"I have a message for Chief Justice Roberts! The power to tax is the power to destroy!" - Dean Clancy of Freedomworks
"It’s a terrible day for the American people! This was an activist court that rewrote the law to make it even more ineffectual, and even more expensive" Michelle Bachmann
“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. " Rep. Rand Paul (TN)
“Chief Justice Roberts was the worst part of the Bush legacy,” Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com
I didn't blog earlier on the Supreme Court decisions to do with "Obamacare" (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) because obviously there was vast confusion as to what it meant. The pundits as well as legal wizards were still scratching their heads and likely butts. CNN - to its everlasting shame- jumped the gun with the crawl screen: "Individual Mandate Struck Down" - which had the expected response of generating (initially) massive wet dreams for Rush Limbaugh's cheerleaders and Faux News followers.
But not so fast! As time went on a second decision became imminent, and in that key one Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the 4 liberals on the court asserting the individual mandate was: a) constitutional and b) passed muster based on the government's "tax authority:" In other words, if citizens opt not to purchase any insurance, they can certainly be hit with a tax penalty. (Though if I had my 'druthers I'd just increase taxes uniformly, by 5% to pay for the implementation, while also sunsetting the Bush tax cuts. )
Someone has to pay for the wider processing and acceptance, and if it doesn't happen by way of taxes it must unfold some other way. No, you can't make people actually purchase something they don't really want - at a particular time - but in the context of a law which hinges on shared income to achieve its assorted goals, you can resort to the paramount revenue generator which is TAXES!
A lot of this goes back to a subject on which I've blogged before: the American aversion to taxes, specifically any tax increases!
This is also irrational given that tax rates now are their lowest as a percentage of GDP in more than 40 years. But the problem is too many have been misled by anti-tax PR generated by the likes of Gasbag Grover Norquist and dozens of parroting Republican congress critters.
Worse, the party (Democrats) that ought to be defending taxes as the means by which government can work for all typically punts rather than offering a full -throated defense. Worse, they even choose to side with the enemy on its memetic wicket, by promoting tax cuts (at least for the middle class - but two years ago they helped pass all the Bush tax cuts putting us in another $600 billion hole! )
This (Dem) party knows damned well the perilous impact of deficits on future social benefits, but rather than meet it head on, they yap about possible cuts to "entitlements" - the very thing which makes them merely Republicans Lite and drives people away from voting for them. Instead of simply opting to halt the Bush tax cuts (thereby saving $3.7 trillion over ten years), they emulate crack addicts who can't wait to get another "line" into their snouts - and pass all the tax cuts, instead of explaining to the middle class why it can't have BOTH tax cuts and future benefits.
What exactly is so damned difficult about that?
So, yes, what I liked most about the Roberts' Court decision is the way it stripped away all the subterfuge, crappola and camouflage....basically saying in so many words (in the 5-4 part where Roberts joined the court liberals): "Yes, look.... this law is constitutional but pay for it via revenues. Taxes. Not by forcing purchases. Penalize those who dodge insurance responsibility with taxes but maybe better, increase the tax load overall to pay for the benefits ALL Americans hope to obtain. Not only from this Health care overhaul but Social Security and Medicare, as well as Medicaid too."
Indeed, that paraphrased take was reinforced in a secondary decision that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could not force states to raid already weakened budgets to pay for expanded Medicaid coverage as demanded under the law. (The penalty being that the federal matching Medicaid contribution would be withheld). In other words, the states didn't have to delve into their coffers (which are largely in the red thanks to the continued recessionary environment) to pay to add residents to the Medicaid rolls as demanded under the law.
The solution again? Increase federal taxes to pay for a larger population using Medicaid in the states.
The Roberts Court is basically telling both parties not to tapdance around the central issues, but to be honest and forthright. If people want any kind of benefit - whether health care, or to preserve future Social Security COLAs - they had better be prepared to pay for it in some way. There's no free ride. You cannot have your cake and eat it!
The government has the power and authority to tax and now it better damned well use it - whether in launching another war (or occupation), expanding a social -medical benefit or paying for infrastructure repair.
Those who go against the proper use of government - which is underscored by the 'general welfare' clause in the Preamble to the Constitution? Well some would use the term anti-taxers, "Groverites" or naysayers. I have a much simpler one: Domestic Security Traitors! If you recognize the extent to which taxes -enhanced revenue undergirds our domestic security yet choose to do nothing to shore it up, what else can you be?