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  • Morning Bell: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Tax" Is

    Throughout his presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama promised the American people: “If you’re a family that’s making $250,000 a year or less, you will see no increase in your taxes.” As President, Barack Obama reiterated that pledge, promising the American people in his September 9th health care press conference: “The middle-class will realize greater security, not higher taxes.” But as ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos pointed out to the President this weekend, Obama will break his promise to the American people if he signs a health care bill that includes an individual or employer mandate.

    In an exchange that can only be described as “Clintonesque” Stephanopoulos was forced to read the definition of “tax” straight from Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, but even then Obama refused to acknowledge reality: “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. … Nobody considers that a tax increase.” Really? Nobody?

    Has President Barack Obama met his White House’s National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers who wrote in 1989:

    Essentially, mandated benefits are like public programs financed by benefit taxes… [If] the mandated benefit is worthless to employees, it is just like a tax from the point of view of both employers and employees

    Or what about President Obama HHS nominee Dr. Sherry Glied who wrote in 2008:

    The mandate is in many respects analogous to a tax. It requires people to make payments for something whether they want it or not. One important concern is that the government will provide insufficient funds for the subsidies intended to accompany the mandate. In that case, the mandate will act as a very regressive tax, penalizing uninsured people who genuinely cannot afford to buy coverage.

    Or what about the Congressional Budget Office who wrote this year:

    Under some proposals, firms would be required to make payments to the federal government if they chose not to offer health insurance to their employees, and individuals who did not comply with the requirement to obtain insurance would have to pay a penalty. Such payments would be equivalent to a tax or a fine, and the government’s receipts should be recorded in the budget as federal revenues.

    But one need not consult dictionaries, the CBO, or health care experts to find people that call individual and employer mandates taxes. The very legislation Obama is trying to say is not a tax, calls itself a tax! Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care bill calls the proposed fines an “excise tax”. The House bill calls the same penalties a “tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage.” And the Associate Press reports: “If you put something in the Internal Revenue Code, and you tell the IRS to collect it, I think that’s a tax,” said Clint Stretch, head of the tax policy group for Deloitte, a major accounting firm. “If you don’t pay, the person who’s going to come and get it is going to be from the IRS.”

    Obama’s allies are already retreating. The Washington Post reports: “Senate Finance Committee, Chairman Max Baucus began reworking his health-care overhaul to ease the financial burden on middle-class Americans who would be required for the first time to have health insurance.” The Post continues: “All of his changes, though, would add billions to the cost of a bill whose chief accomplishment was its relative austerity.” Thus all of Baucus’ changes will only help break another Obama promise: “Here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” But don’t worry; Obama may come up with a new definition of “deficits” too.

    Quick Hits:

    • President Obama may change course again in Afghanistan, steering away from the comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy he laid out this spring and toward a narrower focus on counter terror operations.
    • New York City students who win a lottery to enroll in charter schools outperform those who don’t win spots and go on to attend traditional schools, according to new research to be released Tuesday.
    • The number of foreign-born residents of the U.S. declined for the first time since at least 1970, as declines in construction jobs lured fewer immigrants from their home countries, especially those from Mexico, according to the Census Bureau.
    • The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday that he plans a review into whether the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) ever applied for or received grant funds from Justice — and, if so, whether Justice has ever reviewed how such funds were spent.
    • Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    47 Responses to Morning Bell: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Tax" Is

    1. RB, Virginia says:

      I am concerned about the Presidents agenda and the contradiction between the issues of investigating the CIA and totally ignoring ACORN. I saw a clip of his comments on one of the Sunday interviews. He acted as though he barely knew about the ACORN controversy and brushed it aside. How can this be considering his ties to the organization? If he is so worried about corruption and law breaking I would think ACORN would be at the top of his list to investigate.

      Furthermore, the argument that we need to revise healthcare to save money doesn't hold up either in light of his lack of concern over the fraudulent use of tax dollars by ACORN. Is the oversight and accountability of ACORN the oversight we can expect in a government run healthcare?

      I can't believe the double talking and double standards and no one is calling him on it.

    2. Randy, Mississippi says:

      It's like having Daffy Duck as our President, no wait I shouldn't insult Daffy like that!

    3. SAMUEL/GRAT FALLS, V says:

      I read the interview Jimmy Carter had about Congressman Wilson, who called President Obama a lair, which the former President accused him of racism, because he is an African American president and people can accept having a black President.

