‘Shared Responsibility Payment’ is Obamaspeak — but it’s not new

‘Shared Responsibility Payment’ is Obamaspeak — but it’s not new

Obamacare shatteringI am a huge fan of The Daily Caller, which generally does unimpeachable reporting. But an item that appeared on its pages yesterday is sadly much ado about nothing.

The article, by Patrick Howley, takes the Obama administration to task over a euphemism that appears in a new 75-page document from the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS), which articulates the final form of one of Obamacare’s zillion regulations.

Don’t get me wrong. The term that is the focus of the article, “Shared Responsibility Payment,” is idiotic and typical of this administration’s reliance on Newspeak. Who can forget DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s preference for “man-caused disaster” over terrorism, which among other things is sexist.

But I digress. Howley writes:

While the Obama administration originally pitched the individual mandate as a penalty, not a tax, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ruled in June 2012 that Obamacare is only constitutional because the individual mandate is technically a tax.

To emphasize how outrageous this new term is, The Daily Caller even sought out the opinion of Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform:

They [the administration] lied to the American people, lied to the Supreme Court, now they’re back to lying to the American people.

It’s a historical attempt at coming up with a word other than taxes. ‘Revenues’ was driven into the ground. ‘Investment for spending’ was nice but even that gets a little old. ‘Stimulus’ sounds a little erotic. Now we’ve got ‘shared responsibility payment.’ …

Can we go back to the Supreme Court and ask John Roberts if shared responsibility payments are constitutional?

The only problem with Norquist’s question is that the high court already answered it. In SCOTUS’s written opinion in National Federation of Independent Business Et Al v Sebeliusthe term shared responsibility payment appears in the first paragraph on page 1. Ditto for penalty, which also set off alarms at TDC. The term is used both by itself and in the construction tax penalties.

Supreme Court rulingIs Obamacare an unwieldy and imponderably odious law? Absolutely. Has this “most open and transparent administration in history” availed itself of Orwellian language to cover its actions? That question will be answered presently, when and if the administration embarks on another “kinetic military action,” this time in Syria.

Neither fact mitigates that a leading conservative publication did some sloppy reporting, which provides ammunition to Obama supporters.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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