Is it a tax or a fine? You can’t have it both ways, Republicans.

The Republican outrage to the Affordable Care Act prior to the Supreme Court ruling was primarily premised in the idea that it was a fine. That is, Republicans argued that by being fined for not having healthcare, they were being coerced into something. And, of course, that is inherently anti-liberty. That was the issue. Now, however, the Court has called the act a tax. Naturally, Republicans are pounding that phrase into the ground. It makes sense since President Obama hasn’t raised taxes, despite that being all we’ve heard for nearly four years. (In fact, he has lowered them.) They finally have the ammunition they want. (Except that the tax increases primarily go towards insurance companies, the wealthy, and certain other groups. The middle class isn’t terribly affected, and even for those that are, they only face a 1% increase.)

But this raises a serious problem. If this is a tax, then it cannot also be a fine. And if it isn’t a fine, it is not an attack on anyone’s liberty. (Unless someone is ready to argue that all taxes are anti-liberty, I suppose.) The Republicans need to make a choice here: They can call this a tax; They can call it a fine; They cannot call it both. Of course, I know they will not make that choice. They will continue using both lines of rhetoric – because honesty is hard, amirite? – but logically speaking, their hands are tied one way or the other.