A Victory For Limited Government

I know it doesn’t look like it at first glance, but it really is. When this legislative atrocity first passed, it was assumed by most people that the Commerce Clause had rendered the Ninth and Tenth Amendments dead letters, per Wickard, and that there really were no limits to federal power. A few lonely voices (particularly Randy Barnett) argued that in fact there were such limits, and that this bill exceeded them. He was scoffed at by many, but those same people were shocked when the court actually took that argument seriously a few months ago. And today, a 5-4 majority of the court, including the Chief Justice, declared that in fact those limits exist and that ObamaCare did indeed transgress them. The bill was allowed to stand only because Justice Roberts declared that it passed constitutional muster under the Congress’s ability to tax (presumably under Article I, Section 8), and that while it had been fraudulently passed (that’s why the president had to lie about it being a tax — he knew that if he admitted it, he would not only lose whatever “moderate” support he had for it, but that he would be going back on his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class), that didn’t make it unconstitutional. Here is a key phrase from his opinion: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

The nation made a terrible political choice in 2008. It started to fix it in 2010, largely driven by this monstrosity. We have another chance in November to fix it once and for all, with a new president and Senate, and I suspect that’s going to happen. But going forward, future courts will recognize that the Commerce Clause is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for any tyrannical thing that the federal government chooses to do. If we want to continue to rein it in, an amendment of the taxing clause might be useful going forward.

[Update a while later]

People have been asking in comments which house this bill originated in. I thought that it was the House, but apparently the original House bill isn’t the one that finally passed — the one that the court just ruled on originated in the Senate. This opens up an entirely new line of legal attack, because any revenue bill must originate in the House. No one had bothered to make this argument in the past, because no one had considered the mandate a tax. But now that the court has declared it to be so, it could be struck down as unconstitutional because of the process.

[Update a few minutes later]

A shift in the gestalt of constitutional law.

[Early afternoon update]

Obama wins the battle, Roberts wins the war. Seriously, this was a big victory against the Commerce Clause. The court didn’t reverse Wickard, but it established a new precedent that opened up the opportunity for a lot of challenges to existing federal code. The tax thing can be fixed later. I suspect that there will be a lot of support, both in next year’s Congress, and in the states, for a constitutional amendment.

123 thoughts on “A Victory For Limited Government”

      1. The SB that became Obamacare “originated” in the house as a completely different bill whose contents were gutted. Congress developed that particular end-run around the Constitution decades ago.

        1. HR 3590 as it went to the Senate…
          To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the first-time homebuyers credit in the case of members of the Armed Forces and certain
          other Federal employees, and for other purposes.

          And as it came out of the Senate http://democrats.senate.gov/pdfs/reform/patient-protection-affordable-care-act-as-passed.pdf

          The only thing left of the original bill was the “HR 3590”

    1. it originated in the Senate. When Scott Brown was re-elected reconciliation vote couldn’t happen, so their only option was to ramrod the Senate bill through the House.

      Not that any of this matters, the reaction to Obama’s DREAM act end around proved people don’t care about procedural rules (even Const. ones) if they like the outcome.

      1. This isn’t a procedural rule Mark. The Constution is explicit that ALL revenue I.E. Tax bills MUST originate in the House.

        1. sigh. Technically it did. The Reid Senate took a perfectly good House bill, ripped every single word out of it, and replaced it with this monstrosity. Once the bloated monster waddled back to the House, the Pelosi Democrats rubber-stamped it, and Obama happily signed it.

  1. As I’ve just commented under a previous post, all this ruling has done is allow Congress to use its taxing power to encourage people to do things it cannot require by other means. In short, the potentially absolute and unlimited power represented by post-Wickard Commerce Clause jurisprudence, has been transferred to the taxing power.

    That may be different, but it isn’t better.

    1. Obama and his gang lied. The supreme court affirmed that they lied. It is better in the sense that they have been told they do not have unlimited power under the commerce clause and the people are responsible when they elect officials that add to the tax burden.

      It’s not about the bad people we elect. It’s about we the people taking responsibility.

      1. The supreme court affirmed that they lied.

        No, Roberts said the mandate was constitutional because it functions as a tax. The other eight justices did not treat the mandate as a tax (otherwise it would have been 9-0). No justice said anything about lying.

        1. It was only upheld as a tax. If it’s not a tax it was unconstitutional.

          Obama and team not only lied, they’ve been lying at every turn right from the beginning. It was a tax or not solely based on the outcome for them.

          You are absolutely right that only one justice called it a tax. Roberts did do some flimsy twisty to get this outcome. Everybody realizes that. They also realize this is a good thing for the future.