      First, people like Mr. Carter are promoting the race and the color of skins issues, and divide the country.

      Let me tell you this real story about Mr. Carter:

      I came to this greatest nation on Earth 32 years ago from Iran, however I saw it with my own eyes that, one Monday mid morning, about hundred criminals and tugs attacked the five story building, where 400 Americans worked ,whom lived peacefully and helped under the Government contract, to develop metro and other modern technologies, I witnessed in shock, that these hard working people were forced to leave that building with out their coat, pocket book, briefcases and other belonging, and were kicked literally in street of Tehran for no reasons at all except they were American, and that President (Jimmy Carter)did not take any action, and did not demand an explanation nor an apology from the Government of Iran.

      That accident later set the stage for hostage taking for 444 days, because those criminals knew by then, The President of the most powerful Country in the world did not have the spine and the will to stand up for the people, whom elected him to be their President, not until One of greatest President in our country, whose was Ronald Reagan demanded the hostages release ten minutes after his swearing as new president, and by the time he arrived in the White House for the first time, all of the hostages were on their way home.

      Yes, my fellow American, this is the same man, who let the Iran, one of the closest ally of the country collapsed, and American people were kicked and did nothing, now claims the great American people, who do not want social health care and Obama's spending spree, are color of skin motivated.

      How sad and pathetic a president can be.

      God bless our nation and are brave people.

    4. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      We Must eliminate the career politician If we are going to have TRUE reform. The Only way we can accomplish this is to vote EVERY incumbent up for re-election OUT until we get enough change to have a vote on term limits. This will require the greatest grass rots movement in history, as the machine controls the money, and the media. Start now, Pick someone you trust, talk them into running, and Get Them ELECTED!! make sure your local incumbent bites the dust, and blog like crazy everywhere so that this happens locally everywhere! REMEMBER< all politics are local.

    5. David, Colorado says:

      As a retired IG auditor, let me just say that I have had reports 'set aside' when the content worked against the 'political good of the organization.' Moreover, and if my memory serves, haven't we already seen one IG dismissed this year for allegedly 'going against the political will' of the administration? The problem here is not with the journeyman or senior auditors. The problem is with the IG political appointees who are expected to uphold the standard of objectivity and independence, but who cower instead to the will of their 'greater masters.' I doubt much will come from the IG review of ACORN.

    6. Jerry S. Dickinson, says:

      In the United States of America every person is, by law, provided an education. The fact that twice in my life time, hell, twice in my childrens life time a President is witnessed by the American people having someone read them a definition is disgraceful. I have no words for what it is when that President argues with the definition. I do, however, know the word when said President ignores the definition set forth in the Constitution. Some dare call it Treason.

      The impression drawn from such events illustrates how unfit this man is to be President. He is either unwilling or unable to accept the fact that this nation, a Republic, functions over a well laid foundation of laws, rights and freedoms. His personal belief is of no consequence. Thankfully, that is how the documents were constructed. The founding documents of this nation have the strength in their words and design to withstand this onslaught on impudence. We The People have got to understand our freedoms are not free. We all must agree to disagree and fight by the rules which will serve to sustain this democracy for all, not just the special intersets of the few

    7. PDS, North Carolina says:

      This is the same (In)Justice Department that is trying to ruin the CIA, This is the same (In)Justice Department that dropped charges on armed Black Panther soldiers intimidating voters in the last election. This same (In)Justice Department is going to investigate ACORN. Don't expect any JUSTICE from this Obama agency.

    8. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:


      … "double talking and double standards and no one is calling him on it."


      WHY DON'T YOU?

    9. Peter Elizalde says:

      Obama's behavior is consistent with the personality of a habitual lier (see dictionary for definition). More scary, however, is the fact that he thinks he is slick and subtle in his lying. In fact, his lying is as obvious as a 4 year old trying to lie to a 12 year old. Could this be a measure of his internal thinking process as a whole?

    10. Harry, Illinois says:

      In todays CORRUPT political environment one cannot trust the incumbant and yet the opponent does not exactly have an unblemished record either. I guess we take our chances with the opponent. At least if we stick together, and impose term limits we can vote him/her out come the following election. No more than 2 term limits PERIOD.

      WE THE PEOPLE can enforce this rule without an ammendment to the Constitution.

