Mitt Romney camp: Barack Obama’s right — it’s not a tax

Months ago, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich spoke of health care reform as an issue that had compromised Republican Mitt Romney as much as it had President Barack Obama.

Both may be muttering an “I told you so” or two today. Via the McClatchy/Tribune wire service:

WASHINGTON — There’s a conspicuous holdout in Republican Party messaging that President Barack Obama’s landmark overhaul of the nation’s health care system represents a tax increase on middle-class Americans: the party’s presumptive nominee for president.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Mitt Romney campaign adviser, said in an interview Monday that Romney agrees with Obama that the mechanism to enforce the so-called mandate that Americans have insurance — a provision modeled after the Massachusetts law Romney had signed as governor — was a penalty and not a tax, a statement that runs counter to what the rest of the GOP has argued in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling last Thursday.

“He disagreed with the ruling. He disagreed with the findings of the ruling. He disagreed with the logic that supported those findings. He said that he agreed with the dissent, which was written by Justice Scalia, and the dissent clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax,” Fehrnstrom said on MSNBC’s”Daily Rundown.”

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Other Republicans were reading from a different set of talking points. Faced with the court’s somewhat surprising 5-4 decision to uphold the law, top GOP figures found a silver lining in Chief Justice John Roberts basing his majority opinion on the view that the law was constitutional based on the federal government’s taxing authority.

“The American people … do not want the government telling them what kind of insurance policy they have to buy, and how much they have to pay for it, and if you don’t like it, we’re going to tax you,” House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“(The court) was more honest than he was, and said Obamacare is a huge tax increase on middle-class families across America,” Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said on a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee on Friday.

“In 2008, Candidate Obama promised middle-class American families that they wouldn’t see their taxes go up under his administration, yet his signature legislation did just that,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Fehrnstrom, seeming to understand the awkward position the Romney campaign is in, parsed his words carefully. He criticized Obama for “celebrating” the majority opinion while he and members of his administration still dispute that the penalty for not having insurance is a tax. Romney, by contrast, has “consistently described the mandate as a penalty.”

He also argued that the law “raises a series of taxes” elsewhere, “including on our medical device companies.”

But to the main Republican argument on whether the mandate was enforced by a tax or a penalty, Fehrnstrom sided with the president and against the GOP.

“The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty, and he disagrees with the court’s ruling that the mandate was a tax,” Fehrnstrom said.

Asked host Chuck Todd: “But he agrees with the president, and he believes that you shouldn’t call the tax penalty a tax? You should call it a penalty or a fee or a fine?”

“That’s correct,” Fehrnstrom answered. “But the president also needs to be held accountable for his hypocritical and contradictory statements, because he’s described it variously as a penalty and as a tax.”

The exchange shows how Republicans may diverge on health care messaging going forward. Congressional Republicans hope to use the tax issue to make a case against incumbent Democrats, particularly in the Senate, where the GOP is just a handful of seats away from taking majority control.

When asked on “Fox News Sunday” if the Romney mandate might also be a tax if Obama’s was, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, answered: “I think Gov. Romney will have to speak for himself on what was done in Massachusetts.”

Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg offered this comment to explain the Romney campaign’s argument: “The Supreme Court left President Obama with two choices: the federal individual mandate in Obamacare is either a constitutional tax or an unconstitutional penalty. Governor Romney thinks it is an unconstitutional penalty. What is President Obama’s position: Is his federal mandate unconstitutional or is it a tax?”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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77 comments Add your comment

jd

July 2nd, 2012
2:11 pm

I read the decision — can’t find anyplace where the Sup. Ct., offered Pres. Obama the freedom to choose “tax” or “unconstitutional penalty” — in fact, did not even see a reference to the penalty being unconstitutional.

Marmaduke

July 2nd, 2012
2:12 pm

If you have insurance currently- no penalty. Pubs trying to spin the ‘largest tax increase’ will end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Real American

July 2nd, 2012
2:19 pm

Eric Ferhnstrom has an interesting way of being a surrogate for Williard Romney.

Centrist

July 2nd, 2012
2:24 pm

The AJC and other liberal outlets and Democrats attempting to split hairs here. It was the swing vote from Roberts and his stance that it is a tax which Congress is authorized to impose. Roberts said it was not a Commerce issue. Even liberal Stepanopolous on his ABC talk show pointed this out yesterday.

