All Your Economic Decisions Are Belong to Us

If it’s an economic decision, the federal government can make it for you. That’s the takeaway from a ruling this afternoon by a federal judge in Michigan.

Judge George Caram Steeh, who was considering the constitutionality of the PPACA’s individual mandate, which requires all Americans to purchase private health insurance, said the requirement is constitutional. The judge’s reasoning boiled down to the argument that even though the decision not to purchase health insurance may not be economic activity, which the federal government is allowed to regulate under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, it is an economic decision, because it has ramifications across the entire health care market. The decision noted that in United States v. Lopez, the Supreme Court ruled that, under the Commerce Clause, the federal government has the authority to regulate “those activities that substantially affect interstate commerce.” The choice not to purchase health insurance meets that criteria, according to the judge, and therefore the federal government has full authority to regulate it:

There is a rational basis to conclude that, in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance. The costs of caring for the uninsured who prove unable to pay are shifted to health care providers, to the insured population in the form of higher premiums, to governments, and to taxpayers. The decision whether to purchase insurance or to attempt to pay for health care out of pocket, is plainly economic. These decisions, viewed in the aggregate, have clear and direct impacts on health care providers, taxpayers, and the insured population who ultimately pay for the care provided to those who go without insurance. These are the economic effects addressed by Congress in enacting the Act and the minimum coverage provision.

The health care market is unlike other markets. No one can guarantee his or her health, or ensure that he or she will never participate in the health care market. Indeed, the opposite is nearly always true. The question is how participants in the health care market pay for medical expenses - through insurance, or through an attempt to pay out of pocket with a backstop of uncompensated care funded by third parties. This phenomenon of costshifting is what makes the health care market unique. Far from “inactivity,” by choosing to forgo insurance plaintiffs are making an economic decision to try to pay for health care services later, out of pocket, rather than now through the purchase of insurance, collectively shifting billions of dollars, $43 billion in 2008, onto other market participants. As this cost-shifting is exactly what the Health Care Reform Act was enacted to address, there is no need for metaphysical gymnastics of the sort proscribed by Lopez.

The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market. As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce. Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.

In fact, one could opt out of the market entirely if one were so inclined. Granted, most people aren’t, but a lack of religious motivation doesn’t actually constitute no possible motivation at all. Regardless, even if one doesn’t opt out of the health services market entirely, it’s relatively easy to vary the degree to which one opts in. One individual might choose to see a doctor regularly for routine or preemptive care; another might choose to see a doctor only when very sick. Today’s decision effectively declares that in order to reduce the cost of uncompensated care, the government can force individuals to buy into a particular set of benefits—it's not merely a mandate to buy any kind of insurance, but a mandate to buy insurance deemed acceptable by the government—regardless of whether that individual would’ve purchased that same level of benefits on his or her own. (It also ignores the minor detail that the law requires taxpayers to pay in excess of $100 billion a year to solve a $43 billion problem. More on uncompensated care here.)

So are there any limits to congressional power under the Commerce Clause? Steeh's decision points to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990. In that case, the Court ruled that carrying a gun near a school was not, in fact, economic activity, and the government’s arguments saying it was merely constituted “[piling] inference upon inference.” That act, says Steeh, “was first and foremost about providing a safe environment for students in the areas surrounding their schools, as opposed to an economic regulation.” It’s nice to know that Judge Steeh thinks there are limits to Congressional power. It’s less comforting to know that he thinks that economic inactivity—such as not purchasing health insurance—is up for grabs anyway just because it creates an economic ripple effect that could potentially touch some federal policy.

The decision is the first to rule on the constitutional merits of the new health care law. Other similar challenges are working their way through the court systems in Virginia and Florida. Expect the ruling to be appealed and one of the challenges to eventually end up in the Supreme Court.

Update: Ilya Somin fleshes out the response to the argument that the decision not to buy insurance somehow constitutes "activity": 

The problem with this reasoning is that those who choose not to buy health insurance aren’t necessarily therefore going to buy the same services in other ways later. Some will, but some won’t. It depends on whether or not they get sick, how severe (and how treatable their illnesses are), whether if they do get sick, they can get assistance from charity, and many other factors. In addition, some people might be able to maintain their health simply by buying services that aren’t usually covered by insurance anyway, such as numerous low-cost medicines available in drug stores and the like. In such cases, they aren’t really participating in the same market as insurance purchasers. Of course, many people will buy the same service later, and for some the probability of doing so is quite high. But the individual mandate makes no distinctions on any such basis. It sweeps in nearly everyone.