    11. jim toledo says:

      I think the real catastrophe is that the President and his administration actually believe, we actually believe him. There is nothing in the healthcare bill, as it is written, the Baukus Bill, that does anything positive for the majority of the American people. I think thats the main reason the administration is failing miserablly is because nothing the administration is doing has any real tangible benefit to the majority of the citizens. We're witnessing a disaster in social engineering and the short term effects are going to be tough on everyone. It's the economy stupid and there is nothing in place for either the short or long term to create private sector jobs, so, until the tide goes out, we're going to continue to hear the lies and half truths and we'll watch this administration make mistake after mistake. It's too bad the traditional media is AWOL on all of this. Heritage keep up the good work.

    12. Dean-Texas/Alaska says:

      The FBI needs to track every single dollar given to ACORN. For Obama to say he wasn't aware that acorn was recieving a great amount of taxpayer funds is ludicrus and actionable.

    13. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      A tax is a tax, I do not care what obama and the dems call it, it is still something the tax payer must pay. We all know the government is funded with our money, and the majority of those in office have forgotten that they spend our money. It is time we the people remind them who they work for, we all must vote in 2010 and bring a stop to this BS.

    14. Jeffry watts..Alma,K says:

      Fire them all and start over or refer to Thomas Jeffersons letter about the blood of tyrants.

      My Senators from Kansas: Pat Roberts and Sam " The Sham " Brownback both need to go get a job they can handle…Like at a garbage dump..As long as they go away that's all that matters to me.

      And Both sides of the Aisle are to blame for this because no one stood up and spoke the truth bodly and without reservation or forethought of consequences..Taxation without representation,nobody told US about it..Shouldn't there be some legal ramifications for this.??

    15. Liberty Card, Southe says:

      Whenever a government puts a tax on people or entities because of their behavior (doing or not doing something the government wants) it is tantamount to a fine.

      Would that all taxes designed to alter behavior be called "fines". Maybe then people would see how totalitarian our government really is.


    16. Danny/Fla says:

      Dear Morning Bell: It has only taken 5% of taxes to run this country./ Perhaps if we stop supporting the rest of the-World we Could return to normal. As it is, and has been abused in not moral.Not only should the tax platform be dismantled a diffrent ,and fair tax should be implemented. I would-also add: that the Economy is based on people who work, and pay taxes, and that is within a sane safe ethical program.Those who don't pay taxes should-be taxed a small ammount/ nothing beyound that is required /or should it ever be.Nothing, absoulutely nothing should take the American People -out of the picture.

    17. Marcia...Goodrich, M says:

      My wish is that we the people could remove this President long before his 4 years are up. He is destroying the United States as we currently know it.

    18. Bill San Antonio TX says:

      The best photo shot of the year has to be "The Honorable, Non-Partisian, Speaker of the House" looking so shocked and indignant when a member of the House called out to the POTUS, "you lie".

      With her past and present lack of decorum, her moment of feigned shock was truly – priceless.

      It would be interesting to establish a list of:

      1. How many times has the POTUS misled.

      2. How many times has the POTUS changed his mind?

      3. How many times has the POTUS blamed the Bush administration for "anything"?

      4. How many times has the POTUS labeled Americans as "extremists" for dissenting against his agenda (whatever that is)?

      5. How many times has the POTUS, in fact, lied, thus proving the Honorable House Representative from South Carolina, right?

      Question #5 may take quite awhile to compile.

    19. Ed Fresquez says:

      I think it is clear that President obama doesn't get the term tax'es. It is also clear that some of his czar's also don't know what the word means. They don't pay them so why should they acknowledge the term. We will see what happens to the people should the healthcare reform go through. It will be like "I told you so."

    20. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      The core of the health care debate is not taxes or all the other tangencial issues. The fundamental issue is whether or not health care is a "right." I have in writing a statement form Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) Mi declaring health care to be a "right". Nowhere can I find a legal basis for declaring health care a "right." If it is a "right" then all the legal entanglements become attached – entitlement programs, government interdiction, governemental controls, social agendas, taxation etc. Ethical questions are raised: who is entitled to health care and to what extent? Are all citizens mandated to receive the same level of care or are some citizens "more equal than others?" Declaring health care a "right" will be catastrophic to our country pure and simple.

      The "right to access" health care is entirely another matter.

    21. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      YOU must find someone you know and like, convince them of their duty, get them to run, and get them elected, to replace YOUR local career politician. That is the only way we the people can defeat the machine of corruption that rules us.We must eliminate the career politician who cares nothing of you and your children, except as cash cows, to be used up and executed when no longer producing

    22. jim smith says:

      Nobama will soon amend his "Plan" to include a provision for optional truth telling. It will further contain "language" that clearly states that the definition of "definition" is defined as a definite element within defining parameters without any new taxes, tariffs, levies, penalties or surcharges. You got that?