          They lied. It’s now in the history books.

    2. This decision sure seems to say that the federal government can do anything under its tax power. This is horrifically bad, though we can hold out hope that it will also serve as a wake-up call. We need more than a repeal of the law, though, We need an amendment or two to restore the full meaning of limited government.

      1. Almost everybody says the government can do pretty much anything they want with some in congress openly scoffing at the idea they are in any way limited.

        They are right! That’s why we the people need to be responsible adults. If we let the children run the country we deserve the result.

        1. How soon before we get ‘taxed’ if we don’t all buy blue jump suits or white running shoes?

          Or taxed unless we ‘donate’ 5 hours a week to cleaning up highways?

          Or taxed if we don’t meet a height / weight standard?

          I’m guessing we won’t be taxed unless we have blonde hair and blue eyes? That’s a little contrived and creepy. For now.

          And I don’t think just the feds will see this door standing wide open. Watch for a city near you to tax anyone who won’t ‘volunteer’ 100 hours per year to schools, or parks or hospitals or God only knows what else.

          I keep wondering if thinking people in Germany had this same cold knot in the pits of their stomachs on Mar 23, 1933?

          I’ll finish with the same thing I’ve said elsewhere today. This is NOT the Country I took an Oath to defend.

          1. It’s always incremental and it’s always what they think they can get away with but ultimately THERE IS NO LIMIT.

            We are already taxed for things we shouldn’t be and they can provide a justification in every single case.

            I think Davy Crockett’s “Not yours to give” speech should be read aloud to every incoming congress critter.

            Limited taxation is a principle. Not a requirement. When we elect those without this principle, almost nothing holds them back.

          2. I keep wondering if thinking people in Germany had this same cold knot in the pits of their stomachs on Mar 23, 1933?

            I certainly did, on November 4, 2008.

          3. Ken,
            countries disappear in increments too usually. They rarely dies of a fatal blow. And we are headed towards a death of a thousand cuts.

            Yesterday, in my opinion, was the 995th cut. We’re not dead yet, but it’s not far off, unless a miracle happens. And I don’t see one, single, solitary person on the horizon who has a ‘miracle’ in their ideas.

            Maybe someone like Rand Paul. But he’s SO far from being in power, that it’s not going to happen. Ever.

          4. Passage was the 995th cut and Roberts just showed them that they overplayed their hand. The only protection this country has ever had or will ever have is in the hands of We the People.

            We are already serfs and have been for a long, long time. If enough people finally wake up to that fact we have a chance. If not, then this American experiment has failed. In which case, the Governator made a prophetic recording… “Git yer ass to mars… Git yer ass to mars… Git…”

            Ah shucks… there I go again. Delegitimizing my argument. My head is just stuffed with too much imagination. I hope I live long enough to see some of it become reality.

            Life, Liberty and Property. One day people may realize they shouldn’t give any of that away to the bastards. Not even the very tip of a nose. They don’t have the force unless you give it to them in the first place. Stop doing that!

    3. That is exactly correct. Congress now has unlimited ability to micromanage the citizens via the tax code. Good luck finding justice in a tax court. Hope you kept your broccoli receipts from the approved growers.

      Even if President Romney signs the repeal of Obamacare, the damage is done.

      Enjoy your 30 shekels, Democrats.

      1. So, I suppose, can malingering, loitering, napping, being lazy or thoughtless or unprepared. Can we be taxed for walking slowly?

        1. The only limits are logistics and political salesmanship.

          In other words, that big blue thing outside.

        2. I have been arrested for sleeping on the NY subway (in a three piece suit with briefcase and umbrella.) I worked twelve hours a day and commuted for several hours a day more. This almost cost me a job a decade later with Air Traffic Control. Was I harming anybody by napping during a commute (something done by almost everyone you’d find if you try to ask a question of someone when it isn’t their stop?) Nope, but that didn’t mean the government would hesitate to use force on a citizen. Taxation is just another kind of force.

          So of course you can be taxed for any reason at all. It’s up to We the People to stop it by electing those that understand the principle of limited government.

  2. The Republicans may well make repeal the centerpiece of their campaign and they may well win a sweeping victory because of it. Then, once in office, I predict that they will do nothing about it – or just some small cosmetic change.

    I feel confident making this prediction – and would be happy to be proved wrong – because neither side ever repeals the evil nasties of the other side once they win office. They are too busy paying off their benefactors and generating *their* next big-government program.

    Certainly Romney is not the guy to carry the flag into ideological battle. He just wants to be president, not actually do anything – which aptly describes the last three or four presidents as well.

    1. I hope you are proved wrong as well, but at the moment; I think you are absolutely correct.

    2. If the (R) take both Houses and the WH, the best Romney will do is massage this down, and give is RomneyCare nationwide.

      We’re screwed IMHO.

      1. Yep. I don’t believe for a minute that Romney and the RINO leadership will repeal it. They will just tweak it around the edges to “improve” it.

        I’ve been saying a lot that I think the Republican Party has become like the “right” parties of Europe. They are statists, and will henceforth appeal to voters by arguing that they can manage the welfare state and the NHS better than their Democrat opponents. But they will not oppose them in any serious way.

        1. While I tend to agree, there’s one problem. Of our limited choices, now that the primary seasons is mostly over; Romney is the better chance of getting it repealed. He just promised to repeal it. We already know the other guy doesn’t keep his promises nor has any desire to repeal. We’re going to have to give Romney a chance and hold him to his word.

          1. “…you go to war with the army you have — not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time…” — Rumsfeld

  3. Better news than if the mandate had been upheld under another clause. Under the power to tax the means congress may use for enforcement is somewhat constrained. But it still leaves the barn door wide open for the federal government to push us around on any matter it wants.

  4. One good thing is that people generally understand that the word “tax” and what it involves. That’s why the Progressive Left were so desperate to not have to call this a tax. It will also be easier to use this as another example of how and why Congress’ taxation powers are too great and need to be limited.

    Also, while it may sound nit-picky to go after this again based on where the bill originated, the Progressive Left never lets a little detail like that go to waste in the campaigns. They never accept any law, proposition or lawsuit until they win. Time we did the same.

  5. Six of one, half a dozen of the other. All that changes is the name of the force being applied. If the commerce clause was upheld, Congress could force nuns to buy condoms “to prevent aids”, or atheists to buy bibles “to preserve the publishing industry”, in the name of regulating commerce. Now in the name of taxation, the Congress can force nuns to buy condoms, or atheists to buy bibles, or pay a tax. And frankly, I see no limit set to that tax. Suppose the tax for failure to buy condoms or bibles is set at $100,00 a year per person. Could any but the actual 1% afford not to do it? Just consider the possiblities: not buying organic vegies, tax, not belonging to a government approved health club, tax, not buying Obama’s next book, tax, not buying an electric vehicle, tax, not going to a made in Hollywood movie every week, tax….

    1. Really, this is one of the neat things about ruling this a tax. Can ACA require churches to pay taxes, now that it is a tax rather than a mandate protected supposedly by the Commerce Clause?

    2. There has never been a limit to taxes other than the ballot box. This is why (among other reasons) it’s immoral for them to launder tax money into campaigns. They don’t even hide the fact which tells us all we need to know about the corruption in our government and the apathy of our people.

      1. Ken,
        your wrong! There was another ‘limit’ to being taxed, and generally pushed around by an autocrat.

        We kicked King George in his behind and took this country away from him. The question begs, which generation will have the testicular fortitude to START fighting back against our current combined tormenters?

        1. I’ll give ya that but then Thomas will accuse you of supporting Sharon Angle and her 2nd amendment solution.

          Which makes you wonder why homeland security is preparing for domestic (tea party) terrorists?

          The fight starts at the ballot. We just have to realize a win there means nothing without follow through.

  6. Rand, I’m pretty sure that what actually happens is that the Senate’s bill was inserted by amendment in place of a House bill that had already been sent to the Senate under reconciliation. That both let them avoid the House origination issue and pass it under reconciliation, which also must originate in the House.

    1. President Reagan had a (slim) Republican majority in the Senate and Democrats controlling the House.

      Saturday Night Live had their only sketch ever that rose to any intellectual levels of humor, where they described the parliamentary and bi-cameral maneuvering required to enact the Reagan Tax Cuts as if they were John Madden explaining a football play on a Tele-strator.

      I wish I could find a video of that. I wish that SNL sketch were shown in school civics class.

    2. This is correct. Originated and passed in the House, and then the House adopted the Senate amendments wholesale to avoid votes from Senator Brown.

  7. With all due respect, there is no limited government victory because the tax power was ruled to give the goverment everything we thought the commerce clause did, so it’s the same loss for limited government, just a blow dealt by a different piece of paper

      1. Also why the martians should reject any claims on their property (once they claim property for themselves.) Giggle now, but we are only a few decades away from when this matters.

  8. This is why I wanted to challenge based on the 5th Amendment. It is a taking without due process. You are taxed simply for breathing… a life tax. The government wants to tell you what to spend your money on (health insurance) and thus control it (your property) and thus controls your life and freedom to choose and makes slaves of us all (we the people that are supposed to be masters of our government). The liberals are on the anti-choice side of this.