It won’t matter whether liberals argue that it isn’t a tax, or a penalty – which the IRS will collect. We have had this same argument calling taxes “revenue enhancements”. Voters don’t care what politicians prefer to term it. Those who are healthy and don’t care to buy health insurance to subsidize the unhealthy are not going to be happy with either a tax or penalty collected from the IRS. Many will ignore it, and get away with it since only half of the electorate pay taxes or need to file tax returns. The underground economy is untaxed and will continue to grow – and much of those there will not be buying health insurance. They will continue to use taxpayer and health insured subsidies for their “free” healthcare.

Tjune

July 2nd, 2012
2:28 pm

From a legal standpoint, the mandate is probably an unconstitutional penalty vis a vis the federal government rather than a constitutional tax. Even the federal government did not seriously argue to the Supreme Court that it was a tax. Obama said it was not a tax. However, from a political standpoint, I think the Democrats have no choice but to accept that it is a tax. Otherwise, they have to admit that the mandate is unconstitutional. To me, if the choice is between having a valid taxing statute or an unconstitutional penalty, the choice has got to be the former. It’s a tax.

I find it interesting that the media has not pointed out that from a constitutional standpoint, Romney is actually not required to call the Massachusetts mandate a tax to ensure that it is constitutional. The Massachusetts mandate would be clearly within state constitutional jurisdiction without the need to call it a tax. The only reason why the Supreme Court had to call the Federal mandate a tax is because this was the only way to say it was within the jurisdiction of the federal government (since the Court rejected that it fell within the interstate commerce power or other areas of federal jurisdiction). At the end of the day, however, both mandates have the same effect so I’m not sure how useful it would be for Romney to focus on the difference between federal and state constitutional jurisdiction. The media should definitely educate Amercans to the difference though. This is an ideal teaching moment to educate Americans on the division of powers in their constitution.

David Granger

July 2nd, 2012
2:30 pm

According to Justice Robert’s majority decision, the ACA IS a tax…because if it’s not, it would no be constitutional. I happen to disagree with him. Seems silly to me that the federal government cannot force you to buy a product in the private commercial marketplace or else have to pay a fine, but they CAN force you to buy a product in the private commercial marketplace or else have to pay a tax. But that is exactly the way Justice Roberts ruled.
It means the mandate is legal. And it also means it’s legal under the government’s authority to tax, which submits it to certain challenges based on that declaration.

Kirs

July 2nd, 2012
2:30 pm

If a the President Obama says it is not a tax than its not a tax.

The flip was a tax and Today not a tax.

If smity says it is not a tax…Well For the moment its not a tax. When FORMER Governor Romney thinks it is an unconstitutional penalty.

TBA …we will have to wait what newt has to say.

Over the years My insurance has always gone up and the benefits have always declined.

Probably the biggest reason for this is health care providers pad the price for those who have insurance to offset those who do not.. Insurance costs will probably rise but as more and mors get insurance one way or the other, the price will not rise as much..

Gripe if you may…I think its a good thing on so many levels. Put your self in this position.

Its 12midnight on a Friday night..you have a heart attack some one drives you to the hospital….you wait as the ER staff processes those in front of you are there for a sinus infection or the baby is running a fever…If they had health care they would not be there for simple things.Think about it before you write me off a cook. Give it time, if at all possible before nay saying understand how it works not just because some DAMNED GOP person said it was bad…

Apply head on…VOTE NO on tspLOST

Jesus Christ crushes perverted NWO, DBMs

July 2nd, 2012
2:40 pm

I must admit that people in our organization are not like integrationist African Americans and others. If we can’t pay for a service or earn it, we don’t want it be it a tax, penalty, etc.

I don’t know about you but it takes something from us as individuals if we discover that women decided to date us due to pity. We say to those women etc keep your date and your stuff too. If we live, we live. And if we die, we die.

That’s an example of the authentically positive attitude that African Americans and others enjoyed prior to mandatory integration, 1970 in the south.

Amen?

honested

July 2nd, 2012
2:43 pm

Only in GA would so much ink be devoted to the evils of a ‘TAX’ (as if taxation was an evil thing).

So much for the potato-tomato argument, let’s move on to Federally Sponsored Single Payer!

meno

July 2nd, 2012
2:45 pm

Those who are healthy and don’t care to buy health insurance to subsidize the unhealthy are not going to be happy with either a tax or penalty collected from the IRS. Many will ignore it, and get away with it since only half of the electorate pay taxes or need to file tax returns

Of course, the healthy never know when they may be needing insurance and more than half the electorate pay taxes when you consider things like payroll and sales.

