June 28, 2012

Obama imposes huge tax on the American middle class.

That's the story, right? That's the spin for Romney. What's the spin for Obama?

UPDATE: Drudge points to Obama's assertion, back in September 2009 that the mandate is not a tax.
STEPHANOPOULOS: [I]t's still a tax increase.

OBAMA: No. That's not true, George. The — for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs.
I have said repeatedly that Obama would be worse off if Obamacare were upheld, but what I'm really seeing is how bad it is for him with the mandate declared a tax.

Remember the Democrats got the statute passed by insisting it was not a tax. Now, we learn it is only constitutional because it is a tax. That's got to hurt politically.

ADDED: Romney has at least 3 big arguments:

1. Obama imposed a huge new tax on working people.

2. Obama deceived the American people by saying it was not a tax, when it was.

3. The law made it look like money would go to insurance companies — in the form of new premiums — that would keep premiums low as the companies were required to take on people with pre-existing conditions, but now we find out that the money is really going to go to the federal government. [ADDED: So get ready for your premiums to spiral up and/or for insurance companies to be ruined.]

369 comments:

1 – 200 of 369   Newer›   Newest»
BarryD said...

Obama's spin will be that the Court approved his bill. "I won", "democracy", and the usual claptrap.

Liberals never justify taxes directly, at least not in my memory. It's always about "if we can get one vote at one time in history, you owe the government more of your life, forever."

Democracy, two wolves and a sheep, you know the drill.

Pianoman said...

The SCOTUS just handed the Presidency to Romney.

David said...

"It's not over until we win."

ACA, Round 2, about to begin.

exhelodrvr1 said...

THe spin for Obama?

"Fast and FUrious" doesn't look so bad now, does it?!

Ron said...

so then the trick in the future will be to call things "free ice cream" because no one would actually vote for a tax....but if we need a court ruling on it, yeah, it's a tax.

BarryD said...

And as I posted before, with the right video clips, presented correctly, Obama is as toasted as Bush 41.

The Drill SGT said...

plus, They lied to you during the debate. When they argued in front of the SCOTUS, they said it was a tax instead. The court confirms it


PS: wonder what the NYSE does. I suspect drops

PPS: which is another Romney spin.

Matthew Sablan said...

Obama didn't raise taxes. The Supreme Court did. How can you blame him for them raising the taxes?

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,

So am I to conclude that the Chief Justice and his liberal allies 'punted' by declaring that this law (ACA) is simply a tax bill? A tax bill with healthcare policy requirements attached as a proverbial 'sidecar'?

I guess one may conclude that Roberts 'blinked' at the idea of striking down the law. The constitution now ends were the tax code begins?



I guess one can say that Roberts left the 'political' bomb ticking in Obama's lap. Can Mittens detonate it this November?

Palladian said...

What's the spin for Obama

I won!

BarryD said...

DJIA has dropped 123 points as of right now. We will see.

edutcher said...

Agree with BarryD. He'll preen all over the place.

The Drill SGT said...

PS: wonder what the NYSE does. I suspect drops

Down 123.

Get ready for Dip 3.

Deborah McLaughlin said...

Professor, I do so hope you are right.

phx said...
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EDH said...
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furious_a said...

So is a tax easier to repeal than a mandate citing the Commerce Clause? Does it fall (in, say, a Senate with a narrow Republican majority) under budget consideration where a simple majority is required for passage?

EDH said...

"What's the spin for Obama[?]"

Convince his key constituencies that in a second term Obamacare will waive their "tax" and thereby provide them with free healthcare, but only if they vote the right way.

Jay said...

So Mr. Super-Duper Smart Con Law Lecturer's bill is "constitutional" because it is a tax, when he said it wasn't a tax.

Fprawl said...

Looks like Harry Reid won't be implementing his Filibuster rules change if he is still Leader.

Palladian said...

But who knows. Maybe the Dems can have their cake and eat it too.

Cake is bad for you. That's now something the government cares about deeply, and will have the right to keep from you.

rehajm said...

I hope it means there's a greater likelihood we all will quit quoting Intrade prices as if they are significant or meaningful.

questioningann said...

spin spin spin spin, looking for ways to fault Obama. Keep spinning.

AJ Lynch said...

The spin should be "Dems are in love with big, federal spending plans like Medicare and Social Security which, by the way, are both broke.

Now the Dems think the way to go is to create another big fdreral spending plan. I disagree because the only thing Washington produces is a lot of big, bad ideas."

Franklin said...

Tax and Spend Democrats - stereotypes exist for a reason.

AprilApple said...

Hillary Care - Obama Care - Pelosi Care - ACA - whatever you call it - it is Tax payer funded health care.

Jason said...

Congratulations, America. We are officially a socialist country.

Balfegor said...

Re: Obama:

What it's saying is, is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.

And as I love pointing out, the President clearly had no idea what was actually being discussed. From Time, September 2009:


Would there be an individual mandate?
Yes. Beginning in 2013, individuals would be required to have health insurance. Individuals and families who do not have insurance for more than three months in a given year would be subject to an annual excise tax of $750 and $1,500, respectively, if their income is below 300% of the federal poverty line (or $66,150 for a family of four). Tax penalties for individuals and families with incomes above that would be $950 and $3,800. The excise tax would be waived for Native Americans and individuals and families whose health-insurance costs would be more than 10% of their annual income
.

A quick look at Thomas shows that Time was right, the President was wrong.

Jay said...

Considerning how unpopular Obamacare and taxes are, did CJ Roberts just hand the election to Mitt Romney?

holdfast said...

So if it is a tax (i.e. a money bill) I assume that the repeal can proceed with just 51 votes in the Senate?

After all, it's just the largest single tax increase on the middle class in American history.

And yes, I am massively disappointed in Roberts - I don't know if he caved to the pressure or this reflects his true belief. Either way, I'm not happy, but you work with what you have - so we take it as a victory in trying to limit Commerce Clause expansion and campaign on repealing the massive Obama tax hike on the middle class. While I would have been more than happy with the USSC striking down Obamacare, at heart it is bad policy and bad politics, and really should be defeated/repealed on those grounds.

Fen said...

I figured the ACA would make Obama a one-term President, and I've always been good with that. It's worth it.

I think Leftist strategists would agree. As Steyn says, ACA lays the path for a permanent shift into a left-of-center culture for American politics. "Conservatives" will be reduced to arguing for a reduction in the growth of entitlements, as opposed to real cuts.

So Obama takes the hit and isn't re-elected. So what. For the Socialist Left, thats like losing a carrier in exchange for a win at Midway (ie. turning point of the war).

And Romney is not the solution. He'll do the same thing the GOP has been doing about illegal immigration enforcement - promises and then a diluted response thats worth nothing.

ACA is here to stay. Adapt and get used to it. We've gotten the government we deserve.

phx said...
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Ross said...

What?! But Senator Obama in 2008 said he wasn't going to raise my taxes. I think he needs to speak with President Obama about this...

Harold said...

Isn't the penalty a set amount? If so it's not only a new tax but it's also regressive since it's going to be a miniscule amount to the 1%.

LoafingOaf said...

"With this outcome, everyone gets what they want—health care for the uninsured, something to be angry about for the right."
— @mattyglesias via TweetDeck

"Mood in Obama's campaign HQ like 12:01 New Year's Eve. Sound of cheering, whooping..."
— @GlennThrush via web

Bloody noses for the teabaggers. lol

Vindication for President Obama.

It's constitutional, bitches!

Rusty said...

Who was arguing that the ACA wan't a tax. I seem to recall someone here took umbrage at my characterizing it as a tax. Low and behold- a tax!

Balfegor said...

3. The law made it look like money would go to insurance companies — in the form of new premiums — that would keep premiums low as the companies were required to take on people with pre-existing conditions, but now we find out that the money is really going to go to the federal government.

3 does not really seem like a winning argument to me. People hate insurance companies more than the federal government. And if people are willing to go to the second step (money => insurance companies means lower premiums), they're probably willing to go to the third (money to the federal government is disbursed in subsidies to people so they can afford expensive insurance). But frankly, I find it dubious that either of those steps will work as planned.

Lyle said...

... and during an economic downturn. Ha.

cubanbob said...

Romney if elected can grant the entire country a waiver.
He can learn from Obama and declare scare resources and not implement the bill. Better still he can have congress repeal the tax. The democrats are going to have to justify the largest tax hike in history, especially a tax that hits the middle class the hardest. Watch every democrat in a tight election not show up at the convention and declare "Obama who? Never heard of him".

Now the question is once the tax goes in to effect is it a permissible tax? At least the court dodged the bullet on expanding the commerce clause.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Isn't the penalty a set amount? If so it's not only a new tax but it's also regressive since it's going to be a miniscule amount to the 1%."

-- No. It isn't a penalty; it is a variable tax rate based on income. Or something.

Mitch H. said...

Meh. This was the chance to kill the monster. Politicians come and go, but their evil lives on after their careers by the crap law they leave behind them. This was the chance to drive it back before the ratchet effect locked it into place. We won't get rid of it now; You couldn't displace it with a cold chisel and thermite after Roberts pulled back from the brink.

And Kennedy on the *dissenting* side! How often does that happen?

Jay Retread said...

President Obama's legacy will be established. History will remember him as a leader who extended healthcare to millions. Years from now Obama will be remembered as a great president who did big things.
Thank you president Obama.

EDH said...

Won't the real shit storm be after the election, however, when many employers start to drop their healthcare insurance plans because the penalty, ahem, excuse me, "tax" will be cheaper?

Obama's response of course will be to raise the "tax" on irresponsible employers.

BlogDog said...

They better start building prisons because I *will* got to jail before paying this "tax." Shovel ready just got real.

BarryD said...

"Who was arguing that the ACA wan't a tax"

Barack Hussein Obama
Mmmmm Mmmmm Mmmmm

http://reason.com/blog/2012/06/28/in-2009-president-obama-insisted-that-th

Rusty said...

Matthew Sablan said...
Obama didn't raise taxes. The Supreme Court did. How can you blame him for them raising the taxes?


No. The democrat congress did. The Supreme Court just did its job.
Lets see how this congress and the new senate and president deal with this next year.
The electorate was lied to about this and lied to in an organized and willful way.
"I aim too misbehave."

wv-properP Yeah.

Palladian said...

Years from now Obama will be remembered as a great president who did big things.
Thank you president Obama.


LOL. I'm sort of embarrassed for you.

Pianoman said...

Couple other points:

1) Now that it's a tax, and now that the whole ACA has been upheld, it's a lot easier for the Boehner Congress to wipe out the whole thing. If chunks of it were upheld, and other chunks were not, it would have been a lot harder to do.

2) You could argue that the court has punted this entire thing back to Congress -- they've set the precedent that the power to pass this kind of legislation is vested in Congress alone. They have reinforced the Legislative Branch, and REDUCED the power of the Judicial Branch, and in so doing they have taken away the ability of the Left to shriek about the "activist court".

phx said...
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Balfegor said...

Re: Mitch H:

Meh. This was the chance to kill the monster. Politicians come and go, but their evil lives on after their careers by the crap law they leave behind them. This was the chance to drive it back before the ratchet effect locked it into place.

That's really only if you think Obamacare isn't going to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions in the near future. Given that portions of it are already failing to work as planned, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Congress basically has to go back to the drawing board in a few years. This was not a well designed bill.

RichardS said...

My guess is that Robert's tendency is to rule as narrowly as possible, and to defer to the elected branches as much as possible.

But would logic justify other taxes? Would it allow a special tax on abortion, for example, to pass constitutional muster? After all, by decreasing population, abortion, and birth control in general, changes the worker/ retiree ratio. (I am not saying that such a tax is a good idea. But I am asking, in light of this ruiling, if it would be constitutional?)

harrogate said...

I am with those (and there are a lot more of us than people commenting on this blog seem to want to acknowledge) mainly hoping that this means that millions of uninsured people will get coverage, both as a result of the mandate and the extension of Medicaid. Still not sure if that's how it will work, but there's a much better chance of that outcome now, then there was yesterday, anyway....

Michael K said...

It's very difficult to see what happens now. The Obama people will celebrate the "win," What does Romney do ? He can promise to repeal it and emphasize the tax nature of the mandate. The mandate was never the most destructive aspect of this monstrosity. It turns health care inside out. Doctors and other providers now work for the state. There are provisions in the law to ban private practice options. The law will be unsettled for years. The economy will take another huge hit. I don't think Rpberts knows any more about economics than Obama does.

RichardS said...

Must Christian Scientists pay this tax? If not, it would be prudent to practice that religion until one hits 40 or so.

Green said...

Well, bye bye US - of - a, it was nice knowing you, but you are now gone.

edutcher said...

harrogate said...

I am with those (and there are a lot more of us than people commenting on this blog seem to want to acknowledge) mainly hoping that this means that millions of uninsured people will get coverage, both as a result of the mandate and the extension of Medicaid. Still not sure if that's how it will work, but there's a much better chance of that outcome now, then there was yesterday, anyway....

Yes, and when those poor, uninsured people go up before the Death Panels, may harro be first in line.

Robert Payne said...

Folks you are missing the point-- the "tax" is the the vehicles that allows waiver of pre-existing conditions. The thought is that the penalty will coerce you to buy coverae. Ann are you sure that the tax will go to the Fed pockets or is the real provision that it will go to the insurance companies to subsidize costs-- big difference.

Also the 29 year old in our office has done a quick calculation and would rather pay the penalty rather than pay premiums

Palladian said...

That's really only if you think Obamacare isn't going to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions in the near future.

The problem is that when it collapses, it will take the entire health care industry in America with it.

This "law" was designed to destroy free-market health care in America, and I doubt anything can stop it at this point.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I am with those (and there are a lot more of us than people commenting on this blog seem to want to acknowledge) mainly hoping that this means that millions of uninsured people will get coverage, both as a result of the mandate and the extension of Medicaid."

-- How does that work, now that it is a tax? Taxes make everything more expensive.

Jay said...

LoafingOaf said...



Vindication for President Obama.


You are beyond parody.

Leland said...

Between the Stolen Valor decision and ACA; I think what SCOTUS has affirmed today is that lying is ok.

Rich knudsen said...

Whats not to like here. Anyone,and I do mean ANYONE who now has a health insurance policy is duly notified that it is no longer a required expense for you or others to possess. As of its implementation date every policy holder in this country is free to CANCEL all existing coverage and simply wait for a need to occur at which time they are legally allowed to coerce any health insurance provider to "Provide" said coverage on demand.Win WIn.

Bender said...

Yes, absolutely it is "Obama imposes huge tax on the American middle class."

And now, in conjunction with voting to repeal the entire thing, Congress needs to immediately vote for a huge tax CUT for the middle class by eliminating the "tax" entirely and additionally prohibiting the imposition of any "tax" or the use of remedial powers to collect any "tax," such as tax liens, property seizures, tax foreclosure sales, etc.

phx said...
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Mark said...

Hopefully someone in the Romney camp has copied those three arguments.

Palladian said...

You are beyond parody.

PinchingLoaf is parody.

I'm just wondering how it will bring its dark mistress Sarah Palin into all this.

Sofa King said...

The 16th Amendment has officially swallowed the Constitution

M. Nettesheim Hoffmann said...

Megan Kelly on Fox News was just arguing that the decision also allows the States the opportunity to drop out of the provision to expand their Medicaid rolls. So, if this analysis is true, doesn't the decision sort of cut the knees out from the actual real world operation of the bill? If the justification of the ACA was to bring insurance to everyone and you have people who cannot get insurance via Medicaid because their State won't extend coverage to them, where do they go? I really think Roberts pushed this bill back to Congress for reform, if Kelly is right.

Seeing Red said...

---"I am with those (and there are a lot more of us than people commenting on this blog seem to want to acknowledge) mainly hoping that this means that millions of uninsured people will get coverage, both as a result of the mandate and the extension of Medicaid."----



This didn't need to be done to do that.


We are ufkd.

ricpic said...

The government is now taxing us for something we HAVE TO buy. So how is that not a mandate?

Jay said...

phx said...


I agree with this. I also think the GOP lost an opportunity to work with Obama to make that happen, but because of the extreme end of their party Boehner walked away from that possibility.


I think you should go around pretending the Republicans didn't offer alternative legislation to Obamacare.

Really, you should.

Idiot.

Lem said...

video of the Obama Stephanapolous interview

Chuck66 said...

We already have $100,000,000,000,000 in unfunded liabilities in Big Entitlement. What's a few more dozen trillion.

Jay said...

-"I am with those (and there are a lot more of us than people commenting on this blog seem to want to acknowledge) mainly hoping that this means that millions of uninsured people will get coverage, both as a result of the mandate and the extension of Medicaid."----

I'm not.

Your health insurance is your problem.

edutcher said...

LoafingOaf said...

"With this outcome, everyone gets what they want—health care for the uninsured, something to be angry about for the right."
— @mattyglesias via TweetDeck

"Mood in Obama's campaign HQ like 12:01 New Year's Eve. Sound of cheering, whooping..."
— @GlennThrush via web

Bloody noses for the teabaggers. lol

Vindication for President Obama.

It's constitutional, bitches!


Not if it's repealed next year.

As always, the Lefties keep it classy.

John Hyer said...

If it is a tax, wouldn't repeal just require 51 votes in the Senate? Maybe this is how Kennedy and Roberts force it back to the political world, but make it MUCH easier to kill?

Seeing Red said...

--spin spin spin spin, looking for ways to fault Obama. Keep spinning.---




Who needs to look, it's handed out every day.

RichardS said...

How is this a constitutional tax? It is not a tax on income, and it is not proportioned among the states?

garage mahal said...

Yes, absolutely it is "Obama imposes huge tax on the American middle class."

And the conservative led Supreme Court went along with the caper. Broccoli for everyone!

Matthew Sablan said...

"I agree with this. I also think the GOP lost an opportunity to work with Obama to make that happen, but because of the extreme end of their party Boehner walked away from that possibility."

-- Obama responded to Republican attempts to help with "I won" and Reid and Pelosi literally locked them out of meetings. Get your facts straight.

Chuck66 said...

Hey, but at least the federal government is now regulating the design of miniture golf courses.

Carl Vero said...

In the most exquisite garden of law the vegetables reigned supreme. After months of mandatory mulling the cucumber, drumstick, lizard's tail, pignut, and the fiddlehead found: Broccoli (or an equivalent tax) is for everyone!
Thus Obama's spin would be: Taxes may go up, but the President goes forward. The opposition to the law was instigated and paid for by the filthy rich, who never want to pay their fair share.

The Ghost said...

Given that at least 26 states will opt out of the Medicare expansion alot of those "uninsured" will still be uninsured ...

phx said...
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Lem said...

This "law" was designed to destroy free-market health care in America, and I doubt anything can stop it at this point.

Repeal!

We are going to have to do it at the ballot box.

tim in vermont said...

So, if the punishment for the states for not going along is meted out by the HHS Sec, then if Romney issues waivers, they will stand.

Tom Royce said...

Ricpie

Take a quick look at Footnote 11, which is on page 44 of the slip opinion:

Those subject to the individual mandate may lawfully forgo health insurance and pay higher taxes, or buy health insurance and pay lower taxes. The only thing that they may not lawfully do is buy health insurance and not pay the resulting tax.

You will not have to buy healthcare, just pay a higher tax. If the tax is cheaper than the healthcare, then you pay that, and still go to the emergency room. The wiggle room is absolutely amazing and designed to keep the activists and lobbyists in business.

Freder Frederson said...

Doctors and other providers now work for the state.

It is pointless to argue with people who state such nonsense.

obladioblada said...

I thought that tax bills have to originate in the House.

phx said...
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bagoh20 said...

An excellent Romney ad will be showing Obama saying one thing and doing another. I don;t think there has aver been a Preident with so many of those and such blatant ones.

The effect can be: How can you believe anything he tells you in this campaign after how he lied the last time? I think that's the great vulnerability of Obama. Even if you like what he says, it's easy to show people that's not what you are voting for.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...

And the conservative led Supreme Court went along with the caper.


So says the barely literate, uneducated moron.

Let me help you:

1. Obama's argument that Congress could use its power to regulate commerce between the states to require everyone to buy health insurance was rejected by the court.

2. The law was upheld on a basis — the taxing power — that the Administration didn’t advance.

Keep clapping.

Lem said...

You know.. thats a good point..
if its a tax.. isn't it just a line item on a budget?

Balfegor said...

Re: Matthew Sablan:

-- How does that work, now that it is a tax? Taxes make everything more expensive.

The idea is to take money from healthy/young people who don't need health care -- either through jacked up premiums or through the mandate tax -- and use it to defray costs for sick people.

Of course, as soon as you start subsidising things, e.g. with Federal student loans, the cost of the thing you're subsidising explodes. So the natural result here would be that the cost of health care would increase, either because extra money would be captured as profit by the insurance companies or by someone in the health service chain (hospitals, doctor groups, pharma, medical device manufacturers, etc.).

In order to prevent the former, the law restricts how much of the insurers' revenue can be used on treatment. And in order to restrict the latter, there are supposed to be these expert panels that will limit coverage somehow.

That's a simplified version -- the overall bill is a gigantic Rube Goldberg machine in which everything has to work together properly for the desired outcome (keeping costs down). I think the most likely outcome is that once everything kicks in, we're going to see skyrocketing health costs, more or less as happened in Massachussetts. After Romneycare.

Jay said...

phx said...


GOP offers to "help" came way late in the game after countless efforts on their part to obstruct progress.


You're full of shit, you silly little liar.

wyo sis said...

It's a loss for individual liberties. I'm disappointed in Roberts. There are not many ways to spin this as positive. In the end it will do a lot of harm to a weak economy and to the Constitution.

Ken said...

garage,

And the conservative led Supreme Court went along with the caper.

Conservative... you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

sonicfrog said...

Though I disagree with the decision, I respect Roberts. Will read his decision and see if he can convince me I'm wrong.

I like independence on the court, I just wasn't expecting the independent one to be Roberts. Justices surprise. I believe Thomas was the only Conservative judge to dissent in Kelo v New London.

I know you guys don't like it, but this is a huge win for the President. The big question now is, how does this affect the Presidential race? O's poll numbers are going to get a good bounce from this, and it will certainly get more big Dem donors to open their wallets. How does Romney continue to fight against the ACA when most of it was modeled on his program AND the SCOTUS finds it Constitutional on the Federal level? This is a blow for him and his campaign to be sure.

harrogate said...

Seeing Red, you wrote:


"This didn't need to be done to do that."

In response to my hope that the uninsured in the US get coverage. So let me ask you this, what DID need to be done, to REALLY accomplish that goal?


And if conservatives wanted to do it for real, and had a conservative way to do it, then why DIDN'T you do it when you had the WH and the Congress in the mid 2000s? I mean, was this ever really a priority for the GOP to extend insurance coverage or to worry about the uninsured at all? I do not think this was or is a priority. Do you?

***Clearly, Jay for example does not see it as a priority. He writes

"Your health insurance is your problem."

Seeing Red, don't you think this representative of the GOP position?

Patrick said...

Also the 29 year old in our office has done a quick calculation and would rather pay the penalty rather than pay premiums

I'm sure when the actual cost of this POS becomes evident, and the tax goes up, he will reconsider and want to purchase an insurance policy. Except, oops, companies will no longer offer policies, because no one will purchase them, opting instead to pay the tax.

Boom! Single payer. It's a feature, not a bug!

Tibore said...

I think Instapundit's got the best analysis so far:

"And, of course, it’s important to note that just because the Supreme Court — barely — found the Act constitutional doesn’t mean that it’s actually a good idea.

... The Supreme Court has refused to save us from ourselves. The remedy now will have to be political."


It's a tax. The Supreme Court said so, and forced the administration to use their 3rd fallback argument admitting that it was a tax. Taxes are repealable. Tax policy can be influenced by the electorate. You simply have to use your vote to get the right legislators into office.

Insty obviously agrees with the Chief Justice, who said:
"We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation's elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions."

So no, this isn't validation. It's merely legalization.

And no, it's not the best outcome for citizens. But it's the second best one. The law was indefensible under the Commerce Clause, so that's a pretty big limitation right there. As an analyst as SCOTUSBlog noted:

" The rejection of the Commerce Clause and Nec. and Proper Clause should be understood as a major blow to Congress's authority to pass social welfare laws"

This isn't the sort of win that esconses statism/socialism. In fact, the decision clearly demonstrates that the ACA is nothing more than political policy, and as such, is subject to what the populace through their elected representatives say.

Advocates can celebrate now. The obvious question, of course, is what stage is now set for November? It may not be the stage that ACA advocates want.

phx said...
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Balfegor said...

Re: phx

GOP offers to "help" came way late in the game after countless efforts on their part to obstruct progress. They got what they deserved, and I think a lot of moderate Republicans know that.

"I won" came literally in one of the first meetings Obama had with Congressional Republicans after his election -- it might even have been the first meeting. That was in connection with stimulus, though, not Obamacare. That said, Obama clearly set the tone for his future interactions with Republicans. If the first thing you say to someone, when they offer you suggestions, is a f*** you!, you can't really be surprised if it turns out you have a terrible working relationship with them. Cooperation requires trust, after all.

furious_a said...

That's really only if you think Obamacare isn't going to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions in the near future.

Not much consolation there.

SS, Medicare and USPS have been collapsing under the weight of their own internal contradictions for years, dragging us toward the precipice with them. And in the "near term" many of us will have assumed room temperature.

Palladian said...

I believe Thomas was the only Conservative judge to dissent in Kelo v New London.

You're wrong. O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, dissented in Kelo.

traditionalguy said...

Single Payer here we come.

As it will be administered, the last remaining investments of the middle class are going to flow into the Re-Distributer-in-Chief's clutches to buy votes.

Fen said...

Congress 2018:

Democrats: 3 scoops of free ice cream in every kitchen!

Republicans: Hell no! 2 scoops of free ice cream and not a spoonful more!

Democrats: Lets compromise. 2.95 free scoops...

Republicans: ....er...okay

Henry said...

I'm curious. Going back to oral arguments, did anyone emphasize the "this is really a tax" loophole?

Yes they did. Go back to Day 1, search for "tax":

11 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: General, could you turn
12 to the tax clause?
13 GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes.
14 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR: I have to look for a
15 case that involves the issue of whether something
16 denominated by Congress as a penalty was nevertheless
17 treated as a tax, except in those situations where the
18 code itself or the statute itself said treat the penalty
19 as a tax.


Keep reading. It goes on for quite some time.

In light of the Althouse headline on this post, I draw attention to this exchange:

23 JUSTICE SCALIA: Is it a tax or not a tax?
24 The President didn't think it was.
25 GENERAL VERRILLI: The President said it
46
1 wasn't a tax increase because it ought to be understood
2 as an incentive to get people to have insurance. I
3 don't think it's fair to infer from that anything about
4 whether that is an exercise of the tax power or not.


The pretense is over, Mr. President.

EMD said...

"Your health insurance is your problem."

Seeing Red, don't you think this representative of the GOP position?


Why has healthcare become so expensive as to prevent it from being a commodity?

Dave said...

Eric Holder has just claimed Fast and Furious was also a tax.

Balfegor said...

Re: harrogate:

In response to my hope that the uninsured in the US get coverage. So let me ask you this, what DID need to be done, to REALLY accomplish that goal?

Combine Medicare+Medicaid and slash the scope of coverage. If people want more than the bare minimal coverage of a trimmed down Medicare/Medicaid, they can spend their own money on their own plans.

With the strong yen, this may no longer be true, but a few years ago, if you compared total per-capita Japanese expenditures on health care, it was just about the same as our per-capita expenditures on Medicare+medicaid. And Japan has universal health care. We don't need more money, just smarter disbursement of existing money.

Matthew Sablan said...

Nixon claims Watergate was simply a tax on information.

Patrick said...

Eric Holder has just claimed Fast and Furious was also a tax.

Dave wins.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

Re: Henry:

Thanks for the transcript links. The administration seems to have won despite their arguments, not because of them. Haha.

Bender said...

Questions --

Is there now a Fifth Amendment Equal Protection argument against the "non-insured tax"?

Is there room for any additional future challenges by individuals (who to date have not yet had standing to sue)?

Darcy said...

Sadly, I think Fen is right. We got the government and the healthcare we deserved.

Congrats to the socialists who elected them.

Also: I finally blame Bush. :)

Matthew Sablan said...

"But I recall convincing efforts on the part of the administration to bring the Republicans in beyond that, and a lot of spurning from them in return."

-- You recall incorrectly.

Pragmatist said...

That is one spin. but if you spin it that Obama increased taxes on working people you need to spin it that Obama provided affordable healthcare to millions of working people also. You have to spin it that Obama stopped insurance companies, the main opponents of the law, from kicking people off of plans for being ill. You have to spin it he saved millions from being denied access simply because they cannot afford to go to the doctor. So spin away. You lost, get over it. If it would have been stuck down the howling and laughing and champagne corks would have been popping all over the country clubs of america.

Fen said...

Dear ___Fen____

HHS has determined that prolonged exposure to the internet carries certain health risks.

Your current level of risk exceeds your alloted ration of preventative care.

As such, your ISP has been terminated until further notice.

Love
NannyState

RichardS said...

If it's a tax, as someone notes above, that changes things dramatically. If the penalty for not having insurance is a fine--then it is a penalty for doing something illegal.
But if it's just a tax, it is simply obtion b. Pay the tax (which is much less than insurance), until one is sick or injured. Then buy what should no longer be called "insurance."

That could, perhaps, lead to the creation of catastrophic care only policies. Hence it might NOT lead to single payer.

harrogate said...

"Why has healthcare become so expensive as to prevent it from being a commodity?"

EMD, that's a more complex question than most people seem to think it is. It is not totally the fault of any one factor or group of people, as I see it. The best explanation I can come up with is that it is that expensive because it is so essential; people literally cannot live without it. So left as a commodity, it makes sense that this fact would be a force for driving up expense.

But then I think there is something problematic with thinking of health care as a commodity, as though it were in a sense part of the jelly beans, widescreen television family.

I also think it is reprehensible to regard the uninsured in the US with something akin to "meh, their problem." So we probably don't agree there either.

damikesc said...

O's poll numbers are going to get a good bounce from this

Not sure how "I jacked up your taxes up BIG-TIME with a bill you hate" will improve his numbers, but I've been surprised before.

Mitt needs to attack this in every single appearance. If they ask him a question on immigration, rail on Obamacare. Foreign policy? Rail on Obamacare. The weather? Rail on Obamacare.

Wave the bloody shirt.

Scalia asked the question: How is it a tax for Constitutional purposes but NOT a tax for anti-injunction purposes. Any ideas?

Dave said...

"Universal" healthcare is a misnomer, it says nothing about whether you actually get care or not. You're much more likely to be rationed out of care in a "universal" system than denied access in the U.S. for ability to pay (which is illegal virtually everywhere).

The U.S. system is actually far more "universal" than any other OECD country, because you are far more likely to actually get healthcare -- we do twice as many transplants, twice as many MRIs, 3x as much cancer screening... we just DO MORE.

Mitch H. said...

That's really only if you think Obamacare isn't going to collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions in the near future. Given that portions of it are already failing to work as planned, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Congress basically has to go back to the drawing board in a few years.

You have more confidence in the ability of nominally conservative legislators to "fix" bad law without just doing the left's job for them by cleaning up their mess and implementing what they intended in the first place. They'll craft a finer set of shackles, ones that don't cut off the prisoner's circulation and cause his hands to fall off. But he'll still be in shackles.

Matthew Sablan said...

Pragmatist, let's break that down:

"That is one spin. but if you spin it that Obama increased taxes on working people you need to spin it that Obama provided affordable healthcare to millions of working people also."

-- Yet, prices are going up.

"You have to spin it that Obama stopped insurance companies, the main opponents of the law, from kicking people off of plans for being ill. You have to spin it he saved millions from being denied access simply because they cannot afford to go to the doctor."

-- All things Republicans were willing to work on together on stand alone bills that the administration and Reid killed and refused to hear, because they wanted all or nothing. Be less uninformed, please.

Balfegor said...

re: furious_a:

SS, Medicare and USPS have been collapsing under the weight of their own internal contradictions for years, dragging us toward the precipice with them. And in the "near term" many of us will have assumed room temperature.

SS, Medicare, and the USPS worked well for decades before the conditions which made them workable when they were implemented changed, and everything started to go pear shaped. I honestly don't think Obamacare is going to last more than a year or two before it starts running into massive problems. Look at how they've already had to suspend the CLASS long-term care entitlement because it was impossible to implement. The bill really is a poorly-drafted ramshackle monster. This is not like Social Security, Medicare, or the USPS at all.

furious_a said...

It's a tax. The Supreme Court said so, and forced the administration to use their 3rd fallback argument admitting that it was a tax. Taxes are repealable.

..with simple majority in the Senate. No filibusters -- unless Reid&Co. act now to change that Senate rule.

Matthew Sablan said...

"That could, perhaps, lead to the creation of catastrophic care only policies. Hence it might NOT lead to single payer."

-- Those are, for all intents and purposes, not allowed any more.

damikesc said...

But then I think there is something problematic with thinking of health care as a commodity, as though it were in a sense part of the jelly beans, widescreen television family.

I can see why...since the price of both have declined, significantly, over years.

Anthony said...

I don't expect Romney or Republicans generally to repeal ObamaCare. It gives them more power and that, after all, is what most of them want anyway.

Edmund said...

So is a tax easier to repeal than a mandate citing the Commerce Clause? Does it fall (in, say, a Senate with a narrow Republican majority) under budget consideration where a simple majority is required for passage?

Yep. If we have a Republican majority in the Senate (or 50-50 with a Republican VP), they can use the same method it was passed with to avoid a filibuster. Pass in the House, pass in Senate.

Dave said...

"You have to spin it that Obama stopped insurance companies, the main opponents of the law, from kicking people off of plans for being ill. You have to spin it he saved millions from being denied access simply because they cannot afford to go to the doctor."

Except none of that is actually true, rescission is generally illegal anyway, and there's virtually no one who cannot get Medicaid and also cannot afford insurance. That myth died when the high-risk pools only got 1/50th of what they were supposed to.

The mandate was only ever intended to do one thing: force healthy people who were going uninsured to subsidize unhealthy people who are insured. It doesn't provide access to anyone.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aridog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sane_voter said...

Wow. I think this sinks Obama and most of the Dems in the close Senate races. If anyone thought 2010 was the high water mark for the Tea Party . . . I think this fall will eclipse that in spades.

RichardS said...

But Matthew, catastrophic only migth be the best way to save Obamacare, after this ruiling. Hence the laws that prevent them might change.

Pragmatist said...

The problem with the Republican is that instead of offering an alternative to Obama they listened to the far right idiots of the party, the people that used to be kept in the playpen, and made their opposition to Obama either centered around over turning the healthcare law or trying to prove he is a non citizen. They need to de-Glen Beck themselves. There could be plenty of good reasons to vote against Obama but we do not hear any of them. The sane ones in the party, like Bush 3.0, do not get listened to, and the unruly brats of the so called Tea Party, get all of the attention. Even grownups like Romney have to dumb down to get the "base" stirred up. How about rejecting supply side voodoo, embracing true fiscal conservatism, pledging not to pledge anymore and bring back the art of the possible. Working with Dems to make bad laws, like the HC bill, better instead of just whining from the side lines. How about raising taxes and cutting spending and making everyone put skin in the game and drying up the fiscal nightmare and passing real reform of the segments of society, like banking and real estate, that got us into this mess. But that would take courage and that is in short supply on both sides of the aisle.

