The Reaction

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.

Jennifer Rubin joins the mob:

Randy Barnett, one of the key architects of the Obamacare legal challenge, e-mails me: “Today’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 ‘tax,’ the Court has now thrown ObamaCare into the political process where the People will decide whether this so-called ‘tax’ will stand. And the People will also decide whether future Supreme Court nominees will pledge to enforce the Constitution’s restrictions on the power of Congress.”

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 Obama’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.

29 thoughts on “The Reaction

  1. Let them move to Canada. There they will be illegal aliens because believe me Canada doesn’t want them. See how it feels.

  2. Those tweeters are going to feel like dumb twits when they find out Canada has socialized medicine of its own! Maybe it is a way to cull out low-information voters. It could work as well for us as the ID laws are intended to do for R’s. In fact, it might get rid of some of the louder Retethuglicans, too, a boost to the environment.

    BTW, does anybody wonder how they will get around calling Roberts an “activist judge” when they had hailed him as a conservative champion? If they cannot live with losing a case at the SC, how will they deal with R-money’s loss in November? Will they go to live in Mexico, like his dad? Wait till they try out their every-man-for-himself Wild West fantasy for reals!

  3. Canada?
    Wrong direction, Dudes, and Dudettes.
    You mean Somalia!
    That’s more your cup of tea than “The Peoples Republic of Canada.”
    All the guns you want, and the “free hand of the market” is usually a fist.

    I’ve noted my concern about Roberts in the earlier post, so I’ll skip rehashing them here.

    If the D’s don’t stand behind this decision between now and this fall, and, instead, decide to run away from it like they did in 2010, then they will deserve to lose in 2012.
    Sometimes asking Democrats to have some balls is like asking Uncle Mitch to breast-feed his infant nephew.

    Ron Christie, that soulless Black Judas sell-out, was just on MSNBC reciting the usual R talking points on Holder and F&F.
    Why have him on at all?
    He NEVER says anything approximating new, or even interesting.
    He’s such a stupid feckin’ idjit, he’s not even any fun to beat on anymore. He makes any child’s Pinata look like Albert Einstein.

  4. 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.

    Not directly, no, but if the IRS can take your subsequent year withholding and apply it to your prior year mandate underpayment, then you’re underpaid on your current year income tax. And people can be imprisoned for that. So, as far as I can tell, the mandate can be enforced, if indirectly.

  5. Hey, I am a Canadian, born in Ontario but now living in British Columbia.

    I think my country was SO DAMN LUCKY to have Tommy C. Douglas be responsible for universal health care in this country. In fact, I voted for him as “The Greatest Canadian” in a competition show on CBC, a publicly owned broadcast system (YAY!) in my country.

  6. One of the comments to the “tweets” was great:

    “I am sick of this hot weather! I’m moving to Ethiopia!”

  7. Did you see old Rupert Murdick announced today that he is splitting the electronic and print media portion of News Corpse, he said it had nothing to do with the dead little girl hacking scandal, and that it wasn’t a news dump, just a coincidence that the announces it on the biggest news day of the last decade?

  8. My piece of poop congressman Joe Donnelly IN, DINO voted to hold Holder in contempt, amaizing how much power those terrorists at the NRA yield, here’s the thank you note I left at his house website:


    I am not surprised that you have bowed to the terrorist NRA and voted with the GOP on Holder’s bogus contempt charge. You sir are a coward and a scoundrel of the lowest order. You can act like a teabagger all you want but you will not be elected to the senate. The republicans have less use for you then us democrats. Say goodbye to your soul and what little integrity you had left. Your an embarrassment, I feel sorry for your family.

  9. uncledad,
    Yeah, and FOX News went with the “ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION!”

  10. The tweeters who want to up and move to Canada: Hilarious!

    I’m more intrigued by the weirdness of the Roberts decision, what was really going on in that man’s mind? I think it’s quite a stretch to call it a tax – I didn’t think Chief Justices had that kind of imagination.

