Tag Archives: Entitlements

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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Joe Biden On Taxes: You Call It “Redistribution Of Wealth,” I Call It “Just Being Fair”

In part two of my exclusive interview, I asked the Vice President whether we can afford these tax cuts, given the country’s massive federal deficits. Biden’s view is that we can’t afford not to do them: “We can’t afford to leave the middle class behind,” he says. “These things matter to people who are struggling and they matter to people who have lost their jobs as well.”

There’s also the issue of whether these tax cuts, in conjunction with the health care reform bill signed last week, represent a redistribution of wealth in America, as many claim.

“It’s a simple proposition to us: Everyone is entitled to adequate medical health care,” Biden says. “If you call that a ‘redistribution of income’ — well, so be it. I don’t call it that. I call it just being fair — giving the middle class taxpayers an even break that the wealthy have been getting.”

The top quintile of Americans earned 55.7% of pretax income and paid 69.3% of federal taxes in 2006, according to the most recent CBO data. But the Vice President isn’t buying the idea that the wealthiest are already paying their fair share, noting the top 1% of earners get 22% of all income made in the U.S.

“Taxes have been lowered for the wealthy considerably over the years,” he says. “It’s about time we get a little tax equity here.”

Read the entire Article and Watch the Video Here:  Joe Biden On Taxes: You Call It “Redistribution Of Wealth,” I Call It “Just Being Fair”.

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Healthcare Just a Costly Legacy Booster?? –>Best Letter to the Editor EVER!

EDITOR,

On July 30, 1965, at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Mo., President Lyndon Baines Johnson handed former President Harry S. Truman the very first Medicare card ever issued to a U.S. citizen. A few seconds earlier, Johnson had signed the Medicare Bill, America’s newest entitlement program.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that Medicare would cost American taxpayers $12 billion annually by 1980. In 1980, Medicare cost taxpayers $110 billion, almost 10 times the projection of the CBO. In 2009, the Medicare entitlement cost taxpayers $418 billion.

The CBO calculates costs based on the assumptions given by the proponents of the bill. In other words, the rosiest of the scenarios is given by the CBO. The costs are slanted by the group advocating the bill.

There is only one consistency with the CBO: When it comes to CBO projected costs on an entitlement, the CBO is consistently wrong. On cost projections, I always take the CBO numbers and triple them. History proves that a multiple of 3 is a very conservative guess when it comes to entitlements.

The CBO projects President Obama’s health care proposal will cost $940 billion over 10 years. This cost assumes a $500 billion cut in Medicare. When was the last time the government cut cost on anything?

For the Americans who will actually work and pay taxes for this boat anchor, we will begin paying immediately for a so-called benefit that we won’t see until after Obama leaves office. Then, when the program actually begins, our health care premiums will cost more than a privatized health care plan.

Just remember Tracy residents, Obama told Joe the Plumber we must “spread the wealth around a little.” This is all part of that grand plan.

However, the scariest part of this whole process is the complete subversion of the U.S. Constitution the Democrats are planning in order to get this bill passed. Yellow-bellied Democrats who do not want their names on this travesty want to “deem the bill to have passed” when voting on proposed changes to the Senate health care bill. This is the trickery of cowards, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who do not want to go on record as voting “Yea” on the bill.

Article 1, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution states “All bills which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall … be determined by the Yeas and Nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each house respectively.”

In President Obama’s recent interview on the Fox News Channel, Obama stated he does not care about the process used to get this bill passed. He just wants his health care bill to sign into law. The president was very specific about calling this “his” health care bill.

President Obama is really telling us he could care less about the U.S. Constitution. He just wants his legacy to show that he rammed health care down America’s throat.

via Tracy Press – Your Voice Health care just a costly legacy booster.

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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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Obama in his OWN words: Health Care Plan will ELIMINATE Private Insurance

YouTube – SHOCK UNCOVERED: Obama IN HIS OWN WORDS saying His Health Care Plan will ELIMINATE private insurance.

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Jobless Benefits as Entitlement

Temporary safety net or permanent entitlement program? That’s the question some conservative voices are asking as Congress eyes yet another filing extension for federal unemployment benefits. The Washington Post reports:

[C]omplaints that extending unemployment payments discourages job-seeking have begun to bubble into the political debate. […]

[Arizona GOP Sen. Jon] Kyl told the Senate he questioned why anyone would see unemployment benefits as helpful to the economy, or to the job market. ”If anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,” Kyl said. “I am sure most of them would like work and probably have tried to seek it, but you can’t argue it is a job enhancer.”

Conservative employment experts are now weighing in with a similar message. James Sherk, a labor economist at the Heritage Foundation, for example, told the Post that the extension of emergency benefits — which now run for 99 weeks in high-unemployment states — have turned a safety net program into something more like welfare.

“It is appropriate and natural for Congress to extend the time limit of unemployment insurance with the job market as bad as it is,” Sherk said. “But by quadrupling it, it is no longer an unemployment insurance program but a welfare program.”

read the rest here: Jobless Benefits as Entitlement « The Washington Independent.

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