PatCA said...

I agree with Balfegor--as soon as this Dickensian set of laws is enacted, it will begin to fail. It will accelerate our fall into insolvency, which might be a good thing. If the government collects the tax, the pols will steal it and waste it. The already shaky finances of the program will collapse.

If the GOP repeals the tax, what next? What next, Mitt? How many more years of legal and political war?

furious_a said...

I honestly don't think Obamacare is going to last more than a year or two before it starts running into massive problems.

Fair enough, we'll apparently have to wait and see.

harrogate said...

In the political spinning to come, if Romney and the GOP refuse to even acknowledge that this stands to expand coverage to many millions of uninsured, then they will be lying.

If they acknowledge it, and then take their chances opposing it anyway on principle. well, let's not get carried away. that's like a Cubs win the World Series scenario.

caseym54 said...

The young folks who voted in such fervor for Obama are about to get his thanks: Pay the tax or buy this policy you don't want. Rubes. Hopefully, it's a life-long lesson.

Fen said...

And don't worry, the money you send to the IRS to pay for everyone's health care will be kept in a Lock Box, just like those Social Security funds.. and the cig taxes meant to go to school districts.

[C'mon now, Rangel needs a new hot tub]

Matthew Sablan said...

"But Matthew, catastrophic only migth be the best way to save Obamacare, after this ruiling. Hence the laws that prevent them might change."

-- Doubtful; because that takes money away from the rest of the system. They need expensive plans you HAVE to buy or be taxed enough for to cover the difference, or the whole things fall apart due to lack of funds.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The mandate isn't the only tax in the bill. I believe there are at least 20 NEW taxes. An increase in capital gains rates. Taxes on medical devices, so expect the costs of those things (insulin pumps, pacemakers etc) to skyrocket.

In addition the unconstitutionality of the Medicaid extortion/expansion will mean that in many states, the expansion of the exchanges will be limited. So even if you DO qualify for the subsidized Medicaid program it may not be there at all.

If there are millions of people now eligible for Medicaid then expect doctors to be closing up their practices. More people, getting paid less or waiting for months and months to get paid. I know one doctor (aged 56) who said he is quitting....it just isn't worth it.

Insurance costs go up and some insurance companies ruined. Less doctors. Higher taxes for just breathing.

We. Are. So. Screwed.

GetReal said...

What would Mitt Romney say about this horrible, no good, very bad tax?

Looks like we don't have to wonder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIPynMZuQtI

P.S. Eat it, reptiles.

cf said...

dear Ms. Althouse,

Thank you for all you do.

I have long had a question about those waivers, and would like to understand it better now that the truth of this "huge tax hike" is out. (I know it is a busy day, but for what it is worth, I'll ask.)

Do waivers mean those groups will not (be taxed to) pay for everyone else?

Doesn't that mean that I will have to pay even more tax to pay for their "fair share" of what is needed for redistribution?

And, because someone has to pay for the difference in costs that their "Cadillac" plans generate, won't those costs also be born by me?

Matthew Sablan said...

"The problem with the Republican is that instead of offering an alternative to Obama--"

-- Try and get more than a sentence without being critically wrong.

EMD said...

-- All things Republicans were willing to work on together on stand alone bills that the administration and Reid killed and refused to hear, because they wanted all or nothing. Be less uninformed, please.

I think he's talking perception vs. reality.

And spin. Your reality is less appealing than what he offered as spin.

Again, I'm not disagreeing with you.

Aridog said...

I am not a lawyer. I came here because I thought I could learn something about the rationale in the majority ruling. So far, I'm not getting it...maybe it's just me.

How the flip is a penalty fee that is mandated to apply only to those who do not acquire a product/service, suddenly a "tax" ...whot? On whom? Just those who don't buy health insurance, or everyone in order to assist those who can't afford it (such as the taxes supporting medicaid)? That would seem to be a rather large expansion of revenue collection...and definitely a huge tax increase on the middle and lower income classes.

Does the ACA law require re-wording to meet the "tax" versus "penalty" approval? Does that re-wording have to be an amendment, to the ACA, voted on by Congress subsequently? If the latter, how is this not a striking down of the mandate as written today?

I'm really having one of those "foggy" mornings, so please, someone who can understand the ruling explain it, if you have the time.

wuzzagrunt said...

Are 5-4 decisions still a bad thing? It's so hard to keep up.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Doesn't that mean that I will have to pay even more tax to pay for their "fair share" of what is needed for redistribution? "

-- Correct. You are paying so those who got waivered don't have to.

EMD said...

Thank you for all you do.

I have long had a question about those waivers, and would like to understand it better now that the truth of this "huge tax hike" is out. (I know it is a busy day, but for what it is worth, I'll ask.)

Do waivers mean those groups will not (be taxed to) pay for everyone else?

Doesn't that mean that I will have to pay even more tax to pay for their "fair share" of what is needed for redistribution?

And, because someone has to pay for the difference in costs that their "Cadillac" plans generate, won't those costs also be born by me?


Ooohh, this is a good one. Some of these entities received "tax waivers" while others did not.

Is that Constitutional?

BrianE said...

Not only is it a huge tax, it does nothing to reduce the budget deficit-- in fact the deficit will increase.

This is another drain on a terribly weak economy. Businesses will adjust their plans accordingly.

As has been noted elsewhere, the ACA was an intermediate step to single payer by making health care services (premiums) more expensive.

sane_voter said...

@Edmund
"So is a tax easier to repeal than a mandate citing the Commerce Clause? Does it fall (in, say, a Senate with a narrow Republican majority) under budget consideration where a simple majority is required for passage?

Yep. If we have a Republican majority in the Senate (or 50-50 with a Republican VP), they can use the same method it was passed with to avoid a filibuster. Pass in the House, pass in Senate."

That is true. Pelosi/Reid/Obama passed Obamacare as an appropriation bill through reconciliation, and thus avoided the filibuster. Ergo, the GOP owning all three legislative branches should be able to kill it the same way.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

People immediately snap to and like the pee they are being made to drink when it is called champagne. I do not think that the legality of the law changes anyone's opinion of its odious nature.

Mitch said...

This Govt is the enemy of America. It is not only our right it is our DUTY to throw off such a criminal corrupt Govt. The Revolution started today. John Roberts should be hanged...

Matthew Sablan said...

Phx: Pragmatist is wrong from his very first assertion. Options were offered and ignored.

RichardS said...

"Doubtful; because that takes money away from the rest of the system. They need expensive plans you HAVE to buy or be taxed enough for to cover the difference, or the whole things fall apart due to lack of funds."

But we have just changed the incentives in the system. It will be a fight, to be sure, but perhaps that's where we'll go. It would free up health care from excessive regulation, make the market more of a market, and have powerful interests supporting it (those who would like to enter markets that are currently closed due to excessive mandates).
To be sure, strong interests are on the other side, too.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Is there a single person out there who read "Pragmatist"'s post without realizing, as soon as he encountered the phrase

embracing true fiscal conservatism

that

raising taxes

was absolutely certain to follow?

GetReal said...

Reposting because it's just too beautiful:

What would Mitt Romney say about this horrible, no good, very bad tax?

Looks like we don't have to wonder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIPynMZuQtI

P.S. Eat it, reptiles.

wyo sis said...

It would be so nice if it was't about power, but about upholding people's liberty. So nice. Life could be so nice.


But, not when you're dancing with Socialists.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

"Matthew I remembered it exactly the way Pragmatist did.

If you are correct, the GOP then has a real bad PR problem. And that's not news for the last few years either."

-- Phx: It's no one's fault but your own that you are uninformed.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Businesses will adjust their plans accordingly.

Hell YES. If I had a business with over 50 employees, I would be dropping my health insurance plan as we speak.

50 employees x average $800 premiums a month =40,000 a month = $480,000 ANNUALLY

versus paying a penalty on 50 employees

"For firms which do not offer insurance any insurance, have more than 50 employees, and have at least one employee receiving insurance subsidies, they must pay a tax of $2000 per subsidized employee. The individual mandate requires everyone to purchase health insurance. The tax is applied to all of a firm’s employees (after excluding the first 30), not just those that are subsidized. For example a firm with 51 employees would pay $42,000 in new annual taxes,"

Let's see.....$480,000 or $42,000. Gee seems like a no brainer to me.

M. Simon said...

In med pot states traffic fatalities are down 9%. Accidents even more. You can see what is coming.

Nannies to the right of me. Nannies to the left.....

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

Meh, if I had 50 employees, I'd just go down to 49, if that's the cut off. Expect a lot of marginal jobs to be shed to get people under the magic number.

Balfegor said...

Re: Aridog:

Does the ACA law require re-wording to meet the "tax" versus "penalty" approval?

No.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

Yesterday I got Pogo and Allie to agree on something. I can be fighty today.

Bender said...

I really did (and almost everyone else too) think that this was the most asinine and absurd argument possible, but apparantly Verrilli's illogical argument here from 3/26/2012 is what won the day --

JUSTICE ALITO: General Verrilli, today you are arguing that the penalty is not a tax. Tomorrow you are going to be back and you will be arguing that the penalty is a tax.
Has the Court ever held that something that is a tax for purposes of the taxing power under the Constitution is not a tax under the Anti-Injunction Act?

GENERAL VERRILLI: No, Justice Alito, but the Court has held in the license tax cases that something can be a constitutional exercise of the taxing power whether or not it is called a tax. And that's because the nature of the inquiry that we will conduct tomorrow is different from the nature of the inquiry that we will conduct today.
Tomorrow the question is whether Congress has the authority under the taxing power to enact it and the form of words doesn't have a dispositive effect on that analysis. Today we are construing statutory text where the precise choice of words does have a dispositive effect on the analysis.


-- pp. 31-32

Dave said...

The problem with the Democrats is that instead of offering a reasonable alternative to the status quo they listened to the far left idiots of the party, the people that used to be kept in the playpen, and passed a bill that split their own party and lost them the House and potentially the Senate and WH in 2012.

Cut taxes, stop "crucifying" business, stop pretending "banks" are at fault when gov't creates bubbles, etc.

virgil xenophon said...

Yes, Roberts is making a very valid point on at least one intellectual level (although for the liberals who voted with him on other partisan ideological grounds I am sure it was the last thing on their minds) that this legislation may be bad news/bad public policy but it can be constitutionally justified and it's up to the political process to fix/repeal it as the Founders envisioned Govt should work. OK, good point, and all well and good. But the SCOTUS sure didn't hesitate jumping into the "legislative thicket" in the Brown Board of Ed case, did they? Or Roe, or numerous others since. But NOW they get all Caesar's "clean hands" /won't-touch-this wife on us? Roberts is undoubtedly right in a HS Civics-class "good-government" way--it's a political decision best left to the voters and their representatives in Congress (you get the government you deserve) but he also hands a HUGE political advantage by default to the left via a court that NEVER refrains from playing the ideological card when the left is in the maj on the court.

Further, on another analytical level, yet a second question arises: namely, how does one legally levy a tax "penalty" for failure to comply with a "mandate" (buy the ins policy) that is itself seen by the court as an impermissible mandate. (remembering that the Court today found only the penalty--the tax--for failure to buy the insurance constitutional, NOT the provision that required one to purchase the ins policy in the first place. Does. Not. Compute.

Dave said...

"In med pot states traffic fatalities are down 9%. Accidents even more. You can see what is coming."

Uncle Sam wants YOU to smoke a doob! Or he'll tax you!

Henry said...

PatCA wrote: I agree with Balfegor--as soon as this Dickensian set of laws is enacted, it will begin to fail

As soon?

It already has.

This is like watching the Hindenburg disaster one frame at a time.

Grace O'Malley said...

All I can say is that once upon a time one of America's "most respected" Chief Justices stated that "Three Generations of imbeciles are enough" as the Supreme Court voted it to be constitutional for the government to forcibly sterilize a person so that they could not have children. This well before Nazi Germany. Just because something is considered legal does not make it morally or ethically right.
It should also not be forgotten that the Supreme Court also once ruled that runaway slaves had to be returned to their purchaser as they were after all simply property. The decision was a galvanizing factor in the fight against slavery, and ultimately the formation of the Republican party.
The fight against slavery may need to be fought again, but this time against our government. I find it ironic to note that it was the Democratic party who fought so hard against full Civil Rights and simple human dignity then, and today they are celebrating the enslaving of people once again, only this time not based on skin color, but the simple virtue of being born.
Those who think that simply because the Supreme Court ruled in a very narrow fashion, that something was legal and that will stop opposition are very wrong. And I don't mean simply to this bill. Instead they will have galvanized those who refuse to be slaves.
I refuse to be a slave.

BarryD said...

"Probably got to give it up for the WH lawyers whoever they were. Seems like they had a tough sell and they did it.

They must be competent at what they do."

Have you read any of the opinion?

It appears to me that they belly-flopped on their arguments. The Court just made up new ones, citing Hooper v. California as a justification.

Someone can be a terrible car salesman, but if the customer REALLY WANTS to buy the car, no matter what, the salesman probably won't be able to stop the customer from doing it.

Grace O'Malley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarryD said...

"so then the trick in the future will be to call things "free ice cream" because no one would actually vote for a tax..."

That's been "the trick" for most of the past century.

Dave said...

If Obama loses in November, I bet before the end of 2013 at least three prominent lefties make some version of the following argument:

Roberts ruled the way he did because 1) commerce clause was thereby quietly castrated 2) Romney's base is much more energized 3) With a Romney/Senate win (or even close on the latter) and a "mandate is a tax" ruling, Roberts got repeal anyway because taxes can't be filibustered and the bill is unpopular

Mr. Buford said...

One thing is absolutely certain now; the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to take hold in far reaching ways that the framers of this legislation had not planned for or even considered, and that errors in construction that were not caught or considered will bring about effects in the legislation that are not desired.

Mr. Buford said...

One thing is absolutely certain now; the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to take hold in far reaching ways that the framers of this legislation had not planned for or even considered, and that errors in construction that were not caught or considered will bring about effects in the legislation that are not desired.

