Well first you have to understand that even Roberts knows that, for some goddamned reason he thought he needed to make sure Obamacare passed. Ginsberg knew thsi simple piece of logic, she actually 'dissented with the majority' on the commerce clause because even she didn't call it a tax . Either Roberts flipped suddenly and made shit up, or not even the liberals agreed with him- take your pick. Ginsburg's argument itself about commerce is dangerous: does she not understand the word compel? The Air Force buys their planes on the open market, they don't compel anyone to build airplanes. I think these people are just too old, lifetime terms need to be abolished. Roberts doesn't agree with Ginsburg and vice versa, so Roberts says the penalty is a tax. Are penalties taxes? Roberts says its just like buying gas and paying tax, but why would buying gas be penalized? Penalties are to discourage something, not raise revenue, but it is a bad example since buying gas is optional. Even more specious then would be calling the income tax a penalty, why in the hell would anyone want to discourage making money? Did Roberts realize that and stop? he could have easily moved from gas tax to income tax. I can think of a gov't penalty for inaction. Where I live, if I refuse to cut my grass then the city will come do it and bill me $50. We even have a community hotline where you can turn in your neighbor. The city mandates that lawns be mowed, completing the parallel. But is that a tax? If I mow my grass myself, it takes about $1.00 worth of grass and say $3.00 depreciation on my mower. You would have to calculate my labor cost as well. I do it in my free time when markets are closed (opportunity cost = 0) and I enjoy it so how to put a price on it? Easy, what would I pay you to do it? probably about $10 due to fact I don't think it is very hard. If the city charged $10 to cut my grass, I'd probably think abouty letting them do it each time, in fact I'd turn myself in sometimes. The fact is that the penalty is designed to discourage that behavior by being high, which is the whole point. If on the other hand we had a compulsory 'lawn tax' where we all have to pay a tax and government lawn mowers come over and mow the grass, then what are the chances such a tax would be $50 a pop? It could be higher or lower but the fact is that it would not be designed to be punative and most likely it would be lower. The very nature of the two are not equivalent, and if the cost of service is the same or higher than the cost of the penalty then it's not a penalty by definition. Roberts has lost his mind, nobody agrees with him (except piezoe), not even liberal judges or the democrats who emphatically stated this was not a tax. I agree with the democrats, however Roberts did have some integrity, he admitted it was unconstitutional under the commerce clause. What a tragedy.