    23. Lee-White Tanks AZ says:

      This is the second Leader of the Democratic Party who has made an utter fool (the moderator frowns on the word I would like to use here) of himself "deconstructing" a well understood English word.

      Clinton and the word "is"

      Obama and the word "tax"

      Hilarious if it weren't so indicative of monumental arrogance.

      PC is Thought Control


    24. John E. Lansing, MI says:

      And while we are all focused on Government run health care, they are taking over higher education financing. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" The "Wizards of Washington" are moving ahead on multiple fronts. We need to pay attention!

    25. Pingback: ObamaLiar-3 « The View from Southern California

    26. Christopher Popham S says:

      Mr. Kingsbury sir: you folks down there in Texas are

      so smart. I concur with your statements. In fact, that is precisely what I was doing in 2008 as I was a 3rd Party Candidate for President. Indeed, I am a

      very well informed citizen of this country, eager to

      oust the career politicians, incumbents and oligarchs, who have been dragging this great nation down for over 30 years. My website is still posted

      on Google. Maybe I'll run again in 2011.

      Will you join me? http://www.popham08.com

    27. Michael - New York N says:

      Obama's great openess and transparency is his great lack of transparency. The boy – man is way over his head.

    28. Bobbie Jay says:

      I have to laugh as obama seemed immaturely anxious to point out the word "tax" being looked up in the dictionary and calling it "a stretch." A stretch of what, Mr. President? The truth?

      A "tax" is any monetary means imposed by the government on the people. A misrepresentation of the government of America, is using any "tax dollars" under any word government wants to call it, for bias reasons.

    29. Michael - New York N says:

      Bill – San Antonio–

      We should stop using the term POTUS…Obama is more akin to DOTUSS..Dictator Of The United Socialist States…enough said

    30. Lindy- Corvallis, OR says:

      How many more lies do we have to hear?

      He is hurting this country every minute he is office. If this continues, I say we let them no what a tax is by not paying this sham of our government one penny come tax time. Think they will get a clue then, WE are AwAKE and You WORK FOR US.

    31. Gordon Pickard, Long says:

      what are the constititionality implications of the health bill legislation requiring health insurance?

    32. Jerry S. Dickinson, says:

      Do you know how to tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving

    33. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      Mr Smith You need to run for local rep, maybe congress that is where we will take the country, not the top slot that one is for SARA PALIN in 2012

    34. Whicket Williams Kin says:

      We must eliminate the incumbents up for reelection in 2010 if we fail here, your fathers died in vain

    35. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Evidently, according to those such as Obama, we, the people, supposedly can't be trusted with the governing of ourselves (as in "government of the people, by the people, and for the people"), don't know what's best for us, how to take care of ourselves, how to spend and invest money (and thus also create businesses and jobs) right, and don’t even know to vote, and how to vote, except, of course, if and when we let so-called “Progressives”, such as Obama, get into power.

      Plus, evidently according to so-called “Progressives” such as Obama, we don't even know the definitions of words, and how and when to let such as Obama and his Comrades change the definitions of words in whatever way and at whatever time it suits their government elitist and statist power and money-grabbing agenda.

      For example: When will we ever learn that a tax is a tax, same as "six (6) is the same as half-a-dozen", except whenever so-called "Progressives", such as Obama, say it isn't?

      Not only that but evidently when will we, the people, learn that such things also depend upon such as what the (quote) "definition of the word 'is' is", as Bill ("Slick Willie") Clinton already tried, years ago, to tell us?

      So of course we, the people, should let government take control of each and every one of our lives, businesses, and jobs, (including how and when we, our businesses, and our jobs, die), through our healthcare, and even the definition of words, which is an already tried and proven prime "made to order" way for government to take such total control.

      Now as for those who agree that we, the people, should learn such things, and let such power and money-grabbing government elitists and statists as Obama and his Comrades take and have such control, well now evidently they would also fall for buying an acre of swampland on the North Pole (where there is neither swamp nor land but only ice) from Obama and his Comrades, if their so-called “Progressive” leaders would change the definition of ice to swampland…which of course would also make it necessary for them to change the definition of “swamp” and “land” as it suits their so-called “Progressive” government elitist and statist agenda.