Mr. Buford said...

One thing is absolutely certain now; the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to take hold in far reaching ways that the framers of this legislation had not planned for or even considered, and that errors in construction that were not caught or considered will bring about effects in the legislation that are not desired.

Mr. Buford said...

One thing is absolutely certain now; the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to take hold in far reaching ways that the framers of this legislation had not planned for or even considered, and that errors in construction that were not caught or considered will bring about effects in the legislation that are not desired.

Mr. Buford said...

One thing is absolutely certain now; the Law of Unintended Consequences is going to take hold in far reaching ways that the framers of this legislation had not planned for or even considered, and that errors in construction that were not caught or considered will bring about effects in the legislation that are not desired.

P.D. North said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Buford said...

Apologies for the multiple post, the system glitched on my post. Again my apologies

Fen said...

Meh, if I had 50 employees, I'd just go down to 49, if that's the cut off. Expect a lot of marginal jobs to be shed to get people under the magic number.

They'll just lower the qualifier to 40.

Then 30.

And then wonder why unemployment is spiking again...

P.D. North said...

How does this now impact the 1500 or so exemptions offered by the administration? Are they effectively exempt from a federal tax? I'm only an engineer so the legal aspects may well be beyond me. I'd appreciate any help in interpreting today's ruling.

Aridog said...

@Dust Bunny Queen ... that economic choice has been the intent of this plan all along. Encourage drop outs and thus provide more justification for single payer which it will become sooner than later

@Balfegor ... Thanks. I am beginning to "get it" from reading excerpts, and comments elsewhere. I quote one commenter at the blog Legal Insurrection:

If you don't have health insurance, that's not unlawful, but failing to pay the penalty for not having it IS unlawful?

Therefore, as written now, it is a "tax" not a "penalty" in IRS terms. In short, it is a tax for not expending money, rather than income or gains from work or investment. In short order that "tax" conflates to a penalty, in IRS terms, the moment you do not pay it.

Thus it is a f'ing penalty per se.

Balfegor said...

Re: phx:

Balfegor you're a smart guy. You may be right about Obama's "I won" setting a bad tone. But I recall convincing efforts on the part of the administration to bring the Republicans in beyond that, and a lot of spurning from them in return.

I dont' recall any convincing efforts at all, really. The administration's tactic has generally been to take what they think would be policies appealing to conservatives, stick a handful of them into a proposal drafted entirely by Democrats, and then browbeat Republicans when they present it to the public. They don't seem to have tried to work with Republicans at all. And on the few occasions when the President has deigned to talk directly with Republican leaders, e.g. during the debt ceiling battle, he has been an unreliable partner. As the Washington Post belatedly reported:

But interviews with most of the central players in those talks — some of whom were granted anonymity to speak about the secret negotiations — as well as a review of meeting notes, e-mails and the negotiating proposals that changed hands, offer a more complicated picture of the collapse. Obama, nervous about how to defend the emerging agreement to his own Democratic base, upped the ante in a way that made it more difficult for Boehner — already facing long odds — to sell it to his party. Eventually, the president tried to put the original framework back in play, but by then it was too late. The moment of making history had passed.

The president's team has been extremely effective in selling all these breakdowns as Republicans' fault. But the president's behaviour is not at all conducive to an effective working relationship.

Allison said...

--he law made it look like money would go to insurance companies — in the form of new premiums — that would keep premiums low as the companies were required to take on people with pre-existing conditions, but now we find out that the money is really going to go to the federal government.


this is a terrific point. All Congress had to do was raise taxes and offer a tax credit, dollar for dollar, for buying insurance. Voila! No Constitutional issue.

But then it would look like what it was. And people would have said No No No. So they worked a crazy rigmarole to do the same thing but pretend not to.

Allison said...

--he law made it look like money would go to insurance companies — in the form of new premiums — that would keep premiums low as the companies were required to take on people with pre-existing conditions, but now we find out that the money is really going to go to the federal government.


this is a terrific point. All Congress had to do was raise taxes and offer a tax credit, dollar for dollar, for buying insurance. Voila! No Constitutional issue.

But then it would look like what it was. And people would have said No No No. So they worked a crazy rigmarole to do the same thing but pretend not to.

Matthew Sablan said...

Ooh... right. CBO scored this as a $1.7 trillion... tax now, I guess.

Trillions in taxes, but not one penny in fines.

Beta Rube said...

When will the Linda Greenhouse "Roberts has grown" story appear in the NYT?

virgil xenophon said...

Henry@10:45am/

Great link and I'm a stealin' the "frame-by-frame" bit, lol. So, SO true..

But once again I don't know why Meagan even wonders why whether or not the Dems really thought it was a thoughtful policy process or they were gaming the system for purely ideologically short-term political gains--it makes me worry about her IQ. By now it should be obvious to any sentient being living on planet Earth over the age of 12 and with an IQ marginally into double digits (say 10?) that for the left facts NEVER matter--it's ALWAYS about the "narrative."

vbspurs said...

Tangentially, will EJ Dionne now cheerlead Roberts as the greatest Chief Justice since Earl Warren?

Hee. That CRAFTY John Roberts.

Michael K said...

"Doctors and other providers now work for the state.

It is pointless to argue with people who state such nonsense."

May I assume you've read the bill ?

"The scores of new federal agencies that show up on those flow charts, of course, will hamstring doctors in various useful ways. Each agency will have its own regulatory structure, and each will establish hundreds of new rules, regulations, and guidelines, and therefore, will produce hundreds of novel opportunities for doctors (and anyone else working in the healthcare system) to commit healthcare fraud. This will help to achieve the useful goal of placing doctors into a risk-avoidance frame of mind, rather than a patient-care frame of mind. But still, the large majority of these new agencies can be considered as nothing more than mere annoyances – sort of a swarm of flies buzzing around doctors’ heads as they plod along, trying to perform the main task.

It’s that main task – the real structure of Obamacare – that’s important.

Obamacare is set up primarily to eliminate the opportunity for doctors to make individual decisions. Important medical decisions will be made centrally, and will transmitted, through the new healthcare structure, to the doctors on the ground.

Over the years, healthcare bureaucrats have come to understand that just telling doctors what they are supposed to do will not be sufficient. Doctors may or may not obey, and policing the millions of individual decisions that are being made by doctors every day will be next to impossible.

So fundamentally, Obamacare is designed to incorporate doctors into new organizations that will be established to deliver efficient, high-quality healthcare, as defined by the Central Authority. And here I use the word “incorporate” in its literal form – to merge bodily into a larger structure, and to become fully a part of that larger structure.

To maintain their viability, these new organizations must require their physician-components (and all their other organic components) to function in what us usually referred to as an “integrated, team-based decisional paradigm,” that is, to give up any idea of independent decision making. Rather, for the survival of the whole, each entity within the organization will need to closely follow formally established “best practices.”

These new organizations – which at the moment are being called Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – will likely consist of hospitals, doctors, and legions of “nonphysician providers,” such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and care coordinators. All medical care will be delivered by “patient care teams,” and, spearheaded by these teams, the organizaitons will go “at risk,” accepting pre-determined bundled payments to deliver care to a pre-defined population of patients."

Does that look familiar ?

Idiot. If you are interested, you can read more here.

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