Tuesday, September 11, 2012
"Intellectually shabby" Supreme Court Opinion
Have finally had some time to dig into the Supreme Court's Obamacare (NFIB v. Sebelius) decision. Robert's argues that the penalty for not signing up for health care is really a "tax." I've seem a lot of really weak and ridiculous things in Supreme Court opinions, but his is one of the recent worst. As this article notes: " Here the key statement that he makes is this: “it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.” With all respect, the point is little short of absurd. The earlier portion of the Chief Justice’s opinion noted the huge expansion in federal power that could arise if the government were permitted to regulate various forms of inactivity. What possible argument then could be put forward to say that the same risks do not apply to the expansion of the taxing authority to those same forms of inactivity, in ways that it has never been exercised before. The two examples that the Chief Justice gives are the tax on buying gasoline or earning income. Both of those are obvious activities that have long been regarded as acceptable bases for taxation. But not buying health insurance is not an activity. I am not aware of any tax imposed on individuals for not buying gasoline and not earning income, or not taking a bath or not working in a home office. To allow this to stand as a tax is to accept the same kind of absurdity that was rejected in connection with the commerce power. Intellectually shabby, to say the least."