the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on June 28, 2012

Today’s supreme court “health sickness care” ruling is an enormous blow to Americans. Our past successes have been created by a governmental philosophy of ‘the people know best’. Today we are told that in fact, ‘government knows best’. They flat stated, “You will buy OUR soup! or we will Tax you!” As a business owner, I can’t even begin to list the horrors which will now extend from this “Constitutional” interpretation even well after the law is struck down. It is very hard to understand how the single most successful culture in world history requires such a radical and truly violent change to what made us successful. Conservative American thoughts become even more incredulous when we consider that most of our health care troubles were created by government in the first place. It is, however, very easy to understand the sales angle – free stuff for those who don’t work hard.

As Europe watches, they have been saturated with endless media mis-portraying the US health care system as one which does not provide to those whom cannot pay. The misrepresentation of reality by the global media corporations could not be more disingenuous. In reality, “We the People” GIVE more to the poor more money than ANY country on actual dollar basis. We could do this in the past because we were allowed to own and create wealth at will. What is often forgotten is that America also created the majority of the industrial and medical advances in the world despite our small population (popular disadvantage). A common theme of this blog that shouldn’t surprise regular readers is that we all MUST question our information sources a little more vigorously.

NO I am not America centric. I am capitalist centric. America certainly cannot be accused of having the best breeding, best intelligence, finest minds. What we have had was a system which allowed people to gain individually for their own efforts. The freedom to express our opinions without oppression. The freedom to make money and not have it stolen by those who haven’t even tried to work. In the past, if you built the better mouse trap, you could make a hell of a lot of personal wealth in exchange for your efforts. You still can, but the hidden truth is that the probability of success with your mousetrap is being dramatically reduced. The feedback of recent economically negative forcing will have decades of true lag time.

I am certain that much of Europe is watching America gradually make the transition to the European/Russian/third world government system with an odd feeling of satisfaction. Watching us self-destruct in the same haze they experienced, can give them comfort, but America’s future has more than mild global consequences. What is happening now to our country is not a local problem. Europeans should realize that the destruction of the American system is the ruination of what is obviously the best hope for governance of mankind.

That though, is not the point of this post.

Capitalism is a math problem. To me it is of the same family as Mannian multivariate regression using noisy predictors. If you have noisy data (every person has their own unique mind) and you fit it to a predicatand (what everyone wants), by probability, you are guaranteed to maximize the popular result to which we all naturally seek. Despite my present discouragement, few will deny that it is an indisputable societal fact that in all cases, the average of a group of individuals will seek the position to their best advantage.

This leads me to an oxymoron of Republican thought – A capitalist who doesn’t believe in evolution. The concept is beyond resolution for me.

So rhetorically speaking, what happens when Americans have free health care, food, and housing handed to them if they can demonstrate that they are poor (unemployed) enough?

I have to tell you, I’m tired of working 15 hour days as a business owner simply to pay massive taxes that are multiples of my pay while listening to lazy, over-payed, government bureaucrats blather that they think WE should pay more for their wonderful service.

Simple math folks. Whether you believe this law is devastating (as I do) or simply another minor step, the math is at a minimum guaranteed to shift some portion of the functionally capable population away from effort.

61 Responses to “Descent”

  1. It is almost as if some nations want to fail. I suspect this demise is the ongoing outcome of sad Malthusian thinking.

  2. RamTec said

    I’ve followed your climate blog with interest but this is beyond the pale: Full of the same neo-Con assumptions about European Healthcare without any attempt to recognise the reality of the shambolic system in the US. On my last visit Stateside, of which there have been numerous over the years, a first-hand view of the poverty and neglect left me appalled that the US had the audacity to regard itself as a civilised nation. Stones & glasshouses…

    • jeff condon said

      You don’t understand what is causing the mess here. If people prefer being given free homes and enough money to live on for not working, do you really expect them to get up and work? How nice should those homes be?

      At the same time, excessive laws and regulations along with guaranteed government money, are causing administrative costs for health care business to go through the roof while the whole system makes lawyers wealthy. Massive new regulation with guaranteed payment ain’t gonna fix that my friend, it will accelerate it.

      My intent wasn’t to bash Europe, but rather on the socialistic fallacy in general. I have also traveled to Europe and Asia many times and couldn’t disagree more with your ludicrous assessment of US poverty. It has no basis in reality.

    • Frank K. said

      RamTec said
      June 29, 2012 at 5:18 am

      So … why is Europe (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, …) going bankrupt? (That a rhetorical question BTW).

      jeff condon said
      June 29, 2012 at 7:40 am

      “I have also traveled to Europe and Asia many times and couldn’t disagree more with your ludicrous assessment of US poverty.”

      I have traveled to India via Mumbai. You do NOT know what poverty is until you have seen downtown Mumbai! There is no place in the U.S. that is even close…

      • dukeofurl said

        The US deficit and borrowing is up there with the ‘Pigs’. The Federal Reserve has been printing money…but hey its all right over here.

    • Alan D McIntire said

      Europe has the advantage of “freeriding” on America’s defense budjget and drug creation budget, and STILL, thanks to the European welfare ethic sapping productivity, the average European is not as wealthy as the average American. Note that the average income for a European Union member is lower than the average income for a Mississippian, and Mississippi is our poorest state!

      • Jeff Condon said

        His comment was a bit silly. My interpretation is that I made him mad with my post.

      • steveta_uk said

        “the average European is not as wealthy as the average American”

        I would expect most readers of this blog would realise how utterly stupid it is to compare “averages”.

        A wealthy American who actually worked for a living in the 1960’s could expect to earn around 20 times the national average. This changed up to the 90’s where the wealthy earned 100’s of times the average, and the gap continues to increase.

        Until you can prevent the rape of your own country by Wall Street then the gubmint has no choice but to intervene to support the poor. Blaming those without any money or work is nasty – blame the thieves who are funding $100M summer houses in the Hamptons.

        • Kan said

          Those dudes in the $100 million summer homes, they are the ones who used private money to get the unemployment level down to less than 5%.

          Those dudes in the $10 million dollars homes in Georgetown, their too scared to let the first dudes take billion dollar losses on bad ideas, so they borrow (steal) public money to keep them going. And that helps keep the unemployment rate above 8%.

          Who is raping whom?

  3. jeff condon said

    I also see our system as numerically broken in that the government (as all are) is incented to take increasing control. Each little step always extends in the same direction of empowerment. The founding fathers tried to protect us from this by writing a document limiting the power of the federal government, but while this document has proven a hindrance to the fools who know best, it has been ignored to a gradually increasing degree over the years. Its continued decay is almost numerically guaranteed by these sorts of supreme court rulings.

    • Scott B said

      I definitely agree with this. That’s the path of all forms of government. The founders did try to put in place a system that would slow that rot as much as possible. Fact is, people will work around and corrupt the system though. And the Supreme Court is where it’s mostly occurred, basically from day one. I don’t think it’s a surprise that when you give the federal government the authority to choose the justices that these justices usually come down on the side of expanded federal power. It would have been better to set up some system where the states had that power. Problem is, we’ve long gone past the point where the federal government can be reigned in and most people wouldn’t want to go through that anyway.

      • David JP said


        I wanted to highlight this post of yours, but I waited to see if anyone else would comment on it first. Apparently not 🙂

        The Constitution is a flawed and highly compromised document. I give the founders great credit for putting it together given the situation of their times. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is to remember that the Constitution was just another attempt to get it right after prior failures with setting up our federal government. Granted that the effort was made in good faith and it produced a wonderful system relative to world history. However, the founders were willing to change things if there was a need to do so. Perhaps we should be less worshiping of the Constitution and consider that it needs more tweaking?

        The one thing the founders got exactly right is the ability to amend/change the Constitution. Your suggestion that it would have been better if the states were in charge of supreme court justice selection is, on balance, I think a good one.

        I also think there should have been a mechanism whereby the Representatives and Senators could introduce a single bill that could not be altered without approval by said Representative/Senator. This unmolested bill would then be voted on by the full house/senate for passage. Such a bill process would empower the good/uncorrupted Representatives/Senators to make a difference in our system. It would also eliminate the need for term limits and perhaps the line item veto.

        As it stands right now, I wouldn’t consider running for office. I don’t think I could make a difference with the way our system has evolved.

        So, your post was great because it focused on how the future could be better than the past. Thanks 🙂

  4. Scott B said

    I think it’s a minor step. One that our government has chosen to take the most expensive path of keeping for-profit insurance in place. We should have gone to the far left single payer plan or left things alone. You are right though that it will push the math closer to trapping the poor in a situation where it’s not worth it to get a job. I don’t think health care is really the place to correct that though. When healthy, health coverage for the future isn’t much of a motivator to work. Also, it’s not like these people without coverage aren’t already using the system in emergencies and having us cover the bill. The area to go after would be unemployment, welfare, and immigration. Crack down on people’s ability to collect money without really looking for a job or collect money while turning down jobs that the person thinks are not good enough. It would help a lot if we could get rid of illegal immigrants and then be much harsher on the unemployed, forcing them to take the jobs illegals are currently doing or take away most of their benefits.

  5. Glacierman said

    “Who is John Galt?”

  6. Ohio said

    I felt the same as you, Jeff, until I read more into the details of the ruling. I think Roberts made a brilliant move with this ruling after thinking about it. He ruled that if the mandate was a penalty, it would be unconstitutional under the commerce clause. This finally puts a limit on interstate regulation by Congress. By ruling the mandate as a tax, it takes the teeth out of the bill. The IRS collects the tax but cannot impose any penalty on the taxpayers if they don’t pay (this is in the bill). Also, by ruling the mandate as a tax, it will now only require 51 senators to move forward on a vote to repeal (instead of 60). Plus you have the limits of the Federal Government on removing Medicaid assistance to the states which makes it easier for the states to now opt out.
    Finally, Obama now has to accept that his signature achievement is office is also a huge tax increase on the middle-class, something he promised wouldn’t happen. Romney can run his election campaign on repealing it. And Obama cannot attack the Supreme Court as politically driven.
    As I stated, I think it was brilliant on his Robert’s part.

    • Jeff Condon said

      The tax ruling does give me hope that we are still on a slow path.

    • Chuck L said

      This may be thinking too much, but suppose that Roberts, who has, until these last 2 rulings, been a conservative voice in the Court, ruled this way to energize the Republicans/Tea Partiers/Independents to defeat the President this fall and take back the Senaten and keep the House to dismantle OamaCare, piece by piece next year. In the opinion, he basically said, in so many words, that there are consequences to elections and if the People are unhappy with this law and the many failures and poor policies of this Administration, it is up to them (us) to vote out those politicians who are responsible for the (so far) decline and fall of the United States. I’m probably grasping at straws but it’s all I’ve got to hold on to.

    • kuhnkat said

      Let me point out that not having teeth to enforce the tax component simply means that the gubmint will have to pull the money from somewhere else. OTH here is what it says:

      (2) SPECIAL RULES- Notwithstanding any other provision of law—

      (A) WAIVER OF CRIMINAL PENALTIES- In the case of any failure by a taxpayer to timely pay any penalty imposed by this section, such taxpayer shall not be subject to any criminal prosecution or penalty with respect to such failure.

      (B) LIMITATIONS ON LIENS AND LEVIES- The Secretary shall not—

      (i) file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section, or

      (ii) levy on any such property with respect to such failure.

      It appears that actions like garnishing the wages would still be open. Taking money from accounts probably is also not out of the question. Anyone have solid information on how far they can go with CIVIL as opposed to CRIMINAL actions?!?!?!

      While it APPEARS that Roberts limited the Commerce Clause for the first time in a LOOOONG time I would suggest that he simply skirted it as this is a SPECIFIC instance and the Commerce Clause has been extended to ludicrous lengths already. He simply picked another area to allow the gubmint to manipulate us.

    • Anonymous said

      This maybe too clever by half. They also ruled in favor of the petition for exemption from the Anit-Injunction act – since this was not a tax. Then Roberts said it was a constitutional act because it falls under the power of Congress to levy taxes. This is a contradictory position.

      Roberts ruled
      “The Affordable Care Act does not require that the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate be treated as a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not apply to this suit, and we may proceed to the merits.”

      In 2014, when the first tax is imposed under Obamacare – what is the standing to petition the courts as a confiscatory tax? The precedent will be the ruling on the Anti-Injuction petition and would require this ruling to be overturned.

      Half pregnant?

      • Kan said

        Anonymous above was me

      • dukeofurl said

        Dont you have health insurance ? Are really sure you and your family want to go through life without it. And if you suddenly have a heart attack at the mall, someone else will be paying for your emergency care.
        The tax is like speeding tickets, you never know about them if you drive within the limits

  7. Andrew said

    I love it when Europeans tell us we don’t know what we are talking about when deriding their Healthcare system, then act as if they know a damn thing about ours. It’s hilarious.

    • dukeofurl said

      Are you serious ?
      Europeans dont have to ‘know’ about the US system, they can ask lots of US experts. Any sensible person can see the US system is broken.

      Whether you want to fix it is the only area for debate.

      For goodness sake Romney ‘fixed it’ when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

      • Jeff Condon said

        There are so many Europeans who have fallen into your trap.

        Hell, I was lectured by an “American Indian” once while in Europe about evil America taking Indian land. We haven’t done that in centuries! Yes the American system is being destroyed, that is what we are all telling YOU. When you next drive home, turn on your lights, and blog, just don’t forget that the concept worked beautifully. Or if you chose to ignore reality, chuck your computer out the window because it is equally as useless as the political system which created it.

        • dukeofurl said

          Really . I merely pointed out plenty of US heath experts say the system is broken, so toss the computer out the window ?
          You seem to be a long way from evidence based reality.

          I can remind you Obamacare was passed by a majority of the house, and a supermajority of the Senate and signed by the President.- all as intended by the founding fathers – maybe except for the senate supermajority.
          Your problem seems to be with democracy itself.

          • I think that as an American business owner who pays for employee health care, you would have a hard time finding an “expert” that I would defer to. If you chose me as the expert, I would also tell you that it is broken. However, I would also tell you that it was still the best system I have seen in the world and its technology has been duplicated for the rest of the world.

            Europeans are victims of their media on this point. Check your sources.

          • Kan said

            The problem is not that Congress passed the bill. It is that that Supreme court re-wrote it. Something they are not constitutionally empowered to do.

            Please find in the Individual Mandate sections, and all of the deliberations during its passage, where it is stated this is a tax and uses the language that all taxes bill must contain in order to be enforced.

            This is a mess.
            This is a mess.

          • dukeofurl said

            Kan , your semantics are generally correct, as the Admin wanted to avoid using the term tax for political reasons. So mandate was used instead of tax. The SCOTUS has used the ‘looks like a duck walks like a duck’ reasoning. I would have called it the free loaders tax instead

          • Kan said

            Duke, if my semantics are correct, then my meaning is correct. But that is not the problem. The problem is the act was written to avoid all constructions of the individual mandate as a tax. Again, none of the required tax enforcement powers are in the act with regards to the individual mandate. In fact, the enforcement powers of the IRS are explicitly neutered in the act with regards to the mandate.

            So what happens when congress rejects amending the act to make it have an enforceable individual tax, yet the spending continues unfunded?

            This will not swim like a duck, but like the chicken Roberts made it.

  8. Don Black said

    I think Krauthammer has it about right.

  9. M Simon said

    The central issue of our times:

    The power to tax is the power to enslave.

    For what are you willing to be a slave?

    For what are you willing to enslave others?

    Pass it on. Claim it as your own.

    • dukeofurl said

      Spray- can- ideology ! and at about the same rational level

      • Mark T said

        It is because of the uninformed such as yourself that governments continue to confiscate control from the people through taxation then use it to enslave them. Unfortunately, my “ideology” forces me to defend your ignorance as well as your right to spew it in the direction of others. Until you and your kind learn, we will all continue to suffer at the hands of those that are glad the masses consist of imbeciles.


  10. stan said

    Given that predictions are worthless, I’ll opine that Roberts will end up looking too clever by half. Rather than a pony in that stinking pile, we will find that he opened Pandora’s box. The idea that any mandate can be constitutional by simply adding a tax to it should frighten the hell out of anyone who hoped that the Constitution had any meaning.

    Supposedly, Roberts was worried about the credibility of the Court in the eyes of lefties if Obama’s abortion was overturned. Well, he doesn’t have to worry about credibility any more, the Court’s or his. All that remains is the smoldering carbon pollution.

