Here’s your Orwellian Phrase for the Week: Individual shared responsibility payment. Yeah… Go ahead and try to wrap your brain around that amalgamation of contradictory concepts. The phrase is not gleamed from some glossy DNC spin-office, or a Harvard professor’s latest psychobabble posing as an academic paper. Apparently the phrase is the IRS’s fancy (new) term for the Obamacare Mandate tax that individuals will have to pay if they fail to get health insurance this year.
As reported by Americans for Tax Reform:
If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return.
So… What exactly is this individual shared responsibility payment? Is it a claim by the Internal Revenue Service to a dollar amount, or portion of an individual’s income, that must be paid upon failing to comply with various tax-related requirements?... Because that sounds an awful lot like a “tax”. (But, I guess you can only call it a tax if you are a government lawyer defending Obamacare in Federal Court.)
The full context of the IRS’s stab at newspeak is as follows:
If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return. In general, the payment amount is either a percentage of your household income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater. You will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt. The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:
1) One percent of your household income that is above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
2) Your family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.
Well, at least one thing never changes: Taxes remain unnecessarily complicated. But I get the general idea: If you don’t obtain health insurance, you will be slapped with this
tax individual shared responsibility payment. And within a few short years, that tax individual shared responsibility payment will increase to 2.5 percent of Adjusted Gross Income or $2,085 annually – whichever is greater.
Of course this opens up a world of possibilities for those IRS Public Relation gurus who write our tax forms (sarcasm font)… Gas taxes are actually “shared energy consumption payments”. Income taxes are really just “American resident prosperity payments”. Heck, even corporate taxes could be redefined as “involuntary shared commercial capital donations”.
Besides, I guess it would be bad PR for Democrats, if millions of uninsured Americans suddenly saw an Obamacare “tax” on their 1040ez.