Chief Justice Roberts, in writing the final Obamacare opinion, made an argument for Obamacare that Obama and his minions refused to: It’s a tax. So, Justice Roberts found that Obamacare wasn’t okay under the Commerce clause but it was a-ok under the constitution’s provision allowing Congress to levy taxes.
Obamacare is, according to Justice Roberts, the biggest middle class tax hike in history and therefore, constitutional.
Leftists praise the ruling. Conservatives, many of them, are disheartened.
And then there’s these guys who look admiringly at John Roberts for being politically savvy and outmaneuvering the President. You can read Tom Scocca of Slate here, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post here, and George Will here.
Ezra Klein summarizes the Evil Genius argument:
By voting with the liberals to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Roberts has put himself above partisan reproach. No one can accuse Roberts of ruling as a movement conservative. He’s made himself bulletproof against insinuations that he’s animated by party allegiances.
But by voting with the conservatives on every major legal question before the court, he nevertheless furthered the major conservative projects before the court — namely, imposing limits on federal power. And by securing his own reputation for impartiality, he made his own advocacy in those areas much more effective. If, in the future, Roberts leads the court in cases that more radically constrain the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce, today’s decision will help insulate him from criticism. And he did it while rendering a decision that Democrats are applauding.
I am not persuaded by this thinking, more on why in a minute.
Erick Erickson had a more reasoned response to the ruling (and I have noted that many conservative lawyers are walking this line, but as I’ve said before, and will repeat here, lawyers don’t think like normal people. They think in the constraints of the law and not in the constraints of morality — what is right and wrong — and this skewed perspective can be technocratic and miss the overarching point. I’m not sure that my conservative lawyer friends are quite missing the point, but I feel murky about this parsing). You can read Erick’s nuanced view here.
One point Erick makes is that Roberts is trying to keep the Supreme Court above the partisan fray. That is all noble but is the opinion constitutional?
Sorry if this question makes me literal, but that’s all I care about. The constitution being upheld is of paramount importance. By attempting to be “non-partisan”, Roberts is conceding that he was influenced by President Obama and the left’s fit-throwing. The toddlers won and so the finding becomes a partisan affair.
Today, Ben Domenech came on the Malcolm & Melissa podcast with Andrew and Me and he noted that if Roberts was politically influenced (and it seems he was), that the Right is going to have to reconsider its longstanding aversion to trying to bully courts into decisions the way the Left has traditionally done. He sees that outcome as profoundly troubling. [Aside: It was a great podcast and I’ll link it as soon as it’s produced.]
The Obamacare ruling makes the hated legislation an election and taxation issue. Some say that Roberts delivered the White House to Romney.
Consider this: Only 47% of American workers even pay Federal Income Tax. The non-tax payers have little vested interest in caring about this tax hike. It won’t affect them. As Avik Roy of Forbes pointed out, 67% of Americans already have subsidized health care. The abused American tax payer is already in the minority. The Democrats were playing the odds with this legislation and they know it. They gambled and time after time, they’ve won.
In addition, the Evil Genius argument not only counts on the American people and Congress to overturn Obamacare, it assumes that Congress will be bound by a tightened Commerce Clause interpretation.
When has a Democrat majority felt constrained by, well, anything? Look at how they were willing to ram Obamacare down America’s throat. There is no constraining statists. The Commerce Clause won’t do it, either. In addition, Roberts gives Congress essentially unchecked taxing ability.
Will a Republican Senate and White House overturn Obamacare now known as Obamatax?
If, if, IF.
From the beginning, I’ve felt that if Obamacare passed, repealing it would be nigh to impossible. No, this Supreme Court decision didn’t surprise me.
And in this way, Justice Roberts is right: Voters should be careful about who they elect. Voters shouldn’t be so cavalier about voting for big government Dems.
Voters, and Congress who represents them, need to be more circumspect and take responsibility.
Maybe that’s why I’m despondent: Personal responsibility seems like a quaint, old-fashioned American notion. Trusting Congress is folly.
This video captures it: Excellent job Ben Howe:
The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.
Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.
The greatest demand will be for primary-care physicians. These general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians will have a larger role under the new law, coordinating care for each patient.
The U.S. has 352,908 primary-care doctors now, and the college association estimates that 45,000 more will be needed by 2020. But the number of medical-school students entering family medicine fell more than a quarter between 2002 and 2007.
