Individually Mandated Tall Tales

Senator Jim Demint is just trying to protect his constituents, but I have to jump in with a big, “Whoa Nellie!” The good Senator from South Carolina has claimed repeatedly that the health reform law will take 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce. He continually raises the spector of trigger happy feds knocking down your door if you don’t purchase health care coverage from the private market. Recently, he bought an upgrade, claiming that “hundreds of thousands of agents might be required” to enforce the mandate.

There are just two problems with his thinking; his numbers and his reasoning. Currently, 17,000 agents and 76,000 non-agent employees staff the IRS (that is 0.3% of the U.S. population). Senator Demint expects that one new provision in a tax code thousands of pages long will necessitate the doubling of the agency’s investigative staff? The second problem lies in the law itself; the law is specific in stating that there can be no criminality attached to failure to pay the tax assessed due to non-coverage. If you are interested in double-checking this (and have a lot of time), go here. Read that again folks; the individual mandate is enforced through a tax that can be evaded without criminal liability.

Aside from the complete destruction of the “Demint Gambit”, this little point looks to be a fascinating example of legislative staffers slipping something past the insurance industry stooges who were behind the mandate in the first place. Things just keep getting better friends!

The Rational Middle is listening…