Is the individual mandate a tax or a penalty?
the Mitt Romney of 2008 the Obama campaign, it’s a penalty for free-loaders who can afford to buy health insurance but choose not to.
According to the Republicans, it’s the “largest tax in history.” At least that was the story until Eric “Etch a Sketch” Ferhnstrom strayed off message today during at interview on MSNBC.
TODD: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax? That is what you’re saying?
FEHRNSTROM: The governor believes what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the Court’s ruling that it is not a tax.
TODD: But he agrees with the president that it is not — and he believes that you should not call the tax penalty a tax, you should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?
FEHRNSTROM: That’s correct. But the president also needs to be held accountable for his contradictory statements. He has described it variously as a penalty and as a tax. He needs to reconcile those two very different statements.
So it’s not the “largest tax in history?” It’s not a tax at all? It’s a penalty?
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has scheduled a vote for July 11th to repeal the “tax.” Are you saying they’re wrong?
Let’s consult Mitt Romney himself. Here he is in 2008.
GIBSON: ”Governor … you imposed tax penalties in Massachusetts?”
ROMNEY: ”Yes, we said, look, if people can afford to buy it, either buy the insurance or pay your own way; don’t be free-riders.”
Eric Fehrnstrom offers the caveat that President Obama should be held accountable for making what he claims are contradictory statements, but if that’s the case, Mister Romney should also be held accountable.
The Obama campaign is offering the same rhetoric to defend Obamacare that Romney once employed to defend Romneycare. Or as Ben Cohen put it, he’s using Karl Rove’s own strategy against him.
Unfortunately for Romney, such rhetoric is no longer an option. He can’t agree with the president. Proposing the opposite of whatever President Obama does is the entire premise of his campaign, for Pete’s sake.
(tweet via LGF)