Recently by Charles Goyette: Trampled Underfoot
Now that the Supreme Court has given its blessings to Obamacare, mandates included, here are six things you need to remember about where we are and how we got here.
1. Chief Justice John Roberts, the "conservative" who tipped the balance in favor of Obamacare, is Mitt Romney’s kind of Constitutionalist. From Mitt Romney’s campaign website, MittRomney.com:
"As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts… [Roberts] hold[s] dear what the great Chief Justice John Marshall called "the basis on which the whole American fabric has been erected": a written Constitution, with real and determinate meaning. The judges that Mitt nominates will exhibit a genuine appreciation for the text, structure, and history of our Constitution and interpret the Constitution and the laws as they are written. And his nominees will possess a demonstrated record of adherence to these core principles." (Courtesy of David Kramer at LewRockwell.com/blog)
2. The very nature of government is to mandate. One who opposes mandates on principal must oppose government. As George Washington has long been reputed to have claimed, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
3. In voting to uphold Obamacare, Justice Ruth Ginsburg argued that the law should be upheld under the Commerce Clause. And she thought to remind us along the way of Mitt Romney’s role in fathering this hideous creature:
"By requiring most residents to obtain insurance, see Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 111M, §2 (West 2011), the Commonwealth ensured that insurers would not be left with only the sick as customers. As a result, federal lawmakers observed, Massachusetts succeeded where other States had failed. See Brief for Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Amicus Curiae in No. 11–398, p. 3 (noting that the Commonwealth’s reforms reduced the number of uninsured residents to less than 2%, the lowest rate in the Nation, and cut the amount of uncompensated care by a third); 42 U. S. C. §18091(2)(D) (2006 ed., Supp. IV) (noting the success of Massachusetts’ reforms). In coupling the minimum coverage provision with guaranteed issue and community-rating prescriptions, Congress followed Massachusetts’ lead." (Courtesy of Robert Wenzel at EconomicPolicyJournal.com)
4. From Congressman Ron Paul:
"The Court has a dismal record when it comes to protecting liberty against unconstitutional excesses by Congress. Today we should remember that virtually everything government does is a ‘mandate.’ The issue is not whether Congress can compel commerce by forcing you to buy insurance, or simply compel you to pay a tax if you don’t. The issue is that this compulsion implies the use of government force against those who refuse. The fundamental hallmark of a free society should be the rejection of force. In a free society, therefore, individuals could opt out of "Obamacare" without paying a government tribute."
5. In the national debate over the Obamacare legislation before Congress in 2010, the Republicans were reduced to accepting the statist presuppositions of government interventionism. They wobbled about on their spindly little legs, as the Republican National Committee advertising called for a "responsible plan" and a "bipartisan plan." With only the visible exception of Ron Paul, Republicans were incapable of articulating an argument against accelerating American healthcare on a statist, Soviet-style trajectory.
From the 1977 Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics:
Article 42. Citizens of the USSR have the right to health protection.
This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions.
6. And, finally, a word for Bush appointee Chief Justice Roberts who voted with the majority to uphold Obamacare. Obama had strenuously rejected any suggestion that the mandate be considered a tax, and Congress itself called the penalty a penalty. But Roberts was able to justify the law anyway, writing a hair-splitting opinion, calling a penalty clearly designed to control behavior, a penalty for not buying health insurance, a tax.
"The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax."
The applicable word for Roberts, from the American Heritage Dictionary, is "casuistry":
1. Specious or excessively subtle reasoning intended to rationalize or mislead.
Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Dollar Meltdown. His new book is Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America's Free Economy. He is also editor of Freedom & Prosperity Letter, a monthly political and financial newsletter dedicated to revealing the truth about the U.S.’s political scene and economic climate. To learn more, go here.