The Mitt Romney campaign has set off howls of scorn and outrage over its fumbling of the question of whether or not the monetary fine for failing to buy health insurance under Obamacare is a penalty or a tax.
First it was Eric Ferhnstrom, Mr. Romney’s chief political adviser, who called the mandate a “penalty.” On Sunday, Mr. Romney contracted him, saying that as far as he was concerned the mandate was a tax.
There is little substantive difference how the fee is characterized, and there may be only a limited political matter, but from the Romney camp’s perspective, calling the fine a tax–as Chief Justice John Roberts did in the Supreme Court decision legalizing the act–means that Mr. Obama reneged on one of his key campaign promises by raising taxes. However, since the bill is so similar to the one that Mr. Romney signed in Massachusetts–and which also has a mandate–calling it a tax means that Mr. Romney raised taxes as well. Read More