    36. Ella QUINN N.C. says:

      Ken Jarvis leave the heritage fountation alone.I really appreiciate them for their updates.

    37. TJD-Libertarian Bunk says:

      The only transparency we have seen from this poor excuse of an executive is that the truth and facts are seldom a part of anything he or any of his toadies utter.

      In fact, it's quite visible to anyone who is willing to see, that they only see government control as the only "fair" solution. It's government that is regularly creating the problems, so how are we to believe more of the same is going to actually make it any better?

      While cutting waste and fraud from Medicare seems to be a recurring remark, if there is so much of it, why have they let it continue for so long; and how can we believe that a new larger, more bloated program is going to be run any differently?

      Simple economic principles should lead to viable solutions to correct many of the issues with health care, yet these simple market based solutions aren't on the table — period! Simply put, the only visible reason is control. If the government controls more aspects of your life, it has more control over you; and this is exactly why they only support a government solution.

    38. mike hutchings texas says:

      this is an effort to crush the dispised middle class between the self proclaimed neo-nobles on top and what the academics refer to as the oppressed masses on the bottom.

      no where in the history of the world has a nation produced so vast a middle income population that spans social structures and rewards based on merit and not status.

      perfect it is not but the time to apologize is over, the time to be afraid is over, this contest has been joined, so let us see about it.

      this did not come about over night and has been decades and beyond that centuries in the making. prosperity is maintained by individual effort and heretofore laws that protected property and income from siezure by the goverment.

      what we have had is a take over of the university culture that has spread to wall street; the left that has spawned an egotistical and theoretically minded class of thinkers spinning tales of global disaster much as sooth sayers and mystics who sat at the kings side and rattled bones and foretold horrific things to come that could be averted if enough cattle and hogs were driven into the temple to satisfy the restless earth beneath the feet of the faithful.

      de-regulation across state lines would be easy and cut costs through competition but that would empower millions in the middle clas to step up and fill the need.

      empower is the key word and that is the last thing the neo-nobles want.

      you are witness to despotism on the rise in our country that offers no excuse for its predation on the constitution and it is up to us to stop it. there is no one else in the world but americans to do the job. power must be returned to the states and something other than vassal status wrung from the high lords of good intentions.

      if domestic oil was developed the same situation would occur, again empowering millions to produce what is needed from the vast resources at hand.

    39. Bruno, Okatie SC says:

      As an avid Joe Wilson supporter, I fully agree and support his "you lie" comment and believe that Obama is nothing more than an outright two-faced, misleading twit and, moreso, a cunning, deceiving marxist schmuck who will do everything in his power to promote his socialist/fascist totalitarian agenda.

    40. Nancy/Mississipppi says:

      When are we going to "get it", and then, do something about it? There is no truth telling in this administration. Obama, Pelosi, on down the line, are not the total problem. We are the problem by not taking our government back under the control of the people. Is it too late? Have we lost our Nation to those who are cheating us out of every ounce of respect we've ever had for ourselves?

      Thanks to Morning Bell for allowing us the privilege of expressing our humble opinions.

    41. Nobama says:

      There is nothing coming out of the POTUS but lies, and deception.

      His agenda? To become the new Castro, or worse.

      What's this? Acorn acting up again? No problem, "I'm like Gibson of ABC News, I didn't know anything about it."

    42. Tim Iowa says:

      The libs in charge always say you need help and we are going to help you, of course it's your vote they want and that's it. To that I say don't you dare try to help me, you take care of this country. What good is going to come out of anything the gov. does if we don't have our country? They have done nothing to help our country, in fact they always weaken us. Joe Wilson- thank you for saying what was on our minds.

    43. paul collins.the vil says:

      We need to fix the mistake we made in the last election in 2010.The president needs to be impeached, but it will never happen with the present congress.We must elect represtatives in 2010 who will accomplish it.To get my vote in the next election a candidate must do the following:

      1. Stop this movement toward socialism.

      2. Act for the good of our country and not for the benefit of the crooks in our government and the UN.Gobalization is causing us to become a third world country. We are lowing our standard of living while raising those who hate us.

      3. Deport all illegals to open up jobs for our citizens and cut off benefits to those who hire them.Stop giving automatic citizenship to children born to non citizens.

      4.Stop allowing people who become citizens to have duel citizenship.If the want to becme americans they must give up their other country.

      5.All official documents must be in english,particulary ballots.

      Legal decisions based on american law, not foreign law as some judges are suggesting.

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