I remember asking my Dad when I was very young "What is a meal tax?". There was a sign in the restaurant we were eating at that said "5% meal tax". He went on to explain what taxes were, and that the government didn't tax food, clothing or other essential elements that are required for us to exist. "Like the air?" I replied. "Yes, like oxygen. They would never tax the air you need to breathe".
Well, those were the 'good old days'. Over the weekend Mr Obama argued pretty hard and very ineffectively that his plan for an individual mandate for health insurance is not a tax. I'm sure the video is all over YouTube, but it's better to read his words. You don't hear the same arrogant brush offs and the condescension when you read his replies. You just get to read what he actually said.
Obama's Nontax Tax
Obama's Nontax Tax
Whether Mr Obama thinks it is a tax or not is irrelevant. It is a Tax. To me this is truly a landmark turning point in how government treats and views its citizens. It could be the end of the last concept you could point to and say we are/were in fact a free people. The idea that your very existence now requires you to pay a tax, and pay it every year is a monumental sea change. Now, I have always thought that the tax levied on you when you cease to exist, the death tax, was wrong and unjust as well as being heavy handed, but the new tax on your existence makes that argument trivial.
They do not point to it in the WSJ Op/Ed piece, but in some of the the video you can see and hear Mr Obama point to mandates for car insurance as a precedent for mandating health insurance. He's wrong. Mandates for car insurance do not violate the concept of not taxing the essential element of life that you need to exist. You don't have to buy a car. It's sort of the inverse argument of the meal tax. You can argue that the meal tax really is a tax on food, but the reasoning that you didn't have to choose to have a nice meal at a nice restaurant means it's not a tax on an essential.
Taxing your very existence is wrong, and it is unjust. It is the type tax that would make Thomas Paine jump up and scream and write another pamphlet. Taxing your existence is wrong because you do not get a choice!
Then again, they probably have some free counseling available to convince you that existing really is a choice.