"Editor's note: The duck test—if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
As the basis for the majority opinion in the Obama health-care decision, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the law's individual mandate to buy health insurance is valid because it is a tax, citing Congress's power under the Constitution to "lay and collect taxes" for "the general welfare of the United States."
Herewith, from President Obama on down, is a sampling of Democratic denials that the individual mandate is a tax:
President Barack Obama, talking to George Stephanopoulos on ABC News, September 2009:
Stephanopoulos: Your critics say it [the mandate] is a tax increase.
Obama: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that. Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but—
Stephanopoulos; But you reject that it's a tax increase?
Obama: I absolutely reject that notion.
From the White House website, December 2009, under the headline, "The Truth on Health Care Reform and Taxes":
As we move into the final stage of the historic push for health reform, opponents of reform are testing the age old adage that if you only say something enough times you can somehow make it true. Yesterday, we heard a new version of the old, tired refrain that the health reform bills in Congress would raise taxes on the middle class. So let's set the record straight: First, the health insurance reform bill being considered in the Senate does not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.
Then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, July 2010: "I don't see this as a tax."
***Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius appearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, February 2012: "It [the mandate] operates the same way a tax would operate, but it's not per se a tax."
***Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients appearing before House Budget Committee, February 2012:
Rep. Scott Garrett (R., N.J.): If I make under $250,000 and I do not buy health insurance as I'm required to under the Affordable Care Act, is that a tax on me or is that not a tax on me? A moment ago you said there are no tax increases.
Zients: There aren't.
Garrett: So that's not a tax?
***House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commenting Thursday on the Roberts decision: "Call it what you will.""
Ok, Nancy. Then let's call a spade a shovel --- it's a tax. And let's call the "Affordable Care Act" what it is as well --- "The UNAFFORDABLE CARE ACT."