Column: The tax that wasn't a tax

"What at first was plunder, assumed the softer name of revenue." - Thomas Paine, "The Rights of Man," 1792

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Remember, during the 2008 presidential campaign, on the topic of tax increases, when President Barack Obama said this:

"Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes." (Dover, N.H., campaign speech, Sept. 12, 2008.)

And remember, during the debate on healthcare "reform" last year, on the topic of Republican accusations that the individual healthcare mandate was really just a tax, when President Obama said this:

"For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase ... I absolutely reject that notion." ("This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, ABC News, Sept. 20, 2009.)

Well, folks, that was then ... and this is now:

"When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government's power to 'lay and collect taxes.'" ("Changing stance, administration now defends insurance mandate as a tax," New York Times, July 16.)

So, according to Obama, the tax that wasn't a tax really is a tax after all. Surprise, surprise!

The original constitutional "justification" for the inclusion of the individual healthcare mandate in the healthcare bill in the first place, for those who recall, was the legal power of Congress to "regulate interstate commerce." A ridiculous claim, to say the least, and one that the Obama administration itself has, apparently, come to recognize as such as well - for, now, faster than you can say, "You lie!" we have this "justification" instead:

"Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the healthcare overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations ... And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce."

Which means Obama, with a callous disregard for the truth, told the American people whatever he felt like saying that he thought they wanted to hear two years ago, just to get himself elected president.

Last year, when called out on his lies about the implications of the healthcare bill's individual mandate, he proceeded to tell even greater whoppers to attempt to hide that fact. Now that his original line of defense is blowing up in his face, Obama has switched gears and admitted, essentially, all of the above - for the purpose of insuring that he is better armed and able to succeed in his attempts to cram this mandate down all of our throats.

Did I leave anything out? Yes - that only a callous, unprincipled, power-seeking prevaricator would ever engage in such reprehensible behavior. So forget about all that hogwash regarding "shared responsibility" and the "good of the public" - that was just the window-dressing, the sticky, sickly-sweet syrup deployed by Obama to initially trap all of us flies in his sly web of deceitful demagoguery.

When push comes to shove, his new line of attack, stripped of all its intellectual sophistry, boils down to: "I got a gun and you ain't."

The states, in their lawsuit against Obamacare, claim that "Congress is attempting to regulate and penalize Americans for choosing not to engage in economic activity. If Congress can do this much, there will be virtually no sphere of private decision-making beyond the reach of federal power."

True enough, which is, by the way, exactly what Obama is after. And if there's a lower rung in hell than the one occupied by the man who has no compunction about lying to achieve that end, it can only be the rung reserved for the man who would cynically use our very own Constitution - written by the Founders to curtail the power of the federal government to engage in such bald power-grabs - as the means by which we are transformed into chattel, to be controlled and manipulated as Wanna-Be Dictator Obama sees fit.

Yep, that's "change" all right - hereafter limited to the "change" of mooing cows shifting their positions in the cattle pen as they await final slaughter. Is that the kind of "change" you were after?