With campaign season in full tilt, Americans are being inundated with rhetoric regarding the various tax proposals touted by President Obama and Governor Romney.

Given that these discussions usually involve paeans to the middle class and promises to keep their tax rates low, one tax in partcular has received surprisingly little attention: the “penalty” levied on all Americans who do not buy health insurance.

As shown in the chart above, this new tax – defined as such by the Supreme Court, which ruled it constitutional under Congress’s taxing power – hammers not just the middle class, but roughly 600,000 Americans whose incomes fall below the federal poverty line, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office.

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