    No Person shall be… “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

    1. Mark,
      they are IGNORING such trivialities. Someone might get smart and challenge on that, but at this point how do we know SCOTUS is sharp enough to understand that stupid old Constitution!

      This is as close as the general population of our country has EVER been to slavery. And many of the dolts are celebrating it!

  9. Well I know that this is gonna hit me in the pocket book pretty hard. I’m currently on a high deductible HSA plan and I pay about $1100 a year into that plan. Obamacare is gonna kill off my HSA plan and I wouldn’t be surprised if my employer dumps me off into the state exchange. The Washington Post has a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/what-health-bill-means-for-you/#"premium calculator and it says I’ll pay between $2500-$3000. That just friggin’ sucks!

      1. I did the calculator. I have employer provided healthcare. The WaPo’s repetition of the Administration’s lies isn’t comforting.

        Your insurer cannot cancel your plan after you get sick based on a technicality, or discriminate against your children if they have a pre-existing condition.

        But they can cancel my plan today. They just can’t do it because now I’m sick or have a pre-existing condition. Further, the insurer always has the option to go out of business, which cancels my plan.

        You may also be entitled to coverage of preventive services without out-of-pocket charges.

        Already had that, but annual physicals by my Doctor with cash payment is far more cheaper than my premiums.

        If you are an adult under age 26, and one or both of your parents have a health plan, they may be able to put you on it. If you have adult children you can probably keep them on your plan until they are 26.

        Yeah, my kids love this. Since my insurance is employer provided and paid from my paycheck, the kids get to mooch off of me until age 26. Of course, their employers now offer them crappy insurance or no insurance (rather pay the penalty tax). At least my kids have a job. Obama’s screwed the economy that kids under 25 are more likely to be unemployed than any generation since WWII.

        It gets worse from there. The WaPo then brags how in 2014, you can no longer be denied for pre-existing conditions. But the next sentence refutes this notion, by stating if your employer doesn’t provide insurance thats either affordable or meets the requirement for comprehensiveness (whatever that will be defined), then you can always opt for the state plan, which the state isn’t forced to have per the SCOTUS decision. So my employer simply jacks the cost up or drops coverage opting for the $2,000 penalty tax per employee. I’m left without insurance because my state opts-out. And really, this isn’t so bad, because then I might just have the only state in the union that has a true free market on healthcare.

        1. It’s needlessly complex, but the bottom line: stay under 50 full-time-employees and outsource the rest. You’ll get tax credits and no risk of penalties/fines/taxes.

        2. So my employer simply jacks the cost up or drops coverage opting for the $2,000 penalty tax per employee. I’m left without insurance because my state opts-out.

          The only thing the state can really opt out of is Medicaid expansion, free coverage for people under 133% of the poverty line. They can decline to set up an insurance exchange, but in that case HHS will run one for the state.

          The Medicaid opt-out is bad news for the working poor, but it seems unlikely that many states will turn down that federal money.

          1. Most states will turn down the federal money because there isn’t nearly enough for a state to cover the expansion. It will bust their budgets. What the government was doing under Obamacare to try and compel states to sign on was threatening to cut all their existing Medicaid money, and the Supreme Court just said HHS can’t do that.

          2. As George says, opting in will bust the budgets. Many states are already running large deficits and are closing on bankruptcy with their large debt. Having them pick up 10% of the tab of this new expansion isn’t going to help their financial crisis. What Jim is banking on is the 5 year of “free” in which the federal government picks up 100% of the tab, and by that time, the politicians that opted in are retiring from politics. It’s a money grab for the Democrat elite, and the bureaucrat employees pensions will be emptied when the states default.

          3. The states can now opt completely out of Obamacare by both refusing the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges. This was a huge victory for the 26 states who wanted nothing to do with it.

            The HHS can set up its completely redundant insurance “exchange” for people with states that don’t have their own completely redundant exchanges, but they’re not “running” anything for any state.

      1. Which may be because he’s smarter than we thought he was. They were already getting ready to say ‘this political judiciary is illegitimate and needs to be replaced.’ He pulled that rug right out from under them.

        He gave a foundation for putting a halt to the expansion of power with the commerce clause.

        By stating it’s a tax (and directly calling Obama a liar) he set it up to be overturned on other grounds.

        He made the most important statement of all. We the people better get back into the game.

  10. No, this is a defeat for limited government.

    I can refuse to buy a new GM Volt for $40,000.
    And the federal government can LEGALLY tax me $20,000 for that decision.

    Let’s not pretend otherwise.

    1. That correct, but also why it’s a win for limited government. The cockroaches can’t hide from the light with lies anymore and the responsibility is now back where it should be, with ‘we the people.’

