What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Nov. 7 2009 - 12:16 am | 45 views | 1 recommendation | 13 comments

House GOP helpfully points out that tax evaders go to jail in America

Because they have so much trouble getting their message out to the world, the top of the Drudge Report is publishing some Republican talking points about health care reform plucked straight from the tree for you to choke down without even rinsing them off first. Here they are:

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

via House Committee on Ways & Means – Republican.

Boy, reading garbage like this makes me want to start a new feature called STFU Saturday.

This is a great example of demagoguery in the health care reform debate. The point of this dumb press release is to suggest that the ultimate goal of the Democratic health care proposals is to incarcerate good Americans.

Actually, the plan here is to make sure that more Americans get health care coverage. The jailing part of it is already built into our code of laws. As a society, we’ve already agreed that tax cheats, i.e. people who don’t pay their taxes, pay fines and in some instances go to jail.

Now there’s room for discussion here. Should we have an insurance mandate? Should that mandate be enforced by levying a tax against those who refuse to abide by it? That’s a useful debate that we’re not having here. Rep. Camp’s ready-for-Rush quote jumps from not buying health insurance to going to jail. It takes a lot of command and control over one’s ability to suspend disbelief, and gag reflex, to not debate the mandate and tax part of it.

But if majorities in the House and Senate levy a tax, the President signs it, and the Courts do not overturn it, and you refuse to pay it, repeatedly, you go to jail.

If the Republicans are actually arguing that tax cheats don’t deserve to go to jail, I think we have another problem.


2 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 13 Total Comments
Post your comment »
  1. collapse expand

    I also love how they fail to mention that the majority of taxes go to support a military that many people not only disagree with, but in some cases have religious convictions against supporting. Some of those people do decide to follow their conscience instead of the law, and accept the jail time that results. I’m not sure I agree with them, but I can’t help but respect them.

  2. collapse expand

    You should actually consult the bill before making rash claims about the Republican claims.

    As a Progressive Capitalist, I suggest you google,”Does Affordable Health Care for America Act raise taxes?”

  3. collapse expand

    Tax cheats don’t go to jail – they end up in the cabinet!!

  4. collapse expand

    My hesitation is this. Why cant I choose to self insure? Its my risk. Why not just toughen the laws against folks who without insurance do not pay their bills? I choose to eat right, am healthy, exercise. Currently my premiums are subsidizng those folks out there who eat horrible, do not take care of their bodies then have some chronic condition.
    Or how about having health insurance only cover the really nasty stuff. for example, car insurance. I have to have it only to protect the other car, not mine though. We dont have car maintenance insurance because those people would go out of business. Does this make sense or am I over thinking this?

    • collapse expand

      That’s a fair objection, and grounds for debate. I think that President Obama staked out a good position on the campaign trail – that people with children should be mandated to cover their children, and that very few people don’t want insurance.

      But if a broader mandate passes, and taxes to enforce it are found constitutional, and you refuse to pay, you’re a tax evader just like if you refused to file for the rest of your income tax.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      All that passage proves is that Geithner ultimately settled up on the taxes he owed, even if he failed to do it in 2006 when he went to the NY Fed. So he’s not a tax evader. He paid the feds for the taxes he owed.

      I worked at the UN for a time. Whatever paper work they give you, properly settling up on the self-employment tax that you owe because your income is tax free remains confusing. I’m very good at filing my own taxes and I almost got it wrong before a helpful UN tax unit staffer pointed out that I screwed up. The United States remains one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t have tax agreements with the UN, IMF, World Bank, and other major international organizations. If our government would get over its pig-headed obsession with the minutiae of sovereignty, Tim Geithner would have had tax deducted from his paycheck like every other foreign national who works for the IMF in America. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars in owed tax over a number of years here, not a willful effort to offshore your income so you can keep as much of it as you can.

      I know it’s easy for the Obama Deranged to score cheap political points by saying things like “Geithner is a tax cheat.” But if his eventual settlement of his tax burden from his years at the IMF is the best you can do to prove that Obama’s cabinet members are ‘tax cheats,’ it proves how pathetically desperate you are to allege corruption against our nation’s current Treasury Secretary.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        If you read it, you’d see that Geithner paid up his taxes – Once the vetting for the Cabinet post started – so perhaps that’s when we all have to pay up… not until it may embarrass us. He clearly knew of the error, having been made to rectify it at another time- yet, under no “legal” obligation to pay, he chose not to – until his Treasury post was at stake.

        Did he pay? sure – is he a tax cheat still? yep. A man who no longer cheats on his spouse after being caught and being threatened with losing his wife still cheated on his wife. Rectifying it doesn’t erase it.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          You can’t even get your narrow mind around my point about how the complicated interface of US and international organization tax rules creates problems for people like Tim Geithner and his accountants (and me!). It’s not like he failed to disclose income or hid money in offshore accounts. That’s cheating on your taxes. Thousands of Americans routinely make mistakes on their taxes that the IRS doesn’t catch for years. Does that make all of them tax evaders?

          Anyways, we both know that you don’t really care about this. After all, I bet you weren’t outraged when Bush nominated to head the NY Fed. I bet you didn’t even notice. You’re only bringing this up now in a pathetically desperate attempt to prove that Obama is corrupt.

          But Obama Derangement Syndrome *can* be treated. Just back away from the Glenn Beck, and contemplate that not all Americans agree about the best way to deal with the problems in our country, and that the ones who propose solutions you don’t agree with don’t want to destroy America.

          And at the end of the day, if Obamacare passes with a mandate, only Americans who refused to get health insurance and refuse to pay the tax penalty they face because of it will go to jail. That’s what happens to people who, unlike Tim Geithner, refuse to pay their taxes.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            I do get that it’s complicated – many, many friends and relatives have been expatriots and have had to deal with confusing tax issues. My point was that Geithner’s error was pointed out to him in 2006, and he chose not to repay any more than was absolutely required – meaning he deliberately skipped correcting his 2001 and 2002 returns – with full knowledge of the error. Is that refusing to pay taxes? I guess that’s splitting hairs.

            You are wrong about my previous stands – I despise much of what GW stood for and did – I think I may have actually had a retching episode when Linda Chavez was nominted to head Labor – after cheating labor laws by hiring an illegal.

            But because previous administrations worked under a system that had one set of rules for them and another for the citizens doesn’t make it acceptable. We elected Obama because we expected more from him.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
Log in for notification options
Comments RSS

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment

Log in with your True/Slant account.

Previously logged in with Facebook?

Create an account to join True/Slant now.

Facebook users:
Create T/S account with Facebook

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    I'm waiting for the day when I can get the news directly into my brain. Until then, I'll be lit up by the electric glow of screens, chasing the latest breaking like the hopeless news junkie I am. Ever since the Encyclopaedia Britannica tried to launch a web portal ten years ago, I've seen many ends of the online news spectrum, from my time as a political news reporter for both RawStory.com and the Huffington Post to the better part of a year I spent running the late New York Sun's website. There have been a lot of other stops in between. Now I am your homepage editorial overlord. But I haven't let it go to my head. Yet.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 336
    Contributor Since: November 2008
    Location:True/Slant's Mountain Lair

    What I'm Up To

    • The Morningside Post

      I’m a founding editor of The Morningside Post, the community blog for Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs


    • 2960885091_89af285ac5_moff off wall street

      where I go to write

      things too impolite

      for work

    • +O
    • +O