WH chief of staff: ObamaCare not a tax even if our own lawyers said it was, or something

posted at 9:21 am on July 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Via Gateway Pundit, here’s a moment that will live in the Cross-Examination Hall of Fame.  Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace interviewed the current White House chief of staff, Jacob Lew, who served as OMB chief briefly before taking over for William Daley in the West Wing, about the Supreme Court’s ruling that ObamaCare can only stand constitutional muster as a tax.  Wallace strings Lew along beautifully for almost three minutes, allowing Lew to argue multiple times that ObamaCare isn’t a tax, wasn’t passed as a tax, and was never intended to be a tax, before playing a recording of the Obama administration’s Solicitor General arguing to the Supreme Court that, by golly, ObamaCare can and should be considered a tax:

The money moment comes at the very end of the clip, but don’t skip ahead to it, or you’ll miss the masterful way Wallace brings Lew to the point of no return.  For his part, Lew does as well as he could under the circumstances in responding to Donald Verrilli’s argument, but the eventual response hardly helpful.  Lew basically tells Wallace that, hey, lawyers make lots of arguments in court, but that doesn’t make them true! Funny, we were just thinking the same thing about arguments made by chiefs of staff on television on behalf of an administration that’s desperate to spin their way out of a very bad spot.


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On the other hand, the vote was 5-4 holding that the ACA mandate was unconstitutional on Commerce Clause grounds, and this is why Roberts included that specific holding in the first part of his opinion. That is what lawyers in the future will cite to prevent a future attempt by Congress to expand government as the ACA attempts to do. In other words, this holding alone will suffice to strike down legislation that would “create commerce” in order to then regulate it under the Commerce Clause, a very significant thing.

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Meanwhile, utter silence from the Left as to those four votes FOR mandate being ‘constitutional under the Commerce Clause’ by Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg and…who else…Souter, was it.

Theirs are outrageously awful determinations, as nuts as Roberts’ efforts to rewrite the legislation.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Further proof the Obama Administration are the creepiest bastards to infest Washington since the Nixon era.

RobertE on July 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Lourdes nailed it. There hasn’t been anything like the Obama Administration until now. Nixon doesn’t even compare.

This is lawlessness at a heretofore unimaginable level. I would even venture to call it a bloodless coup by the likes of the Leftists and commies who are behind the scenes directing it all.

PatriotGal2257 on July 2, 2012 at 10:41 AM

You. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Do. You?

Never mind, I already know your answer.

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 10:37 AM

What’s annoying is how this fellow (and his cousin over on Out of the Woods DannoJyd) cannot see how their actions are absolutly No Different than what the Establishment RINO Republicans did to Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle in 2010.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM

I agree with you. Despite what may be in Roberts mind as he manipulates the text, the actual text supercedes all. The fact is, the text never uses the word “tax”. They went out of their way not to use the word “tax”. Therefore, it remains a “penalty”.

That is what the D’s are arguing. It’s not a tax until the text says it’s a tax and even post-Roberts the text remains as it was. They’ll take the constitutional win any way they can get it, but they will not agree to change the text to match the decision.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Well, the Left “taking a win” is illigitimate. They’re calling what happened: NOT what happened.

It’s not consitutional as anything but a tax.

If it’s not a tax (per the legislation itself, affirmed repeatedly by the Democrats who wrought this terrible thing), then it’s not Constitutional.

That means, they lost, no mandate unless they agree that it’s a tax.

Truly, how in the world do we stop insane people such as this from acting out against the rest of us like this? Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc., they’re applauding “that that is not”.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I recall the one time I went to the ER (it was an emergency) without insurance.

Within days, I received this thing they called a “bill” and they insisted I pay it, which I did.

Some free ride.

Mr. Grump on July 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM

The left looks down on Americans and simply assumes that people won’t pay their bill. That is how little they think of us.

I find it very strange that they drop the class warfare line that these “free loaders” can afford insurance, but don’t purchase it. Yet when they get medical care without insurance, they somehow can’t afford it? Another circular argument.

The left is truly starting to make my head spin.

weaselyone on July 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM

As to taxing powers, the vote was 1-4-4, so it will not be controlling authority as to any future attempt by Congress to impose a non-activity tax as here.

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Now that Roberts has shown his cards, the next time they want to tax for inactivity (better get those solar panels onto your roof), the vote will be 5-4 that it is a tax. It’s called “progressivism” and the four lib’s will join Roberts in his mind-bending of the text.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

When it all shakes out, this is HealthWELFARE Program for the “looters and moochers”. It is NOT a HealthCARE program.

RADIOONE on July 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Cont.

They are undermining the cause they purport to uphold.

It’s almost as if they live in a Different Fantasy World than Obama. While Obama, and the Lefitsts, want to create this Fantasy Utopia where Everyone gets Everything they want, without having to expend effort, he wants a Fantasy World where Everything Adheres to His Narrow Vision as to how the Constitution should be interpreted and Who should be Elected to Enforce it.

His thought process is the same, just to a different destination.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Meanwhile, utter silence from the Left as to those four votes FOR mandate being ‘constitutional under the Commerce Clause’ by Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg and…who else…Souter, was it.

Theirs are outrageously awful determinations, as nuts as Roberts’ efforts to rewrite the legislation.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:40 AM

But they are lefty Justices. Lefty Justices are never expected to break ranks. Lefty Justices always rule based on politics, so their positions are never politically charged because the way they were going to vote was never in question…or something.

weaselyone on July 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Fact is, over eighty percent of Americans have private health insurance.

Obama wants that industry destroyed, and today I wonder if that doesn’t also include Americans.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

What’s annoying is how this fellow (and his cousin over on Out of the Woods DannoJyd) cannot see how their actions are absolutly No Different than what the Establishment RINO Republicans did to Christine O’Donnell and Sharon Angle in 2010.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:42 AM

He’s arguing law, I’m arguing political maneuvering. I’m not saying the constitutionality of the Roberts ruling doesn’t deserve further debate, but we’ve got 4 months until the election, there’s not enough time to do that now.

We’ve got to play with the cards that were dealt us NOW. Because if we don’t get rid of the boy king, keep the House and take the Senate, none of this will matter anyway. We’ll be stuck with the ObamacareTAX for good.

And if that means hanging the largest tax increase in America’s history around the boy king and the Dems necks, go for it!

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

That means, they lost, no mandate unless they agree that it’s a tax.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I respectfully disagree. It became constitutional because Roberts called it a tax. However, Roberts does not write the law nor does he get to red-line the law, thus changing the original text.

The text says its a mandate with a penalty. Period. No tax.

And, yes, they win this battle in their war to return us to a dictatorship … with themselves in power.
This is their goal:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

They are winning – big time.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

He’s arguing law, I’m arguing political maneuvering.

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Actually, He’s arguing Politics as well.

In his magical thinking he beleives that if we Divide the Republican Party with some kind of Floor Fight at the Convention and pick a Real Conservative named Not Romney (or pick a Suitable Third Party Candidate of the Same Name) that person will Actually Stand a Chance of Victory.

And it will be a REAL Victory as opposed to the Pyrrhic Victory that a Romney Election will Represent.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Now that Roberts has shown his cards, the next time they want to tax for inactivity (better get those solar panels onto your roof), the vote will be 5-4 that it is a tax. It’s called “progressivism” and the four lib’s will join Roberts in his mind-bending of the text.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Plus a bunch of “conservatives” here. And smugly so.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

They are winning – big time.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

They are Getting Their Way.

Do NOT confuse that with winning.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Jack Lew has to be the most foolish — or deluded or both — man ever to be employed in any Administration.

PERHAPS he, like Obama, like Pelosi, like Schumer, like Ted Kennedy, et al., assumes that their followers will believe anything and everything said by them, but what Lew did on t.v. yesterday was so blatantly a defiance OF REALITY as to be astounding evidence of mental illness. Or utter depravity of character.

Whatever his reasons, he’s clearly not reliable and his statements should be incorporated into an ad by the GOP in writing beside the written contents of the Roberts’ majority decision for proof of just how awful Lew and the Obama Admin. are.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Brilliant post.

ToddPA on July 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

And it will be a REAL Victory as opposed to the Pyrrhic Victory that a Romney Election will Represent.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 10:58 AM

You have no idea what I think, and even though I’ve explained my position very clearly, here, you are evidently too stupid to understand it.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Look, you can argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s not a tax, the point is it has been ruled as such by the highest court in the land.

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

No, only Roberts ruled it is a tax and his opinion is not binding legal precedent.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

On the other hand, the vote was 5-4 holding that the ACA mandate was unconstitutional on Commerce Clause grounds…

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 10:36 AM

There was no such formal legally binding vote.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

No, only Roberts ruled it is a tax and his opinion is not binding legal precedent.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Do you want the GOP to spend the next 4 months until the election debating the constitutionality of the Roberts ruling, or, doing everything they can to assure a Republican win in the House, Senate and WH?

