The Daily Show: Sneak a tax

From the July 5, 2012 edition

The main story last week was the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. All Americans, and citizens of the world, did indeed gather to see what our highest court would say.

Would conservatives rule the day and overturn the individual mandate? Or would liberals reign, granting the government the power to keep old people alive artificially so that we may harvest their organs?

“The individual mandate is surviving as a tax,” reported Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

So what actually happened? By a five to four decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four more liberal justices and wrote the majority opinion that the individual mandate was deemed unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, but that didn’t really matter because the decision upheld the individual mandate as within Congress’ power to levy taxes.

How excited was President Barack Obama? Well, he strolled down I Killed Osama Bin Laden Lane to his podium and addressed the nation.

“I know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this … but that discussion completely misses the point,” Obama said.

And that point is that I won. Not that it matters who won, but it was me. So the real question tonight is, how’s it taste, muthas?

He was pretty excited, but there was one small issue. In the past, Obama had been pretty clear about what this individual mandate was not.

“For us to say you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. … I absolutely reject that notion,” Obama said in 2009.

Of course you rejected it, because you have to get re-elected. But the Supreme Court, in the landmark case of Peeing on My Leg v. Telling Me It’s Raining, is allowed to say what things actually are. And the Supreme Court’s wording did not go unnoticed.

“A victory for the Obama administration means a middle-class tax increase, and that’s exactly what this is,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

Sen. Rubio is right. But the real question is how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will handle this new development.

“It’s important for us to repeal and replace Obamacare. What are some things that we need to keep in place? We have to make sure that people who want to keep their current insurance will be able to do so,” Romney said.

Sure, that’s important, but it’s also part of Obamacare. What else?

“We also have to assure that we do our very best to help each state in their effort to assure that every American has access to affordable health care,” Romney said.

That’s a great idea … just like the one for Medicaid expansion that’s in Obamacare.

“We’ve got to make sure that those people who have pre-existing conditions know that they will be able to be insured,” Romney said.

So Romney’s going to keep everything except the mandate — the thing that pays for it all.