ObamaCare Ruling Ruins A Perfectly Good Teaching Tool For Tax Professors
Today at FoxNews.com they are running my piece about the ObamaCare ruling, which focuses on the definition of a tax.
Surprisingly, in a 199 page opinion that holds "this is a tax," nowhere in the opinion is there a generic definition of what must necessarily be present for something to be declared a tax.
Before this ruling, every "tax" was preceded by a transfer of money or value; the transfer itself is what was taxed. That easy definition is what every law school professor taught for decades. Thanks to Chief Justice Roberts, Congress now has the power to tax you for refusing to make a transfer of your money at their request. If not transfers, what is the defining element of a tax for law school professors to teach now?
Likely the most troubling quote in the whole opinion is Roberts' admission that he is not concerning himself with whether Congress is allowed to do this:
“Sustaining the mandate as a tax depends only on whether Congress has properly exercised its taxing power to encourage purchasing health insurance, not whether it can.” [Emphasis in the original]
If we can't get the Supreme Court to tell us whether Congress "can" do this, what branch of government may we ask to check on whether they can?
I hope you enjoy the rest of the colum, found here.