Thoughts on Obamacare

on Thursday, June 28, 2012

This morning the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in a 5-4 vote that Obamacare is legally within the bounds of the US Constitution, and that the mandate in question - in which the federal government can force a citizen to buy a product from a private corporation regardless of whether they want it or will use it - is considered to be a legal tax.

The most interesting part of this decision is that the usual wild card, Justice Kennedy, actually sided with the conservatives and Chief Justice Roberts (who was appointed by George W. Bush) defected to the left and sided with the progressives in the court. That means that a supposed Republican SCOTUS justice was the deciding vote in keeping Obamacare alive. Conservatives: Ponder that for a moment...

Let me be clear: This was never a health CARE bill, it is and always was a health INSURANCE bill. The health care act was not written to improve the quality of health care, nor provide better access to it (under current federal law, nobody is denied emergency health care in this country, regardless of citizenship or financial means).

Since day one, Obama and the progressives in congress have repeatedly argued that Obamacare's mandate was not a tax and that the fine for not buying insurance was allowed under the commerce clause (which is a clause in the US Constitution that has been severely perverted from its intended purpose when penned by the founding fathers). Interestingly, however, SCOTUS determined that the commerce clause jurisprudence is too limited to provide congress with this ability, but that the taxing and spending clause of the US Constitution allows them to treat the penalty of not buying health insurance as a tax. In other words, Obama and Pelosi's congress were wrong about why Obamacare is "legal", but they get to keep Obamacare anyway.

A few of my idiot liberal friends have claimed that this has been done before; drivers are required to buy car insurance and citizens are required to pay taxes for public schools even if their children attend private schools. But anyone who spent 5 minutes paying attention in 9th grade civics class knows that these are not the same thing. Car insurance is required by the states, not the federal government, and is not required to be purchased by those who choose not to participate in the system (i.e. those who use public transport, etc). Same with the school taxes; these are state taxes that are allowed under the 10th amendment. Yet here we have a federal government who feels that they can now apply that principle to themselves and then trump the rights off the states, which is exactly the opposite of what the founders wrote in both the Bill or Rights and the federalist papers.

Instead of "enumerated powers" (the founding fathers' words, not mine) we now have a federal government without limits.

Liberals are pretty excited today, but they are so blindly enthused by all of this that they have not taken the time to reflect on the dangerous legal precedent that has been set today by the highest court in the land. What SCOTUS did this morning was to say that congress now has the ability to tax behavior. Inactivity - DOING NOTHING - is now a taxable event. This creates a terrifying slippery slope, and I'll explain why: Imagine if the federal government decides next year that obesity is costing America too much and so they mandate that all citizens buy a gym membership, or else pay a tax. Also, they must buy at least 8 pounds of vegetables each time they shop, or face a tax. And two years from now if GM starts struggling under the burdening weight of union demands again, the federal government can decide that you must buy cars only from GM or Ford, or else pay a tax. Some may scoff at such notions, but such a scenario just happened 9 hours ago - the federal government just told you to go do something you might not have wanted (or could afford) to do, or else they will tax you.

This is not a win for Democrats. Imagine the reaction from Democrats when a theoretical Republican-controlled congress 5 years from now states studies have proven that both gun and Bible ownership reduce crime and so they pass a law which requires all Americans to buy a gun and a Bible, or else face a tax. The same precedent they are cheering today will some day come back and bite them in the butt. It's tragic that such a precedent now even exists in a supposed "free" country. Even Obama once said that such mandates like the one upheld today is not the way to deal with such a situation.

Now, let's take a step back for a moment and understand that just because something is legal, it doesn't mean that it's a good idea. The non-partisan CBO has scored the health care bill and determined on multiple occasions that our country cannot afford it.

And to my liberal friends I ask: If this bill was so great for the American public, why did you have to twist the rules to pass it? If this bill was so great for the American public, why did you have to result to tricks such as changing the language in the bill in order to use reconciliation in the senate chambers which would have allowed the bill to pass with less votes? If this bill was so great for the American public, why did you have to use taxpayer money to bribe congressmen to vote for it? If this bill was so great for the American public, why was the American public repeatedly lied to  by everyone behind this disaster - including the president himself - that this would not raise taxes or insurance premiums... and that this wasn't a tax when that is exactly what SCOTUS determined it to be? You were lied to, but you chose to foolishly buy off on it anyway. And today you are cheering one of the largest tax increases in this country's history.

And to those who feel that the "general welfare" clause in the US Constitution permits this, please answer me this: If the founders felt that congress could do whatever they felt was good and for the "general welfare" of the country, then why did they spend all that time writing all the other limitations to the federal government in the US Constitution? If that's all they intended, why not just write that one sentence and be done with it?

Is there any good news here? Perhaps. While the commerce clause has now been restricted, Democrats in congress can no longer hide behind it to impose their regressive spending agenda; they will now have to be upfront with the American public and admit what they are and always have been - massive taxers. Similarly, Barack Obama has now officially violated his pre-election pledge that he will not raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 a year. Let's be honest, this health care law is not targeted towards the wealthy (who have plenty of means to acquire health care). This law is targeted toward punishing the lower and middle classes if they cannot afford (or choose not to purchase) health insurance. Almost all of you reading this can come back to this post 2 years from now and see that you are currently paying more for health care than you were today. Your insurance premiums are about to go through the roof. Along with your bank account, all this bill did was destroy liberty and freedom.

Voters will remember that in 4 months.