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  • Greer||

    Judge George Caram Steeh

    what a fascist. Or communist. Or sheepfucker.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    All of the above works.

  • George Caram Steeh||

    Let tyranny ring!

  • Jeffersonian||

    Work shall make you free!

  • ||

    How appropriate!
    For those unaware of the significance, Arbeit Macht Frei, Work shall make you free, was the phrase over the main gate to Auschwitz, the infamous WWII death camp.

  • Rich||

    The health care judicial market is unlike other markets. No one can guarantee his or her health legal status, or ensure that he or she will never participate in the health care judicial market. Indeed, the opposite is nearly always true.

    FTFY

  • Cyto||

    That works...

    He goes further in arguing that the decision not to buy insurance impacts everyone else because of shifting costs onto others who do carry insurance. Of course, that cost shifting is only possible because of Federal mandates about providing care to the uninsured.

    So by this logic you can regulate or mandate anything by following the magic recipe.

    1. Provide a government subsidy for some activity.
    2. Mandate that everyone must participate in said activity.
    3. Argue that mandate in 2 is legal because failing to participate impacts subsidy in 1.

    The Magical Constitutional Shuffle.

    It is OK though, because our benevolent leaders will only use this power for good. Like providing healthcare. And banning dangerous drugs. Like pot. And ensuring that we don't have too much wheat being grown.

  • ||

    I suspect Thomas and maybe Scalia would be sympathetic to this argument. I am not sure you can get 5 votes for it.

  • Rich||

    as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market.

    And another thing: I'm thinking a lot of people are gonna get religion.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    No thanks.

    Where do I line up to challenge a judicial ruling on establishment grounds?

    The claim here is explicitly that the religious have more rights than the non-religious.

    Judge Steeh thinks that a moral or ethical decision promoted by a group as "holy" is intrinsically superior to a similar decision made by a single individual; that a personal conviction is automatically inferior in depth and conviction to one bolstered by some "holy book".

    What was that man smoking, and where can I get some?

  • ||

    Could it be argued that Obamacare violates in some way the first amendment? (sorry if that's a stoopid question)

  • .||

    How about the ninth amendment? How about the right of a free individual to make his or her own economic decisions? Only children,incompetents, and slaves have their economic decisions made by others.

  • Cyto||

    Sorry, but your economic decisions are impacting other people. Therefore, we may regulate them. (Thanks Wickard!)

    I usually laugh at the "slippery slope" argument, but this is an actual real-world example of the effects of such a slope.

    First we had to regulate growing wheat for your own purposes, because it was really important to keep up the price of wheat (even if you never bought or sold anything) [Wickard]. Then we had to ban growing a marijuana plant on your own land and not selling it to anyone else, because it was really important [Raich]. Now we have to make you spend a few hundred a month on health insurance, because it is really important. All under the commerce clause which was intended to guarantee that states would not enact protectionist tariffs on trade among the various states.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    The "commerce clause" is a convenient fiction. To "Regulate commerce" in original language meant "to make it regular" -- to make it commonplace and simple. IT most certainly DID NOT mean to weigh it down with regulations and edicts until it can't move at all...

    What we're doing is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Original Intent.

  • MJ||

    Steeh does not think that can ignore religious freedom as conveniently as ones that are not explicitly protected by the 1st amendment. Or he thinks that the Bill of Rights grants liberty, and if a liberty is not mentioned then it does not exist.

  • MJ||

    Steeh does not think that can ignore religious freedom as conveniently as ones that are not explicitly protected by the 1st amendment. Or he thinks that the Bill of Rights grants liberty, and if a liberty is not mentioned then it does not exist.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    Sadly, the "Freedom of Religion" argument is the one area where sufficient precedent exists to ensure it won't be crossed.

    SCOTUS has ruled that folks whose religion prohibits (for example) blood transfusions can allow their kids to die for want of one. Likewise, treatment at all (instead of relial on prayer) for Christian Scientists (for example).

    Bottom line: If you're a member of a known sect with a known prohibition on health insurance (guess what: This means all the muzzies...) then this will not apply to you.

    The bottom line FACT is that this - like all powers not enumerated in Article 1 Section 8 - is a power rightly granted to the states. If Ill-annoy wants universal health care, they can have it.

    Sadly, it's going to take watering that old tree pretty thoroughly to get us from here to there...