Jesus Christ crushes perverted NWO, DBMs

July 2nd, 2012
2:54 pm

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education was right. Integrationist African Americans and others of that ilk have been deliberately dumbed down.

Here is the deal. They believe the very same corporate entities that have literally poisoned their minds, food, water, etc which have made them sick, are expected to provide a free or affordable health care service that will make them well.

Amen?

johnq

July 2nd, 2012
2:55 pm

Bull it is a tax, and it is a precedent. All the government needs to do now is say you must buy a Chevrolet, a ford, or the products you buy must be union made or you must buy a Glock 9mm and if you don’t you must pay a taaaaxxxx on it forget about it man the court just destroyed half the constitution and your freedom to choose….

Stop....Just Stop

July 2nd, 2012
3:02 pm

“Those who are healthy and don’t care to buy health insurance to subsidize the unhealthy ”

I understand your argument here but if you look at the system currently in place we are continually subsidizing the unhealthy when they are forced to use the ER as a primary care physician. I’m not referring to the users of medicaid, but the members of the middle to lower middle class who make too much to qualify for medicaid but not enough to afford their own coverage. This is particularly true of the self employed or people who work for companies too small to be required to provide coverage.

The cost of treatment of these people is currently passed on to the rest of us in the form of increased deductibles, higher co-pays and higher out of pocket costs. Bottom line, we pay now whether we like it or not. Under the ACA the people who are costing us in the areas above are going to bear at least part of the burden we pay now so we force them to have some skin in the game.

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
3:06 pm

Roberts did not say it was a tax, no matter how the cons want to spin it that. He said the mandate can be imposed under the same authority as the authority to tax. Here is an example of how the hairs split:

Almost every statute defines the punishment via some wording such as this: “violators shall be subject to a fine of $$$.and a prison term of no less than xxx days/years etc. Yet judges sentence offenders everyday to do community service under the same authority they have to render jail time and/or fines. The particular law does not have to state the judge has this authority, it is within the judge’s purview. By the same token Roberts ruled that the feds can impose this mandate, not as a tax per se, but by the same authority they have to impose a tax.

Stop....Just Stop

July 2nd, 2012
3:06 pm

johnq,

You have a gift for hyperbole. I understand your disagreement with the decision but nothing about it “destroyed half the constitution.” That’s just silly.

Centrist

July 2nd, 2012
3:13 pm

Tjune posted “Romney is actually not required to call the Massachusetts mandate a tax to ensure that it is constitutional.

States are allowed to force mandates – the federal government isn’t. Romneycare in Massachusetts was never in danger – only confused liberals or partisans trying to muddy the issue put that bogus information out. Judge Roberts found it to be a tax and not a an un-Constitutional Commerce mandate. The other judges supporting the tax/mandate/penalty simply don’t follow the Constitution – it is a living document to be ignored when politically convenient.

meno posted “Of course, the healthy never know when they may be needing insurance and more than half the electorate pay taxes when you consider things like payroll and sales.”

Now when the healthy without health insurance get sick, they will go to the Emegency Room and get the same care health insurance get. They will be billed and most will not pay. At that point, some may buy health insurance without a penalty for a pre-existing condition.

Payroll taxes are not paid by those in the underground economy who don’t report their income. They can still collect myriads of government transfer payments (food stamps, welfare, housing assistance, tax credits (checks often called reverse income tax), WIC, etc. Sales taxes are mostly State income on top of income taxes. Liberals pretend that the very small portion of state sales taxes caught from the underground economy of scofflaws while collecting transfer payments is O.K.

southpaw

July 2nd, 2012
3:24 pm

Auntie Christ @3:06
If the mandate isn’t a tax, then what does the authority to tax have to do with anything? The government would need something other than the authority to tax, in that event. And don’t even THINK of trying to use the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause. The decision specifically rejected both of those ideas.

just sayin'

July 2nd, 2012
3:24 pm

Any way you look at it (semantically), we are screwed.

