June 28, 2012

Taxing Economic Inactivity

I'm unclear on how I can be "taxed" on something I don't buy; something I don't do. I understand how I can be fined or forced to pay a penalty for failing to do something, but it seems to me that "taxation" is a different kind of pocket picking by the state.

If I earn nothing I pay no income tax. If I buy nothing I pay no sales tax. If I own nothing I pay no property tax. If, however, I do nothing I pay an Obamacare "tax" which is not part of the general pool of tax revenue. So is the new deal that I can be taxed simply for being born in America, just for existing as an American, for just standing around breathing? I guess so.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 28, 2012 11:22 AM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

See Lewis Carrol (jabberwocky) and George Orwell (newspeak).

Posted by: BillH at June 28, 2012 11:52 AM

The possibilities are endless. If they can punish for not having health insurance and call it a tax then they can punish for having (or not having) or doing (or not doing) anything and call it a tax. You could be the unibomber living off the land in a tent on unclaimed property, not engaging in any economic activity at all and still rack up a huge tax bill in Justice John Roberts America. I can imagine a team of SWAT officers accompanying some fascist IRS douche up the mountain to your tent so that the new overlords can give you your tax bill for not having insurance and "oh by the way sir you didn't complete your compulsory 120 hours of community service. Sir, I understand that you live in the mountains a hundred miles from civilization with no form of transport other than your feet but it's less than 3 hours a week and it's for the children so don't whine ok? Nobody cares what you want. Oooh, I notice that you don't have any approved newspapers or magazines around your er home sir. I'm afraid I'll have to assess the Educated Voter Tax unless you'd like to sign up for a subsciption to the NYTimes? Language sir, if you don't want the Times just pay the tax then. If you change your mind see Gil,he's the guy hiding behind the IRS Community Relations Officer pointing the M16 at your head, he can sign you up. Also, I notice that your tent, which can be considered a permanent structure since you staked it down, doesn't have government approved Solyndra solar panels nor do you seem to be wearing a Soros brand Helmet windmill as required by the Personal and Home Utilization Conserve and Keep Energy Domestic Act You may know it as the PHUCKED Act. Well ok that just about covers it. You owe the IRS $1.2M. Would you like to write a check for the full amount right now or would you rather go work it off at the Federal Work Farm?"

George W. Bush's legacy continues to be a tragedy for liberty in this country. Thank God he wasn't able to force Miers through, there'd be no Citizens United and the 2nd amendment would be a dead letter by now.

Posted by: Big E at June 28, 2012 12:24 PM

Oh no, not everybody pays the tax. The welfare class is exempted, and, I would assume, the ruling class. As higer GS workers pay no SS and have their own special health insurance now, I don't see them paying the tax. Maybe that is what Obama meant when he said you can keep your insurnace if you like it.

Posted by: james wilson at June 28, 2012 12:41 PM

Oh, how foolish of you to get used to and enjoying that "freedom" stuff. We can take it away anytime we like. Especially if it's for the children.

Posted by: Dan D at June 28, 2012 12:47 PM

This reminds me of Souter and Kelo - ostensibly conservative appointee rules against private property and freedom in a big case. Unfortunately, this can't be undone with state level constitutional amendments like can happen with Kelo; this is national in scope and a national somewhat permanent usurpation of individual rights. The people let the individuals in Congress and the White House come to power where this could be brought upon us. Sad karma is what this is.

Posted by: Guaman at June 28, 2012 1:19 PM

The Court’s ruling today means that it no longer matters who wins in November, because the ramifications of the decision shore up both parties’ will to power at the expense of the people. My short post on why is here.

Today was the day that our freedom ended. The Court's decision rockets light years past Obamkacare itself. It now makes absolutely no difference who prevails in November.

Posted by: Donald Sensing at June 28, 2012 1:26 PM

The GOP has been ignoring the outrageous and highly controversial Wickard v Filburn SCOTUS decision from the FDR days. The GOP voters allowed them to rant anf fume for a short while and then change the subject. W v F ruling said a farmer growing wheat on his land and feeding it to his animals was interstate commerce even though to no commerce was committed and it was contained in one state. Our champions of liberty just ate the crap sandwich and HOPED somebody would do something. HOPE is not a plan and nobody does hard work if they can avoid it.

