Mandate Made Law

Obamacare protest
Obamacare protest
Protesters outside the Supreme Court on Monday March 26, 2012 | Photo: Jacquelyn Martin | Obamacare, Protest, Supreme Court, Healthcare,

The Biggest Tax Increase in History

As a conservative, of course I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's ruling that Obamacare's health insurance mandate is constitutional. The knowledge that the Bush-appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court actually had to change the law in order to justify its constitutionality only pours salt into the wound. But even with many conservatives reeling in response to this unprecedented action by the highest court in the land, the decision seems to have galvanized conservatives in this election year, as many are now showing greater resolve to repeal Obamacare so that it can be replaced with a solution that might actually fix our healthcare system.

Not all conservatives have responded so encouragingly. An op-ed by George Will titled "The Consolation Prize" was posted on National Review Online. In the column, Will argues that conservatives should be happy with the Supreme Court's ruling, because in the opinion, the Chief Justice decisively stated that the health insurance mandate could not be held as constitutional under the Commerce Clause...and while it is undoubtedly a good thing that the Court affirmed that the government can't just do whatever it wants to under the umbrella of the Commerce Clause, the Supreme Court just authorized the federal government to do whatever it wants under Congress's power to levy taxes.

It wasn't that long ago that Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying "We tax everything that moves and doesn't move." Now not only can the government tax everything you buy, they can tax everything you don't buy. This ruling gives the government unprecedented power to use the tax code to regulate people's behavior in any way they wish. Whether under the commerce or under the tax code, it's bad for America either way.

Chief Justice John Roberts has met with a lot of criticism from conservatives for his vote and his opinion in the Obamacare ruling...and some of those reasons extend beyond the simple Republican vs. Democrat dynamics of the Obamacare debate ' there are legitimate legal problems with Justice Roberts' ruling.

Let's start with President Obama, who publicly stated multiple times that his health care bill was not a tax. The White House lawyers who argued the case before the Supreme Court argued that the mandate was not a tax. So this decision stands as a supreme example of judicial activism ' in its ruling, the Supreme Court re-defined the entire nature of the health insurance mandate, stating that it was something other than what the Government had even argued it was.

In fact, as John Hayward at Human Events points out, if the mandate is a tax, then the Court actually violated the law by hearing and rendering a decision on the case. There is a law that applies to the courts called the Anti-Injunction Act. This Act basically states that a tax increase cannot be challenged in the courts until it has actually been applied and someone has had to pay it. The Democrats didn't want to deal with the political ramifications of foisting a massive tax increase on the American people before the next presidential election, so they made the mandate kick in in no one has had to pay that tax yet. Then, the Solicitor General actually argued against the mandate being considered a tax, precisely because the Anti-Injunction Act would force the Court to throw out the entire case.

So according to the law, if the health insurance mandate is only constitutional under Congress's power to tax, then one of the two follows from that:

  • The mandate is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.
  • The Court cannot render a decision on the mandate, because it is a tax that no one has had to pay yet.

From a practical perspective, of course, it matters little whether Obamacare is upheld under the Commerce Clause or the power to levy taxes. The result either way is that the federal government is granted nearly unlimited power to control the lives and restrict the freedoms of the American people. Chief Justice Roberts uses the analogy in his opinion of theoretical government mandates for the purchase of cars or broccoli. The Government argued that a health insurance mandate was different from a car or a broccoli mandate because "health insurance is not purchased for its own sake like a car or broccoli; it is a means of financing health-care consumption and covering universal risks." The Chief Justice points out that cars and broccoli aren't purchased for their own sake either. But if the mandate is permissible as a tax, then the federal government can use the tax code to require the purchase of cars, broccoli, a pack of gum, or any other product in the marketplace, regardless of the reason behind the purchase..

With this decision, the Supreme Court has given the federal government a blank check to violate their Constitutional constraints, as long as they can call it a tax.

But if they're calling it a tax - which the Democrats seem to have no problem with, as long as they get their health care bill - the mandate's newfound status as a tax makes a liar out of our president, who repeatedly insisted that it was not a tax...but now is apparently willing to accept it as a tax if that means he wins the political victory. It really makes a double-liar out of the president, who also insisted that he would not be raising taxes on the middle-class. In fact, there are multiple tax increases in Obamacare that would hit people across the economic spectrum - and these tax increases are in addition to the continuing increases in health insurance rates caused by the ever-increasing regulations imposed by Obama's health care bill.

It's time to send a message to Nancy Pelosi: you passed the bill, and we have found out what is in it. Obamacare is nothing more than an amalgamation of job-killing tax increases that will further squelch any hopes our nation has for an economic recovery, and freedom-killing regulations that will make health insurance more unaffordable for all Americans. In short: the Democrats' victory means defeat for America.

This gives a little perspective to the phrase "I hope he fails."

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:29 PM EST | More details


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