First — a collection of tweets from people who say they are moving to Canada because “Obamacare” is socialism. Yeah, let’s live somewhere free of the scourge of socialized medicine! Oh, wait …
Righties already are seizing on Roberts’s decision that the individual mandate is constitutional because of the power of Congress to levy taxes. It’s a tax! (It’s a witch! Burn it!) The ever not-brilliant Kathleen Parker accused the Obama Administration of deceit for sneaking a tax into the ACA without telling anybody. This rather overlooks the fact that Roberts is the only one calling it a tax. The Solicitor General who defended the ACA before the court very pointedly argued that the penalty was not a tax, and calling it a “tax” instead of a “penalty” doesn’t mean the whatever-it-is will suddenly cost you more money than it would have as not a tax, or lurk under your bed and eat your socks.
Randy Barnett, one of the key architects of the Obamacare legal challenge, e-mails me: â€œTodayâ€™s decision validates our claim that a Congressional power to compel that all Americans engage in commerce was a constitutional bridge too far. By rewriting the law to make it a â€˜tax,â€™ the Court has now thrown ObamaCare into the political process where the People will decide whether this so-called â€˜taxâ€™ will stand. And the People will also decide whether future Supreme Court nominees will pledge to enforce the Constitutionâ€™s restrictions on the power of Congress.â€
The problem here, of course, is while the Obama administration swore up and down that Obamacare did not tax every American, the Supreme Court, in effect, held that the Democrats did exactly that. In that regard, the opinion is a tribute to President Obamaâ€™s utter disingenuousness.
Except that the Court did not “rewrite” that part of the law at all. The only difference is in the legal theory supporting what the law said. And the penalty is not a tax on “every American,” just people who refuse to comply with the law.
So expect a lot of hysteria about it’s a witch! I mean, it’s a tax!
The ACA actually gives the government very little power to collect the penalty or tax or whatever you want to call it. As the law is written now, if you refuse to pay it you won’t be charged with a crime, and the government can’t put a lien on your property or anything.
While welcome as far as the ACA goes, Roberts’s peculiar opinion on taxing versus commerce clause is likely to cause a lot of trouble for progressives down the road. It really should have been found valid under the commerce clause.