There should have been riots over this type of stuff a long time ago, but we've simply changed from citizens into very proud about how well we cooperate with the fascist takeover of the government. It's just like the middle class Jews on the train platforms in Germany. They think if they appear presentable and cooperative, follow the rules and mark their luggage with their names and address the Germans will see they are no threat and everything will work out. You bet it works out. It teaches our enemies they can control us with a minimum of threats and intimidation and we will pick up our trash as they ship us to a destination chosen for us.

It is nice people's irrational denial of what they see happening to them that allows the next step of evil to happen. We don't have time for every citizen of Mayberry to hope things are not like the angry people claim and then have it proven to the good citizens of Mayberry indiviually. When you hold onto the hope things won't get worse, you are doing your best to insure things get worse. They use your denial as a weapon against all of us, not just you. Your selfish denial of reality ruins the future for your children and grandchildren. We still haven't proven the commielibs have anything to fear other than losing an election. How log do you think they will allow elections? If you won't fight now you won't be able to fight when you realize it's too late. You don't win a marathon by saving up your energy, you practice and improve.

We still haven't even flashmobbed key people.

Posted by: Scott M at June 28, 2012 1:36 PM

I have found out today that I am a slave. I have suspected it for quite sometime. The Supreme Court made it clear. I work mostly if not solely to support the indolent class. Too bad we are not a violent and rebellious people. Our masters would be afraid to violate us so blatantly if we were.

Posted by: mushroom at June 28, 2012 2:24 PM

The government can take your life, but it cannot take your freedom unless you yield it. See Mr. Jefferson's thoughts on horticulture.

Posted by: JD(not the one with the picture) at June 28, 2012 3:02 PM

Didn't John Roberts just clear that up for you, sir? Why, it's BECAUSE!

Posted by: Velociman at June 28, 2012 3:30 PM

Look, guys, this is easy: just don't pay the tax. Let them do what they will.

This is it. This is our "Patriot Moment", our chance to be martyrs. No need to gear up, shoot a cop, join a militia, or do anything stupid. Just say "no". Just refuse to pay.

There is power in a "no". All the coercion in the world is useless against it.

"Buy health insurance."


"Pay the penalty tax."


"How do you plead?"


"Prisoners, begin work."


"We'll let you see your family. Just sign this."


"Want out of solitary?"


"The needle is ready. Do you have anything to say before the sentence is carried out?"

"Yes: go fuck yourselves."

Posted by: Robert Oculus III at June 28, 2012 3:52 PM

I hear what you're saying, Robert, but now that electronic tax filing is mandatory, you can no longer say "no" to paying taxes and penalties. The IRS will simply deduct it from your bank account.

Posted by: rickl at June 28, 2012 5:55 PM

I am not a socialist. I despise socialism as a theory and the attempts to put it into practice. I believe that socialism is immoral, and that Socialism always fails, because it must always lead into bankruptcy and the dissolution of civil society.

The Constitution of the United States was written by men who were liberals (in the sense of that word in the 19th century, not in the debased 20th century use of that word to mean socialist) the inviolability of private property and the sanctity of contract were absolute axioms to them. Since the ideas behind socialism were present in history and philosophy well known to them, we can safely say that they abominated it.

We are now three generations into socialism and to expect that the Supreme Court would awaken from its dogmatic slumbers and stop the beast now was a vain hope.

Nonetheless John Roberts has secured himself a prominent place in the ninth circle of hell, and the abomination of all true patriots.

Posted by: Fat Man at June 28, 2012 6:24 PM

We're not going to be able to vote our way out of this. That much should be obvious by now.

Posted by: rickl at June 28, 2012 6:38 PM

What the Roberts decision essentially said that the government has the power to tax, and that power to tax extends to behavior. Not merely to actions you take, but also to actions you fail to take (inaction). The government does not have the power to compel you to do something (at point of a bayonet) but it does have the power to require you to do something, and if you fail to do so, to tax you, and if you fail to pay the tax, throw you in prison (at the point of a bayonet). There was no limiting principal applied to this logic, only that it be deemed appropriate by the other two branches of government. Roberts said, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” The power to tax can be used to compel behavior.