    One aspect that particularly bothers me is the embrace of blatant fraud and corruption as an acceptable way for the government to do business. If the Constitution has penumbras, one would assume that the right to privacy would at least be joined by an obligation of the federal government to the people to refrain from gross misrepresentation as to the nature of its business. If people in private business behaved as Obama and Pelosi did here, they’d be swamped by lawsuits and likely headed for the slammer. How can the citizens be said to have exercised their democratic perogative if they aren’t allowed to know what the government is doing to them?

  11. Gary said

    SCOTUS ruled that the government can tax things that don’t happen. So when they drive you out of business, be sure to have some cash to pay your tax on no longer being able to employ people. I wish that were sarcasm… and ridiculous… but it no longer is….

    • dukeofurl said

      Have you tried driving a car without a license plate. You will find you are fined for not doing something
      For many years farmers were fined for not leaving their fields empty when the government decided production of certain crops was too high
      Employ people and dont buy employers liability insurance ?. You will be fined.

      • Kan said

        Driving is a privilege. Are you suggesting that living is a privilege as well?

        P.S. No, they were not fined for not leaving their fields empty. They were fined for certain crops they grew. Difference. Under your theory, they could be fined for the weeds or trees that took over the fallow field. Did not happen.

  12. John Norris said

    re: “Capitalism is a math problem. To me it is of the same family as Mannian multivariate regression using noisy predictors. If you have noisy data (every person has their own unique mind) and you fit it to a predicatand (what everyone wants), by probability, you are guaranteed to maximize the popular result to which we all naturally seek.”

    I agree, we are all wired differently, and that is truly a great thing. Interesting to tie health care to the hockey stick. The only solace I take is when the pendulum swings the other way, it can swing pretty hard.

  13. timetochooseagain said

    Was I serious? When am I not serious? So let me get this straight, people in the US who say the European system is crap, don’t know what they are talking about because they haven’t lived with it. But in order to turn this around on Americans, Europeans merely need to consult with “experts” not live with the American system themselves.

    Is the American system perfect? Of course not. What’s wrong with it? Nothing that isn’t much worse with system aforementioned Europeans say is unimpeachable.

  14. Andy said

    Is the health care system good in the UK? Well I’m in the UK and I work in it, I find myself as an atheist praying to god that my relatives stay healthy and don’t have to use it. Less than two years ago my mother went into hospital and I am sure she would have died if I had not been there to argue and stick my nose into her care.
    The emergency care is good but the rest is highly variable, the buildings are decaying or are expensive PFI schemes that are too small to do the job. Family GPs work few hours for huge amounts of money and if you are in hospital at the weekend, god help you.
    The NHS is not the system to copy, government spending has caused exactly what you fear, a large rump of lazy sods who will not work and expect to be paid for it.

    Vote him out.

    • Jeff Condon said


      Health care in the US has some of the same problems. If you don’t stand up as you had to, our system will do the same thing. Despite some of the commentary above, the US has by far the best machinery in the world. We are also saddled with the most extreme regulation.

      The regulation is killing development of new machines to the point where the best makers have shipped the factories to China.

      We are all in similar boats now, which is the point of my headpost. There IS a better way.

    • Jeff Condon said

      We will always have to fight for our loved ones, but when our system is so universal that bad information entered by a doctor on the central database cannot be deleted at the will of the patient, what control is left?

      When a test can be mandated, or a higher ‘tax’ imposed, where does it stop?

      The power of the best funded government in world history was just increased to infinity, and I have to say that my vote didn’t do crap.

    • dukeofurl said

      The individual mandate, which used to be GOP policy-Bob Dole etc- was designed to avoid that.
      Its not a single payer system like the UK

      • kuhnkat said

        Yes and Obie assured us that it would HELP the middle class and working poor and they are the ones who are being hardest hit by this BS!!!

  15. jknapp said

    This realy isn’t a big stretch. Once the tax system included deductions it was in. A deduction for you is a fine for me.

    Say we both make the same amount of money and we both have a kid of college age. You send yours to college and I don’t. You get a deduction and I don’t. Therefore I have to pay more tax than you on the same income. Let’s pretend it is $1000 a year more. How does this differ from the govt requiring me to buy my kid a college education and imposing a $1000 fine if I don’t?

