Tax relief for people who buy certain things? — sure (like real property). A tax imposed on people who buy certain items? — sure (like cigarettes). But a tax imposed on people who do not buying something? That’s definitely new! Apparently penalizing citizens for not purchasing health insurance now passes constitutional muster as a “tax,” or so says the Supreme Court.
Roberts recast the [health care] mandate as a tax, a rationale that was not in the law or the government’s case. He rewrote the administration’s position, baptized it, and then blessed it. Roberts’ defenders argue that he did so to avoid a constitutional crisis, but he may have created another by judicially re-legislating policy, a policy paid for and enforced by what could be essentially the largest tax increase in American history.
~William J. Bennett, CNN Contributor
I guess it’s true what they say about the government’s taxing power. It’s sort of a “catch-all” for federal programs that seem unconstitutional in all other respects.