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Personally, I want Conservatives with spines to be voted in on November 6th and then, toss this piece of rancid garbage called ObamaTax back into the fiery abyss from whence it came!

kingsjester on July 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

That means, they lost, no mandate unless they agree that it’s a tax.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I respectfully disagree. It became constitutional because Roberts called it a tax. However, Roberts does not write the law nor does he get to red-line the law, thus changing the original text.

The text says its a mandate with a penalty. Period. No tax.

Carnac on July 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

You misunderstood my, grantedm, poorly stated, point there:

*IF* the Democrats can even be believed in reality, then they must agree with Roberts that “it’s a tax.” As long as they continue to claim it’s “a penalty and not a tax,” they’re actually disagreeing with themselves in their joy claiming they “won”.

I agree that Roberts effectively “changed” the law and I’ve said as much now many a time here and elsewhere — he uses what the law says and then amplifies/edits the contents in order to leap to the declaration he made (“it’s a tax”).

My point is that the Democrats are now caught between a rock and a hard place with their political propaganda about just what is and what they’re up to and what promises they’ve been making.

In order to “agree” with the ruling, they accept “it’s a tax” despite Roberts’ having arrived at that by strange irregularity.

That means, as long as they’re out their claiming victory, they’re actually agreeing that “it’s a tax” AND that IF IT ISN’T A TAX IT’S NOT CONSTITUTIONAL.

What I think, anyway.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

That means, as long as they’re out their claiming victory, they’re actually agreeing that “it’s a tax” AND that IF IT ISN’T A TAX IT’S NOT CONSTITUTIONAL.

What I think, anyway.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 11:18 AM

…as long as they’re out THERE claiming victory…

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Brilliant post.

ToddPA on July 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Thank ye.

Lourdes on July 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Lew does look a little bit like Jackie Gleason, no?

Humina-humina-humina…

slickwillie2001 on July 2, 2012 at 11:24 AM

@ Flora Duh

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM

If you’ll note, he now resorts to personal attacks when I demonstrate that I understand where his positions lie.

He uses a lot of words thinking that he is clear, which he is but not the way he thinks he is, as his discipline of thought is so Loose and without Coherence he is unable to say anything other than if it isn’t the way he wants it to be, he’s taking his ball and going home.

jaydee_007 on July 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Good interview. Lew was babbling like a fool and Wallace said, “thats not what it said, but we will move on.” Lew reacted like he was slapped, but continued on. Classic. It’s hard to believe the incompetence of this entire administration is so obvious.

volsense on July 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

…doing everything they can to assure a Republican win in the House, Senate and WH?

Flora Duh on July 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the Republicans getting all of the political mileage and advantage they can out of this. I will not challenge any Republican who calls Obama, Pelosi, and the Dems liars. It is now a political issue in the court of public opinion.

However, I am a realist and whether or not Roberts’ opinion is legally binding matters. And it could matter if the GOP tries to repeal Obamcare using reconciliation claiming they can because the Obamacare mandate is a tax.

The Dems could challenge that in the courts and it could end up back in the lap of the Supreme Court.

The Dem strategy is to keep buying time until Obamacare is so firmly entrenched it cannot be removed without great effort. The judicial mess Roberts has created may enable them to buy a lot of time.

Not to mention how the confusion may affect rulings on other non-Obamacare cases.

As Mark Steyn said, let’s not kid ourselves about this. And obviously three very respected right leaning justices and one moderate — Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy — did not agree with Roberts.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I recall the one time I went to the ER (it was an emergency) without insurance.

Within days, I received this thing they called a “bill” and they insisted I pay it, which I did.

Some free ride.

Mr. Grump on July 2, 2012 at 10:24 AM

The left looks down on Americans and simply assumes that people won’t pay their bill. That is how little they think of us.

I find it very strange that they drop the class warfare line that these “free loaders” can afford insurance, but don’t purchase it. Yet when they get medical care without insurance, they somehow can’t afford it? Another circular argument.

The left is truly starting to make my head spin.

weaselyone on July 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Yes, -the persistent myth of the ‘free riders’ upon which Obamacare was shoved down our throats. There are ‘free riders’, but they are only the illegal aliens, twenty-five million strong, and the homeless. They are the only ones that can truly walk out on a hospital bill and never pay. The rest of us end up with big bills that we can’t get out of.

Funny thing is, the illegal aliens are not affected by Obamacare anyway. They will remain ‘free riders’ because nothing is as cheap as ‘free’.

slickwillie2001 on July 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM

There was no such formal legally binding vote.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Agreed, I was using the lay term, “vote”. More accurately, there were 5 justices whose opinions were in agreement that the mandate was unconstitutional as in violation of the Commerce Clause and 4 whose opinions dissented from that view.

