Conservatives are rallying around what will be a four-month fight about taxes and broken promises following the Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare as a government-imposed tax, and the fight is likely to put President Barack Obama on the defensive and answer to what Rush Limbaugh called “nothing more than the largest tax increase in the history of the world.”
When Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in upholding Obamacare and in the process called the penalty for not buying health insurance a kind of tax, a wave of anti-tax fury was heard from coast to coast, from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to tax watchdogs like Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform.
Former vice presidential candidate and tea party favorite Sarah Palin tweeted: “Obama lied to the American people. Again,” the former Alaska governor said. “He said it wasn’t a tax. Obama lies; freedom dies.”
By calling Obamacare a tax, wrote Ira Stoll in FutureofCapitalism.com, “The court made an official ruling that President Obama had violated his 2008 campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year. And the ruling also keeps ObamaCare alive as a political issue.”
The ruling sets in motion a slew of tax hikes. It means that 21 tax increases in the healthcare law costing more than $675 billion over the next 10 years are kept in place. Of those, The Washington Times reported, 12 tax hikes would affect families earning less than $250,000 per year, including a tax on high-cost insurance plans, a tax on insurance providers and an excise tax on medical-device manufacturers. Some of the hikes include a tax on “Cadillac” plans and on health insurance providers.
The reaction was swift and palpable.
• Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said “The Supreme Court has spoken. This law is a tax.”
• Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Democratic lawmakers to “stand by your tax increase or stand with us to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
• Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney made his campaign mantra of the day saying, "Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare — cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations onto coming generations."
• Popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said: “The Supreme Court is confirming what we knew all along about this law. It is a tax on middle-class Americans.”
• Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said, “My friends, this is a middle-class tax increase. And millions of Americans now have an IRS problem.”
Norquist told Newsmax in an interview
that said the Supreme Court ruling virtually guarantees that the November election will be more about taxes than “any one I can think of.”
“There’s never been an election where the size and scope of tax increases were going to be determined by that election more clearly than this single one,” Norquist said.
“We made the case that this was a tax increase from the very beginning and now Obama has admitted that he lied his way into office and that the central piece of his legislative agenda was in fact massive tax increase,” he said.
“He then went to the Supreme Court and said ‘my massive tax Obamacare project was in fact a tax increase — 75 percent of which, says CBO, will fall on people earning less than $250,000 a year,’” said Norquist. “That’s the lowest. So the central project line of Obama’s presidency was a massive tax increase on middle income people when he promised that wouldn’t happen.”
Limbaugh was fired up on his show after the decision, calling for this to become the rallying point to oust the president.
“November is the chance to get rid of the people who did this, and then put in place people we hope mean it when they say they're going to repeal it,” he said. “We have been betrayed and deceived by Congress. We have been betrayed and deceived by the Supreme Court.”
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