WASHINGTON – Chief Justice Roberts and the majority found through the mechanism of taxes a way to uphold a congressional law. It’s clear now that the Roberts Court believes this is part of its duty, affirming SCOTUS is an equal brand of government that must respect what the Legislative branch does as well. It’s a constitutional ruling that affirms the founders intention.
One thing that Justice Roberts and the Court also did yet again, mimicking Citizens United, was cement elite control over the country, our politics and our lives. Obamacare remains a gift to private insurance and Big Pharma, just as Citizens United was a boon to the moneyed interests to stay in control of our politics, cementing the big two parties in perpetuity because of the decision this week on the Montana case.
I’m a liberal, so the mandate bothered my libertarian streak, but as a pure tax it doesn’t give me one second of pause. That’s a philosophical point, which remains irreconcilable with my firm opinion that the foundation of private insurance and Big Pharmas in Obamacare is what keeps costs high.
Justice Roberts and the majority citing taxes as making the individual mandate viable puts real pressure on the Grover Norquist contingent, but also Paul Ryan and the entire anti-tax conservative coalition. Republicans are up against it, because a Republican chief justice appointed by Pres. George W. Bush has now deemed congressional taxes as a powerful weapon for the people. It’s part of living in a civil modern society in the era of globalization.
The Republican line now, I’d expect, will be: OK, if it’s not a mandate and it’s a tax, then Obama and Democrats just dramatically increased your taxes. That could be potent. It’s not an insubstantial amount of money, this penalty: for a $50,000 a year household, it’s $1,250. The Republicans are going to try to make it sound as if everyone in America is going to have to pay this tax, but, as is par for the course with Republican rhetoric, it has precious little intercourse with the reality of the situation. This “tax” will be paid only by a very small number of Americans (2 to 5 percent), since 85 percent of us have health care to begin with. – Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast
The Republican argument so far has been desperate, from George Will to Charles Krauthammer. The right is struggling to find solace in the Commerce Clause section of the ruling. But how much it would be utilized is really a reach. From Greg Sargent, talking to Barry Friedman, a New York University law professor who wrote a brief supporting Obamacare:
Friedman added that the inability to regulate inactivity via the commerce clause isn’t any great loss — since it’s unclear how much of this we would have wanted to do in the future in any case. The more important point, he said, is that the decision upheld the right of the government to regulate via taxation.
“This is far more devastating to federalism and the balance of power between states and the national government,” he says. “You can now tax pretty much anything.”
As for the politics, Mitt Romney’s statement was perfect for the Republicans, even if his podium sign of “repeal and replace” was absurd. Just ask David Frum.
Even if Republicans win big in 2012, they will have to fight inch by bloody inch for changes they could have had for the asking in 2010. Truly, this is Waterloo—a Waterloo brought about by a dangerous combination of ideological frenzy, poor risk calculation, and a self-annihilating indifference to the real work of government. – Repeal is a Fantasy, by David Frum
Pres. Obama learned what 12-dimensional chess was all about on Thursday from Chief Justice John Roberts, a man he didn’t even vote to confirm.
The irony is thick.
In fact it’s dense.
It hit the right who were so sure about their SCOTUS conservatives, right-wingers who are so pompously positive they know the U.S. Constitution best, but also think politics is a positive part of the Court when it’s righteously driving outcome that goes in their favor.
It hit the Tea Party people who don’t understand the point of taxation, though if anyone ever tried to take their Social Security, Medicare, or pare military spending down they’d blow a gasket.
It hit all of those die hard Democratic Supreme Court flag-wavers who think the presidential prerogative on choosing justices is a reason to reelect Pres. Obama. So sure Mr. Obama’s appointments will deliver what they assume is just by their own definition, but now are stuck with the reality that Obama didn’t vote to confirm John Roberts, without whom Obamacare would have been repealed in total.
But, oh the sweet joy in hearing Rush Limbaugh babble incessantly, going ’round and ’round, but all he could come up with was “we need to win elections!” His panic was the type of joyful sound only the ring of well purposed taxation can bring out in a man like Limbaugh who thinks it’s every person for him or herself and if you don’t get yours that’s tough. However, nothing could top the sound of Sean Hannity’s pure political panic that came across the radio in a sweet rhapsody of delicious, deflated defeat.
It was political Christmas. I say this as someone who also knows Chief Justice Roberts helped codify capitalism’s health care elite into our country’s old soul in perpetuity.
Republicans and the right came thoroughly undone.
“My remarks at the Republican Conference following the Supreme Court decision were thoughtless. I certainly did not intend to minimize any tragedy our nation has faced and I apologize,” Pence said in a statement to POLITICO. – Pence likens health care ruling to 9/11
Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.