Thanks, Supreme Court, for calling a spade a spade.

2012/06/28

Longtime readers know I’m no fan of the Affordable Health Care act, aka health care reform, aka Obamacare. Chief among the reasons why: the individual mandate forcing citizens, on a national level, to purchase health insurance. 

Yes, I know states have been doing this with auto insurance for decades. That’s different because one doesn’t have to drive on public roads if one chooses not to drive. Plus, one could move to a different state with different laws if the current residence’s rules are too odious.

Mandates are fine on the state level. But on the national level? Less so. The federal government has grown to have too much authority over our lives with too little restraint and accountability.

Let’s consider what’s just happened with this health care law. A huge law was crafted behind closed doors, with zero input from the opposition — who, y’know, represent the OTHER 45-60% of the country, depending on who independent voters are siding with at the moment — with a grossly underestimated price tag according to the latest CBO reports, and it’s all funded with a tax that isn’t even truly written into the law. 

Let me emphasize that last point. We’re getting taxed and we didn’t even vote it in. They didn’t even have to CALL it a tax. And because of this ruling, they might never have to.

That’s a bit frightening. Sure, it’s for health care this time, and thus “for our own good.” But what’ll it be next time? 

The individual mandate looked, walked, sounded and smelled like a tax. Congress and the Obama administration tried to tell us it wasn’t one, but the Supreme Court wasn’t fooled. Unfortunately, the left wing seems to ever be perfectly OK with taxation and government power, and sometimes the right wing joins in. And so here we are.

The lesson we should take from this is twofold. First: Beware a federal supermajority that can essentially quash dissent. Such got us this unpopular law (whose unpopular aspects haven’t gone into effect yet) and two unpopular wars in the preveious decade. I know it’s ugly to watch the fighting in Congress, but sometimes it’s BETTER that they don’t get much accomplished. Second: Hold the government’s feet to the fire and demand accountability and responsibility and transparency. From BOTH parties.

Always.

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