President Obama's private-sector based health care reform legislation (let's not call it national health care, because it's not) has carrots of subsidies too rich to qualify for Medicaid, along with the state-level carrot of Medicaid expansion for states not too wingnut to take it.
It also has the sticks of financial penalties for people not covered by insurance and who refuse to buy it. These sticks are income tax-based penalties.
Hence, it should be no surprise that the likes of a Byron York is now claiming that the IRS investigation of the tax-exempt status of Tea Party-type 501(c)4 political advocacy groups should worry every red-blooded American when Obamacare starts hitting the streets next year.
The IRS is critical to Obamacare. The structure created by the Affordable Care Act requires the government to know about both the health care coverage (or lack of it) and the financial resources of every American. The IRS, which already knows the latter, was the only agency with the reach to do the job.The piece goes on in the same vein.
A look at the text of the health care law reveals that much of it consists of amending the Internal Revenue Code to give the IRS more power. When Obamacare goes fully into effect in January, every American will have to prove to the IRS that he or she has "qualifying" health coverage, meaning coverage with a list of features approved by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. That will be done by submitting a document to the IRS, something like a W-2, to confirm coverage.
The IRS will also decide who is, and who is not, eligible for Obamacare's subsidies. The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies. And since subsidies don't just apply to a relatively small number of the nation's poorest citizens -- under the law, they can go to a family of four with a household income of nearly $90,000 -- they will affect a huge segment of the population.
Yeah, it's in part just more wingnut talking points to pour more gasoline on the fire.
But, it it totally wrong? No.
Per fellow blogger Brains and Eggs, nobody, liberal or conservative, should ever exult when the IRS sics itself, let alone is sicced by higher-ups, on any organization without good cause.
That said, given that wingnuts, or even just semi-wingnuts like Lamar Alexander, are hyperventiliating over HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius asking insurance execs to help foot the bill for educating people about Obamacare because Congresscritters won't, Obama doesn't need more gasoline on the health care fire.
Back to the IRS itself.
CNN is saying two "rogue agents" were allegedly primarily responsible for the snooping. Let's see how this washes out.
And, Obama needs to realize that everything he now says is going to get TWO fine-toothed combs run through it. Like his claim that the IRS is an independent agency. The Wall Street Journal rightly notes that's not true. And then, of course, goes on to make political hay.
It doesn't help that somebody like Slate's Dave Weigel smokes the crack pipe of "the IRS leans left" when we know that's simply not true.
Frankly, I'm not sure that he's capable of learning differently on some of his communication and messaging. Sure, the Congressional GOP and its vapor-locked outside media and think tank allies may deserve contempt, but even that can be delivered in a better way. And, Kumbaya is still not in the hymnal of those folks.
Were he to listen to me as a Machiavellian lay consultant, rather than a left-liberal who doesn't care for most of his neoliberal handling of the Great Recession, Obamacare or other things?
First, I don't care if you're having gay sex with him on the down low, at a point not immediate, but after a reasonable amount of stonewalling, if Eric Holder was directly connected, plugged-in, etc., to the AP snooping, can his ass. (As long as you weren't in the loop yourself, and nobody leaks that you were after he gets fired.)
IRS? Steven Miller is an acting commissioner. Schmooze GOP Senators about a permanent replacement while cutting the House GOP out of the loop. And, it looks like Obama's made a start here by accepting Miller's resignation. That said, Holder's finger-wagging, again, about IRS criminality and investigations makes me want to fucking barf.
It makes me barf more now that we see this is less of a scandal than Benghazi, because liberal groups got the same treatment. The bigger scandal is that the IRS is overburdened, likely because the GOP wants to starve it.
Beyond this, any other scandal is Dear Leader's reaction to what is even more a non-scandal than Benghazi is starting to look like the Shirley Sherrod fiasco when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, with some knowledge by Obama, threw her under the bus.
Benghazi? Even if you don't want to be totally honest (as Republicans don't either) about what the fuck the CIA was doing there, roll out a sacrificial lamb. Or better yet, tell the GOP that you WILL spill the full beans unless it shuts up.
Beyond that, Ambassador Stevens himself twice rejected additional military protection.
I am beginning to think that no "scandal" story deserves attention until McClatchy writes something and gets at least in the reasonable ballpark of reality.