Tag Archives: Barack Obama

ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com

The constitutional challenges to ObamaCare have come quickly, and the media are portraying them mostly as hopeless gestures—the political equivalent of Civil War re-enactors. Discussion over: You lost, deal with it.

The press corps never dismissed the legal challenges to the war on terror so easily, but then liberals have long treated property rights and any limits on federal power to regulate commerce as 18th-century anachronisms. In fact, the legal challenges to ObamaCare are serious and carry enormous implications for the future of American liberty.

The most important legal challenge turns on the “individual mandate”—the new requirement that almost every U.S. citizen must buy government-approved health insurance. Failure to comply will be punished by an annual tax penalty that by 2016 will rise to $750 or 2% of income, whichever is higher. President Obama opposed this kind of coercion as a candidate but has become a convert. He even argued in a September interview that “I absolutely reject that notion” that this tax is a tax, because it is supposedly for your own good.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and 13 other state AGs—including Louisiana Democrat Buddy Caldwell—claim this is an unprecedented exercise of state power. Never before has Congress required people to buy a private product to qualify as a law-abiding citizen.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted in 1994, “Federal mandates typically apply to people as parties to economic transactions, rather than as members of society.” The only law in the same league is conscription, though in that case the Constitution gives Congress the explicit power to raise a standing army.

Democrats claim the mandate is justified under the Commerce Clause, because health care and health insurance are a form of interstate commerce. They also claim the mandate is constitutional because it is structured as a tax, which is legal under the 16th Amendment. And it is true that the Supreme Court has ruled as recently as 2005, in the homegrown marijuana case Gonzales v. Raich, that Congress can regulate essentially economic activities that “taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce.”

But even in Raich the High Court did not say that the Commerce Clause can justify any federal regulation, and in other modern cases the Court has rebuked Congress for overreaching. In U.S. v. Lopez(1995), the High Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school zone was not economically significant enough to qualify as interstate commerce, while in Morrison (2000) it overturned a law about violence against women on the same grounds.

All human activity arguably has some economic footprint. So if Congress can force Americans to buy a product, the question is what remains of the government of limited and enumerated powers, as provided in Article I. The only remaining restraint on federal power would be the Bill of Rights, though the Founders considered those 10 amendments to be an affirmation of the rights inherent in the rest of the Constitution, not the only restraint on government. If the insurance mandate stands, then why can’t Congress insist that Americans buy GM cars, or that obese Americans eat their vegetables or pay a fat tax penalty?

The mandate did not pose the same constitutional problems when Mitt Romney succeeded in passing one in Massachusetts, because state governments have police powers and often wider plenary authority under their constitutions than does the federal government. Florida’s constitution also has a privacy clause that underscores the strong state interest in opposing Congress’s health-care intrusion.

As for the assertion that the mandate is really a tax, this is an attempt at legal finesse. The mandate is the legal requirement to buy a certain product, while the tax is the means of enforcement. This is not a true income or even excise tax. Congress cannot, merely by invoking a tax, blow up the Framers’ attempt to restrain government under Article I.


READ THE REST HERE:  ObamaCare and the Constitution – WSJ.com.

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Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News

President Obama hit the basketball court and talked politics with CBS “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith this morning.Smith asked Mr. Obama, who is left-handed, if he can ever go to his right.”I can go to my right, but I prefer my left,” the president says.He doesnt always sink his famous jump shot.”You know, Ive got a few other things on my mind,” said Mr. Obama, who then makes the jump shot. “Its like health care, I always come from behind – I finish strong.” Watch the video at left.Watch for more of Smiths interview with Mr. Obama tonight on the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” and Friday morning on “The Early Show.”Smith also asked the president if he is aware of the extreme terms some use to describe him, such as “socialist” or “Nazi.”

Read the rest and watch the video here:  Obama: “I Can Go to My Right, but I Prefer My Left” – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

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The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies

Introduction

The debate over taxing high-income families to fund the expansion of health care coverage in America has renewed the broader question of government’s role in redistributing income through tax and spending policies. What is missing from this debate is some hard numbers on how much current tax and spending policies redistribute income from some Americans to others and how much the policies advocated by the Obama Administration will change the overall amount of redistribution.

The Tax Foundation’s “Fiscal Incidence” project has filled this void by first calculating how much current tax and spending policies are redistributing, then estimating how much President Obama’s policies—from taxes to health care to climate change—will alter that redistribution. Simply put, the Fiscal Incidence Model[1] compares the total amount of federal taxes families pay (such as income taxes, excise taxes, payroll taxes, etc.) to the total amount of government spending they receive (such as entitlement benefits, defense spending, public works, etc.).