    They are identical in effect. Any activity for which you get a tax deduction is logically identical to getting a fine for not doing it. So in the health care scenario, getting a tax write off (or credit) for buying health insurance (which is clearly accepted as constitutional) is identical to getting a fine (tax) for not buying the insurance.

    Under current interpretations of the tax code and accepted powers of the Fed Govt I think Roberts decision was correct.

    • kuhnkat said


      are you reading your own writing??

      “This realy isn’t a big stretch.”

      You begin by telling us it is a stretch. WOW!!!! You think it is OK for Judges to STRETCH their interpretations of what is allowed or not. That means you think it is OK for us to end up Commie, Nazi, Islamic… simply by EVOLUTION of one Court after another STRETCHING the meanings by just a little!!!

      By the way, the definition of TAX does not include fine or fee. It is strictly a revenue tool. Why would we want to interpret the LAW to allow the gubmint to pick and choose whom they are going to raise revenue from rather than making it at least somewhat equal over all citizens?? Oh yeah, that would limit their ability to TAX and the precedent has already ben set by a previous activist courts who just stretch things a little.

      Anyway, this is STILL A NEW PRECEDENT as they have never levied a tax against us for NOT doing something before. They have only, under activist courts interpretations, given rebates or deductions for activities they want.

      The fact that it ends up being equivalent dollar wise does NOT mean it is the same thing. One was already being done and accepted as legal and the other hasn’t been done before. But thanks for letting us know you support the Gubmint being able to get into our packets by ever more arcane methods.

      Let me cover one other area in more detail. The bill was written as an extension of the Commerce clause and the levy a fine or fee. This is what the writers intended and argued in COngress. The Prez, who signed the bill went on Nnational tv and ASSURED US IT WAS NOT A TAX!!! Typically a court, when there is doubt about interpretations of a word, phrase, line, paragraph, etc. will go back to common use and especially to the INTENT if it can be determined. Clearly in this case the INTENT was for it NOT to be a tax. Chiefc Justice Roberts and 4 other men in black dresses took it upon themselves to REWRITE this bill as a tax. I hope I don’t have to remind you that Judges are NOT part of the Legislative Branch of the gubmint?!?!?!

      Chief Justice Roberts also took it upon himself to tell we the people that it is NOT his job to protect us from the consequences of whom we elect. While I FEEL for his situation (no I don’t, he wanted and accepted the position) I would point out his JOB is to determine what is and is not allowable under the Constitution and Amendments NOT to whine and blame it on we the people, and NOT to find illegal ways to pass crap legislation like the rest of the Activist Judges!!!

      • jknapp said

        If you read what I wrote you will note that I didn’t say I thought that the law was a good one. I don’t. I merely said that if you accept that deductions for doing something are constutional then logically you should accept that taxes for not doing something are also constitutional as they have the exact same effect on the tax payer. The fact that different words are used to describe them is merely semantics that hide reality.

        I have long thought that the tax code has been used to pass laws indirectly that would have no chance of passing directly. For example do you think that it is constitutional for the government to require you to have a child? and will fine you if you don’t. By giving a tax deduction to those who have children you are leaving those who choose not to have children to pay a higher tax. Thus they are being fined for not having children. The semantics of deduction vs fine are different but the result that people chosing not to have children have to pay more is identical.

        How about requiring people to pay interest to a banker? Well giving a deduction for mortgage interest is identical to fining a person for not takng out a mortgage. The difference is semantics.

        So Roberts decision is just recognizing the reality that the government already has the ability to fine (tax) people for not doing something such as take out a mortgage, pay for college, or have children.

        If you think his decision is in error then you should also think that tax deductions are also unconstitutional. Which by the way in a purist sense I do, but in the real world that is a boat that has already left the dock.

        • kuhnkat said


          your premise that I accept deductions being Constitutional is flawed to be polite.

          I do not accept that most of the taxes that have been established are Constitutional even accepting the fact of the 16th Amendment.

          Try moving on to a reality instead of a fantasy argument.

    • Jeff Condon said


      I think it is quite a stretch to call this the same as a ‘credit’. A credit is simply the recognition that you have chosen to spend money on something which is required. In other words, not an income. You have willingly spent the money for a service, and the government doesn’t take 40% additionally from you.

      In this case, you MUST purchase the service or the government will take even more. It is a horrible precedent to have set into law. I can’t imagine anything much worse.

      Consider that a ‘credit’ means that you had the money and chose to spend it. Therefore the credit has a natural income based limit. A tax penalty has NO upper limit. What if you smoke, how much should you pay in penalty?

      While on the surface it seems reasonable, I think you should reconsider your position.

      • jknapp said

        Please see my response to Kuhnkat above.

        My example of the mortgage deduction is directly on point to your comment. If you choose not to pay interest to a banker (buy a mortgage) the government will take even more. The precedent has aready been set.

        Re your comment about the credit. Since you get the credit for for doing whatever the government wanted you to do and I chose not to do it, I don’t get the credit. Therefore at the same income level I am paying more than you. ie. I am being fined for not doing that behavior.

        The idea that not everyone pays the same fine (doesn’t get the deduction or credit) for not engaging in behavior the government wants doesn’t mean that it is not a fine. Courts take into account ability to pay when imposing fines all the time.

        About the smoking, the tax on cigarettes is already in a sense a fine on smokers. When Minnesota and other states sued the tobacco industry and won for extra costs to the taxpayer for smoking health related cost, those were passed on through to the consumer. ie. smokers are being charged for health care they do not choose to buy. Sounds a bit like Roberts rulling.

        My actual philosophy tends to libertarian. If you chose to not get insurance and you get sick then tough. I believe that if the government chooses to give health care to those that do not want to purchase it does not give them the moral right to force you to purchase it. However that is not the world we live in. and moral right and constitutional right are not equivalent.

        • Jeff Condon said

          Sorry, you are not understanding my point.

          “Re your comment about the credit. Since you get the credit for for doing whatever the government wanted you to do and I chose not to do it, I don’t get the credit. Therefore at the same income level I am paying more than you. ie. I am being fined for not doing that behavior. ”

          The government has decided that certain purchases are a non-taxable expense, i.e. health care and some other purchases. Previously, if you chose to buy health care rather than not, you have spent more money out of your own pocket than if you didn’t buy it. Whether the government chooses to tax you additionally as though that money were income, is just an add on cost. The non-taxable income is a positive influence on money you did have. However, tax is a fraction of the expense so even with the reduction in tax payment to the government, the person who spent the money would have LESS income available than one who chose not to buy and still pay the taxes.

          A penalty, which this is, is completely insensitive as to whether your personal situation allows you to make that purchase in the first place. After this ruling which seems to have the implication of turning a penalty into a tax, there is nothing to stop them from penalizing you 50,000 when you only have 10,000. It isn’t a percentage of income that you received, it is a fee of varying size and damage depending on individual financial situations.

          Smoking tax is BS but it is also a tax on something you chose to purchase which is entirely different from a penalty for not purchasing enough vegetables. It is an expense you decided you could afford rather than having someone force you to take it on.

          The precedent is not a minor shoulder shrug, despite how some people in the media are playing it off.

          Besides the bad precedent we are discussing, there are a number of VERY damaging implications of this law which will have enormous implications for business providers. If some of it doesn’t get fixed, our company may be forced stop providing health care to our employees and families based on that penalty. One issue which happens is that if one family applies for help for costs based on their personal situation, a company with over 50 employees needs to pay a fine of 2000 for every employee over 30 people. Because it only requires one low income person to claim there is a burden to pay, it is almost going to be an automatic tax equal to about 10% of the total cost of the health care.

          We currently pay 100% but plan to change to an employee contribution program because if we have employees who refuse coverage for our excellent insurance (which we have had) when we pay 100%, we are guilty of discrimination (not kidding). The only good answer left is to drop coverage distribute some of the savings to the employees and pay the fine.

          Problems in the bill notwithstanding, Roberts really screwed up by allowing so much power to be transferred to the central government.

          • jknapp said

            I suspect that we agree on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of the law however we disagree on the constitutionality.

            The tax deductions I was refering to are not business expenses.

            You state
            “However, tax is a fraction of the expense so even with the reduction in tax payment to the government, the person who spent the money would have LESS income available than one who chose not to buy and still pay the taxes. ”

            But in this case you also have the insurance. The person who didn’t buy the insurance has to pay the full tax amount without the discount, thus pays more taxes and will still have to finance their health expenses in some way. If insurance costs are representative of typical health care expenses this average person has a net loss compared to the one who bought the insurance and paid less in taxes as a result.

            A simplification of my argument is, suppose the government decided have a baseline tax of $4500 per person to which is added the regular income tax and then they give a $4500 tax credit to everyone who has a health insurance policy. If you don’t buy one you don’t get the credit.

            I think most of us would agree that under current law this is constitional.

            Now suppose the government just says if you don’t have insurance you must pay $4500 additional taxes over and above your regular tax liability.

            In each case the net cost to every individual will be exactly the same. So the constitutionality should be the same. They are logically equivalent but semantically different policies.

            When you add businesses to the mix it gets messier. I wish business would get out of the insurance game. That is, whatever a company spends on health insurance should be a deductable business expense for the company and that value should be added to the employees income.

            The goverment could then tax or not tax that portion of the income as it chose. Eventually the companies could just give the employees that total income and let them buy health insurance on their own.

  16. MarkL said

    Obamacare can be easily defeated…In fact, Justice Stevens himself gives us a hint how this can be done when he upheld obamacare due to the legitimate power of the government to exert taxation. Obamacare can only be maintained if it is understood as a tax…Hence if it can no longer be defined as a tax, then it’s all but gone. The upshot of all this is that the very definition of what constitutes taxation is the crux of the matter, for if a bill whereby taxation is strictly and exclusively defined as the direct appropriation of x amount of money involved in a particular transaction and which also states that taxation is unequivocally not the mandate to buy a third party entity (whatever that may be), then Obamacare is rendered unconstitutional for it will no longer be a tax and will be properly defined as a mandate. Is such a scenario possible? Absolutely!

    (1) Although it has been reported that Justice Roberts has defined obamacare as a form of taxation, his opinion is void and null as it is tantamount to legislating from the bench. What constitutes taxation or not is the prerogative of the legislative branch.
    (2) A legal challenge to such a law will be extremely difficult. Indeed, if anyone wants to argue that a law declaring that “forcing someone to buy a third-party entity is not taxation” is actually unconstitutional, then let them hang themselves with it for it is a losing argument from miles away politically and legally.

  17. Jeff Condon said

    Napolitono got it right:

  18. David Gale said

    Bizarre, isn’t it, that intelligent people with a politcal axe to grind can allow themselves to be duped by the ruling elite who have screwed us all over? Having investigated banking fraud since 2000, I’m quite sure that much of the UK’s financial problems would have been alleviated if it hadn’t had to stump out £billions on bank bailouts, guarantees, and the associated demolition of previously sound businesses.

    I have spent plenty of time in the States and am well aware of how blind middle-America is to the appalling poverty that exists just a few blocks away. Same symptom though, they don’t want to admit that capitalism has failed in just the same way as did communism.

    • Kan said

      David, ummm. Let me see if I have this straight. The U.S has pockets of appalling poverty amongst the middle class, and that leads you to equate it as a failure alongside communism – those places that have/had pockets of a middle class amongst the appalling poverty? Clever.

      And what system do you know of in the world (the 3rd way), where there are only pockets of the appalling middle class, amongst the rich?

  19. Andrew said

    The Court has in effect given the Congress a general police power-previously such power was exclusively vested in the states (within limits established by the 14th amendment). Now, through “tax” enforcement the federal government can compel any action by individuals.

    Might I humbly suggest that, just as we attempt to follow the example of European nations on Healthcare, we follow the example of that great peace loving nation of Switzerland? I propose that the federal government impose a taxpenalty on anyone who doesn’t purchase a gun.

    Among the benefits, an enormous cost to the country would be saved if citizens could all protect themselves and law enforcement did not need to do so except in extreme circumstances. It would also obviate the need to maintain that expensive standing army that our Founders feared so much.

  20. Brian H said

    I agree with that analysis, which seems to be getting better understood as people work out the consequences.

    It’s an application of “Be careful what you ask for …”. The original Administration argument was that it was a tax. Now Roberts is making them swallow the consequences. Which include opt-outs, repeal-ability, and electoral vulnerability.

    Note also the judicial comment that courts cannot ultimately protect voters from the consequences of irrational voting. A veiled warning that they must now do the necessary and expunge Obama & Friends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: