Friday, June 29, 2012

Question Regarding The Individual Mandate

Sincere question: what, if anything, is the substantial, qualitative difference between the loathsome right-wing argument "We must raise taxes on the poor; the national debt crisis exists because minimum-wage workers aren't paying their fair share" and the new pro-mandate argument "We must charge insurance premiums to underemployed 20-somethings; the healthcare crisis exists because broke young adults aren't paying their fair share?"

5 Comments:

Anonymous smartass sob said...

Fair is a very loaded term. What exactly is meant by fair share and by what criteria is it to be adjudged? Other than that, since the poor in this country quite often are twenty-somethings, I don't see alot of substantive difference between your propositions.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Thinking further about your post I would like to add to my comments: While I have heard both right-wingers and libertarians assert that the "poor" either pay no income taxes or else are even net beneficiaries under the tax code (and we can discuss the validity of that claim,) I don't think I've ever encountered either faction arguing that the poor should have to pay their "fair share." That claim is usually applied to the "rich" and is made by the left; I find it to be equally "loathsome." At worst I've heard it said that the poor should pay for what they get or do without - which, of course, is exactly what they would have to do if there were no other people to foot the bill.

As I've said, fair share is a very loaded phrase. So are poor, rich, and underemployed; but none of those carries the emotional baggage that fair does. Regardless of the criteria used to to determine who falls into which group, poor seems to be anyone who has a dollar less than he or she desires, whereas rich seems to be anyone who has a dollar more than someone else; and eventually rich comes to designate anyone who has a dollar more than someone else thinks that person needs.

I've done my own and someone else's long form tax returns for more than thirty years. Every April I have had to become intimately familiar with the tax code for self-employment and sole-proprietorships, etc. While I don't bother to retain a great deal of the information from year to year (which would be pointless, because it changes so much,) I can tell you one thing: Whether you're poor, middle class, or rich in this country, if you happen to be single and childless you are at a distinct disadvantage taxwise.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Smartass, a few months ago there was an actual movement of right-wing elected officials arguing that taxes must be raised on the poorest of the poor, on the theory that some burger-flipper taking home seven bucks an hour is the REAL reason the country is so horrifically in debt.

The majority of mandate supporters quite rightly find that "blame the victim" attitude appalling; I'm merely pointing out that their own POV isn't all that different.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

The majority of mandate supporters quite rightly find that "blame the victim" attitude appalling; I'm merely pointing out that their own POV isn't all that different.

Yes, I got that, and I would agree with you.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I feel a veil has been lifted. I finally understand why a close relative is such a fan of the mandate. Although he's been bragging "I'm a liberal now!" in fact this is just his arch-conservatism in a new guise. When he wants everyone to pay, pay, pay, it's much less about fairness than about a sort of sadistic universal will to punish. I wonder how much this motivation obtains for others who support these dubious public policies.

7:17 AM  

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