Last Thursday was a historic day on many levels. The Supreme Court of the United States’ 5-4 vote upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) – because it is a tax.
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.”
In 2008 and 2009 President Obama pledged that any family who earns less than $250,000 would not see any form of a tax increase. Some of the law is good: Already in effect, coverage for dependents under age 26, and already in effect, a prohibition on lifetime limits for insurance coverage. Also, children can’t be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions. But what happens if you choose to forgo the law? You will be penalized. According to the Act, the penalty, which will take effect in 2014, is calculated as a percentage of household income. In other words the penalty will be no more than $285 per family or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. By 2016 the penalty would be up to $2,085 per family or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is greater.
The penalty will be paid to the IRS but I'm willing to bet not too many citizens will worry about it. The Act, "bars the IRS from using several of its normal enforcement tools, such as criminal prosecutions and levies. And some individuals who are subject to the mandate are nonetheless exempt from the penalty—for example, those with income below a certain threshold and members of Indian tribes."
The high court's decision is not the last word, as the US House of Representatives will certainly repeal it. However, the bigger issue may be whether or not we are comfortable with government becoming more and more intrusive in our lives. Keep in mind; the Supreme Court justices never said it is a good law.
The court also tossed the Stolen Valor Act – a federal law that prohibits a person from falsely claiming that he has been awarded a military honor. The court voted in favor of Xavier Alvarez who falsely claimed he was a decorated war veteran and had pleaded guilty to violating the law. The justices, though citing the false claim as contemptible ruled Alvarez exercised his First Amendment right to free speech.
In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “The remedy for speech that is false is speech that is true. This is the ordinary course in a free society.” Is that so? I am to assume that one day we will not be able to distinguish between a general and a private, a cop and a cook, etc.? Who cares as long as you look the part and can get away with it.
And last but not least, US Attorney General Eric Holder was found in contempt of congress - one civil, one criminal. I bet he won’t be indicted on the criminal charge. He’s the boss.
It’s troubling that congress had to go to such links regarding Holder's refusal to hand over the remaining document regarding Fast and Furious gun-walking operations. And he doesn't have to under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. I guess it doesn't matter that the death of a border patrol officer, and conceivably, justice may well be hidden within those last few pages.