A shortage of primary-care and other physicians could mean more-limited access to health care and longer wait times for patients.
The whole point of health care reform was too feel better–not you, or your health–but liberal politicians.
It wasn’t to improve health care treatment.
It wasn’t to reduce costs.
It wasn’t even to get more people under care.
Wait, what? That’s right. More people will be insured, but patients will receive less care at more cost. It’s just logical. The new health care system creates a gatekeeper system that will eliminate individual choice and drive up costs. So, a person thinks something is wrong with his prostate–he goes directly to a proctologist. That saves 1. wait time 2. cost (no double doctor fees) and 3. diagnosis time.
But not now.
Oh no! Now, a patient must wait to get into an overburdened primary care physician, get a referral and then get into another physician. A patient will be dead by the time he gets diagnosed.
The inevitable response?
Cash-only doctors. Some doctors won’t accept this new insurance and work outside the system. So, people will pay into the health service, hate the waits and then, go pay cash for good care.
The rich will have good care while subsidizing everyone else. The middle class will be caught in a jam because the taxes will be so egregious they can’t afford anything, never mind a quick diagnosis. So they will be caught in government-mandated substandard care.
And the poor, who don’t pay into the system, will still misuse the system because they still won’t take care of themselves. And Medicare and Medicaid could have been expanded to help them as is.
But noooo. An overhaul had to happen. The government had to control health care.
If this diseased legislation doesn’t get revoked, America is going to go down the road of all disastrous socialized countries: chronic unemployment, disheartened and downwardly mobile middle class and an elite aristocracy for whom policy doesn’t matter.
In the liberal world that’s called utopia.
And by the way, a small board will decide what does and does not get covered under Obamacare. So, yes, death sentences will be handed down by the government. That too, is inevitable.
Robert Stacy McCain at the American Spectator (doing great work, by the way, subscribe to their magazine) writes about the Senate primary race in Arizona. A couple money quotes:
“Obviously, the gulf between my opponent’s rhetoric and the reality is so great it exceeds the geographic dimensions of our own Grand Canyon,” Hayworth says. “It’s more than a credibility gap, it’s a credibility canyon.… If he was really concerned about [the influence of political contributions], he certainly seems to have gotten over it very quickly.”
Whether McCain’s big money will be enough to secure his re-election, it undoubtedly gives him advantages against Hayworth, whose low-budget campaign doesn’t expect to match the incumbent dollar-for-dollar in the five months between now and the August 24 primary.
“We know we’re not going to out-raise him,” Hayworth says. “We’re not going to out-spend him.”
No way! John McCain is using big money to win an election? I thought he wanted money out of campaigns?
And then there is the recent hard tack to the right. It seems John McCain suddenly finds the border issue an important law enforcement issue:
But 2010 is not 2004, and in the intervening years, McCain led a legislative push to grant amnesty to illegal aliens — a very unpopular stance in Arizona, especially with Republican and conservative-leaning independents. (Arizona election law allows registered independents to vote in either party primary.) A Rasmussen poll last year found that Arizona voters considered immigration a more important issue than health-care reform and 65 percent said “enforcing the borders is more important than legalizing the status of those already living here.”
The immigration issue has “gotten bigger” in Arizona recently, Hayworth says, after a Cochise County rancher was found shot dead Saturday near the Mexican border, a crime that law-enforcement officials suggest was committed by illegal aliens or smugglers who have made the border an increasingly dangerous place.
“Border security is national security and it is time that we enforce the law,” Hayworth said in a press release reacting to the killing of 58-year-old Rob Krentz, whose family has owned a cattle ranch near the border for more than a century. “For thousands of Arizonans, border security is also quite literally a matter of personal security.”
I came thisclose to headlining the post “comedy gold.” What miracles hath this Hayworth primary challenge wrought!
From the man who once famously groused about conservatives’ desire to build a “goddamned fence” and then denied voting for it when pressed by Univision during the campaign, I give you John McCain — border warrior:
This is why primaries are so important. I’m guessing the reason that John McCain is finding his conservative soul is because his internal polling looks terrible.
