(Thomas Mitchell/4TH ST8) You can kiss your liberty good-bye.
I was glad to see Mark Hutchison, the attorney who represented Nevada in the lawsuit against ObamaCare when Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto took an unconstitutional powder, use the word “liberty” in his analysis today of the Supreme Court ruling. That is the bottom line, the keystone, the sine qua non, the last word.
“The health care law elevates the whims of the ruling party to the force of law. …” Hutchison, also a candidate for the state Senate in my district, writes in today’s Review-Journal. “This is exactly what our Constitution sought to avoid. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rests on top-down government control, and this type of overreach, no matter how well-intentioned, compromises liberty.”
He called ObamaCare “a cure that is worse than the disease.” (This is pretty much what John Stossel warns about on the same op-ed page just above Hutchison when he compares the government takeover of health care to the less than sterling job the government monopoly over schools has produced.)
“The court has lost sight of the fact that we have limited government, and that the president and Congress are subject to constraints on what they can impose on the American people,” Hutchison concludes — a point made here earlier.
I quoted Hutchison in a February column making the observation: “The power to compel individuals to enter commerce, by contrast, smacks of the police power, which the framers reserved to the States” — precisely the point of a July 3 blog posting here on plenary police powers.
In Investor’s Business Daily writer Ernest Christian also focuses on the loss of liberty, saying of the 5-4 majority opinion that “if it refuses to protect people from the excesses of presidents and members of Congress who by hook or crook have managed to get themselves elected, liberty will suffer.”
As usual, Judge Andrew Napolitano offered a viewpoint easily grasped by the nonlawyer, quoting from the Beatles song, “The Taxman”:
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
He paraphrases Chief Justice John Marshall who once noted the power to tax is the power to destroy.
“The logic in the majority opinion is the jurisprudential equivalent of passing a camel through the eye of a needle,” Napolitano writes. “The logic is so tortured, unexpected and unprecedented that even the law’s most fervent supporters did not make or anticipate the court’s argument in its support. Under the Constitution, a tax must originate in the House (which this law did not), and it must be applied for doing something (like earning income or purchasing tobacco or fuel), not for doing nothing. In all the history of the court, it never has held that a penalty imposed for violating a federal law was really a tax. And it never has converted linguistically the congressional finding of penalty into the judicial declaration of tax, absent finding subterfuge on the part of congressional draftsmanship.”
Though considerably less easy to follow, this is also the point made by Peter Schiff, who writes a newsletter called Global Investor. He notes that under current law the tax or fine for not buying health insurance is considerably less than the cost of buying insurance.
Schiff predicts that “once the government realizes that it has underpriced the fines, it will certainly raise the tax rate substantially to stop healthy people from rationally dropping their coverage (because insurance companies could not deny them similarly priced coverage after they got sick).”
So, if you think the current $1.7 trillion in tax hikes is the largest in history, as Julie Borowski observes, just wait awhile.
Borowski writes, “The alarming ramifications of this mandate tax should scare the daylights out of every freedom-loving American. This Supreme Court ruling makes the IRS the enforcement arm of ObamaCare. Too bad if you don’t want to buy health insurance, an IRS agent might come knocking on your door. You have the false choice of buying health insurance or paying a hefty tax — but ‘it’s for your own good!’”