If you were watching Wednesday night, you saw Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner tell me I was misinformed about the IRS punishing people who don't cooperate with Obamacare. The interview was quite something:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: The IRS is now going to have to enforce Obamacare. So if you say flip it, I ain't buying it, then the IRS is the one that is going to make the determination whether you get fined or what happens to you. So again, the IRS is going to have to have access to information.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER, D-N.Y.: That's not — that is not true.
O'REILLY: And if you don't want to buy health insurance…
WEINER: That's the way the bill works.
O'REILLY: …the IRS has to see to it that you do. That's what universal health care is about.
O'REILLY: The IRS then comes in and deals with that person.
WEINER: That's not true.
O'REILLY: Who deals with them? Who determines the fine?
WEINER: We're not criminalizing them for failure — it's in the law.
O'REILLY: I'm asking you the simplest question in the world. If somebody refuses to cooperate…
WEINER: When you say…
O'REILLY: …who finds them and you can't tell me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So what is the truth of the matter? I hope Mr. Weiner has a pen.
No 1: Beginning in 2014, the IRS will be the primary enforcement arm of universal health care, and they might need 16,000 new agents. If you don't buy health insurance, the IRS can fine you. That is, take part of your tax refund, up to 2.5 percent come 2016. For some people, that's big.
No 2: The IRS will have control over who does and who does not purchase health insurance. We hear that you will have to tell the agency your insurance status on your tax returns.
No 3: The feds can punish you in other ways if you do not get a tax refund. If you are receiving any other federal benefits, they could take them away from you after checking first with the — ready Congressman Weiner? — IRS.
So you can see that the Internal Revenue Service will greatly expand its power under Obamacare. So I believe I was correct in my assessment, and Mr. Weiner was a bit confused.
As always, we are ready to receive facts to the contrary.
The importance of the IRS deal is the constitutional challenge to Obamacare. Does the federal government have a right to demand that you buy anything that doesn't directly relate to public safety, like car insurance? Eventually that will be what the Supreme Court will have to decide.
In the meantime, the feds will require you to purchase some kind of health insurance, and if you don't have the money, they will subsidize you. And everyone will be required to tell the government exactly what kind of insurance you have.
So there you have it. We appreciate Congressman Weiner coming on to debate. We know Obamacare is a complicated issue, but, once again, we were correct. The IRS is the enforcement arm.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
We continue our auction to benefit Operation Shoebox and USA Cares, two charities that help military people. We are offering autographed covers of my brand-new book, "Pinheads and Patriots: Your Place in the Age of Obama," for your bids.
Wednesday night the winner was Karen Dorsey from Las Vegas, who bid $2,500, and Ms. Dorsey is certainly a patriot.
We have two left. The bidding is underway right now on BillOReilly.com.
On the pinhead front, as you may know, Congressman Charles Rangel lost his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship because of tax problems. Specifically, he didn't pay some of them.
Well now the congressman is issuing tax advice to his constituents, sending them a pamphlet, at taxpayer expense, full of tax tips.
Is that chutzpah or what? Congressman Rangel is a pinhead.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org