ObamaCare’s Original Sin

Originally published at American Thinker

Democrats tell us that ObamaCare is “the law of the land,” and that the Supreme Court declared it constitutional, and that we should get used to it — it’s here to stay. Actually, the Court found ObamaCare unconstitutional on two counts, but let it pass anyway.

The problem for defenders of ObamaCare is that its court challenges just keep coming. One place to check up on them is the website Health Care Lawsuits. In September, American Enterprise Institute ran an article by Chris Conover headlined “Will the Courts Derail Obamacare?” The article covers several of the ongoing court challenges to ObamaCare, including the status of each case. (The article also ran at Forbes.)

On October 5, National Review ran a terrific article by former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy that addresses a specific legal challenge: 


Banging the Drum for Default

Originally published at American Thinker

There’s been so much malarkey meted out by the media about the budget C.R., the government shutdown, and the debt ceiling that the average American can easily lose sight of the real issue, which is the federal debt. Even certain honest, trusted members of the media trot out “default” as though it were synonymous with not raising the debt ceiling by Oct. 17.

Actually, default is not paying the interest/principle on what one has borrowed. Current federal revenue is way more than enough to easily pay what we owe on federal notes, bills and bonds.

If the feds do indeed have enough revenue pouring in to meet their obligations, then actual default would be an act of volition, a decision by the president. The president would have decided to squander the full faith and credit of the nation. Such an action would be an impeachable offense.

The president tells us that the deficit has been cut in half. He’s right, but that’s only because it’s come down from astronomical levels. Despite having fallen, the deficit for fiscal 2013 is still far higher than any pre-Obama deficit. Indeed, the six deficits since the Democrats took over Congress in Jan. 2007 are by far the largest in history.

Two big reasons for the smaller deficit for the fiscal year that just ended are tax hikes and spending cuts; specifically, the income tax rate hikes on the wealthy, the end of the payroll tax holiday, and sequestration. But the Democrats want to end sequestration. If that were to happen with no off-setting cuts elsewhere, the deficit would be that much worse next year. (It may be worse anyway, due to the rollout of ObamaCare.) 


Ignoring Constitutional Constraints

By Jon N. Hall, Originally published at the American Thinker

When the law no longer commands respect, one can pretty well write off a nation that pretends to be a constitutional republic.  How can The People respect the law when the government doesn’t? President Obama seems to regard the law as a mere inconvenience.

In his must-read August 5 article “The Front Man” at National Review, Kevin Williamson sums up our Harvard Law School president’s taste for lawlessness. “He has spent the past five years methodically testing the limits of what he can get away with, like one of those crafty velociraptors testing the electric fence in Jurassic Park.”

With a compliant Congress in his first two years, and a divided, gridlocked Congress thereafter, Mr. Obama has been able to “get away with” an awful lot. One of ways the president flouts the law is by not enforcing it, such as in his recent “decision” to delay enforcing the employer mandate of ObamaCare. Where does the president get off thinking he has the authority to refuse to enforce a law? The president doesn’t seem to understand his job.

Also, under Obama the executive branch just makes up law, a task generally reserved for the legislative branch. Williamson reports that “although the IRS has no statutory power to collect Affordable Care Act–related fines in states that have not voluntarily set up health-care exchanges, Obama’s managers there have announced that they will do so anyway.”

That announcement brings to mind a provision in the ACA concerning enforcement of the individual mandate: “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. [Sec. 5000A(g)(2)(A), page 249]” With regard to this prohibition, it remains to be seen whether Obama’s minions at the IRS will announce “that they will do so anyway”?


The Weight of the Fed in the Voters’ Decision

In science, there are lots of facts, but only a few theories. Fewer still, perhaps, are the “laws” of science, one of which is the Law of Conservation of Matter, which holds that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. The laws of science, however, aren’t good enough for the Federal Reserve — you see, the Fed creates money.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve has created trillions of new dollars. The Fed creates money when it buys assets, which is called “quantitative easing,” or QE. The assets the Fed buys can be “whatever assets it likes: government bonds, equities, houses, corporate bonds or other assets from banks.” For instance, when it launched QE2 in Nov. 2010, the Fed bought $600B in U.S. Treasury bonds.

Just as the Fed creates money, it also destroys money. The Fed destroys money when it sells assets. When the Fed sells its assets, it takes money out of the system; that money is then no longer out in the economy where folks can use it. (I’m not sure if the Fed hits the delete button when the checks for its sales clear, or if that even matters.)

One would think with so many trillions of new dollars pumped out into the world that “price inflation” would erupt. That hasn’t happened because the Fed’s new money isn’t circulating; it’s “sitting on the sidelines.” That the Fed’s new dollars are idle may be a boon, respecting price inflation. For if commercial banks were indeed loaning their new money out, the number of dollars in the system would be even greater than what the Fed has created. That’s because of the money multiplier of our “fractional reserve” banking system. But, if the Fed’s new money started to be used in the economy, price inflation should return. In which case the Fed would need to end QE and begin what analysts call the “exit strategy.” 


‘Repeal and Replace’ Is Not Enough

The silver lining in the Supreme Court’s decision on ObamaCare is that it ratcheted back Congress’s power and authority under the Commerce Clause. That’s a victory for Freedom, for on page 43 of the Court’s opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts writes (italics added):

“Once we recognize that Congress may regulate a particular decision under the Commerce Clause, the Federal Government can bring its full weight to bear. Congress may simply command individuals to do as it directs. An individual who disobeys may be subjected to criminal sanctions. Those sanctions can include not only fines and imprisonment, but all the attendant consequences of being branded a criminal: deprivation of otherwise protected civil rights, such as the right to bear arms or vote in elections; loss of employment opportunities; social stigma; and severe disabilities in other controversies, such as custody or immigration disputes.”

To repeat, under the Commerce Clause, “Congress may simply command individuals to do as it directs.” So the Chief Justice has done us a favor, as few Americans relish the thought of being bossed around by the likes of the Pelosi-Reid Congress, the worst Congress in history.

What was on trial in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius was the expansion of federal power. The big question in NFIB v. Sebelius was: Does the Commerce Clause grant Congress the power to command individuals to buy a product?

In oral arguments, justices repeatedly asked the Solicitor General for some “limiting principle” so that Congress couldn’t just command Americans to do anything. No such principle was presented, so the Court struck down the individual mandate to buy health insurance.

America is a nation of dual sovereignty, where the States (and the People) retain power except for those powers the Constitution vests in the federal government, which the States created. The federal government is therefore a limited government of enumerated powers. America’s dual sovereignty is unequivocally confirmed by the Tenth Amendment


ObamaCare: Release the Kraken

One question legal minds might entertain when pondering whether ObamaCare ought to be overturned is this: Should any law be constitutional that is so damned ugly? Whether one looks at process, product, implementation, or its legal defense, ObamaCare is unrelievedly repulsive. Better to strangle such monstrosities in their cribs than let them propagate.

Of course, aesthetics was not on trial in Florida v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. But as America waits for the Supreme Court to render its decision later this month on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), let’s go down memory lane and consider the process that got us here.

In his 2008 campaign, candidate Obama was against the mandate that individuals buy health insurance. But Obama had also campaigned on “change,” and so upon attaining the presidency he did just that and accepted a bill where the mandate was the funding linchpin. As a candidate, Obama made pledges that the process of writing the bill would be transparent, with real-time updates on C-Span and the Internet. Pledges of transparency were tossed aside when it came to dealing with the pharmaceutical industry and its drive to block re-importation of drugs from Canada. Other aspects of process to consider include:


The Left’s Big Obsession

In the movie Casino (1995), Ace Rothstein is dining in the restaurant of the casino he manages and discovers that his blueberry muffin doesn’t have as many blueberries as his dinner companion’s blueberry muffin. Being the boss of the joint, he marches back to the kitchen for a chat with his baker (video):

ROTHSTEIN: From now on, I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin — an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.

BAKER: Do you know how long that’s going to take?

ROTHSTEIN: I don’t care how long it takes. Put an equal amount in each muffin.

If Rothstein were a leftist, this scene would epitomize the Left’s obsession with equality. My diagnosis is that Ace suffers from OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. In any event, a lefty is like a child at a birthday party complaining that another kid got a bigger piece of cake than he did.

In a conversation about equal treatment of the sexes — I forget whether we were talking about the military draft, unisex bathrooms, or what — a young woman actually told me that “equal” doesn’t mean “the same.” Uh, yes it does. Equal means: the same in all respects; identical; no differences whatsoever. Indeed, “equal” equals equal.


American Elections: The Paragon of Democracy?

Democracy is on the march. Afghans and Iraqis have proudly raised their purple fingers. Elections are scheduled for Egypt. Recall elections are afoot in Wisconsin. The will of the people will not be ignored.

Yet, between the ideal of democracy and its realization falls the shadow — democracy is thwarted when elections are stolen.

But how can an election be stolen? After all, elections involve the simplest math: the adding of ones over and over again until one has gone through all the ballots. Assuming that these ones are added to their correct, intended targets (and that election officials are honest), the theft of elections happens when illegal ballots are cast. Such ballots are cast by ineligible voters and/or by repeat voters.

The way to detect illegal voters is by identifying legal voters using their unique data. Courts already use the unique data of DNA to establish guilt and innocence. But voters aren’t going to relish having their mouths swabbed for DNA just so they can proceed to the voting booth; elections would be too much like flying commercial.

OK, then what about using fingerprints or iris scans to establish identity?

The reason fingerprints and iris scans are a quick way to verify for admittance into secure areas is because there are so few people allowed into such areas, and therefore only a few scans are on-file to match against. But if there were hundreds of millions to match against, such as in the American electorate, fingerprints and iris scans would be less feasible methods for quick verifications.

Not only that, voters would need to have their unique data on-file residing in some database before an election so that computers could make matches — if you’re not on-file, you don’t get to vote. Which means everyone would need to have his iris scanned and/or fingerprints taken beforehand.

Using the unique biometric data above seems like a lot of trouble, and some folks would object to it as a violation of privacy. But there is one unique datum that every citizen can have that is practical, and that is a number.

For instance, banks don’t use unique biometric data to keep their customers’ accounts separate; they use unique numbers. If a bank customer wants to do something with his account, he uses his account number to gain direct access to his account, there’s no need for a computer to analyze complex data, like iris patterns or fingerprint swirls.