Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why neither Left nor Right should be happy about Obamacare ruling

Congress now has the Constitutional authority to make you buy a firearm and ammunition.

There is something important that I have not seen mentioned by any commentator, Left or Right, on the US Supreme Court's ruling today that upheld Obamacare lock, stock and barrel. And it is the centrally bad part of the Court's majority ruling.

Obamacare's "individual mandate" means that if you don't buy government-approved health insurance, then you are penalized by being required to pay a special tax enacted purely for that reason.

By classifying Obamacare's individual mandate as a form of Constitutionally permissible tax, the Court has emplaced in Constitutional law the power of the present or any future Congress to enact any kind of mandate whatsoever on individuals as long as Congress characterizes penalties for non-compliance as a tax.

That means that the Congress now has the Constitutional power to tax absolutely any activity or inactivity by individuals. Congress now has unlimited power to tax.

So does the Congress have the authority to make us eat broccoli, as one justice asked the solicitor general during the hearing? Now we know the answer: without question the Congress now enjoys the power to make us buy broccoli, whether we eat it or not. Don't buy it? Pay a special tax.

Congress has the power now to make everyone drive a white car - or pay a special tax if they don't.

And before the Left gets all giddy with elation at this ruling, consider that any Republican Congress will also enjoy - and take advantage of - this power. So yes, Congress now has the Constitutional power to require every able-bodied, sound of mind adult (male or female) to purchase a firearm and ammunition - or pay they don't, just fork over $1,000 to the IRS and have a nice day.

Mark today's date on your calendars. June 28, 2012 is the day that the sovereignty of the American people vanished. This is the day we became subjects rather than citizens. As Daniel Webster argued before the court of Chief Justice John Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland, "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy." And in his decision, Marshall agreed.

Today was the day our freedom was destroyed. As of today, absolutely nothing we do or don't do is beyond the power of Congress to dictate.

Update: Seems it is starting to sink in that because of the Court's ruling, there are now no limits to Congress doing whatever it wants as long it justifies under its now-limitless taxation authority. See the commentary on The TaxProf Blog.

Then there's this: "Maybe the most depressing aspect of the decision is the way it seems to endorse using the tax law as the Swiss Army Knife of public policy. Things that Congress can’t enact any other way are now possible if they can somehow be crammed into the tax law" (boldface original).