It is a tax. It’s not a tax.

Posted: July 21, 2010 in constitution, economy, healthcare, politics, rants
Tags: , ,

They just can’t seem to make up their minds. At first, the individual mandate in the new healthcare law wasn’t a tax. Now that they’re going to have to defend it in court, they say it falls under, not just their power to regulate interstate commerce, but also their power to tax.

First, let’s get something out of the way. The commerce clause and taxing power both cone from Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution. It says:

“The Congress shall have Power To Lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

It goes on, but the last part is what we’re dealing with. “To regulate commerce…among the several States”. Lawyers at the DoJ say this gives them the power to force American citizens to purchase health insurance.

But if they can force us to buy health insurance in the guise of regulating interstate commerce, what’s to stop them from forcing us to buy other products or services?

Forcing us to buy health insurance has much broader implications than just buying insurance. Forcing us into formerly voluntary economic activity of any kind is unconstitutional. They will decide the minimum coverage we have to buy. They will decide if rate hikes can go through, taking that power away from the state regulatory boards. All we decide is which company we buy from, or if we pay the fine (tax)/ go to jail for voluntarily deciding not to engage in economic activity.

I know our system isn’t perfect, but this is definitely not the answer to fixing it. I don’t want bureaucrats making any health related decisions for me. Why not, you ask? Ask anyone in the military how they feel about the VA. They’ve done a piss poor job taking care of our vets, why should we expect a better outcome for the entire country?

Insanity- Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result

Forgot to add this earlier: Article 1, Section 9 states: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken”. This was changed by the Sixteenth Amendment, which states: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, without regard to any census or enumeration”.

The DoJ is also counting on the Sixteenth Amendment to uphold the individual mandate. I’m not really sure how that would work. Maybe just to uphold the fine for those who don’t purchase insurance?

In any event, I don’t see the mandate as constitutional. The government doesn’t have plenary powers. There is no power granted to them by the Constitution to force citizens into any economic activity, save for paying taxes. The Constitution doesn’t allow them to force us to buy a good or service. They are limited by the Constitution in what they can do. This is made clear by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments: 9- “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”, & 10- “The powers not delegated to the United Stated by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

In other words, we have rights not listed in the Constitution (the right to decide what products we purchase?), but the powers the government has are listed in the Constitution (no power to force us to buy a good or service). How is that not clear?

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