Yesterday Matt Drudge set the world on fire with this tweet:
Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not ‘getting covered’… I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX!
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) March 21, 2014
In no time at all the left jumped to say he is wrong, that he wouldn’t pay that until next year. Then the right came to his defense, which would have worked good until they blew it. Here’s what they had to say over at Breitbart, the site named after Drudge’s former partner and BFF:
Drudge indicated in his followup tweets that since he is self-employed as the proprietor of The Drudge Report, he files as a small business. According to the IRS’s website for self-employed individuals, they are required to pay taxes quarterly.
Yes, as a small business owner he does have to file and pay quarertley estimated taxes on a form known as a 1040ES. Being a small business owner, I know this very, very well. But what does the instructions say on this year’s 1040ES form:
Health care coverage. When you file your 2014 tax return in 2015, you will need to either (1) indicate on your return that you and your family had health care coverage throughout 2014, (2) claim an exemption from the health care coverage requirement for some or all of 2014, or (3) make a payment if you do not have coverage or an exemption(s) for all 12 months of 2014. For examples on how this payment works, go to www.IRS.gov/aca and click under the “Individuals & Families” section. You may want to consider this when figuring your “Other taxes” on Line 12 of the 2014 Estimated Tax Worksheet.
You “may” want to pay your penalty. That means the choice is up to you. So how does Breitbart blow this? By claiming that it has to be paid:
So, when they file and pay those 2014 first quarter taxes, such individuals have to pay the Obamacare Individual Mandate tax if they opted to not have health insurance—like Drudge just did.
Nooo, they don’t “have” to pay it, they “may” pay it. That is not from some tax adviser or media site. That is right from the instructions the IRS gives you. And why would they not require you pay this with your quarterly estimated taxes? Perhaps the reason is because they don’t know exactly what the penalty is going to be. Let’s go to another page of the IRS website, which explains the penalty for this year:
The individual shared responsibility payment is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014. You will make the payment when you file your 2014 federal income tax return in 2015.
For example, a single adult under age 65 with household income less than $19,650 (but more than $10,150) would pay the $95 flat rate. However, a single adult under age 65 with household income greater than $19,650 would pay an annual payment based on the 1 percent rate.
Notice that the cap is based off of the national average of all bronze plans on the exchange for that year. Well 2014 isn’t over yet, so they don’t really know that max.
Now I don’t know what Matt Drudge makes per year, but given he has one of the top websites in the world, complete with ads, I would venture to say he is into the millions per year. As matter of fact other people, more versed in economic issues, even agree. So we know that Matt Drudge will be paying that average of all bronze plans, nationally, as his penalty. But why?
Last we knew, Matt lived in Miami Florida. Something I love on the healthcare.gov site is being able to look up plan prices for ANYWHERE! So I did just that. I went on and put in Drudge’s age, county (assumed) and gave him a modest salary of $500,000 for the year. Needless to say, the site said I wouldn’t get any help, but it still lets me see plans and their prices without any help. The cheapest Bronze plan on there is $233/month and Florida seems to average around $350/month for all bronze plans. Now the penalty is the national average, but I would venture to say that the $350/month rate is pretty darn close, if not a little low.
Great, we got numbers! So, let’s do some math. If Drudge decided to bite the bullet and get coverage, say that cheapest bronze plan at $233/month, here’s what he would pay for a year:
$233 x 12 = $2,796
But Matty boy isn’t doing that. Instead he has decided he isn’t going to be screwed by the government into getting some insurance and is deciding to pay the penalty. So let’s use my assumption of $350/month on the average. Here’s what we got:
$350 x 12 = $4,200
See that? Drudge could sit there and actually have insurance, albeit not the best coverage around, for $2,796/year, but instead he is choosing to not have anything and instead just give the government somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,200/year. There can only be one of two reasons to decide not to spend less and actually get something in return, either Drudge is trying to stand on some moronic conservative principal, in which case he has no one to blame but himself, or he is just a down right moron. I really don’t think Drudge is a moron by any means, so I have to say he is doing this because of some principal. Again, that means he can’t blame Obamacare, the “liberals”, “socialism’ or anything else he wants to. He has only himself to blame.
Or maybe there is another reason for this. Perhaps Drudge is actually some closeted big government lover, who actually just wants to give the government his money for nothing. Now that is one to ponder!