TXUS on July 2, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Cross posting from another thread…

Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito wanted to throw out the entire statute

Kataklysmic on July 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

That is the gut wrenching heart breaking part of this mess.

We could not have hoped for more from those four justices.

And Roberts threw at all away.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I get it you guys hate Barry!

tommyhawk on July 2, 2012 at 9:29 AM

No, tommyhawk, it is not Barry we hate, it is what he is doing to this country we love so much. Are we also racist, just because he happens to be half black? Maybe, just maybe, we would hate what any other quasi-socialist, arrogant, narcissistic, lying scumbag of a crooked politician did.

NOMOBO on July 2, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Lew basically tells Wallace that, hey, lawyers make lots of arguments in court, but that doesn’t make them true!

Did this guy just tell us that the presidents lawyer lied to the SC in oral arguments? Quite an admission from the most transparent regime evah!

Kissmygrits on July 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

If we want to change the landscape in DC and finally and irrevocably limit federal power to make our lives miserable its time to amend the Constitutional power to tax.

Speakup on July 2, 2012 at 11:50 AM

It’s quantum legislation; it’s a tax only when it’s constitutionality is questioned, at all other times it’s a penalty. Truly the work of genius.

foreman3 on July 2, 2012 at 11:53 AM

No, better yet. It’s Schrodinger’s mandate!

foreman3 on July 2, 2012 at 11:54 AM

How can any reasonably thinking person vote for this crap.

rjoco1 on July 2, 2012 at 11:57 AM

We’re afraid to call it a tax. Let’s call it “swimming”.

ronsfi on July 2, 2012 at 12:00 PM

I just love the Jedi Mind Trick hand gestures every time Lew is lying out of his ass. “These aren’t the taxes you’re looking for”.

OxyCon on July 2, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Another Democratic nincompoop! Is stupidity a requirement to get a White House position? It appears to be!

Jersey Dan on July 2, 2012 at 12:11 PM

It’s been a long time since this guy practiced law because he is not very good at it.

Why do lawyers have to practice after they pass the bar exam can’t they practice before so they are proficient afterwards ??

KenInIL on July 2, 2012 at 2:05 PM

I find it very strange that they drop the class warfare line that these “free loaders” can afford insurance, but don’t purchase it. Yet when they get medical care without insurance, they somehow can’t afford it? Another circular argument.

weaselyone on July 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM

The Obamatax law is hugely costly for those of us with insurance through our employers or buying it ourselves with the increased required things to cover.

But where it further bankrupts America is that it helps pay, or totally pays, the premiums for people below $50,000 in income. It’s this welfare portion of it, and the administration of state exchanges and review boards, that adds $23 TRILLION to our unfunded liabilities and accelerates our trip to becoming Greece.

PastorJon on July 2, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the Republicans getting all of the political mileage and advantage they can out of this. I will not challenge any Republican who calls Obama, Pelosi, and the Dems liars. It is now a political issue in the court of public opinion.

However, I am a realist and whether or not Roberts’ opinion is legally binding matters. And it could matter if the GOP tries to repeal Obamcare using reconciliation claiming they can because the Obamacare mandate is a tax.

The Dems could challenge that in the courts and it could end up back in the lap of the Supreme Court.

The Dem strategy is to keep buying time until Obamacare is so firmly entrenched it cannot be removed without great effort. The judicial mess Roberts has created may enable them to buy a lot of time.

Not to mention how the confusion may affect rulings on other non-Obamacare cases.

As Mark Steyn said, let’s not kid ourselves about this. And obviously three very respected right leaning justices and one moderate — Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy — did not agree with Roberts.

farsighted on July 2, 2012 at 11:30 AM

It can’t end back up in front of the SC – Roberts already made his decision that it’s a tax.

Legally, 0bamaCare is either dead right now if the Left says it’s not a tax, or it is a tax – Dems have to pick their poison…

Bizarro No. 1 on July 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

This is the same lying shill that said Bush started Fast & Furious and that Holder stopped it when he found out about it.

Bring this liar before congress and let him perjure himself and join the ranks of Scooter Libby.

Robert Jensen on July 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

This is good, but that idiot Eric Fehrnstrom blew it all up today.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/top-romney-advisor-eric-fehrnstrom-romney-does-not-believe-health-care-mandate-is-a-tax/

NealK on July 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Screw you too, Lew.

LizardLips on July 2, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Lew must still believe the world is flat, too.

Now, I anticipate that The One will tell us he will repeal the law of gravity . . . or, more likely, that it will no longer be enforced.

EdmundBurke247 on July 2, 2012 at 3:53 PM

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