Justice Roberts says the penalty that would be imposed by the federal government for not getting health insurance is a form of tax thus within the boundaries of Congressional authority. And at the same time, he says if people do not pay the fee, the government cannot do anything about it. This seems erroneous on the part of the judge.
More beyond the hypnotizing orange swirly thingy....
It is pretty much common knowledge now that the IRS has great power to do things to ensure you pay your taxes or punish you for failure to pay them. Avoiding to pay taxes is as American as apple pie, but so are the consequences for such avoidance. One classic example is Al Capone. The government could not catch him doing anything considered dangerous to the public, but they were able to nail him on tax evasion.
Anyway, as I thought about the reasoning presented by Justice Roberts, I began to get very confused. Either I misunderstood his Majority Opinion, because let's face it he does not have the mastery of the English language as a William J. Brennan, or he does not understand tax law.
The IRS has many venues they can take to force you to pay in one way or another. They can garnish your wages, confiscate property, charge interest on unpaid taxes, keep any future tax returns, or even throw you in jail/prison. Given these remedies available to the IRS, why does Justice Roberts think the government has no way to see to it that you pay your penalty for not obtaining insurance?
It would seem, if the courts determine the penalty is a tax, that the government with their IRS arm can use the same venues to go after those who will not pay the fees. Therefore, one way or another, the government can get the money owed to them.