Mandingo

July 2nd, 2012
3:36 pm

John Boehner has been in Congress over 20 years . When he retires he will have a nice pension. The man has no morals. He knows the mandate is legal and the government can tell you to buy some just like they can start WWIII, bring back the draft and tell you when to report for basic traning.

td

July 2nd, 2012
3:43 pm

Obamacare is the largest regressive tax ever placed on the American people. Since the Federal government is mandating that individuals MUST purchase healthcare or pay a special tax that the government will provide the person with healthcare then the actual cost to the people that purchase the healthcare must also be considered a TAX paid by the individual. Now let us look at what happens:

“The median U.S. family income is about $50,000. Family health coverage can easily run $20,000 a year — and rising quickly. In that scenario, the coverage mandate is essentially a 40 percent tax on that family, which is now required by law to ensure that every family member has qualifying coverage.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillmatthews/2012/06/29/is-obamacare-the-largest-tax-increase-in-u-s-history/

meno

July 2nd, 2012
3:55 pm

Centrist,

Your original post said that half the electorate does not pay taxes. Nothing you’ve stated actually supports that conclusion. Are you actually saying most people exist in the underground economy? BTW if the healthy don’t pay for emergency room care when they need it, how is that not like a tax on the rest of us?. I’m sorry if the liberal respect for good reasoning is such a problem for you.

DannyX

July 2nd, 2012
3:58 pm

Tax, mandate, Georgia Power surcharge, no matter how you define it the reaction from the Republicans made it seem like Obama’s support would immediately drop 30% in his race against Romneycare.

Ooops…Obama gained slightly in the Gallup tracking poll. Obama now leads by 5% according to today’s Gallup poll, 48%-43%. +2% from the day before the Supreme Court decision.

At least Republicans still have $5 gas prices…Oops again.

joe

July 2nd, 2012
3:58 pm

Obozocare must be defeated. Think for one minute about this. Canada has socialized medicine for 30 million people, and they have to wait several months to even see a doctor. We in the USA have 300+ million. How the heck is our system supposed to provide for that many more people who don’t or won’t pay for their own insurance? Not to mention the thousands of doctors who will retire or leave the profession if this isn’t repealed. This has disaster written all over it. Remember the income tax was supposed to be a temporary 5-10% tax to help fund recovery after the depression in 1929, and was only kept on going due to WWII…but yet, here we are today still paying for it. Never in the history of our country as a temporary tax been discontinued. Even locally, look at the GA400 toll. That road has been paid for and then some, but the gov’t keeps the “tax” or “toll” right on going. We are suckers!!

Cutty

July 2nd, 2012
4:05 pm

Joe- Have you ever made a doctor’s appointment, showed up on time and still have to wait two hours to be seen?

Yeah, me neither.

Will The Real Myth Romney Please Stand Up

July 2nd, 2012
4:05 pm

The Republican message machine is trying hard to accuse President Obama of increasing taxes on middle-class Americans.

But the party is doing so without the help of Mitt Romney, whose own health plan in Massachusetts contained an almost identical mandate.

Will The Real Myth Romney Please Stand Up

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:10 pm

southpaw says: don’t even THINK of trying to use the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Not to worry southpaw, because unlike you, I actually read Justice Roberts’ opinion.

From the ruling: “…..the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power. It is therefore necessary to turn to the Government’s alternative argument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congress’s power to “lay and collect Taxes.”

Does that answer your question, ” then what does the authority to tax have to do with anything?” This is saying that just as congress has the power (or authority as I said) to tax, they have the power to penalize, just as a judge in my analogy has the power to put you in jail, they have the power to order you to community service. Penalty v Tax is a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless, according to a better legal scholar than you or I are.

Further under para 4(a): “The Affordable Care Act describes the “[s]hared responsibility payment” as a “penalty,” not a “tax.” That label is fatal to the application of the Anti-Injunction Act.”
Roberts is stating here that since it is not covered by the Anti-Injunction Act, which is a mechanism for legal redress of tax issues, it is not a tax.

Centrist

July 2nd, 2012
4:13 pm

@ meno – Here is what I posted and obviously referring to income taxes: “since only half of the electorate pay taxes or need to file tax returns.” Do you deny that fact?

Little changes under the Obamacare mandate/tax/penalty – few people are going to buy health insurance because of it, and won’t get caught because so many are in the underground economy They will continue to “tax the rest of us” by using healthcare and not paying for it or insurance. Only folks who get huge government subsidies for healthcare insurance will bother to purchase it (and many of them will flood the system for sniffles since there is less stigma and little/no copay).

Bottom line – do you think healthcare costs and insurance premiums will go down, stabilize, or go up under Obamacare? If, like the vast majority of folks who think it both will go up – do you think at the same pace, or even faster? Many voters will make their decisions on Obama and the sole partisan Democrats who rammed this scheme down our throats. Obviously, you are not one of them.

Marlboro Man

July 2nd, 2012
4:23 pm

What it is is a law.

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:26 pm

Joe says: Remember the income tax was supposed to be a temporary 5-10% tax to help fund recovery after the depression in 1929,

News Flash Joe, In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax permanent. Do the math, 1913 came before 1929.

