Jack Lew, White House Chief of Staff, declared that the Supreme Court decision upholding ObamaCare should end the national debate about the Constitutionality of the overreaching law.
"It's time now to get over the debate and implement that law," he told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. Lew stated that one of the "great things" about America is that when the Supreme Court rules, the ruling is final.
Despite his enthusiasm for the Supreme Court decision, Lew cherry-picked what he liked about the ruling, as he would not call the individual mandate, the most disputed aspect of ObamaCare, a "tax", as was confirmed by the decision of Justice John Roberts.
The Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare is Constitutional based on the premise that the mandate is a tax. The Chief of Staff, if he is to accept the ruling, needs to accept the entire ruling.
Politico reported on Lew's defiance during CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning, he stated that the mandate penalty is not a tax and the Supreme Court ruling didn't make it so. He further minimized it by saying that only one percent of Americans will have to pay the penalty. It is unclear as to what is a penalty and what is a mandate. If one does not pay the mandate (tax), then one has to pay a penalty, right?
Lew dug himself deeper when he insisted that ObamaCare is clear about the "penalty" and further stated specifically that the Supreme Court did not call this a tax. He is mistaken here or hoping that people are not paying attention, as the Supreme Court did specify that the mandate is a "tax" and on that basis, deemed the law to be Constitutional.
Jack Lew is attempting to gloss over the sticking point, which is that all along, critics of ObamaCare have called the ObamaCare Mandate a tax on the middle class, something the President has repeatedly stated he would not do. It is reminiscent of calling taxes "revenue", a silly word for what it is, more money out of the paychecks of tax-paying citizens for the government.
Here is a part of the exchange with George Stephanopoulos:
LEW: He - He went through the different powers that Congress has and found that there is a power, whatever you call it, to assess a penalty like this.
STEPAHNOPOULOS: He called it a tax.
LEW: (no response)
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're conceding that?
LEW: I'm saying that it was set up as a penalty for people who choose not to buy insurance, even though they can afford it, and for that one percent, we call it fair.
Lew also pointed out that ObamaCare is being used as tool to divide the country.
In 2009, Stephanopoulos had a similar exchange with the president whether or not the mandate was a tax. After a tense discussion about whether the mandate was, in fact, a tax, Stephanopoulos pulled out a dictionary, and President Obama told him it was a "stretch" to try to define the word "tax".
STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.
OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?
OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion.
Watch the exchange here: