This exchange between President Obama and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is pretty much every where today (I’m taking it from Jim Geraghty whose comments follow):
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don’t think I’m making it up. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary: “Tax- — A charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”
OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s dictionary, the definition of tax increase indicates to me that you are stretching a bit right now. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gone to the dictionary to check on it.
“How is defining the term ‘stretching a bit’?” Geraghty asks.
This, by the way, is one of the ways that Obama drives his opponents up the wall. He offers a sweeping promise — in this case, his campaign-trail pledge that “under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital-gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” And then he breaks that pledge by, say, raising the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, and his instinctive response, along with that of his defenders, is “Oh, come on, that doesn’t count.” Nor does a new governnment charge for not having a health-insurance policy.
Elsewhere on National Review today Alex Castellanos notes (also with regard to our president’s health care plans), “Fact and truth are not the same thing.”
For example, it is a fact that the words “death panel” appear nowhere in any proposed health-care legislation. So is it true that, as the president and his supporters maintain, reform will not usher in death panels for the elderly and infirm? Hmmmm.
On this we can agree: Whoever pays the bills in a health-care system makes the decisions. Whoever controls the money has the power to decide what care seniors and others will get. At times this can be a power of life and death. Under the president’s plan, the government’s control of health-care money, its power to pay or not pay health-care bills, would grow. Add it up: The president has rightly noted that half of health-care costs are incurred by seniors near the ends of their lives. The president has also been clear that he intends for the government to reduce health-care costs. Should seniors not conclude that two and two are four, especially when Democrats have blocked legislation that would prohibit government rationing?
This president believes in government. He would put the cost-saving mechanisms for health care in Washington. He asks politicians, government boards, bureaucrats, and commissions to employ rules, regulations, and mandates to reduce health-care costs. Health-care reform, like most other Obama initiatives, is government-centered and top-down. In other nations where government similarly controls the money and has the power to decide what health care it will and will not pay for, bureaucracies have made decisions that would not be tolerated here.
But we’ll have to tolerate them if current proposals for health care reform become law.
Look it up.