The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Just Words?

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Yesterday, The Daily Caller highlighted a continuing issue I have with the Obama Administration and that is using words that attempt to hide or do not describe what the government is talking about.  For example, the President constantly uses the word “revenue” instead of taxes and “investment” instead of more government spending.  But that is not the only example.

We remember how Secretary Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security used the term “man-made disasters” for terrorism in testimony before Congress in 2009.  I had never heard of the term until then.  It did create quite a stir among many Members and in the public as well.

Most of us are certainly aware of the terrorist attack that was undertaken by Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood.  Even though he shouted “Allahu akbar” as he shot his fellow soldiers and later admitted he had done it, he was charged with “work-place violence.”  That phrase turned out to be pretty expensive, not only for the victim’s families but for taxpayers as well.  Because the government continued to use the term “work-place violence” it prevented Hasan’s victims from receiving the Purple Heart and certain combat-related benefits.  The taxpayers also continued to pay Major Hasan’s salary, which amounted to about $300,000, until his conviction this week.  That wordsmithing spurred on several Members of Congress to introduce legislation that would allow the military to suspend pay for members of the military for any capital or sex-related offense.

Now we have another word for tax.  The Daily Caller wrote about the Internal Revenue Service releasing its final rule on the individual mandate for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.  According to The Daily Caller, the IRS uses the term “Shared Responsibility Payment” more than 50 times to describe the law’s tax penalty for not purchasing health insurance.  The Daily Caller also reported that the IRS used the term “shared responsibility penalty” in the rule as well.

You will recall during the debate of Obamacare, the president insisted that the mandate to purchase insurance was not a tax, but a penalty.  But you may also recall that the lawyers arguing for Obamacare before the Supreme Court called it a tax.  And as we all know, the Supreme Court declared the penalty a tax, thus upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare. But even after the Supreme Court’s decision, the Administration continued to say the mandate was not a tax, but a penalty.

With this recent final rule from the IRS, it appears the administration’s "1984" wordsmithing will continue.  That makes it harder for those of us who are trying to reduce spending and the size of government.  We must be sure to remind people that a tax is a tax, not a "shared responsibility," and more government spending is more government spending, not an "investment."

I wonder what new word they will come up with next?

Sign Up for Email Updates!Click Here!

View Archives

Posts by Author

Posts by Tag

Big Government (151) Waste (72) Obamacare (69) Budget (66) Healthcare (66) Congress (59) Uncategorized (56) Telecommunications (49) Debt (43) Technology (42) Internet (42) Deficit (42)