As it becomes clearer that Supreme Court Chief Justice cowed to east coast media pressure and switched his vote to uphold ObamaCare, it’s tempting to rebrand the taxes associated with the bill — and there are many new taxes associated with it — the “Roberts Tax.” Here’s one example. Here’s another.
If the chief justice really did bow to pressure, his behavior is deeply disappointing and unworthy of his role on the court. He deserves our anger. But in pure political terms, dubbing ObamaCare the “Roberts Tax” is a grave mistake.
The Democrats controlled Congress, wrote the bill, and passed it over the objections of the majority of the American people in 2010. The Democrats engaged in all of the smarmy back room dealing that bought enough votes to secure the bill’s passage. President Barack Obama lobbied hard to get the bill passed, and then signed it into law. In the two years since ObamaCare’s passage, the Democrats have consistently touted the law and fought to defend it from critics and in court. Republicans have just as consistently fought the bill in the courts of law and public opinion. Republican attorneys general led the fight to kill ObamaTax in court, and Republican governors have consistently fought the legislative side of implementing the law. Congressional Republicans have voted consistently to repeal it, but they do not control the Senate yet, so their repeals have not taken the law off the books. This GOP consistency helped them win the House and many state legislatures in 2010, and this consistency will help them keep the House, probably capture the Senate and maybe the White House in 2012.
John Roberts did not “pass” the taxes contained in ObamaCare. He upheld the part of the bill that the Democrats refused to call a tax, as a tax, buying into the argument that the Obama administration’s solicitor general offered during Supreme Court arguments, but that the Democrats did not offer when the bill was under discussion. If they had been honest and called it a tax, it would never have passed. In last week’s decision, Roberts upheld the law but may have pointed the way toward a more lasting and satisfying way to kill it off: In the legislature and the presidency, rather than in the courts. Roberts signaled in his opinion that he knew SCOTUS would not have the last word on the law.
Calling ObamaTax the “Roberts Tax” obscures the undeniable, incontrovertible fact that in the political world in which the American people have the most say this year, the Democrats from President Obama on down own every penny of the taxes imposed. They wrote the bill. They lied about what it was, they argued for it and they passed it. Obama signed it. ObamaTax is theirs.
ObamaTax constitutes a multi-billion dollar violation of President Obama’s promises not to raise taxes on the middle class. It has been a drag on the economy since it was passed and will be a drag on the economy as long as it is on the books. John Roberts didn’t give us the Get Out of ObamaTax card that a majority of the American people wanted, but he didn’t pass it into law either. It’s Obama who lied, and thereby the economy died. The GOP should have an easy time making that case through the November elections to the point of ripping ObamaTax out by the roots in the next Congress.
So, focus, folks. ObamaTax is 100% the Democrats’ political problem for November. They should be forced to own it and explain it, or run away from it and promise help get rid of it.
More: Democrats are already obviously very uncomfortable with the SCOTUS ObamaTax outcome. They should be.