Conservative activist Grover Norquist, who invented the “anti-tax increase” tax pledge embraced by Republicans, tells Newsmax that Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare virtually guarantees that the November election will be more about taxes than “any one I can think of.”
In upholding Obamacare — including the divisive individual mandate requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance — a divided court ruled 5-4 that President Barack Obama's historic healthcare overhaul in essence amounts to a new tax on every American, something that Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have insisted all along.
“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,” declared Norquist in an exclusive interview on Thursday after the ruling was released.
But rather than a single tax, Obamacare actually consists of a series of 20 taxes, according to Norquist who estimated the cost to American taxpayers at around $500 billion over 10 years.
“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,” asserted Norquist, who pointed to Obama’s “central promise” to never raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 a year.
“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.”
Norquist acknowledged that the Obama administration initially tried to dismiss his concerns as unfounded.
“They said ‘no it’s not a tax increase. It’s a mandate.’ And then of course they went to the Supreme Court and said ‘oh it’s not a mandate. That would be unconstitutional. It’s a tax increase’ and the Supreme Court said ‘yes, mandates are unconstitutional but threats of tax increases are not.’”
The Harvard-educated president of ATR started soliciting signers to the no-tax-increase pledge from state capitols to Capitol Hill in 1986 with the passage of the landmark Tax Reform Act.
He charged that Congress most likely would never have passed Obamacare had Americans truly known it was a tax. “Had they had to formally vote for the tax increase it would have made it much more difficult — maybe impossible,” he observed.
One positive note in the ruling came with respect to the planned expansion of Medicaid coverage. The court essentially held that the punishment Congress planned to exact on states for refusing to expand Medicaid coverage was too harsh.
“If that had been allowed to stand, the federal government would have told Republican governors and Republican legislatures in the 24 Republican states you have to raise taxes massively to pay for our increased spending on Medicaid,” insisted Norquist. “I think that could have broken the Republicans at the state and local level because you’d have every Republican governor put in an untenable position of having to raise taxes because of the spending mandate by Medicaid.”
Since that didn’t happen, Norquist predicted that there is now a chance to reform Medicaid.
“They were deliberately bankrupting Medicaid so it couldn’t be reformed or reduced — and could only collapse under the single payer,” he said. “That’s the good news out of this decision. That problem was avoided.”
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