Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mandate Does Not Equal Freedom

Tomorrow we are expecting to hear the final verdict on Obamacare from the Supreme Court. In the aftermath there will be plenty to time to go over the reasoning. So for now there is either just predicting what’s about to happen, or restating the arguments. There are people better at both of those than I am, so this post will be short, and mostly directly you elsewhere.

My fairly safe prediction is that the mandate will be struck down, stronger than 5-4, more likely 6-3.
The question of whether the whole law will be struck down is less certain. By logic, when there is no severability clause (and in 2000+ pages, there was certainly room for such a clause), then the law cannot stand without the mandate. The debate in oral arguments included  the question of whether it was up to the Court to go through all of those pages and see what could be kept and what couldn’t; the justices were rightly indignant about being expected to do that. That is not going to happen. But some say that meant they should leave the rest of it alone, and others say that meant they should throw it all out and let Congress start from scratch. It will probably be 5-4 whichever way it goes.
If any part of the law remains, that will be incentive for opponents (the majority of Americans) to vote Obama out so it can be repealed ASAP. If none of it is left, there is fear Obama will do his dictator thing and insist on keeping socialized medicine limping along through illegal use of executive order.
So, no matter what decision comes down Thursday, we’re not yet free of this albatross.
In the last hours I’ve read a couple of commentaries worth quoting. Jay Cost talks about the mandate as a method of redistribution of wealth—not for “fairness,” from wealthy to poor.
First, the individual mandate represents an enormous transfer of wealth, completely independent of income or social status. It transfers resources from the healthy to the sick, from the young to the old, without regard to who has more money to begin with….
Second, the mandate itself is the method by which the Democrats have delivered literally billions of dollars’ worth of patronage to the key interests groups that lined up with them during the health care debate. The party sought to apply new layers of regulations upon doctors, nurses, hospitals, retirement care facilities, etc., and they rightfully feared a rebuke from these key “stakeholders,” as the Obama White House called them. What better way to buy their silence than to require 30 million Americans become their customers, whether they want to or not!
In reference to the failed public option, Cost said, “none of those stakeholders whom the mandate bought off wanted to compete with the government!”
This piece byVictor Davis Hanson wasn’t specifically about Obamacare, but more a referendum on the overall failure of the current presidency. The whole thing is probably quotable, but here are just a couple:
In less than 40 months, Obama destroyed the greatest bipartisan good will that any recent president has enjoyed, and has done more to discredit Keynesian neo-socialist politics than have all of talk radio, Fox News, and the internet combined.
The private sector is not doing fine, but shortly will be when it is assured taxes won’t soar, energy will be cheaper, and Obamacare will cease.
One way or another, let’s look forward to the end of this monstrosity.

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