So I wonder what can't be a "tax" now. It seems to me like any time the government wishes to coerce an act (such as a purchase), all they have to do is put a steep fine on it and claim the fine is a "tax."Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes. See §5000A(b). That, according to the Government,means the mandate can be regarded as establishing acondition—not owning health insurance—that triggers atax—the required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance.Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, itmay be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.
So what am I missing here? What's the distinction?