Further, Joe says: ” We in the USA have 300+ million. How the heck is our system supposed to provide for that many more people who don’t or won’t pay for their own insurance? ”
Oh, maybe because we have more doctors and nurses than Canada? Besides whether they have insurance or not, they do and will seek care, so your question is a non sequitor. And that is the problem the HC act is addressing.

And congrats on your ability to parrot all the memes of the right about Canada’s terrible HC system. Thing is, Canadians never complain about Canada’s system, American right wingers though are always complaining about it.

DannyX

July 2nd, 2012
4:29 pm

“…Democrats who rammed this scheme down our throats.”

That sounds serious “Centrist,” I hope you have insurance, you should get that looked at.

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:45 pm

Centrist just keeps harping on the fact that people like a hotel maid are “not paying any taxes,” conveniently forgetting of course they are paying FICA tax, sales tax, and various other regressive taxes, while he blithely ignores those ‘people’ named Intel, Exxon-Mobil, GE, who also don’t pay any taxes, and like the hotel maid, get government subsidies. Difference is while the hotel maid gets an EIC of a $1,000, the big guys get subsidies in the 1,000’s of $1,000. Somehow the hotel maid is contributing to the deficit, but GE, Intel etc aren’t. Go figure.

Kris

July 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

@ Marlboro Man

“What it is is a law”.

Agreed its a law …You speed you get a fine. What ever you want to call it like a fine it is a incentive to obey the speed LAWS and to obey the Affordable Care Act.

Its that simple. Just saying

Vote NO on t–lost

td

July 2nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:26 pm

Joe says: Remember the income tax was supposed to be a temporary 5-10% tax to help fund recovery after the depression in 1929,

News Flash Joe, In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax permanent. Do the math, 1913 came before 1929.

Do you think it might have been possible for there to have been several depressions in this country prior to 1929? A nice economic history coarse would rapidly increase the knowledge base.

td

July 2nd, 2012
4:58 pm

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:45 pm

Centrist just keeps harping on the fact that people like a hotel maid are “not paying any taxes,” conveniently forgetting of course they are paying FICA tax, sales tax,

FICA is not a tax it is an insurance policy. Sales tax is for state and local use only the Feds do not receive any of that money.

Again a nice class on economics would be very beneficial to your maturation process.

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:01 pm

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
4:45 pm

Answer this questions. If the Federal government mandates that you purchase a product or you will and a penalty/tax for not purchasing then if you purchase the said product would it not be considered a tax?

Centrist

July 2nd, 2012
5:01 pm

td – thanks for the explanation to the partisan Auntie Christ, whom I ignore along with other partisans.

Changing this now stale subject:

July 2, 2012, Roswell, GA – Today, the Transportation Leadership Coalition (TLC) took the first formal step towards litigation challenging Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for adding promotional language to the official state ballot in order to promote passage of T-SPLOST. On behalf of TLC a formal inquiry from attorney, Atlanta attorney Pitts Carr directs Secretary of State Brian Kemp to cite the legal authority for adding the language “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”

“Secretary of State Kemp concluded that the preamble “is referenced in the original legislation”. Nowhere does that language appear in O.C.G.A. 48-8-240 et seq. To the contrary, the ballot language was specifically directed by the legislature as noted above. “Mr. Russo [general counsel for Secretary of State Kemp] at least appeared to be of the opinion that this was a constitutional amendment which, of course, it is not. He concluded without citation “all other questions placed on the ballot include a preamble”.

“Whether you are for or against the proposed tax increase, we can all agree the ballot is sacred and neither the Secretary of State nor anyone else should be able to turn our ballot into political propaganda.” The chaotic and contradictory statements made by Kemp and his office are characteristic of someone getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar, or in this case in the taxpayers’ pocket. I understand why Kemp is running around like a chicken with his head cut off. There is a real possibility that the secretary of state could be held personally liable for the cost of reprinting the ballot.”said Jack Staver, TLC chairman.

meno

July 2nd, 2012
5:19 pm

Centrist,

Please answer the question. Are you saying most people are in the underground economy? Also, if like you and md content, sales taxes and fica don’t count maybe we should just do away local and state governments altogether–I could just imagine how popular that would be with you cons. Finally, I’m not seeing anything to indicate that there will be a great outcry at the polls about this in November, but I guess living in an alternate reality (like cons do) enables one to see all sorts of strange things.

