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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Might Makes Right: Obamacare

I wasn't at all surprised by the SCOTUS decision regarding the individual mandate.  After all, it's really just semantics to say that an individual mandate to buy something or else pay a fine is any different than a tax with a deduction for buying something, the latter of which has been done over and over with no constitutional debate.

Whereas I don't personally think that Chief Justice Robert's writing in the majority decision showed particularly lucid reasoning, I think the gist was reasonable.  The individual mandate is not allowed by the Commerce Clause, but rather under the taxing clauses.

This is yet another example of taxation being in direct conflict with freedom and has been exacerbated by the 16th amendment: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." Without the 16th amendment, these sorts of tax versus tax credit bits of legislation would be a lot harder.

Any behavior can be thus enforced through taxation.  For example, Congress could legislate that everybody pay 100% of their income in taxes with deductions for various behaviors such as buying health insurance, eating broccoli, working for progressive causes, etc.  If you don't do enough of the "right" behaviors, you starve.

I'm not saying that Congress is about to do anything as extreme as that.

What I am saying is the constitution really is just a piece of paper that has virtually no protective or really even useful value.

Ultimately, Might Makes Right.

Update: According to Randy Barnett, who actually probably knows what he's talking about, I'm wrong - the level of taxation allowed in cases like this cannot amount to coercion, only incentive.


erp said...

You're right. That's why the FF included a statement about an informed citizenry. The teachers unions having seen to it that the portion of the population that would fit that description is being fazed out and what's following isn't even just uninformed, they're dis-informed and sitting ducks for the unscrupulous.

Susan's Husband said...


To some extent. But there is power in having a clear expression of ideas, rather than an inchoate gestalt. That more than anything is what the Constitution provides.


Try this website if you want some details on how the dumbing down of the population has been organized.

erp said...

SH, I don't need schooling on this subject. I've lived it throughout my life. My older kids now 53 & 55 had more or less the same kind of education as I did in the 40's & 50's. When my youngest son by 7 years, started school, I could already see the difference and as the years went by, I became distraught by what I saw in the way my younger nieces and nephews and all their friends, neighbors, etc. were taught.

My grandchildren's indoctrination education (the oldest has lived in France her entire life!) make me want to cry. A brilliant young high school freshman who’s helping me with a project at the local library, showed me her reading list for the International Baccalaureate (God help us) Program. She assures me that it’s a lot harder and more advanced as the AP program. Nary a classic in sight.

My 15 year old granddaughter goes to one of the foremost prep schools in the country where as a freshman took junior level math and Latin. She's a "brain" and her scope of knowledge is astonishing, yet she doesn't suspect that a lot of what she's being taught is bogus. My daughter, her mother, has requested that I not “get into it.”

We two are doing SAT prep by getting a daily question and I have to keep from saying anything about the propaganda in the grammar questions which BTW are ridiculously easy. The math, except geometry, is incomprehensible. Has the way equations are written been changed or have I forgotten what I knew and loved all these long decades ago.

Sorry for being so long-winded. :-{

Hey Skipper said...

My irony detector is going into the red.

The individual mandate, regardless of its constitutionality, at least attempts to address the fundamental libertarian problem: free riding.

If I was a constitutional lawyer, I would have pursued the ACA under equal protection grounds (this, BTW, is an admission against interest): people who get health coverage in lieu of salary pay much less than those who do not.

Of course, that would have required Obamacare to take on the unions (including my own).

erp said...

The ascendancy of the power of the unions more than anything else has caused the destruction of our world for lots of reasons, the most important of which IMO is that it has made allies or diverse groups like teachers and firemen and pilots and other dissimilar populations that wouldn't have necessarily been sympathetic to each others gripes had they not been united by their leaders's greed against the rest of us.

Until that changes, we ain't going nowhere but down.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper wrote: "fundamental libertarian problem: free riding."

Fundamental non-libertarian problem: looting. :-)

Hey Skipper said...


The ascendancy of the power of the unions more than anything else has caused the destruction of our world for lots of reasons, the most important of which IMO is that it has made allies or diverse groups like teachers and firemen and pilots ...

Excluding tumors like the SEIU, the power of unions has practically vanished over the last forty years.

I am not completely anti-union. In cases such as mine (non-existent lateral mobility, and a fiendishly complex work environment), there needs to be a counter party to the company in establishing work rules. However, most jobs aren't like that. Consequently, the fraction of private sector jobs that are unionized is probably under 10%, and none of them are in anything like a dominant position.

Where unions are not monopoly providers of labor (as gov't sector unions are, but private sector are not), I think they are either responsible, or on their way to extinction.

With regard to the bizarre tax treatment of health coverage in lieu of salary, the unions have demonstrated their moral obtuseness, and shown themselves, no matter how responsible they might be otherwise, as rent seeking cartels.

erp said...

Skipper, sorry I wasn't clear. The private sector unions have already destroyed their hosts, so you're right that their numbers have diminished while their counterparts in the public sector have more than made up for them.

It's not I don't think professional organizations aren't useful, it's that they become corrupted by the same union mentality, to wit, the Bar Association and the AMA and even the AARP.