Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is pushing hard for a major California health care reform. Never mind the politics of the whole thing, the Governor is having terrible trouble over language (not Arnold's usual ESL troubles).
Schwarzenegger's health care plan would be funded by a 4% payroll . . . what? Tax, of course. Except that the plan's supporters call it a "fee." Arnold himself has tried a variety of names for the tax: for a while it was a "coverage dividend." Earlier in the year, he told the Sacramento Bee, "It is not a tax, just a loan." (Hey, you mean taxpayers can get it back, with interest?) Nowadays, he's taken to calling it a levy.
POFP can forgive a new tax, but we can't forgive these "linguistic tricks," as John Fund of the WSJ.com puts it. As Fund points out, Arnold's lingo is on par with such gems as "revenue enhancements" and "solidarity payments."For more on the wonderfully taxing vocabulary of government revenues, see my earlier column, Death and This.