Elite Contempt for Ordinary Americans

by Walter E. Williams

Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and paid architect of Obamacare, has shocked and disgusted many Americans. In 2013, he explained to a University of Pennsylvania audience: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” He added that the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” Most insulting were his previous statements that “the American voter is too stupid to understand” and his boast of Obamacare’s “exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

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Georgia Bill Would Effectively Nullify Federal Medical Marijuana Ban

A bill has been pre-filed for 2015 that would legalize medical marijuana in certain circumstances for the state of Georgia, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

House Bill 1 (HB1) is scheduled for consideration next year and was introduced by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon). Called the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill would “permit the therapeutic and treatment application of cannabis and its derivatives.”

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Obamacare and the Language of Law

On Sept. 30, Judge Ronald A. White of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma delivered his decision in Pruitt v. Burwell, the third of four related cases to have received a judgment. The four cases challenge the IRS ruling that ObamaCare subsidies will be given to policyholders who’ve purchased health insurance in exchanges established by the federal government. Like the verdict in Halbig v. Burwell, Judge White found for the plaintiffs and against the IRS, and he vacated the IRS regulation pending appeal. The other case to have received a judgment is King v. Burwell, which found for the government. So we have a 2-1 split. The U.S. Supreme Court must eventually weigh in.

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Originalism and the Two Narratives of Halbig

Halbig v. Burwell, the ACA subsidies case, has two competing narratives.  In one version, it is an epic battle between textualism and contextualism.  The statute (says one side) clearly says subsidies are available only for insurance exchanges “established by [a] State” and the federal exchange is obviously not established by a state.  But (says the other side) surely Congress could not have intended a situation in which subsidies were not available on the federal exchange, so to make sense of the statute one should not read it narrowly but with regard to what makes the most sense of Congress’ intent.

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