The Individual Mandate and Tax Incentives
4 Pages Posted: 26 May 2012
Date Written: May 25, 2012
This article responds to an argument, made by economist Martin Sullivan, that, if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate in the Obamacare legislation, all sorts of tax incentives — which, he argues, are economically equivalent to the mandate — would suddenly be at risk constitutionally. The article argues that (1) mandates and incentives are not necessarily legally equivalent; (2) more generally, economic equivalence does not mean legal equivalence; and (3) as has always been the case, the constitutional merits of tax incentives should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Keywords: individual mandate, economic equivalence, tax incentives
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation