Well, the Court agreed with me that you can’t regulate inactivity. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but this is the Supreme Court after all. Yep, the Obamacare ruling came down by the Supremes today, and everyone is either super-excited, forlorn, or unsure. You can put me somewhere between forlorn and unsure. The ruling stinks because it maintains legislation that will join Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as a giant blackhole of entitlement suck that we literally can’t pay for. It will also result in rising premiums and less care, while having no impact on rising healthcare costs. And “conservative” justice John Roberts joined the lefty minority to bring the law home. All of those things are bad.
But there are some potential goodies in there too (hence the lengthly dissent of the libs on what should have been considered a victory). First, the individual mandate failed under the Commerce Clause. Why is this important? Because it shows Congress can’t regulate whatever the hell it wants by simply arguing it involves “interstate commerce.” It also proves that I was right about it being an unprecedented overreach by Congress by trying to include inactivity in something that can be regulated. And I like being right. Yes, I know, it still passed constitutional muster under Congress’s taxing authority. That’s true. And the benefit to that is it gives the Republicans a HUGE talking point with an election coming up.
Uh, no George, it’s not a tax increase. I’m serious. George, don’t you know who I am? Seriously, it’s NOT A TAX.
Oh, wait, sorry. It is, ah, a tax. And it’s going to be frickin’ HUGE. And you know who it’s going to disproportionately impact? That’s right. The middle class. Why? Because high-rollers like me already have health insurance, and while it’s only going to get more expensive under this lovely bill, I can probably still afford it. But what about the middle class? They either need to pay the increasing premiums, or get
penalized taxed. So the Prez is a big liar and the voters he needs are going to be most impacted by his lie.
What’s another positive? Well, maybe it will keep me from having to hear about all the “politicians in robes” from the left, since the Chief Justice decided to play for the other team on what is probably the biggest decision the Roberts Court will ever make. You know what you never see? One of the four libs switching sides. Just kidding. We’ll all be hearing about Citizens United in about 10 minutes.
So what have we learned? We learned that the Commerce Clause doesn’t allow for the regulation of inactivity…which those of us who took English class in high school already knew. We learned that the Supreme Court will identify something as a tax, even if the law’s proponent specifically argues that it’s a penalty. We learned that the Chief Justice is more worried about how his court is perceived by the media than he is about actually making good decisions. And finally, we learned that the President is a huge liar, who rammed through the largest tax increase in history while telling everyone it wasn’t a tax increase.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Most of Arizona Immigration Law Because Federal Govt. is Taking Care of It.
The ruling sucks. And don’t let anyone tell you that the “key provision” is still alive. No it isn’t. The only part that’s left is the provision that allows officers to try and figure out if someone they arrested for something else is here illegally. Big Deal. They still can’t arrest someone for being here illegally. Why? Because that’s the federal government’s job. And don’t get me wrong; it is the federal government’s job. The Constitution states that immigration is the job of the federal government. What happens when the federal government fails in its job, however? In his dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia offers the following:
A Federal Government that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States’ borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude. So the issue is a stark one. Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive’s refusal to enforce the Nation’s immigration laws?
Scalia is obviously calling out the Obama Administration here, although it could be equally levied at the Bush Administration. The obvious problem with only allowing the Feds to handle illegal immigration is that they aren’t doing it. And to be more specific, the Executive Branch, i.e., the Barry Administration, isn’t doing it.
Civics flashback: The Legislative Branch creates law. The Executive Branch enforces law. Congress has passed legislation regarding illegal immigration. In fact, the language of Arizona’s law is virtually identical to federal law dealing with illegals. It’s Obama’s job to enforce the immigration laws that are on the books. And we’re not just talking about tossing the illegals out, but taking steps to keep them out. While it has been deporting people, it has taken no steps to control the border. And let’s not forget Obama’s proclamation made last week about no longer deporting anyone who meets certain qualifications. In other words, in his effort to pander to the growing Latino population, Barry has decided to stop enforcing the law.
All of this creates an intriguing issue for the States, particularly the ones on the border. They can’t build their own wall, they can’t patrol their own borders, and now they can’t arrest illegals for being there illegally. What is to be done about an administration that has expressly told everyone that it is no longer going to enforce the law? I’m not sure. It will probably involve several States suing the Department of Homeland Security, for its willful failure to enforce the law. Whatever happens, it’s going to take a lot of time and money, and all because we have a radical President who only enforces the laws that suit his ideology.
Well, apparently elections still matter in Wisconsin. Apparently a party can’t lose an election, and then stop a vote on a bill brought by the majority which was just voted into the majority by simply leaving town. Apparently that group can’t then complain about what happens in the State Senate when they were on vacation. Apparently those that are able to yell the loudest, despite being in the significant minority, can’t take over an entire state. And finally, apparently one judge can’t overrule an election.
Yesterday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court allowed the legislation regarding public unions to be published, thereby making it the law of the land. Democracy seems to actually work sometimes. I’m sure those that yell the loudest aren’t done with their protests, but their likelihood of success is certainly less now than it was two days ago.
In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law which allowed for the suspension or revocation of a business’s license to do business in Arizona if the company was found to be intentionally employing illegal immigrants. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which obviously has some significant members that like cheap labor, challenged the law, arguing that it is preempted by federal law. For those of you out there who are aren’t boring, “preempted” simply means the federal government controls the issue completely, thereby leaving nothing for the states to do. Here, the feds had enacted their own law that punishes businesses that knowingly employ illegals with civil or criminal sanctions (money damages or jail time). The federal law also expressly prohibits state laws from doing the same thing. Thus, preemption. However, the federal law also expressly allows states to impose their own sanctions “through licensing and similar laws.”
The majority, made up of the so-called “conservatives” on the court, ruled that Arizona’s law, which instructs courts to suspend or revoke the licenses of Arizona businesses that knowingly employ illegals, clearly fell within the federal exception allowing a state to issue sanctions through its “licensing” laws. To that I say: Hooked on Phonics works. The majority also upheld Arizona’s law that required each employer to confirm the immigration status of potential employees by using the E-verify system. E-verify allows an employer to send information supplied by the employee to the federal government via the internet, and then be told whether the employee is able to be legally employed.
This was a beneficial decision because it will allow Arizona to try and put an end to illegal immigration by targeting its catalyst: employers. It also gives every other state a template to use in their own legislation. Finally, it was also an easy decision, because the Arizona law does exactly what the federal law said it could do: impose sanctions through its business licensing laws. Of course, three of the four “liberals” on the court sided with the Chamber of Commerce; although not because they like big business (the fourth lib, Elena Kagan didn’t hear the case).
I’m not going to bore you with the details of the three dissenting opinions. Let me just say that the justices had to go through some serious contortions of law and the English language to even approach well-reasoned decisions. Their “legal” reason for trying to strike down the law: while Congress may have specifically made sanctions through “licensing laws” an exception to federal preemption, Congress didn’t actually mean it. The real reason why they wanted to strike down the law: it increases the possibility of a business discriminating against someone of non-European heritage (despite the existence of anti-discrimination laws). Oh yeah, the law also makes it harder for illegals to get jobs. And without jobs, the illegals may go back to their countries of origin, thereby making it more difficult for community organizers to get them registered to vote so that they can vote for Democrats. [Places broad brush back into bag].
Bottom line: good decision. The easiest, and cheapest, way to combat illegal immigration is to go after the businesses that employ them. And since the federal government has no interest in enforcing its own immigration laws, while at the same time turning a blind eye to cities like Chicago that blatantly advertise themselves as “sanctuary cities,” someone had to do something…and Arizona’s on the front lines. Oh, and the law clearly falls into the federal exception. So no “activist” judges here. Which is good.
Well, a federal judge from the District of Columbia has ruled that Obamacare is Constitutional. The score card now sits at 3-2 in favor of its Constitutionality. Of course, the score doesn’t matter because the Supreme Court will be making the ultimate decision, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m posting about the D.C. decision because I find it truly terrifying that a federal judge would issue a ruling that says this:
It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not ‘acting,’ especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice. Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.
Read that again, and absorb just what is being asserted here. Let’s remember that the Constitutional issue with Obamacare is whether Congress can compel a private citizen to purchase a product on the private market. Our government argues it possesses this power under the Commerce Clause in the Constitution. The Commerce Clause says this:
The Congress shall have power…. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.
The Commerce Clause constitutes one of the very few enumerated powers given to Congress, and its scope seems pretty clear. Of course, thanks to the Supreme Court, this short clause has been twisted into a pretzel, and now serves to support Congress’ regulation of just about everything. Congress has never before tried to force the American people to buy something, however, so Obamacare is truly unprecedented.
O.k., now that we’ve had our review, let’s evaluate the scope of the D.C. ruling.
It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not ‘acting…’
Here, the D.C. court is simply agreeing with the government’s argument that, by doing nothing, one is actually doing something. Take this assertion to its logical conclusion, and Congress can force us to buy whatever it wants. Hopefully it chooses a tank. Because owning a tank would be awesome.
In my opinion, the D.C. court goes beyond that though.
Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something.
By using this assertion as a basis for its ruling, the court argues that Congress can literally regulate one’s thoughts under the Commerce Clause. I’m crazy, you say? Well, think about it. Where does a decision to not do something reside? It isn’t manifested in physical action, as a decision to do something would be. Instead, it resides only in your brain. The D.C. court believes the decision living in your head can be regulated, it’s that simple.
Am I going too far with this? Maybe. But everyone needs to realize that, if the individual mandate in Obamacare is found to be Constitutional, then there is literally nothing Congress cannot regulate. And if the D.C. court has its way, that would include your own thoughts.
It seems everyone with any shwag is getting a waiver for Obamacare now-days. What is a waiver from Obamacare you ask? Well, in its effort to create awesome health care benefits out of pixie dust and rainbows, the new health care law compels privately-owned insurance providers to give at least $2 million in annual benefits to insureds by 2013. Well that sounds like a great idea! Unlimited insurance benefits for all!
It turns out that there’s a small problem with requiring companies to provide a certain level of coverage to all insureds though. It’s called reality. A company like McDonald’s, for example, provides some health benefits for its low-wage workers because the premiums aren’t terribly high…so it’s affordable. Do you think $2 million a year is going to be affordable? Probably not. Hence the waivers.
The waivers allow health insurance plans to limit how much they will spend on a policy holder’s medical coverage for a given year. Under the new health care law, however, such annual limits are phased out by the year 2014. (Under HHS regulations, annual limits can be no less than $750,000 for 2011, no less than $1.25 million in 2012 and no less than $2 million in 2013.)
So far, 222 organizations have been granted waivers from having to comply with Obamacare. The most recent: three local chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). No, this isn’t about unions per se. Fact it, lots of large companies and charitable organizations have been issued waivers. The purpose of this post is to simply inquire into whether Obamacare can be defined as a good thing if no one can afford to comply with it (I know, this question often vexes liberals)?
Let’s face it…the new health care law is an entitlement program whose purpose is to provide good healthcare, at a cheap cost, to those deemed most at risk. Unfortunately, good healthcare at a cheap cost doesn’t exist in the real world. So, what needs to happen? Well, first, the big political donors need to be satiated. Hence specifically exempting them from the law. Second, those low-wage employees of the big political donors will need to be subsidized in some way by the government. Why? Because if Obamacare results in janitors not receiving the same annual insurance limits of everyone else, even the libs will admit failure.
You see, there is no such thing as a free lunch. A company can’t survive by offering cadillac plans to everyone, and not charging appropriate premiums to everyone. An insurance provider can’t afford to offer insurance to someone with heart disease who smokes five packs a day, while only requiring the premium of a healthier person. But the government doesn’t exist in the real world, and that’s why the end result of Obamacare will be a lack of private insurance providers offering benefits to everyone else.
But that’s the point, isn’t it?
In its continuing effort to make sure no children live anywhere near it (and with real estate prices being what they are, few parents could afford them anyway), San Francisco has banned the Happy Meal. Why, you ask? Well isn’t it obvious:
‘Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color,’ said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure.
No Supervisor Mar, your children aren’t sick. They’re fat. In fact, they’re apparently so ridiculously fat, they have eaten their parents so as to make obtaining Happy Meals that much easier.
‘This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment,’ Mar said.
I’m sure you can include Taco Bell in that wide range of restaurants. Well, probably not. In San Francisco, Taco Bell is a cherished landmark. It does, after all, provide quick and easy access to cheap burritos for all those folks who, after a night of clubbing at the Leather Rodeo, like to enjoy a little smokey-smokey (for medicinal purposes only).
In other words, I think San Francisco may have some
moral social issues that, while self-inflicted, might have a greater impact on their children than Happy Meals. Not to mention the whole parent-eating thing.