The decision of the U S Supreme Court on the constitutionality of “Obamacare” is a wonder to behold! The crucial issue was whether Congress had the power, as claimed under the “Commerce Clause,” to individually mandate that our citizens, not engaged in interstate commerce, must enter into such interstate commerce and, as a result, be vulnerable to having Congress regulate such forced “involvement” in said commerce. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the opinion that such a forcing of activity was beyond the power bestowed upon Congress by our people’s Constitution under its “Commerce Clause.”
But then, the majority of this inspired august body opined that under the Constitutional power to tax, the health insurance mandate was within the powers granted to Congress. It stated that if one does not have medical insurance, he or she cannot be forced to affirmatively act to acquire the now required insurance as an incident of regulating commerce, under threat of criminal sanctions or penalties for refusal to do so. However, it stated Congress can mandate that one purchase such required insurance or suffer the government taking his or her assets, not a “penalty,” but as merely a punitive “tax!” Really!
In 1819, Chief Justice Robert’s favorite jurist, the venerable first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, John Marshall, in the matter of McCuolloch v Maryland, wisely observed that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” If government now can impose a disproportionate tax in order to coerce an activity, it can order us to do anything it desires under threat of “destructive” asset confiscation taxes. Should one still query if this health act was but a tax coercion act, then why did it include 21 new taxes of over 600 billions of dollars, and provisions for hiring 13,000 new IRS agents to enforce it, the same approximate number of enforcers as soldiers in a full Army Division.
The difference? Chief Justice Roberts established a new power for an abusive Congress. It now has the power to order a citizen to do as told, or forfeit his or her assets, as a “tax,” not a “penalty.” A distinction without a difference? Absolutely! Perhaps this will be known as the “Highwayman Decision,” as in “Give me (government) your freedom or your money!” We now have little liberty, but only until the government orders us to do something it determines is good for the collective. If we refuse, “our” government can take our money and “destroy” us, but thankfully it can’t take our lives, at least not yet. That will come with Obama’s second term.