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:25 pm

meno

July 2nd, 2012
5:19 pm

“Finally, I’m not seeing anything to indicate that there will be a great outcry at the polls about this in November,”

Why was there such a great turn around in the members of Congress and in state houses in 2010? Do you think it had anything to do with Obamacare?

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
5:28 pm

s td Joe stated specifically the depression of 1929, that is what was addressed by me. A basic reading course would help you understand that. Incidentally the first income tax was imposed during the Civil War.

So FICA is insurance, not a tax, but Obama’s Health Care Plan is a tax but not insurance. A dictionary defining hypocrisy would go a long way to helping you understand complex issues, if any one around you can read it to you.

And finally, why don’t you and the other cons on here read the @@!$&$ ruling. It is way over your pointy little heads, but it is written by a legal scholar. It says it is not a tax. I will take his word over yours.

gooberville

July 2nd, 2012
5:29 pm

Y’all understand the largest tax increase ever was by Reagan, right? Remember him?

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:38 pm

Auntie Christ

July 2nd, 2012
5:28 pm

Here is the plain english:

“C
HIEF
J
USTICE
R
OBERTS
concluded in Part IIIB that the individ-ual mandate must be construed as imposing a tax on those who donot have health insurance, if such a construction is reasonable.The most straightforward reading of the individual mandate is thatit commands individuals to purchase insurance. But, for the reasonsexplained, the Commerce Clause does not give Congress that power.It is therefore necessary to turn to the Governments alternative ar-gument: that the mandate may be upheld as within Congresss powerto lay and collect Taxes. Art. I, §8, cl. 1. ”

If it is not a tax then it is unconstitutional. Does not get any plainer then the actual words.

hiram

July 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

@Auntie

The Tea Party’s contribution to government?

“Members Of Congress Speak Like High School Sophomores, Sunlight Foundation Report Says”

“The sophistication of federal lawmakers’ speech patterns is on the decline, with members of Congress now talking, on average, at the level of high school sophomores. According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation, Congress has fallen by almost a full grade-level since 2005.

The members speaking at the lowest grade levels tend to be freshmen Republicans.

As NPR noted on Monday, “Of the 10 members speaking at the lowest grade level, all but two are freshmen, and every one is a Republican.” That measurement is for all speeches since 1996.

“Particularly among the newest members of Congress, as you move out from the center and toward either end of the political spectrum, the grade level goes down, and that pattern is particularly pronounced on the right,” said Lee Drutman, a political scientist at Sunlight.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) clocks in at the lowest grade-level: 7.9 in this Congress.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/members-of-congress-speak_n_1532666.html

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:43 pm

gooberville

July 2nd, 2012
5:29 pm

Y’all understand the largest tax increase ever was by Reagan, right? Remember him?

Wrong!!!! One must conclude that the cost of individuals to purchase insurance is a tax levied on the person (not just the tax they have to pay for not purchasing). When you think about the cost of insurance that these people are going to pay for individual coverage in these exchanges then the TAX is going to be huge and regressive because the coverage amount will be the same for everyone and therefore will cost the rich less of there take home pay the the middle class and the working poor.

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:45 pm

hiram

July 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

I thought it was you libs that keep complaining about not enough “real people” in Congress? Now you are saying the Tea Party people are to stupid to serve, you can not have it both ways.

zeke

July 2nd, 2012
5:46 pm

one of romney’s spokesman said romney does not agree with scotus that it was a tax;

on an unretated matter….don’t you just love the big banks, barclays libor/interest rate manipulation…what do you think all the big money donors to either campaign want in return for their money…more of our money

and conservatives think big govt the only problem

hiram

July 2nd, 2012
5:47 pm

td
July 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

I thought it was you libs that keep complaining about not enough “real people” in Congress?

You equate “real people” with ignorant people?

I can see why you would think that…

hiram

July 2nd, 2012
5:50 pm

td,
For the record, I’m not a lib.

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:56 pm

hiram

July 2nd, 2012
5:47 pm

td
July 2nd, 2012
5:41 pm

I thought it was you libs that keep complaining about not enough “real people” in Congress?

You equate “real people” with ignorant people?

I can see why you would think that…

The average person in this country has a 8th grade reading level. This is why this paper is written on such a level. So you are saying the average person in this country is ignorant?

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:59 pm

td

July 2nd, 2012
5:56 pm

Do you think that is could be that these Tea Party people are actually attempting to speak at a level that the average person in this country would understand? What is the speaking level of Maxine Waters?

InAtl

July 2nd, 2012
5:59 pm

You quote NPR and Huffington Post? That makes you pretty liberal, hiram.