William R. Toler
The Supreme Court of the United States of America effectively ruled Thursday that the federal government can tax the people for NOT doing something.
The central issue regarding the Affordable Care Act was a provision that mandated that everyone in the country have medical insurance. It could be individually purchased, provided by the employer or the government…as long as everyone is covered.
Originally, President Barack H. Obama stated that it wasn’t a tax. The government’s lawyers even tried to argue that congress had the authority via the much-bastardized “commerce clause.”
The court even said as such in the opinion:
Just as the individual mandate cannot be sustained as a law regulating the substantial effects of the failure to purchase health insurance, neither can it be upheld as a “necessary and proper” component of the insurance reforms. The commerce power thus does not authorize the mandate.
However, the court decided that the mandate did fall under congress’ power to tax, with a shocking majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.
Congress’s authority under the taxingpower is limited to requiring an individual to pay money into the Federal Treasury, no more. If a tax is properly paid, the Government has no power to compel or punish individuals subject to it. We do not make light of the severe burden that taxation—especially taxation motivated by a regulatory purpose—can impose. But imposition of a tax nonetheless leaves an individual with a lawful choice to do or not do a certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice.
The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our roleto forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.
It should be noted that the dissenters, including “swing-voter” Justice Anthony Kennedy, voted to strike down the entire act.
The Act before us here exceeds federal power both in mandating the purchase of health insurance and in denying nonconsenting States all Medicaid funding. These parts of the Act are central to its design and operation, and all the Act’s other provisions would not have been enacted without them. In our view it must follow that the entire statute is inoperative.
I’ve scrolled through the opinion, trying to make sense out of it. It’s impossible. It makes not logical sense. Even self-described liberals, including IR contributor James White, are wondering, “How the hell is the mandate Constitutional?”
This decision goes beyond ObamaCare. It opens the door for even more federal government control over our lives, depriving us of liberty. It’s ironic that those that support the “freedom to choose” when it comes to abortion, deny that freedom when it comes to a personal business transaction.
So, the president lied. That’s not really surprising considering 99 percent of politicians lie. But he is living up to his commitment of creating jobs, albeit government jobs. The IRS and other government agencies will need to hire more than 1200 new employees to administer the new law.
It seems aprapos to end this with a quote by American anarchist and abolitionist Lysander Spooner, from A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
“It was once said, in this country, that taxation without consent was robbery. And a seven years’ war was fought to maintain that principle. But if that principle were a true one in behalf of three millions of men, it is an equally true one in behalf of three men, or of one man.
Who are ever taxed? Individuals only. Who have property that can be taxed? Individuals only. Who can give their consent to be taxed? Individuals only. Who are ever taxed without their consent? Individuals only. Who, then, are robbed, if taxed without their consent? Individuals only.
If taxation without consent is robbery, the United States government has never had, has not now, and is never likely to have, a single honest dollar in its treasury.
If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.
If any man’s money can be taken by a so-called government, without his own personal consent, all his other rights are taken with it; for with his money the government can, and will, hire soldiers to stand over him, compel him to submit to its arbitrary will, and kill him if he resists.”
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