So many of these politicians have sat in Washington, ignored American sentiment, and ignored their own constituents. There are many races where I feel less than enthusiastic about the primary challenger, but the incumbent has such a long history of betraying fiscal conservatism and self-aggrandizement, that I want them to go.
Politics should not be a lifetime sport with lush retirement package. But that’s how it goes now, in DC. Politicians get into office, get bought off by big interests, and then stay in office with the money received from those big interests. John McCain’s McCain-Feingold act made the problem even worse–but it turned out better for John McCain. The law protected incumbents.
Well, there should be no protection for incumbents. They should have to defend their positions, defend their votes and be at least marginally responsive to their constituents. I mean, at least pretend you give a damn what your voters think. Man.
The coming two-week congressional break was long dreaded by Democratic leaders, who feared the political fallout of having members go back home without a health care law to tout.
That’s not a worry any longer. Perceptions have turned so much that Democrats are now eager to head home and talk about the impact of the new law, House Ways and Means Chairman Sandy Levin said today.
Levin, D-Mich., said on ABC’s “Top Line” that Democrats are looking forward to defending and explaining the health care reforms they enacted.
“I think the health bill will be very much part of the debate, and we’re very happy to go — we’re anxious to go home and talk to our constituents about it,” Levin said. “But clearly jobs is a major, major issue as well, and we have to address the jobs issue.”
“I’ve been talking to a lot of my colleagues who are in very marginal seats, I think five, six, seven weeks ago they would have been worried about going home, wondering whether or not they were going home to immense unpopularity of an issue,” Levin added.
“I think they now feel that they stood up, the vast majority of them, to their credit. This is a bill that has so many positives. I go home and the people tell me about preexisting conditions, they can’t get insurance. I go home and people say to me that the costs are going out of control, and they are going to lose their insurance. This bill address costs, it addresses also preexisting conditions, it assists people who are uninsured.”
“So now there’s a feeling we can go back home, be proud of what we have done, understand there’s more to be done to implement it, but I think there had been a turning,” Levin said. “What helps most of all are the facts in the bill, and so we’re going to go home and talk about the facts. And I think that the more we talk about the facts and not some of this overblown rhetoric, the more people will understand this is a positive step. It’s in the best traditions of our country.”
So they really believe this? Are they really that out of touch? If so, this demonstrates the problem.
I don’t know why Democrats are so touchy about the description. Well, some, like Al Sharpton isn’t. Their motivation is “fairness” which means to take from one person and give to another who hasn’t earned it. From the New York Times:
A big chunk of the money to pay for the bill comes from lifting payroll taxes on households making more than $250,000. On average, the annual tax bill for households making more than $1 million a year will rise by $46,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group. Another major piece of financing would cut Medicare subsidies for private insurers, ultimately affecting their executives and shareholders.
The benefits, meanwhile, flow mostly to households making less than four times the poverty level — $88,200 for a family of four people. Those without insurance in this group will become eligible to receive subsidies or to join Medicaid. (Many of the poor are already covered by Medicaid.) Insurance costs are also likely to drop for higher-income workers at small companies.
Finally, the bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.
The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s). Even affluent families ineligible for subsidies will benefit if they lose their insurance, by being able to buy a plan that can no longer charge more for pre-existing conditions. In effect, healthy families will be picking up most of the bill — and their insurance will be somewhat more expensive than it otherwise would have been.
Each according to his need. Enforced fairness.
What is the natural consequence of such actions? The rich make sure they are no longer rich. By any means necessary, they will make sure their income falls below the taxation threshold. A whole new industry will pop up to help rich people. And rich people will go buy health care somewhere else. They can afford to travel to Mexico after all, to get cheaper health care. And the cost of health care in America will rise from this legislation.
And then, the government will have to force people to pay more taxes, which is why the President is considering a VAT tax. This whole issue will spiral. Costs will increase, tax revenue will decline. The black market for everything will flourish.
The incentives are all wrong. Why should people quit smoking and eat right? Pay the fine for not having insurance and then buy insurance when you get sick.
Socialism never works because it fundamentally operates against human nature. It reinforces bad behavior and extinguishes good behavior.
But it’s “fair.”
The Republican National Committee launched FireNancyPelosi.com immediately upon the passage of the health care bill by House Democrats. It has been a flaming success raising far more money than they even expected within hours of putting up the site.
