Thursday, June 28, 2012
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
Gosh, I wonder if I can find anything interesting on which to ruminate?
You bet your outrageous tax increases and onerous government intrusion I can.
The Supreme Court today upheld the Obamacare individual mandate, perpetuating the march toward socialized medicine in this country. The Supremes said that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause and Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution. Those were arguments 1 and 1A by the Obama Administration. The Court did rule, however, that the mandate was constitutional as a tax. The power to levy taxes rests solely with Congress, and instituting a tax was within their purview, so as a tax, the mandate survived.
Acording to Chief Justice John Roberts, Obamacare's requirement that individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining insurance could be characterized as a tax and Congress has the ability to implement a tax. Therefore, the Court chose not to rule on the wisdom or fairness of Obamacare, but on the structure of the penalty for not obtaining insurance.
Here are some thoughts about today's events:
Early in his presidential term, Obama promised not to raise taxes in the midst of a deepening recession and especially on the middle class. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, Obamacare is strewn with numerous tax increases, some of which were not discovered until after the Democrats in Congress has rammed the bill through the legislative process. In all, there are 21 new taxes in Obamacare that will gouge and estimated $675 billion annually out of the economy.
And that "no taxes on the middle class" pledge? 12 of the 21 new taxes land squarely on the the middle and lower income brackets.
The ruling also continues the mandate that insurance companies accept an person without regard to pre-existing condition or risk factors, and cannot price the healthcare coverage for those individuals accordingly. The environment for health insurance companies has gotten to be very precarious now. It has become more difficult for insurance companies to manage their risk and pricing models under Obamacare, and the ability to be profitable and continue in business is going to be more difficult. It is easy to vilify insurance companies in the healthcare debate, but the fact remains that private insurance companies faced a daunting task of providing coverage and trying to remain proftitable. Government intervention into the market place had made that difficult; Obamacare will make that almost impossible.
And perhaps that is the end game of this administration and its liberal acolytes. Foul up healthcare in this country to the point that private insurers bail out and all of us are forced into a single payer system. On the surface, that may sound good and efficient.
It is not.
I have friends who are living in countries with a single payer system. The inefficiencies are breath taking. The wait for services is staggering. And ultimately, health care is rationed.
All in the name of the government having control.
The Supremes did strike down the expansion of the Medicaid provisions. States still have the right to opt out of insurance exchanges- which would be controlled by the federal government- and not face penalties for doing so.
So think about this: if your employer deems it too costly to continue to provide insurance as a benefit and leaves you uninsured, what will you do? Purchase insurance on your own? The costs are going to be astronomical.
No, you will be forced under a government program. Just decide of your own volition not to purchase insurance, however, and face the wrath of the IRS.
Oh yeah- the IRS.
An extra $500 million has already been allocated to this agency for the sole purpose of adding new enforcement agents to insure compliance with the government's socialized medicine program.
Now, you are an intelligent person- you are reading this blog, after all. So here is a question: how aggressive do you think the IRS will be in enforcing this mandate? Think they might snoop around a bit in your personal life to make sure you are complying? Think more Americans are going to subjected to audits?
We all know that the IRS can be intrusive. Now there are new grounds on which the IRS can rummage around in our finances.
The debate still rages- some argue rightly- the over reach of this law into the areas of contraceptives that are mandated into religious entities such as hospitals operated by the Catholic church. Expect that issue to continue to wend its way through the court system.
Much more will be written about this, and analysis will come from people far smarter, but there are some important takeaways that we should all have in mind.
This program was sold as a cost effective way to remedy the problem of 50 million uninsured Americans. That was a lie. This program was a blatant power grab by the federal government. For years, Democrats have lasciviously looked upon health care as vital cog in their desire to control the economy. For Democrats, it is not about solutions; it is about power and control, and exerting so much influence on 1/7 of our national economy gives them unprecedented control.
Health care reform was premised to be a cost effective way to stabilize healthcare services without a negative effect on the economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The true extent of the economic damage was hidden in the bill and only came to light after it was rammed through Congress by the Democrats and signed into law by Obama. Recall the infamous comment from the venal Nancy Pelosi, who said, "We have to pass the bill to find out what is in it." What is in it is a myriad of taxes and penalty traps for those that do not comply with this debacle.
Look at our Social Security sytem and the finances of this country in general and ask yourself if you are confident that the federal government can run the health care system effectively. Government cannot for the simple fact that government has never had to comply with the requirements of the marketplace. Government has never had to run efficiently or make a profit. Government does not care about waste, fraud, or abuse.
Because you and I as taxpayers have to make good on any shortfall, however it may have occurred.
And therein lies the problem.
You and I as taxpayers are seen as an unlimited supply of dollars to be spent and misspent by those that think they know more about what is good for us as individuals than we do.
Now this is important:
I believe that we as a just and moral society have an obligation to assist those less fortunate. I believe that we need to create an environment where we as a society are focused on those that are in need and are crafting effective solutions to meet those needs.
Obamacare epitomizes the competing visions of achieving those goals. Either we as a society engage as individuals to meet the needs of those that are in dire circumstances, or we can abdicate that responsibility to the federal government and let them confiscate our resources to meet those needs.
We have a long track record of how well the government has done in that arena.
And it is horrific.
The decision by the Supreme Court today has defined our choices in very stark terms.
We can take responsibility for the welfare of our fellow man- and ourselves- and in so doing retain our freedom to make signifcant life choices. We can retain our economic freedom in so doing.
Or, we can give up that responsibility and cede it to the government. Doing that results in a loss of personal freedom and economic resources.
The choice is ours in November.