In that vein, let me propose a hypothetical and determine if it passes Constitutional muster under the Roberts decision. This bill is meant to address the general welfare issues caused by certain uppity members of the citizenry failure to ‘respect my authoritay!’ of the federal government. The contents of this hypothetical bill is that each citizen shall travel to (interstate commerce!) and present themselves in person upon the Mall in DC, upon their birthday and no later than the time of their birth, where they will be ‘mandated’ to lick the boots of their Representative, either of their Senators, the President, Vice President, or any of their designees. For avoidance of doubt, the boot licking does not require the presence of their esteemed personages or designees; they can merely drop off the footwear of their choice, in any state of cleanliness or soiling, and require citizens to lick them. However, this is not strictly a mandate, as citizens can opt out of their boot licking obligations, and pay a penalty (don’t even have to actually call it a tax!) of $10,000 (or $1mm, or an additional 50% of income).

This act can be referred to as the Universal Boot Licking Obligation in Washington of the United States, also known by its acronym, U BLOW US. While this may be unwise law, would the interpretation of our Constitution by our supreme court protect us from this idiocy by our political class? Per the logic of the Roberts decision, this would pass Constitutional muster. Anyone whose jurisprudence would find that law Constitutional ought to be intimately familiarized with the American political tradition of tar and feathers, if not lamp post decorating, and there are at least 5 candidates.

They can’t only make us eat our broccoli, they can make us lick their boots. On a bright note, the President can choose to enforce or not enforce the law, or issue waivers to anyone he so chooses, such as people who donate sufficiently, or even cry believably enough at his daddy’s funeral.

Posted by: Daedalus Mugged at June 28, 2012 8:18 PM

... such as people who donate sufficiently, or even cry believably enough at his daddy’s funeral ...

That sounds like something Shaka Zulu would do. Obama strikes me as being more like Shaka Khan.

Posted by: mushroom at June 28, 2012 9:47 PM

'shroom, I was going for a more Kim Il Sung reference, but make no mistake, Obama comes off as a clown, but he is performing as a very effective alinskyite. He is permanently seizing the levers of state power for the left and permanently shifting the playing field in a way that makes liberty impossible.

Obamacare is not designed to work, it is designed to destroy the vestiges of a private healthcare market. It is a trojan horse, the insurance companies have the mandate to provide insurance on demand without respect to pre-existing conditions or even personal characteristics. Big downer for the insurance companies. In exchange, they got the 'mandate' that isn't a mandate that everyone buy insurance. The penalty for not buying insrance does not go to the insurance companies, it is a tax that goes into gov't coffers. And the tax will be cheaper than insurance, and will go to gov't, not healthcare industry. The insurance companies didn't get healthy people whose costs are lower than their premiums into the insurance pool, the gov't just got another stream of revenues.

A six hundred pound 3 pack a day smoker can pay the penalty (goes to gov't) through his 20s 30s and 40s, and the day he is diagnosed with lung cancer and diabetes, he can sign up for health insurance at the same cost as everyone else, a huge negative for whoever he chooses to insure him. People think he will get cheap insurance, in fact everyone else will get his insurance premium as this kicks off a vicious cycle of driving up premiums, economically driving more heathy people out of insurance pools into penalty and must issue, driving up premiums. Not a bug, a feature, to those who drafted this as a stepping stone to socialized medicine. This was not designed to work, it was designed to fail in a way that compels a state take over of all of healthcare. Welcome to VA hospital from hell for everyone! (except the politically favored)

Once national elections (assuming the left bothers with them) are about will the government provide more or less healthcare, all of liberty is doomed, even if the government never quite gets around to deciding who gets how much care based on political pull. Do you think your governor waits in line at the DMV? Do you think you will get the same gov'tcare as he does? Or even your local party loyalty coordinator?

Posted by: Daedalus Mugged at June 29, 2012 4:52 AM

Some have expressed amazement about how we can have a tax on "NOT" doing something. I left the following comment over at Belmont awhile ago, but think it should be reiterated here.

But, we DO now have a tax on not doing something.

We have a tax on NOT making charitable contributions.

We have a tax on NOT paying mortgage interest.

We have a tax on NOT having children.

We have a tax for NOT having business expenses.


This (the SCOTUS ruling) just expands the range of things (possibly to infinity)that we may be taxed for not doing.

Posted by: Hangtown Bob at July 1, 2012 1:16 PM

It would have been much better, at this point, if DC had remained a malaria-infested swamp. The mosquitoes were better inhabitants.

Posted by: newton at July 2, 2012 10:20 PM