With barely any advance advertising (ads only went up late Monday morning), these digital patriots adopted the #FirePelosi hashtag. http://www.newds.biz, which tracks conservative-leaning tweets, had “Fire Pelosi” at the top of their rankings within hours. Over 150 people per-hour were using GOP.com’s Tweet-Bomb to announce their donations and, to get the Fire Pelosi banner on the Twitter avatars. On Monday morning, “Fire Pelosi” was on Google Trends, and hours later, RNC and GOP had become ranked fourth and fifth on the same list. Embeddable widgets provided on the site were quickly posted on pages all over the internet, and less than 12 hours after Pelosi passed her disastrous bill , the RNC blew past its fundraising goal of $402,010. (We’ve since set a new goal at http://www.FireNancyPelosi.com.) Monday at 8:00, we were closing in on our second fundraising goal of $842,010.
This is a tremendous success, and full credit is owed to the new wave of online Republican activists. They who turned this campaign to remove the gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s hand into something special, and this November, they will see it through to its end. The Republican National Committee is proud to stand with these patriots.
They are only a few thousand away from raising one million dollars in 48 hours. Amazing, really. And heartening.
Want to give credit where credit is due. This is an excellent effort by the organization. Now, hopefully, the money will go to conservative candidates who will undo the mess Pelosi made.
My not-so-cheery thoughts on Obamacare from over at Pajamas Media:
Meanwhile, Americans are stuck with what the Democrats have wrought. And much as they hate the policy rape, they’ll come to identify with their captors soon enough.
Why? It’s human nature.
First, no one will allow Congress to repeal a law that would take away health care “for the children.” Not even the toughest Republican wants to have that conversation with a crying constituent. So it won’t happen. So all the talk of “repeal it” is hopeful hokum.
Second, there are Medicare cuts in the bill. The country is going down the economic crapper and cannot afford the current Medicare and Medicaid obligations, so the cuts and the bill stay.
Third, when people pay huge taxes and then get nothing for it, they know the taxes won’t go away so they complain about the product. That’s what will happen here.
Now, this bill will change everyone’s life for the worse, so there’s that happy thought. Happy? Well, American citizens from young to old will curse the Democrats.
The young people will be furious because when they voted for Obama with unicorn dreams, they didn’t imagine having to actually pay for health care with money that could be used to buy beer. Dude just harshed their mellow.
Old people will be angry because if there is one group of people who hold on to their entitlements with boney, clingy fingers, it’s old people. So with the new health care bill, they get more free drugs but they have to pay for so much else. They won’t be happy.
Small business owners will be more disheartened. We’re in a recession, remember? Yeah, these companies are barely holding on during these tough times, trying to not fire people or lay them off. Now, they have to add health care costs. Guess what? There will suddenly be many more companies with 49 employees. Are you in a company of 60 people where health insurance isn’t provided? Uh-oh. Watch out.
Doctors will stop taking Medicare and Medicaid patients. I already don’t. In protest, doctors across America will simply refuse to accept any government plan. Chaos will ensue. Old people will be hit hardest.
So yes, people are ticked off. Irate even. The Democrats don’t care and the American people are helpless to do anything except pour money into Republican candidates.
And that brings us to the Republicans. Reversing this travesty depends on them. These are the guys bandying about immigration reform and who routinely get lost in the weeds. Will the rage the American people are displaying help them keep their focus? Maybe.
It’s distressing putting my hope in any politician’s will to act nobly. It’s not in the job description. Politicians, even the fresh, green, idealistic politicians who will be elected in November, get polluted almost immediately. They start listening to “advisers” and the more seasoned pros. They start doing what legislators do: make laws. And laws, by definition, impinge on rights. That’s the way it works.
So no, I don’t believe health care will go away. I believe it will divide us, create chaos, and turn the conversation away from big dreams and freedom to provincial “my piece of the pie” talk.
Health care “reform” makes America small. That’s just the way Democrats like it.
Please don’t think I feel totally hopeless. I don’t. The bill can be gutted and dismantled. But can it be repealed? Doubtful. Is the fight over? No.
But this bill irrevocably changed America, there’s no denying it. And it changes America for the worse.
Yes, ACORN is done (in name only). But it should be noted, that they served the purpose they were created for: Electing a leftist president and getting leftists elected from sea to shining sea to pass a health care bill that is the statist Trojan horse gift to the American people. Given that Democrats now need Hispanic votes and the black vote is receding due to pure demographic shifts, buh-bye ACORN and I’m guessing the Rainbow Push coalition is probably increasingly irrelevant to the new left, too.
The Democrats and unions (but I repeat myself) turn toward illegal immigration. They need votes. They need Democrats. So look to other corrupt organizations now that ACORN is ostensibly done-for.
Several of its largest affiliates, including ACORN New York and ACORN California, broke away this year and changed their names in a bid to ditch the tarnished image of their parent organization and restore revenue that ran dry in the wake of the video scandal.
ACORN’s financial situation and reputation went into free fall within days of the videos’ release in September. Congress reacted by yanking ACORN’s federal funding, private donors held back cash and scores of ACORN offices closed.
Earlier this month, a U.S. judge reiterated an earlier ruling that the federal law blacklisting ACORN and groups allied with it was unconstitutional because it singled them out. But that didn’t mean any money would be automatically be restored.
Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, alluded to financial hardships in a weekend statement as the group’s board prepared to deliberate by phone.
So, while I’m glad that ACORN is down, I don’t believe for a minute that the Democrat power structure underpinning ACORN is out. They’re just retooling their game.
This weekend, Americans across the country watched in disbelief as Nancy Pelosi ignored the U.S. Constitution and brazenly exploited the legislative process to ram a government health care takeover through Congress. Speaker Pelosi’s use of a parliamentary tactics in order to pass a partisan piece of legislation that effects one-sixth of our nation’s economy is nothing short of reprehensible – she must be stopped.
Speaker Pelosi feels she has the authority to do whatever she feels regardless of the consequences for workers and families. We saw this first hand Sunday as she forced a government health care takeover through Congress with reckless abandon. Even worse, most members of the Democrat caucus – including several Texas Democrats – were more than willing to ignore their own constituents and support her liberal agenda.
Pelosi used these deceptive tactics in hopes that the American people wouldn’t be watching closely enough to notice the simple truth. This government health care takeover will increase taxes, raise premiums and cut Medicare benefits to seniors. Not to mention the trillion dollars she is adding to the federal deficit – a debt that Americans will be paying off for decades to come.
Nancy Pelosi promised to lead the most open and honest Congress in our history, yet she hardly seems to be living up to her word. Speaker Pelosi used sweetheart deals and arm-twisting tactics in order to garner enough votes to pass this despicable piece of legislation.
Our nation needs leaders who will truly act in an open and honest manner and Speaker Pelosi hardly fits the bill. She has repeatedly treated the American people with the utmost contempt and Nancy Pelosi MUST be fired. We need Americans to speak out against this injustice and I am asking for your help to make sure Nancy Pelosi knows that her radical leftist agenda is not welcome in our Congress.
I need you to pledge your support to help fire her and every Democrat who aided her in pursuing this shameful agenda. The best way to send this message is to give these Democrats the boot and help Republicans regain the majority in the United States House of Representatives. The voice of the people was ignored on health care as Democrats across the country voted against their constituents, but with your help we will make certain to return the favor and vote against the Democrats this November.
Since I’m such a Debbie Downer, I thought I’d pass along Sarah Palin’s perspective:
Though they’d like us to forget, we will remember the corrupt deals, the corrupt process, the lack of transparency, the deceptive gimmicks to game the CBO score, and the utter disregard for the will of the American people. Elections have consequences, and we won’t forget those who promised to hold firm against government funding of abortion, but caved at the last minute in exchange for a non-binding executive order promised by the most pro-abortion president to ever occupy the White House.
All along we’ve said that we want real health care reform, but this isn’t it. We mustn’t be discouraged now. We must look to November when our goal will be to rebuke big government’s power grab, reject this unwanted “transformation” of America, and repeal dangerous portions of Obamacare that will bury us under more Big Government control.
This is just the beginning of our efforts to take back our country. Consider yesterday’s vote a clarion call and a spur to action. We will not let America sink into further debt without a fight. We will not abandon the American dream to government dependency, fewer freedoms and less opportunity. Change is made at the ballot box. If we work together, we can renew our optimistic pioneering spirit, revive our economy, and restore constitutional limits.
Stand tall, America. November is coming!