Direct and Indirect Taxes

Over at the Originalism Blog, Mike Ramsey discusses whether the Obamacare tax is a direct tax and therefore unconstitutional because it must be apportioned.  Mike links to some work by Jose Alicea.   Another discussion of whether the tax on not having health insurance is a direct tax is this one by Rob Natelson.  Here is an excerpt:

My book, The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant (2d ed., 2011), pp. 159-61, contains what may be the most complete compendium of Founding-Era sources on the distinction between direct and indirect taxes. While there were some exceptions (for example, although taxes on ownership of capital and household goods were direct, excises on ownership of luxury goods were indirect) the usual line of distinction was that direct taxes were imposed on status, while indirect taxes were imposed on transactions. A tax that one must pay despite doing nothing is the quintessential direct tax.

Mike Rappaport

Professor Rappaport is Darling Foundation Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he also serves as the Director of the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism. Professor Rappaport is the author of numerous law review articles in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. His book, Originalism and the Good Constitution, which is co-authored with John McGinnis, was published by the Harvard University Press in 2013.  Professor Rappaport is a graduate of the Yale Law School, where he received a JD and a DCL (Law and Political Theory).

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  1. says

    The “Direct Tax Act of 1798″ was unpopular, it led to a considerable expansion of the federal government, , and it’s unpopularity contributed to the election of Thomas Jefferson in the presidential election of 1800. But once in power, the Jeffersonians did not repeal the direct taxes enacted in 1798.

  2. says

    , the Mass law has some growing pains. When you bring more pepole into the health care system, it takes awhile for the system to expand to accommodate them. The important thing is that the residents (and physicians) in Massachusetts like what they are getting, despite the growing pains.With regard to the courts well, they’ll do what they’ll do. In any event, I fully expect the GOP to repeal it. Then we’ll see what the GOP does, once the health care ball is squarely in their court.@retire05: As I wrote, I’ve debated all of this extensively (including a consideration of the issues which you now raise, e.g. impact on me, personally). I truly don’t have time to rehash everything all over again. I’m confining myself to new issues, such as the topic of this thread. I’m not going to re-argue all of the many basic considerations, which we’ve covered previously, in excruciating depth and detail.- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CAReply

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