A couple of days ago I posted that on Monday, the Romney campaign was in agreement with the President that the health care mandate was a penalty and not a tax. I also said: “Of course this opinion can (and probably will) change at any minute, so prepare to shake the Etch-A-Sketch.”
It took an entire 48 hours, as Raw Story reports: “Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday reversed his campaign’s position that mandates to buy health care are a “penalty” and not a “tax,” telling CBS News that “the majority of the [Supreme Court] has said it is a tax, and therefore it is a tax.” “They have spoken,” he said. “There’s no way around that.” Romney’s new position is the exact opposite of what the campaign was saying on Monday.”
Raw Story also helpfully points out one important difference between Romneycare and Obamacare:
“Yet, the Massachusetts law clearly says that the state “shall have all enforcement and collection procedures available under chapter 62C to collect any penalties assessed under this section.” Those procedures, as described by chapter 62C, include seizing violators’ property and directly taking their wages. It becomes even more complicated for Romney due to his continued insistence that President Obama’s health reforms amount to a “government takeover” of the health care industry — but somehow, when Romney did it that wasn’t the case.
“To be clear, President Obama’s health mandate does not empower the IRS to come after citizens, and instead leaves the agency to figure out how much is owed and crib the penalty from violators’ annual tax returns and Social Security payments. This has led to an expansion of the agency’s manpower — I.E. created new jobs — which Republicans have been fuming over since the law was passed. The IRS is also specifically blocked from charging taxpayers interest on penalties accumulated.
“Putting it another way, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman explained to Congress in 2010 that all they can really do is send people a letter letting them know that they’re in violation.
“Romney’s latest turnabout is also problematic for fellow Republicans — many of whom have been wrongly claiming that the IRS will soon be applying liens and levies against violators — because they would now appear to be criticizing Romney’s health plan and not President Obama’s.”