Warning: this post is bitingly, sarcastically, and nastily political. If you take offense, I don’t blame you one bit.
There are three things I learn, and that I think we all should learn, from today’s Supreme Court decision about the national health insurance bill, called (erroneously but usefully) Obamacare.
1. We have to grow up. A lot of people I know have been expecting the Supreme Court to fix something that is, let’s face it, a huge expansion of federal authority and control over our lives. But they didn’t. According to Chief Justice Judas Roberts, the authority to tax us for NOT doing something is perfectly within the power of Congress.
Therefore, however, it is within OUR power not to be taxed like that. We control the Congress. It matters whom we elect. If we get law like this, we asked for it. It’s time to grow up and start taking this politics thing seriously.
2. The political situation is different, now, fundamentally. Congress has never before taxed the absence of something. Now they can. Don’t eat your broccoli? Tax. Too many super-size meals? Tax (don’t think that Mayor Jozef Bloomberg of New Stalingrad hasn’t thought of this). Congress has, in the past, used the withholding of federal funds to compel states to behave a certain way (55mph speed limit, for instance), and they did that again with the Medicare expansion, which is also in this bill (see below), but this time they’ve mandated a behavior by taxing the absence of it.
Apropos of this and #1 above, we now can give up the pretense that the Constitution is going to protect us from tyrannical government. It will not. We will protect ourselves, or we will have no protection at all. This was always so, but several million people are just realizing it this morning. On both sides of the argument, let me add as a warning.
3. We’ve stepped off the cliff at last. Greece, Spain, France, etc. are in the early stages of complete meltdown economically. This means COMPLETE meltdown, with the cessation of government services and the abandonment of civilization as we know it. France has recently doubled down on the policies that got them into this mess in the first place, and is trying to fix double-digit unemployment by raising the minimum wage, sort of like using donuts to give you the energy to go running. The worst part of Obamacare politically is the individual mandate, but the worst part fiscally is the expansion of Medicare. Medicare will now, with its partner Social Security, bankrupt the United States. There’s no way out of that except repeal.
One of the reasons I like sports is that there is a winner at the end, determined by the score. There isn’t any wiggle room. If I’m faster than you, the clock will show it. It doesn’t matter whom you’re connected to, or whether you’re prettier or richer. If I can outscore you, I can win. The only thing like that in politics is money. Ask Stockton, CA what happens if the bill comes due and you can’t pay it. That is happening in Athens, and it will happen here, state by state. I actually think someone will go down the tubes before California, but they will go, especially now. There isn’t any more money. They cannot get it from taxes. Tax increases on this economy will be revenue-negative. We’ve reached the top of the Laffer Curve.
The good news is that now people can see that we are over the edge. Some will not care, and those people will vote for Obama. Some will, and they’ll vote for someone else (mostly Romney). We will have, in November, a good old-fashioned argument.
May the best man win. But more than that, God help us all. We need it.