      This means we the people have to step up which should have happened a long time ago. We only have a republic if we can keep it. It’s time we did.

  11. “No one had bothered to make this argument in the past, because no one had considered the mandate a tax.”

    This argument -was- made at the time. The defense was “This is -not- a tax!”

    So, now they’ve had it -both- ways. “Not a tax” to pass Congress. And “Tax” to pass the Courts.

  12. Ken, forgive me for not replying individually to your manifold comments. Indeed the Emperor is now fully disrobed, but it remains to be seen what “the people” will do with it now that Roberts has fully kicked the issue back into Congress.

    I’m a realist, not a pessimist — all I can do is consult history.

    The history doesn’t look good.

    But that should not disuade anyone from doing what they must.

    1. No worries. I think this is the final end of Obama. I see a landslide coming.

      Romney is going to find coattails we never knew he had.

      It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

      May become the most often quoted statement in this next century.

  13. I hope you optimists seeing a victory here are right. For me it seems like another big step down the Road to Serfdom. With State-shtuppers like Chris Gerrib beating the tambourines and shouting honsannas along the way. I guess I will get some sadistic satisfaction when the chickens come home to roost, as statist chickens always do. At that point people like Bob-1 will be running around asking, “Golly gee, why didn’t someone warn us?” The sad truth is that we were all warned decades ago by people like Mencken and Nock and Garet Garrett* and even before that by the feller who said that free republics only last until the populace realize they can vote themselves goodies out of the treasury. The tipping point came when (to use Mencken’s terminology, the people who vote for a living outnumbered the people who work for a living.

    *see http://www.fff.org/freedom/0693e.asp

    1. Oh Canada! Bilwick stands on guard for thee!

      (Even if thy people are nothing but state-shutupping serfs!)

      1. What an asshole you are Bob-1! Come over to this side of the border and say that, if you’re looking to get a libertarian fist upside your head.

        1. Before you punch me, let me just ask you: Is Bilwick right? Is today’s supreme court decision sending the USA down the road to serfdom? Do you feel like a serf because of the Canada Health Act of 1984? How about Canadian taxes? Do they make you feel like a serf?

          1. If you pay more than 10% of your income in taxes, then you are by definition a serf. Canadians pay more than 50%. So, yes.

          2. It’s the “state-shutupping” that I don’t appreciate. We are all heading toward serfdom in both our countries the way things are going. And no, Ed, I don’t pay more than 50%. You need a better accountant.

          3. I’m including federal and provincial income taxes, GST, PST/HST, EI, and the myriad of other taxes (gas, “sin” taxes, and so forth). I can’t afford an accountant.

          4. It’s the “state-shutupping” that I don’t appreciate.

            Not that you should, but forgive Bob, his best means of debate is ad-hominems. When he actually tries to use reason, he twists logic. So, he falls back to just insulting others.

            And yes Bob, the ACA, and thus a decision that upholds it, moves all Americans greater into serfdom. After all, when the government can impose any tax on you, and specifically a tax that controls your personal health; how much control of your life is remaining? The government now has power to persuade, through taxes and control of the healthcare market, that everyone present for a physical. That information will then be stored in a database, indexed and searched by the government. We already have evidence of local governments using such health information to set policy into what their citizens can and cannot do even in the privacy of their own homes.

            Now, some people may not notice this, because they have no issue with conformance to government demands. Government says, “don’t smoke”, so you don’t smoke. Government says, “don’t drink soda”, so you don’t drink soda. Government says, “don’t use salt”, so you don’t use salt. But this list will continue to grow. Yet they won’t worry about that for now, because the next major taxation for premiums will be based on BMI, because when you have a serf, you don’t want them eating all your food.

          5. Well put, Le. The Stockholm syndrome is always worst where government is the most invasive.

            Serfdom is a matter of kind, not degree. It doesn’t matter what percentage of your lunch money a bully takes, it’s that he takes any, and a bully who takes less than the next is merely demonstrating his intellgence, not his compassion.

            This is why it’s so important to establish and protect the relationship people have with their governments. Really, this should be an object-lesson for the Left, but even their illuminaries lack such perspecacity. They clearly don’t want agreement and stability — sticking-it to the “bitches”, as they call you, is what’s important.

          6. It should have been clear that “state-schtupping” was a parody of Bilwick, who uses the expression often.

          7. 1) There’s no evidence to support the claim Bilwick uses the expression beyond this thread.
            2) Bilwick did insult Gerrib and bob, but bob insulted the whole of Canada.
            3) Bob just doubled down on being an asshole by making up a clearly BS story rather than simply apologizing.

          8. We are already serfs. You don’t have to travel to the end of the road. That’s not the question anymore. The good news is Roberts just gave us all a whack on the side of the head. Did any wake up?

            We have a republic. Are we going to keep it?

          9. Bob-1: the Perfect Serf. Doesn’t know when the shackles are being put on, doesn’t care, and in fact BEGS for even more and stronger shackles! “Take twetny-five per cent of my income? Please, master, take forty, fifty–whatever you want! Don’t pay any attention to those uppity serfs who don’t know when they’ve got it good!”

            Why does the sterm “state-shtupper” bother you, Bob-1?* Obviously it’s metaphorical. I derived it from the term “star-f*cker,” which I first heard in SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. In the context in which it was being used, it clearly didn’t mean someone who literally wanted to have sexual intercourse with movie stars, but people who are fascinated with movie stars, love them, want them to be in their lives, want to be in their lives. You don’t see that you have a similar mental-set with regard to Der Staat? None so blind, etc.

            I coined the phrase, and its variations, because “liberal” is clearly historically inaccurate and false advertising (a true liberal being anti-statist); and “progressive” inaccurate because the move from a freer society to a more statist society is deepy retrogressive. When those of us in the pro-freedom camp call “liberals” by the more historically and philosophically accurate term “socialists,” they get insulted; so I thought, “Fine–so you like state-shtupper better?” There I was trying not to insult them–even after they insult me by trying to reduce me to serfdom–and what thanks do I get? Zilch.

            By the way, if “serfdom” bothers you, why? The mediaeval serf had to fork over only about an eighth of his wealth to his overlord. At that point would you say serfdom would be reached in the modern world? Forty per cent income tax? Fifty? Sixty? Inquiring minds want to know. For me, once someone initates force, or the threat of force against me, and wants me to force me to do something I don’t want to do, to the extent they are exerting power over me, I’m their serf. Because (paraphrasing Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia: “It is the master who gives the orders, and the serf who must obey.”

            *This, for me, is just a rhetorical question. I know the answer is “Because the truth hurts,” but I want to see what Bob-1 says.

          10. Leland said “There’s no evidence to support the claim Bilwick uses the expression beyond this thread”

            Leland, Without even taking all the different spellings, you’re completely wrong:


            Leland said “bob insulted the whole of Canada”

            No. I think highly of Canada’s health care (while recognizing that it isn’t perfect), and the only reason Canadians have their health care system is because the majority of them made some reasonable choices that Bilwick insultingly describes as “state-shtupping”.

            Why Eric Weder and Leland both thought I was insulting Canada when I was in fact praising it while poking fun at Bilwick is beyond me.

          11. Bilwick, the following point has been made so many times that I thought I’d find a more amusing way to say it, but since that didn’t work, let me say it plainly:

            Thursday’s Supreme Court decision does not mean that this country is going all to hell. The evidence for that claim is the rest of the free world’s experience with health care. Canadians enjoy living in Canada, because of, or even in spite of, their health care system. Even if you think Canada’s health care system is just horrible (cue the examples of Canadians crossing the border for US health care, wait times for non-emergencies, etc), Canada is not the least bit hellish, and Obamacare only inches us toward the Canadian system – it doesn’t even come close to setting up a similar system here. So: all your doom and gloom made me laugh.

          12. Why Eric Weder and Leland both thought I was insulting Canada when I was in fact praising it while poking fun at Bilwick is beyond me.

            Please bob, do what Eric suggested and see if the Canadians accept your praise.

      1. Probably not. This entry had 3 trackbacks already, and therefore a lot of fresh blood — I mean, readers.

  14. Looks like the Roberts decision was a good thing for Romney’s fund raising efforts. Within just 3 hours of the SCOTUS decision the Romney campaign has hauled in over 1 million dollars.

  15. No one can make you do anything. Ignore the law and take what comes with a smile on your face.

    ‘You can’t enslave a free man. You can only kill him.” – R.A.H.

  16. You know of course everybody has missed the real story. Roberts family was invited to the white house until the decision came out. But don’t believe all those rumors about hostage taking. They’re just rumors (that I just made up.)

    1. If you get a tax credit for, say, solar panels, then people without solar panels are effectively getting fined, via their taxes, for not having solar panels. So, what’s the difference between a tax and a fine?

      1. …people without solar panels are effectively getting fined, via their taxes, for not having solar panels.

        Sophistry. By that reasoning, if you get a speeding ticket, I’ve just received a tax break!

        1. I can agree to that reasoning. I don’t think you’ve found a reductio ad absurdum here. So long as we’re only talking about monetary penalties, and not the kind of speeding ticket where you end up in handcuffs after driving 120mph through a 20mph school zone. Monetary fines for speeding tickets are so ineffective (particularly for well-off people) that they are usually (always?) accompanied with other penalties such as “get three of these in a year and you’ll lose your license.” But if you want to view a $50 ticket for a first offense/year as losing a $50 tax credit for safe driving, I think that’s sensible.

          (The other difference is that the police are much more interested in collecting the $50 than the IRS is, but that’s just getting back to the toothless reassurance.)

          1. I can agree to that reasoning.

            Of course you do — my loss is your gain. Envy, it’s the Leftist worldview.

          2. Oh c’mon. That’s crap. You have no counter-argument. The government is taking $50 because of something you did or didn’t do. If I’m envious of you – at all – it has to do with your apparent good fortune to have hardware flying in space, and I can’t take that away from you and I don’t want to either.

        2. Oh. Whoops. My mistake – I thought you said something more sensible than you actually did.

          The correct formulation – as should have been obvious – is “if you get a speeding ticket, you just lost a tax break”, just like “if you don’t buy solar panels, you just lost a tax break.”

          1. There was never any “tax break” for not speeding any more than there was (what would you even call it?) a “life break” for staying out of lock-up by not jacking cars. You’re getting way too metaphysical, and a satisfactory answer (if you curiosity is genuine) would be more forthcoming from a legal scholar.

          2. Could you address my example of solar panels? How is a tax credit for solar panels different than a government penalty for not buying solar panels?

          3. Briefly, Article 1, section 8: taxes must be uniform. They can’t say, “The tax rate shall be -5%, but only if you buy solar panels — if you don’t it’s 25% of AGI…” Since money is fungible, it may all sound the same to you, but in the law it’s not. Obamacare could certainly fall again in court because it’s neither fish nor fowl, conforming to no known enumerated form of taxation (not a direct tax, nor an income tax nor an excise tax…)

          4. I see your mistake Titus. You’re thinking we still live in a world where getting around the constitutional requirement that taxes be uniform requires an amendment to the constitution. We’ve gone well beyond that. Now it just requires the executive branch to tell the others how things are gonna be from now on. …and we have IRS agents that know where your family lives.

            Silly you. Bob would like to help. He’s got some koolaid for ya.

  17. Questions I have:

    1. If this is a tax, who is exempt? Will every adult in this country who doesn’t have the minimal mandated health insurance have to pay this tax? Or, will the 48% that don’t pay taxes now simply not have to pay this tax as well?

    2. At what age does a person become responsible for purchasing their own health insurance to avoid this tax? 18? 21? 25? There are going to be a LOT of very surprised 20-somethings who are going to go WTF when they get hit with a $2500 tax bill while struggling to make ends meet in this Obama-economy. Many 20-somethings simply choose to forgo health insurance because they are young, healthy and feel not having insurance is worth the risk.

    I still don’t know what to think about Roberts, but I have a feeling that if Obamacare doesn’t get repealed, there are going to be a LOT of people more sympathetic to conservative viewpoints in the next 3 to 5 years once they feel it in the pocketbook.

    This is much different than the social security tax which is tied to a percentage of income. This is a tax for simply breathing.

    1. Regarding poor people – look up “expanding medicaid”.

      For middle income people who don’t get health insurance through their work and are foolish enough to not purchase it, consider the following (it isn’t the most definitive source, but I like how pithy it is):

      “Given the drama surrounding the Supreme Court decision, it is rather amazing how toothless the mandate really is. Although the IRS is charged with collecting the penalty for not having health insurance, they are precluded from using their most powerful collection tools – recorded liens and levies. The only sure means of collecting the penalty from someone who does not want to pay it is to offset a refund. So someone who managed their tax payments to always have a balance due would never have to pay the penalty.”

      From http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2012/06/28/individual-mandate-in-obamacare-is-constitutional/

      1. Toothless argument is toothless, or perhaps simply out of touch with reality. In the real world people change their underwear after getting an IRS letter asking for money. A primer for those new to this planet.

        Further, and as I’ve said before, I could find nothing in the law that prevents the IRS from applying any money you send them to Obamacare fines first and then seizing your wages and bank accounts for unpaid income taxes. “Thanks for paying your 2014 healthcare penalty, but you still owe us $500 for 2015.”

          1. That’s what I’m thinking, and thought before bob’s idiocy. There’s a growing penalty built in to not paying the tax for healthcare. It’s specifically for the mandate penalty fee tax. If one believes that failure to pay will never result in jail time, then they believe the government never expands its power. The only reason jail was removed is because the GOP used its existance in HillaryCare to effectively stop this absurdity in the 1990’s. It was put in again at the begining of the ACA debate, but later removed when they couldn’t get the votes. It’s like how they got votes by declaring the mandate wasn’t a tax, even though anyone who thought it through realized it was and now its affirmed by SCOTUS. If ACA isn’t repealed by this time next year, then the jail time will get put in.

          2. When they first introduced the seat-belt law in CA, there was so much outrage that the only way they could get it on the books was to write it so it could only be used for piling-on charges to another moving violation. IOW, they could not pull you over because a cop didn’t see a shoulder-belt on you.

            Within a few years they changed it, naturally. Now it’s “Click it or ticket!” and the police can do exactly that.

            So, until the Earth starts spinning in the opposite direction, it’s obvious where this is going.

          3. In Texas, seat belts started out as its own law, but only for those in the front seat. Then it moved to the back seat. Then it changed to required car seats for infants. Then to car seats for children under a certain age. Then to children under a certain height even if an older age. Now any adult in the car can get a ticket if they don’t have a seatbelt, and that one adult (lets say in the third row) is probable cause to pull over the vehicle and detain driver and passengers until the officer determines if any other infractions have occurred.

  18. I’m not so cheery as some of my fellow conservatives who think this is a big victory for smaller government.

    it only becomes that *IF* at some point on the line, Obamacare is defeated, destroyed, repealed and shredded.

    And we have waited years for that to happen – always pinning hopes on the next big event. And have ALWAYS been disappointed:

    First a lot of us thought that Congress wouldn’t pass it. It will be stopped there.

    – well no we didn’t reckon on out and out bribery and extortion – right out in the open.

    Then we thought the 2010 election would fix it

    – well no we only hold the House..not enough

    Then we thought the SCOTUS would strike it down. CLEARLY the mandate is utterly unconstitutional and this thing would be dead.

    – well no the SCOTUS surprised us.

    and so now we are pinning our hopes on capturing the White House, and holding the House and maybe getting the Senate and if we do all of that maybe we can get rid of this monstrosity…..

    — except that what people say they will do during the campaign and what they end up doing can and often is two entirely different things….

    1. If the people don’t take back the government then we deserve the result. We the people are suppose to be responsible adults. We need to put the blame directly where it belongs… on WE adults.

      With this ruling Obama loses the next election in a landslide and suddenly Romney has coattails.

      But if history is any indicator the win will be lost after the election in the days following. Once elected feet must be held to the fire.

      This has been a wake up call and people are responding.

  19. The article makes a good point. this is not a complete defeat for us. while the bill was upheld, roberts did get all 9 justices on record as opposing individual mandates. Of course congress can still do the same thing by calling it a tax, but taxes are not very popular. And we now have the issue for the campaign, and another obama lie on record, where he insists it is not a tax, and now agrees with the court when they say it is. So over the long run, roberts may have done us a favor.

    1. The four justices who joined Roberts in the majority did not go on record as opposing individual mandates; they all think the mandate is constitutional under the commerce clause.

      Roberts is the only justice treating the mandate as a tax. He’s the Chief Justice, and he wrote the majority opinion, but he’s still just one vote out of nine.

      1. But those four justices would think Nazi death camps are constitutional under the commerce clause as long as trains hauling Jews, gypsies, and gays to the ovens are crossing state borders.

      2. Actually, when the justices decide who writes the majority ruling, they are in fact signing on to it in its entirety.

        1. Mfk, I don’t think that’s quite correct. While you might be correct (and Jim might be incorrect) about the Justices’ views regarding taxation, I don’t think you are correct that the four liberal justices simply signed onto the opinion Roberts wrote. Roberts’ opinion is called “the opinion of the court” but each Justice agreed or disagreed with various parts. Look at how the justices explained where they agree and disagree here:


          For example, Justice Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion which begins as follows:

          JUSTICE GINSBURG, with whom JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR joins, and with whom JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join as to Parts I, II, III, and IV, concurring in part, concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part.

          I agree with THE CHIEF JUSTICE that the Anti-InjunctionAct does not bar the Court’s consideration of this case, and that the minimum coverage provision is a proper exercise of Congress’ taxing power. I therefore join Parts I, II, and III–C of THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion.Unlike THE CHIEF JUSTICE, however, I would hold, alternatively, that the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress toenact the minimum coverage provision. I would also hold that the Spending Clause permits the Medicaid expansion exactly as Congress enacted it.

          1. Also, look how the 4 liberal justices are not in lock-step:

            again from http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

            CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of theCourt and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.

          2. Correction: part of Roberts’ opinion is “Roberts’ opinion”, and part is “the opinion of the court”.

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