Like any tall tale, It got Bigger every time it was Repeated
'Obamacare' is an increase, but ignore the right's overblown claims
Published: Monday, July 09, 2012, 6:00 AM
By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
Like any tall tale, it got bigger every time it was repeated. After the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of "Obamacare," based on the federal government’s power to impose taxes, Republicans latched onto the idea.
It was a massive tax, they said. It was the largest tax increase in American history. The largest in the history of the world.
All taken straight from the mouths of GOP leaders in Congress, including Reps. Jeff Landry of Louisiana and Connie Mack of Florida, and ranting radio host Rush Limbaugh. Yet no matter how many times they retell it this way, it doesn’t make it true, as PolitiFact, a nonpartisan website, pointed out more than a year ago.
It’s fine to call the new health care law a tax. But how big a tax is it, really?
Over the past 60 years, there have been 15 significant tax increases. A specialist with the Treasury Department analyzed all of them as a percentage of GDP. And when you arrange them by size, the Affordable Health Care Act ranks only 10th.
That’s smaller than the tax increase signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. And no bigger than the tax increases passed under former Presidents George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton.
So the health care reform is nowhere near the biggest tax increase in history. Republicans aren’t likely to abandon their favorite scary story, though. Voter support for the health care overhaul has increased since the Supreme Court upheld it as constitutional, polls show. More Republicans and independents are now backing the law.
So it’s no wonder the politicians who oppose the law with every fiber in their beings are resorting to smear tactics. This began immediately after the court’s decision was announced, and it wasn’t limited to the tax issue.
Glenn Beck labeled Chief Justice John Roberts a “coward” for his decision. One Republican pundit said it must have been Roberts’ epilepsy medication that drove him to endorse the individual mandate. And last week, Fox News’ resident psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, claimed the court’s decision will “infantilize” Americans.
Story-time rhetoric is what infantalizes Americans. So do wild exaggerations. This is not how you win a serious argument on health care. Enough with the tall talk.
There is an interesting graphic that accompanies the article when you click on the link.