circumstances of the taxpayer, the minimum coverage penalty operates to increase the taxpayer’s total tax liability based on his individual circumstances.  In that sense, the minimum coverage provision is valid not only as a tax in its own right, but also as an adjunct to the income tax, as it merely provides an additional input in calculating the total amount owed on the taxpayer’s income tax return.”