How the Money Comes and Goes

We divide American families into ten equal groups by income level, and at the top end of the spectrum, we are able to break that 10 percent down into smaller groups. In general, as anyone would expect, families who earn more pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits while families who earn less receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes. These individual results are then summed up into a national picture of how much tax and spending policies redistribute income from some American families to others.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE:  The Tax Foundation – Basic Facts on Redistribution and the Impact of Obama’s Policies.

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New Taxes for Health Care Help Obama ‘Spread the Wealth Around’

It snowed here in Texas over the weekend – must have been a precursor to HELL FREEZING OVER.  The following is from BLOOMBERG.  To quote Bill Engvall “THERE’S YOUR SIGN”

I must say that it is disturbing how “matter of fact” this article is.

President Barack Obama said on the campaign trail in October 2008 that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” With Obama on the verge of signing sweeping health-care overhaul legislation, he’s about to do just that.

High-income investors would pay higher Medicare taxes, tax breaks for out-of-pocket medical deductions would be curtailed, and it would cost insurance companies more to pay executives millions of dollars. Those levies will help fund expansion of Medicaid services for the poor and subsidize health insurance to cover millions who don’t currently have benefits.

“It’s very clear that taxes are levied on the wealthy and the benefits will spread across the entire income distribution, with a lot going to expanded Medicaid distribution and expanding health insurance,” said Roberton Williams, an economist at the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research institute backed by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. “One couldn’t claim he didn’t keep that promise” to “spread the wealth around.”

In all, the bill would generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes by 2019, according to an analysis by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan agency. The bill also imposes about $69 billion more in penalties for individuals and businesses who don’t meet mandates to buy insurance, according to theCongressional Budget Office, another nonpartisan agency.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE – New Taxes for Health Care Help Obama ‘Spread the Wealth Around’ – Bloomberg.com.

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As Health Vote Awaits, Future of a Presidency Waits, Too

** DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THIS IMAGERY DISTURBING???  If there was ever a question as to the NYT’s Obama worship, it has now been definitively answered with this image.

SENATOR Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, had a little political advice last week for President Obama and the Democrats: Don’t pass the president’s health care legislation because you would risk losing in the midterm elections.

Mr. Obama laughed about it afterward. “I generally wouldn’t take advice about what’s good for Democrats” from Mr. McConnell, he told an audience in Pennsylvania. But he conceded that “that’s what members of Congress are hearing right now on the cable shows and in sort of the gossip columns in Washington.” He went on to argue that the issue should be what’s right, not the politics.

But this is Washington and politics are never far from the surface, especially at a decisive moment like this. If the schedule being mapped last week holds – and Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, said on Sunday that it would — the fate of the president’s health care plan should be decided within the week. “I believe we will have” the votes, Mr. Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week,” though Republicans and even some Democrats have questioned whether the votes are there now.

But the plan’s fate could depend on how a couple dozen Democratic congressmen answer the questions Mr. McConnell and Mr. Obama raised: Would passing health care devastate Democratic chances in the fall? Would rejecting it devastate a Democratic presidency?

Read the rest here As Health Vote Awaits, Future of a Presidency Waits, Too – NYTimes.com.

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Coffee Party Group Therapy Session

Great exposé video from inside a coffee party meeting.  Grass Roots My a$$

YouTube – Coffee Party Group Therapy Session.

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SEIU – The Week In Immigration Reform

FROM THE SEIU WEBSITE: MARCH 12, 2010

Yesterday, SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina joined other labor, faith and immigrant rights leaders for a meeting at the White House on next steps for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. President Obama spent over an hour with the group, carrying out a lively and open discussion about how to move immigration reform forward.

“Today’s meeting is yet another reminder that comprehensive immigration reform remains a key priority for the White House. It’s also a reminder that we need more than just the White House and Senators Schumer and Graham to get this bill done,” said Medina in a statement.

During the meeting, the President made clear that importance of garnering greater GOP support in order to push the bill to the Senate floor.

“Just days away from a massive mobilization of labor and diverse immigrant rights activistsfrom across the country, the time is now for Senators on both sides of the aisle to step on the gas and push for smart immigration reform that America needs. That means it’s time for Senator Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader John Boehner to join with us in passing reforms that are good for immigrants, good for workers, and good for America,” continued Medina.

“This is Congress’ time to, in the President’s words, ‘overcome the numbing weight of our politics.’ For the good of our economy, of America’s workers, and of our country, it’s time for the Senate to step on the gas. It’s time for them to roll up their sleeves and get immigration reform done right, get it done quickly and make sure it works for America.”

Read Medina’s full, statement. And read coverage of the meeting in the Associated PressNew York TimesMSNBC, and The Hill.

Especially as the topic of immigration legislation heats up in Washington, it is critical to make March 21’s immigration mobilization a huge success. This is the time to create the momentum and urgency for comprehensive immigration reform.

SEIU – Service Employees International Union – The Week In Immigration Reform.

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