    Robert Reich (too lazy to link to) said it’s about Roberts’ concern that the Court might be perceived as too partisan after Bush v Gore and Citizens United, as well as many other lesser known decisions of the same slant. Lots of theories, I just wish I knew what it was that made him flip.

  11. Funny, when Reagan radically upped, and added, fees to formerly free services (obtaining government pubs, admissions to government parks, and the like, conservatives vehemently attacked anyone who called these taxes, or who even said it was the same as raising taxes.

    But then they paid, and still pay, no price for their inconsistency. So they still do it.

  12. Roberts made the argument that I have been making with wingnuts for years. There is no ‘mandate’. If you get health insurance, you don’t have to pay a tax. The federal government is allowed to levy taxes. This tax is an incentive to do something for the general welfare because people without insurance cost those who have insurance.

    The new issue is how this will play in the General Election. Romney has to pivot right and address health care when he wants to pivot to the center and talk about the economy. In Congressional races, the issue of running on a platform with one plank – repeal – shifts the political dynamic.

    Frankly, I am hoping that the right-wing lunatics take center stage in the elections because things can reach a point of hatefulness that moderate voters just won’t go there. I’m not in love with moderates or moderation, but they decide elections.

  13. Four of the Supreme Court justices ruled:
    * that the mandate is not a tax
    * that the mandate must be a tax to be constitutional
    * and that the mandate is unconstitutional.

    Four of the Supreme Court justices ruled:
    * that the mandate is not a tax
    * that the mandate need not be a tax to be constitutional
    * and that the mandate is constitutional.

    The Chief Justice ruled:
    * that the mandate is a tax
    * that the mandate must be a tax to be constitutional
    * and that the mandate is constitutional.

    So majorities on the Supreme Court ruled:
    * that the mandate is not a tax
    * that the mandate must be a tax to be constitutional
    * and that the mandate is constitutional.

    A Voter’s Paradox!

  14. Alberto Gonzales is on MSNBC right now.

    I didn’t know they had TV studio’s in Federal Super Max prisons.

    He’s free?
    After what he did?

    In the words of Yakoff Smirnoff – “America! Vat a country!!!”

  15. ‘Gulag, you know that the higher up the food chain, the more immune one is to prosecution. ‘Berto is “special”, as in wearing a helmet “special”.
    I hope he has really bad dreams every night.

  16. I just noticed that Fox has apparently changed their term to “Obamatax”, now that Obamacare has been borrowed by the left.

  17. A local blog has 97+ comments regarding one entry on the ACA decision. Mine is the only one about actual healthcare. The rest are high-flown philosophizing about the legitimacy and reasoning behind the decision. It is amazing how many people worry about the propriety of provisions required to be made by profiteers before expresssing an instant of concern for the health of their fellow citizens. I must not feel sufficiently guilty about using my insurance, but at least all my prescriptions are generic.

  18. Speaking as a Canadian, living in British Columbia hate to tell these idoits we have socialized medicine. And they have to leave their guns at home. Sorry no second amendment here. And the goverment has the ability to take your guns here

  19. I took a great class years ago on the Warren Court and came to the conclusion that the Court can and does use the Constitution very creatively in order to arrive at a decision that they want to come to – in spite of the Constitution in many instances.

    In the late 19th century the Court ruled that separate is equal. In 1954, the Court ruled that separate is not equal. Same Constitution, completely different ruling.

    As far as the mandate thing, applied it works more like a speeding ticket. Of course, one could call a speeding ticket a tax (but that seems a bit of a stretch even for right-wingies.)

  20. As a Canadian, let me correct one huge myth about Canadian healthcare: it is not socialized medicine. It is a single payee system.

    Doctors in Canada have private practices just like US doctors. They don’t work for the government.

    Fees are set by the Canadian Medical Association and their provincial counterpart.

    The doctor sends his bill for the patient’s visit to the provincial government who then reimburses his/her.


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