Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

So it’s a tax law, huh? If it were a law forcing people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, it wouldn’t be constitutional, but if it’s a tax law, it is constitutional. But Obamacare didn’t pass as a tax bill. Democrats in Congress who passed it (not a single Republican voted for it) insisted it wasn’t a tax bill. It was signed by a Democrat president who insisted it wasn’t a tax bill. It never would have passed if it were a tax bill, so they didn’t call it that. Rather, they called it “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” though few call it that anymore. Everyone calls it Obamacare.So the Roberts Court should have declared it unconstitutional and sent it back to the Congress, right? But they didn’t do that. Instead, Roberts re-wrote Obamacare as a tax law and declared it constitutional! He did this with the four liberal justices who just wanted to move it along no matter how that was achieved. Even Justice Flipflopper - I mean Kennedy - was flabbergasted. Talk about legislating from the bench! Even my middle-school civics students knew it’s the Congress that writes laws, not the Supreme Court.
And now government can tax us for what we don’t do? How is that possible? To tax our income, they had to pass the 16th Amendment back in 1913. Why isn’t the amendment process required this time?

Two more problems: the Constitution requires that tax bills originate in the House of Representatives, and it doesn’t give the Supreme Court power to write law or re-write law. Obamacare originated in the Senate, then was re-written in the Supreme Court.Article I empowers a legislative branch to write law. Article II empowers an executive branch to carry out the legislation. Article III empowers a judicial branch to ensure the Constitution is adhered to. Roberts overstepped. He’s not empowered to rewrite legislation. So, is the United States a constitutional republic or isn’t it? Are we governed under the rule of law or aren’t we?There are reports from both left and right that Roberts switched his vote at the last because he was worried about what media and Democrat criticism would do to the image of his court and to his legacy. If those reports are true, we’re screwed. We have a chief justice whose decisions are not based on the Constitution. For as long as he is the fifth vote on vital constitutional issues, we will not be a constitutional republic. If government can do this, is there anything they cannot do?Shrewd Democrats structured this penalty bill, I mean tax bill, I mean “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” so as to give people benefits first and penalties/taxes years later - so that makes it difficult to repeal। When has government ever taken away an entitlement? I cannot point to a single instance in our history, and I can see what’s happening in Europe when “austerity” measures are proposed which would cut entitlements there। No wonder politicians fear this, but that doesn’t stop them from promising more and more entitlements like Obamacare which they know we cannot afford to deliver for very long before we go bankrupt. Stockton, California just went belly-up and it looks like the whole state will soon follow. Then other states. Then . . . who knows?

It may be that in the wake of what Roberts did, the Tea Party will reinvigorate voters and elect a Republican Senate, a Republican president, and retain a Republican House. If all that happens, they may introduce a repeal. It’s a long shot that it’ll go all the way through the process though. It’s more likely that government takeover of health care will continue.

And what would that look like? I have a pretty good idea. A few years ago, I was stopped every morning for ten days by a woman with one of those turn-around, stop/slow signs on Route 5 here in Lovell. I’d wait in a line of cars until she turned the sign. Then I’d proceed slowly past several orange, state trucks and a dozen or so men standing around talking while one of them occasionally operated a machine that was cleaning out the drainage ditch beside the highway. During two of those days, I watched a small, private, local business paving a driveway while I waited. It was a frenzy of activity as a few of my former students laid, graded, and packed a gravel base the first day - then put down a layer of pavement the second day. It looked great and it still does. The state government crew took almost two weeks on a job that should have taken a day - with half the “workers” and equipment.What’s going to happen to our small, private hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, etc. when the federal government takes them over? You already know, don’t you? Longer delays, increased costs, and poorer service. “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”? Talk about a misnomer.

Emerging from the Constitutional Convention back in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked what sort of government the Founding Fathers created. His reply was: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Nathan Pitts said...

Tom, another great piece as always. I believe we are on the precipice. Of what, I am not completely sure but I believe we have reached the point where those of us who care about the Constitution and Liberty are going to have to take some action or we are going to lose our great nation, totally, to the socialists who would take us down the same tortured road that Greece and many others are trying to negotiate.

As some say, the "wagon riders" are now outnumbering the "wagon pullers".

7/4/12, 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom,

You paint a pretty bleak picture, however I do not think that it can be understated. The Federal government can now rule with out being restricted by the former enumerated powers.

Regards the Roberts vote switch has so damaged SCOTUS that it has obviated his intent, if that what it was to protect the court, I think that the switch was at least partially based in that he is a small man who disliked that the lawyers have been rguing to persuade Justice Kennedy, and not focusing on him as the Chief Justice.

The Court was given life time appointments to remove them from political pressure, as this is no longer the case it is time to term limit the SCOTUS.

Warren

7/5/12, 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Patriot said...

I am not sure Justice Rogers is all the rogue he is being made out to be by "conservatives". 1. We know Romney is against a Nat'l program - but supportive of a State program. 2. We know no one read the Obama/Bush Medical program (yes Bush because it was in the works prior to 2008) 3. There is no Partisan loyalty once an elected person arrives in DC. It becomes US as in Undo Soveirgnty. Case in point Issa & Gallegly endorsing a Dem Incumbent against Republicans running in a primary. Districts & Legislation are traded like Monopoly cards. 4. We need to STOP Romney & Co from agreeing any gov't health care is good. It's a scam to assure the insure companies are guaranteed business and paid for that biz by Uncle Sam. Period. 5. Since no one read the bill and Dem/Rep realize it will be expensive to maintain. They made an agreement. We'll "fight" - we'll let you/Rep write the opinion to call it a tax - then we'll let you/Rep submit legislation to veto the tax AFTER July 4th. Republicans will be villanized by Dem's and hailed hero's by Republicans. And come Jan a new rewritten healthcare will breeze through and NO ONE will object.

7/5/12, 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Obamacare was written by the heritage foundation and big Pharma and insurance companies. They tried it with mass. And Romney in 06. To play along with this idea that it's different than obamacare is a pathetic joke. it isn't a democrat vs republican issue! Stop it, please!
Obamacare should prove there is no difference between the left and right. If it were Romney it would be the same thing.

To keep playing along with this democrat vs republican mindset is sophomoric and completely ineffective. Just like they want! What part of corporate media and control do you all not get? Seriously. It is beyond amazing to me that people refuse to accept the truth and would rather be powerless slaves to a corporate state.

Obama? Whomever decided to run him after W was a genius. He is doing the same thing W would be doing but call him a democrat and the " left" is now in control? Wow. How is it even possible to ignore Obama's neo con agenda? He is murdering us citizens with drones!!! And the so called left argues for it! Imagine the outrage the vovlo driving "lefties" would be feigning if W was doing the same thing! And the "right" is as ineffective and useless. It's a circus. Divide and conquer.
Voting democrat or republican is doing shit. Obviously, as the two sides are actually after the same goal.

It would be refreshing to see some Americans swallow their pride and ego and start waking people up rather than play the democrat republican game...I'm not sure if you noticed, but, it ain't working!!!

7/7/12, 11:08 AM  

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