Calling a Tax a Tax

I think Roberts' decision is well thought out and the right one. He called a tax a tax. Yes, the administration tried very hard to present the "mandate" as anything but a tax, but a tax it is. I don't see this as any new power for the Federal Government either.  If the Feds hike everyone's taxes by $700, then provide a $700 tax credit to those who buy approved health insurance, the effect is exactly the same as putting a $700 tax on not-buying insurance.  Surely the Feds have the constitutional power to do the former.

I have seen a lot of posts on conservative blogs calling the mandate "a huge tax increase on the middle class" and saying how the mandate represents a new and crushing power of the government to run every aspect of our lives.  It's nonsense.

In a characteristically fine essay, Charles Krauthammer states:

I think the “mandate is merely a tax” argument is a dodge, and a flimsy one at that. (The "tax" is obviously punitive, regulatory, and intended to compel.)

I disagree. I find Roberts' analysis convincing. Essentially, since the tax is small in relation to the cost of health insurance, it is not punitive. See here. See also here.