Free Markets, Free People

Screwed! (Update)

Apparently the entire law has been upheld with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal side of the court to declare the individual mandate survives as a tax.   The political elite have once again wiped their collective rear ends with the Constitution.

You are now all destined to be required by law to purchase (via “tax”) whatever in the hell Congress decides it wants you to purchase.  And this will, of course, translate into doing whatever Congress decides you need to do (again, I’m sure the clever totalitarians among us will find some way to accomplish those things through “taxation”).

Welcome to the new “America”. 

Wait … didn’t we once revolt over unfair taxation?

UPDATE: Apparently CNN is reporting the mandate was struck down.  SCOTUS blog says:

The court reinforces that individuals can simply refuse to pay the tax and not comply with the mandate.

Hmmm …

CNN just corrected their previous release and said the entire ACA had been upheld (and they wonder why they’re losing viewers?).

More SCOTUSblog:

The Court holds that the mandate violates the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t matter b/c there are five votes for the mandate to be constitutional under the taxing power.

SCOTUSblog again:

In Plain English: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all Americans buy health insurance, is constitutional. There were not five votes to uphold it on the ground that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance. However, five Justices agreed that the penalty that someone must pay if he refuses to buy insurance is a kind of tax that Congress can impose using its taxing power. That is all that matters. Because the mandate survives, the Court did not need to decide what other parts of the statute were constitutional, except for a provision that required states to comply with new eligibility requirements for Medicaid or risk losing their funding. On that question, the Court held that the provision is constitutional as long as states would only lose new funds if they didn’t comply with the new requirements, rather than all of their funding.

Just marvelous.  Thanks Justice Roberts. </sarc>

SCOTUS opinion/decision here.

Me, I’m taking the rest of the day off.  As an old libertarian I mourn for the freedom we just lost.  It is another reason, in a long, long line of them, to clean that cesspool of Washington DC out.  And, frankly, perhaps it is time we contemplated bolder measures.

Sorry … but this ruling all but guarantees the twilight of a great experiment.  It lasted over 200 years, but it is definitely in its nadir now.  This only accelerates the decline.  We’ve just put ourselves in the same place as Europe, and we see who gloriously that’s going, don’t we?

Wow, just wow.


Twitter: @McQandO

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64 Responses to Screwed! (Update)

  • Lets see some civil disobedience with this.  Is there anyone willing to forego health insurance and refuse to pay the tax?

    • I don’t think you’re going to have to look for deliberate volunteers, I think there will be plenty that this happens to as a normal consequence of their daily lives.

    • The IRS cometh and take away all your toys to pay for this.

    • I seem to recall that the individual mandate “tax” is written with no enforcement mechanism.

      Erick Erickson: “On the upside, I guess we can tax the hell out of abortion now.”

      Perhaps, the SCOTUS is on to something here. Tax the hell out of everything. Don’t send people to jail, tax them big time.  I’ve seen stories of some state and local governments applying taxes to illegal drugs, so even if you don’t get time, you will get taxed.

      • Actually, there was no mechanism to enforce the individual mandate in the ACA bill, but the SCOTUS said they have to enforce it … or what ? .. it isn’t a “tax” anymore ?

  • It is not like the cows on a dairy farm pay for or control their health care.  They get what the farmer gives them.  Why should the tax-cows on the tax farm expect any different?

  • Next up – Broccoli is good for you – you WILL buy at least a pound a week, you WILL keep the receipt and will be required to submit it that data on April 15th.
    We’ll sort out later how we’re going to make sure you eat it.  Perhaps you’ll be required to provide a weekly stool sample to your government appointed physician.
    Another day where I pretend I’m having another really vivid bad dream – last time was the morning of September 11th, 2001.
    I suppose they won’t find Holder in contempt either, because that will be the icing on today’s shit cake (no! no!  you idiots!  I said SHEET cake!)

    • The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance. Section 5000A would therefore be unconstitutional if read as a command. The Federal Government does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. Section 5000A is therefore constitutional, because it can reasonably be read as a tax.

      The opponents of ObamaCare won the argument, but lost by the perceived definition appearng to be a “tax.”

    • If the mandate’s a tax, how can it be valid if it originated in the Senate?

      • Details Details – it didn’t start out as a Tax, so why presume the Supreme’s were worried that it started in the Senate.

      • Got the answer to this question too.  Apparently, the House passed a token bill, then Harry Reid stripped everything out of it and inserted ObamaCare.  Magic-o presto, the bill originated in the House.

  • So, Congress cannot compel a behavior, but they can impose a penalty if certain behaviors aren’t performed?  Is that really what was decided?  If so, I’m not sure how to react.  It seems like hair splitting, on the  part of SCOTUS, in order to defer to congressional power.  I’m stunned.

    • The Commerce Clause does not let them compel commerce that doesn’t exist via “regulating Commerce”.
      That the Supreme Court decided that is a great victory for limited government, in that it compels that the power of Congress *is not plenary*, but does have limits.
      The existence of the Tax power (Art. 1, Sec. 8) is not new, nor is its broad scope particularly novel; given how radically unpopular new taxes are, we should see backlash here – and it’s also why we don’t see this sort of flailing around with taxes generally.

  • Anyone want to lay odds as to who will show up here today after a long hiatus?  And no, I’m not talking about Washing Machine Charlie – he’s still gathering talking points.

    • I figured Erb would have already popped in. I guess he is still cleaning himself up after the orgasms.

    • At this point his “I told you so” isn’t going to mean much to me – this is way more serious than anything that idiot has to say, right or wrong.

    • AHAHAHA. I -know- he doesn’t mean Erb.
      Bruce, I know who you’re talking about. Let me tell you, he saw this coming about a million years before you did. Back during Heller, remember? How did he do that? Because it’s the principle of the thing. There’s a huge flaw in, “Oh, but we need to elect the lesser evil so he’ll nominate the SCOTUS judges to fix all our problems!” and maybe, just maybe, you finally learned what that flaw is.
      If I were you, I’d at least extend an olive branch to him, and perhaps I’d even admit he always had a point on this stuff. Ooh ooh, but maybe if we elect Mitt Romney it’ll all be better! Right?!

  • The law was upheld as a tax.  Here is the president telling us it is absolutely not a tax.

    • Nothing  matters anymore. They can say whatever they want and we just have to take it. Awesome.

  • Well, at least all three branches of our government are united in their idiocy.
    The last time I can think of right off hand was Dread Scott.

  • What this means is that we don’t have the Supreme Court to do our heavy lifting for us.

    We have to do the work of getting rid of it on our own

    One of my friends put on facebook: “Congratulations, President-Elect Romney.  Sincerely, John Roberts”

    With almost 3/4 of the electorate opposed to it and wanting repeal, the electoral environment just got a lot friendlier for anyone supporting repeal

    This could well become the legal high water mark of the progressive cause

    Not to mention that whatever else he did, John Roberts has for the first time ever managed to insert into the law a legal precedent saying that government regulations and government imposed costs are taxes.  This may be the greatest Trojan Horse in history

    • And won’t be repealed even if Congress strikes this down themselves unless they legislate it to be so.
      Now, I’m trying to imagine them declaring the gourmet buffet and free alcohol bar is closed to them.

    • NO, don’t go thinking this is any sort of win. This makes Obama more likely to be reelected and even if we get Romney and a majority Republicans in the Senate this will not be repealed anymore than they are likely to repeal medicare or social security.  We are stuck with stupid expensive government health care forever.

      • Agree – McConnell instantly came out and said what we want (we, the American people…and he didn’t even kiss me) is to have the DEMOCRAT version repealed and replaced with a sensible REPUBLICAN version.

      • “even if we get Romney and a majority Republicans in the Senate this will not be repealed anymore than they are likely to repeal medicare or social security. ”

        I disagree. I’m not saying it will be repealed, but it is an easier task since it is not popular (which might change based upon the decision, so I could end up being wrong) and it isn’t fully implemented.

        SS was popular when introduced, and it has become ingrained in our society. Obamacare so far has not been popular and is not ingrained.

        We need to fight for repeal.

      • “This makes Obama more likely to be reelected.”  I disagree.  This could be 2010 all over again.  The ground swell is already beginning – reports that in the first hour after the SCOTUS ruling Romney had gathered over $1 Million and I believe by the end of the day that number could approach $10 Million.  Those who may be reluctant to vote for a Mormon will frantically get behind him.  The far right, who has been reluctant to get behind Romney because he maight not be conservative enough, will enthusiastically get behind him now.  And even Ron Paul, who may have been considering a 3rd party run, will get behind Romney for the sole purpose of ridding us of Obama.  I say it could be 2010 all over again – by that I hope Romney and his campaign can push this to the hilt and not play the wilting game ala McCain/Dole in past election cycles.

        • It is a win for Obama any way you slice it. Now they can run on eeeevil republicans want to take away your new, constitutional, health insurance!

  • The Washington post provides a calculator for figuring the penalty to people who don’t have insurance.
    Already around the office I’ve run into people who thinks this MEANS THEY HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE.   God help us, they have so muddied this pond it will never be clear.

    • Heh, well, the GOOD news to be taken from that I suppose is the howling that will occur when these people are penalized for NOT having insurance when they think they have been told they do.

      • A lot of people think this doesn’t apply to them or they will be getting something free.  A lot of people are in for a surprise. 

  • As looker suggested, really the only thing left is to guess what the next behavior compelled by taxation will be. I’d say “green” electric power comes in ahead of broccolli and ‘green’ vehicles.If Republicans somehow win in November, it would be nice to use the same law but substitute “free NRA membership” for “government insurance” and allows those above the poverty line to join the gun-rights group of their choice to avoid a fine. Perhaps then anyone celebrating today would realize what they’re really supporting. 

  • You can wave your “health insurance” around as much as you like but if no one is there to provide it, all you have is a fluttering piece of paper. By ruling that the mandated purchase is a tax, the SC may have made a wise decision and avoided a “Roe vs Wade” style guerilla war. Now every time the proponents of the ACA spout off about anything, opponents can simply point to the SC ruling that says this is a tax, exactly the opposite of what The Dear Golfer nad his minions repeatedly said (not the first time this has happened). When charts are drawn up showing tax loads, this new tax will show how ACA politicians have added a large amount. If Tea Party or GOP backed candidates can take control of the Senate and increase in the House, then perhaps a legislative alternative can be created. OTOH there are many uneducated voters out there who do not understand simple math. THe “house is burning but you must sell me a low cost policy” provision, the “my child is under 26 so you must continue to cover her under my policy” provision, these are just nuts.

    • Small Steps – they know as well as we do, this didn’t provide insurance, or health care, it provided a path to creating an entire government controlled medical system.
      And if they are providing your medical coverage there is nothing they cannot justify.   Uncle Sam just become Mother Samantha.

  • I just had to turn off the TV my wife was watching when Obama said “Let’s not spend time determining winners and losers” … or words to that effect, then following it with a campaign commercial.

  • More fallout from Bush 2’s disastrous term. His chief justice upheld a law passed by a Congress elected by an voters disgusted with him. Heckuva job, Georgie!
    As for the ruling, who cares? It’s a massive win for people who want to transfer wealth from productive (middle class)  to nonproductive (poor) people. Both parties have supported this platform for a long time, nothing new here.
    Finally, the GOP has nominated a moderate governor who passed a very similar bill in his home state. Who wants to lay odds that Mittens — if elected — won’t lift a finger to stop this?

    • As much as I was disappointed in the ruling, the Constitution has gaping holes when it came to considering things that were absurd at the time it was drafted.  They counted on an informed public and congress accountable to thier constituents first.  Where they did, the constitution gets run over. 

      • The Constitution has been a dead letter, certainly since the 60s and probably since the 30s. A priori reasoning guided by forgone conclusions is the name of the game.
        Watching the right get torn up about this is pretty instructive. The GOP screwed itself on this twice over: first by fighting tooth and nail for at least a generation to not tackle the underlying problem, and second, by electing George Bush, among whose many mistakes must now be included Roberts’ appointment.

        • To be honest, I could be wrong about Roberts; if he has managed to limit the CC in this holding, it may be a Marbury-type victory. Plus, let’s see what else he comes up with. Have to say, though, this decision is terrible.

        • The Constitution died around 1942.

  • As TKC said, Congress and the President specifically and repeatedly stated the mandate was not a tax and yet the court treated it as a tax. Ah, well, perhaps the Supremos were just trying to save time by anticipating the next iteration of the mandate and its appeal.
    Between this new concept of taxation and the recent eminent domain decisions we are truly screwed. To be fair, the tax code already contains incentives and disincentives, but I think this is a bit of an overreach.

  • Just like the old adage of seeing something half empty instead
    of half full, many are viewing the Supreme Court’s decision on Obamacare as a
    purely negative outcome. Sure, I would have liked the court to rule
    constitutionally and in a responsible fashion. Sure, I would have preferred the
    court use the law to base their decision instead of failed socialist
    ideologies. It would have also been nice to see the court use their power for
    the good of the nation instead of heading it towards a path of bankruptcy and

              However, in the Supreme Court’s
    infinite wisdom they voted to uphold the Marxists principles which Obama holds
    so dearly. Though many despair because of this mindless decision, I see a
    positive side that far outweighs the negative which seem to hang so heavily
    over America’s future.

              Why? The answer is simple and can be
    summed up in one word: Complacency.
    It might seem over simplistic but it actually makes sense when you think about.
    First, you have to ask yourselves what got General Secretary Obama elected? It
    was the opposite of complacency: Motivation.

              What the Democrats did in the last
    presidential election was motivate their base to go out and vote in droves.
    They got them to the polls. Through rhetoric such as hope and change they made
    everyone out in American feel as if they alone could make a difference just by
    voting for Obama. They made it feel that a vote for Obama would change the
    country for the better; a vote for Obama would make your life better; a vote
    for Obama would turn America into a true utopia. Though Obama and his failed
    policies could do none of this, people felt as if he do all of this and more.
    They were thus motivated to go out and vote.

              However, times have changed. Obama is
    in power and his greatest assault against American freedom and Capitalism,
    Obamacare, was upheld. Now I ask: where’s the motivation to Obama’s supports?
    They already have what they want. If, however, Obamacare was repealed, there
    would have been a battle cry sent out by Obama and his Himmler-esk cronies.
    They would have berated the Republicans, chastised the courts and made it a
    point that if Obama were voted out of power this November, things would go back
    to the way things were during former President Bush’s times. Obama would have sent
    the fear of God into people and made them think if Romney got into office, a
    Republican-driven Supreme Court would repeal civil rights, women’s suffrage and
    all welfare-type programs. They would have painted a picture of the future
    filled with despair, filled with greedy capitalistic clones of Romney
    economically squashing the other 99% of society.

              Instead of chanting, “Remember
    the Maine, down with Spain”, they would be shouting, “Remember
    Obamacares, throw Romney down the stairs!” (Maybe not exactly, but I just
    wanted it to rhyme). It would have again provoked the masses to go and cast a
    vote towards economic insolvency- I mean for Obama.

              Now you have to ask: who is motivated
    now? I can tell you. All the Republicans, members of the Tea party, the working
    class, people who actually pay taxes and everyone who owns any size business
    across the country. Now, we have the motivation. We have the battle cry. We
    have more a reason now to vote Obama out of office than before!

    fact, I’d like to thank the Supreme Court for their ruling. For at this moment
    the tide has turned against Obama and the path to his exit from the White House
    has become visible. Thank you for your nearsightedness. Thank you for your
    demagoguery. Thank you for total disregard to the Constitution. For it is
    through this act of total ignorance that we Americans will take back the White
    House and elect a real American into office!

  • Yeah, America no more. A flower can stay lovely for awhile after the stem is cut, but not for long.

  • Let’s slow down and mull this over for a moment.  I agree with McQ, that this is a blow to individual freedom but i also have to look at it from the pragmatic side – the individual mandate is now a tax and therefore becomes a budget issue.  A BUDGET issue!  The import of this is quite simple – if Congress is the be all and end all for the power to tax and spend, it can also choose not to tax.  And by addressing the issue in the budget you avoid the power of the fillibuster in the Senate!  Don’t provide the funding and where does the law go?  Nowhere!  To do this we only have to maintain the power in one house or the other.  If you were to try and strike down the law, legislatively, the fillibuster would kill it every time.

    • Take back both branches of the Legislature, then pass your revoke the SAME way Harry Reid passed the damn bill in the first place.  Whatever Nuclear option you have to employ – they understand how that works.

    • That won’t work at all. The law goes on with all of it’s may changes to the system. If you try and just withhold funding then it will mean people not getting any healthcare.
      How long do you think politicians could withstand that assault?

  • I keep seeing how this is a win because the commerce clause is gutted and since this is a tax, it can be attacked and destroyed in congress. Funny though, doesnt feel like a win to me

    • But, clearly, all they have to do is declare your inaction on anything to be a taxable offense.  So I’m not exactly clear on how that’s much different than Pelosi’s argument they can make you do anything they want under the Commerce Clause.  Unless I’m supposed to find comfort they can’t MAKE you, but they CAN monetarily penalize you for failing to do what they want.   A wonderful legal distinction I’m sure.  Can I ask, why MUST there be a ‘reasonable limit’ on the financial penalty Congress can inflict?  Who decides what’s reasonable?
      Let’s say, people calculate their taxes out, and pay their legal due for everything BUT the penalty of non-compliance for health insurance and the IRS comes and places liens on their stuff.  I GUESS that’s better than them taking you to jail, but having your property encumbered by an IRS lien certainly is going to complicate your life and interfere with that whole life liberty and the pursuit of happiness schtick.   No jail, just a fine.  A wonderful legal distinction.   I’m sure that’ll keep us dry and warm when they confiscate the house for failure to pay federal taxes.  Depend on a beneficent Congress who will never punish you ‘too hard’, rather than a Congress that can’t punish you AT ALL.    Some silver lining.

  • The term ‘libertarian’ was originally coined by the French (one of those hated European countries) and was used to indicate certain ‘liberal’ principles.  In the 60’s, when the Republicans co-opted the term, they actually followed a reactionary conservative position, and they should refer to themselves as conservative libertarians, to distinguish themselves from the true ‘libertes’.

    • BULLSHIT!!!!!  The following is from Wikipedia: 

      The term libertarian
      in a metaphysical or philosophical sense was first used by late-Enlightenment free-thinkers
      to refer to those who believed in free will, as opposed to determinism. The
      first recorded use was in 1789 by William Belsham in a discussion of free will
      and in opposition to “necessitarian” (or determinist) views. In 1793,
      William Godwin wrote Political Justice, which some consider to be the
      first expression of anarchism. Godwin opposed revolutionary action and saw a minimal
      state as a present “necessary evil” that would become increasingly
      irrelevant and powerless by the gradual spread of knowledge.  The writings of John Locke became influential
      during this time. Locke’s political theory was founded on social contract
      theory. Unlike Thomas Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature is characterised
      by reason and tolerance. Like Hobbes, Locke believed that human nature allowed
      men to be selfish. This is apparent with the introduction of currency. In a natural
      state all people were equal and independent, and everyone had a natural right
      to defend his “Life, health, Liberty, or Possessions”. This became the
      basis for the phrase in the American Declaration of Independence: “Life,
      liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”

    • Get a grip Tad, nearly ALL our words are from someplace else.  The bulk of the language you use for your daily distortions comes from Europe, stop being a child.

    • liberal, as in free from the tyranny of the King. The progressives just picked up that term and turned it on its head.

    • Seriously, DO you ever research crap the moonbattery packs in your head?

  • So, once the SCOTUS hands over all power to government, can we just retire them as unnecessary?

  • “And, frankly, perhaps it is time we contemplated bolder measures.”

    Yeah, a lot of them will be feds, but there’s ways around that when the $hit gets real.
    And, really, you think you aren’t already on a list?

  • One of the prime reasons GWB’s approval dropped to the 30% range in 05 – and has remained there – is liberals like Roberts.
    To quote Abe”you can fool some of the folk all the time… but you can not fool all the folk all the time>” Ann C was not fooled nor I

  • I will never comply with this.