    God help us -- and God Save Our Republic!!

    DD

  • JoshINHB||

    And another thing: I'm thinking a lot of people are gonna get religion.

    Are prosecutions for being insufficiently religious much of a stretch at this point?

  • Binky||

    Not if the religion you get is Islam.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Join my church. We'll cover you on this healthcare deal.

    We also have 52 holy saints which means that you must stay home from work each Monday to celebrate their birthday.

    Special requirements available upon request. About the only non-negotiable belief we have is tithing.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    screw that my church has 1% mini tithing. And you have to smoke a doob every tuesday at 4:20.

  • Robert||

    You don't have to oppose medical services on religious grounds, just gambling (insurance).

  • DG||

    OK, I'm seriously starting to think about emigrating. This is beyond a joke now. If the Supreme Court upholds this decision (I'm sure this ruling will be appealed), there's really no limit to what the federal government can force us to do.

  • Tony||

    Yeah cheaper, more universal access to healthcare is just the foot in the door. We're not stopping until we have camps. Brutal forced labor camps for white people.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Not sure you're really spoofing this time, Tony.

  • Bill||

    Good one! Cheaper. You crack me up.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Well, if by "cheaper" you mean going up 15-20% as a result.

  • ||

    Yeah! Cheaper, as in going up in costs more slowly than previous years. that's the Republican definition of cheaper, anyway.

  • ||

    In fairness to Tony, "take this pain pill and find a comfortable place to die" is definitely cheaper than actual medical treatment.

  • ||

    DG, this is about as surprising and innovative as the Model T.

    The judiciary as a rule are not going to have the balls to say no to this. If they have to twist the commerce clause a little further, they won't balk at twisting it.

  • steveegg||

    Where are you going to run to? Canada, where they already have government-run health care? Mexico, where you can't own land? Europe, where the battle is between the socialist statists and the Islamist statists?

    Ronald Reagan said it 46 years ago, and it is as true today as it was then; "This is the last stand on Earth."

  • the right does it too||

    Oz is kinda nice this time of year....

  • ||

    Nope- the Borg is running the Antipodes now too.

  • ||

    Things that go boom in the night. They keep this shit up, they might find out what those are.

  • RS||

    You talk a tall game on the interwebs, broski.

    :)

  • ||

    Just speculation, but not everybody's as sweet and gentle as I am.

  • Jeffersonian||

    What the judge fails to mention is that there is only a large effect on the health care market because Congress forces providers to treat patients who cannot, or will not, pay for services. Imagine for a minute what the ice cream market would look like with a similar mandate.

    Remove that dictate and the market for health care will look a lot like other markets in a jiffy.

  • Laginator||

    But do we want to deny life saving care to people because they can't pay?

    Take it a step further, what if you were in an accident and lost your ID and had no way to vouch that you could pay(as you are unconscious), do you want the hospital wasting time trying to validate whether you can pay or not before performing the life-saving treatment?

    Checkups and cancer treatment are not mandated services that the government forces hospitals to perform. Only emergency services.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Checkups, medications, and many treatments are things that insurance should not even be meant to pay for.

  • ||

    "But do we want to deny life saving care to people because they can't pay?"

    Do you honestly believe that a government regulated health care scheme will never deny life-saving care? Will never determine that a certain drug is too expensive to develop, market, or administer? Will never result in a shortage of doctors or equipment?

    If you do, I'd like one example of one other government program that works this well.

  • ||

    life saving care is not the same as insurance.

  • Tman||

    We need to nuke the Commerce Clause from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

  • ||

    Move 'zig'.
    For great justice.

  • cynical||

    I think you're right. Interstate protectionism would be better than this bullshit.

  • Tony||

    Are you kidding me with this headline?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Just wait until President Gingrich decides that your failure to subscribe to National Review is significantly affecting interstate commerce, Comrade Tony.

  • Tony||

    I fully expect in 2016 reason will still be having headlines using this ancient nerd culture reference.

  • ||

    All of your newcular titties are belong to us?

  • ||

    For great justice.

    Has he announced the name change yet?

  • ||

    Nyet.

    It is only a matter of time now, Pro.

    The change will happen, or the files shall be released.

  • ||

    The ones revealing to the world that, in fact, Gingrich's birth certificate reads "Newcular Titties Leroy McPherson"?

  • prolefeed||

    We can all thank President Clinton for appointing this judge and his stalwart defense of the Commerce Clause.

    * facepalm *

  • Tman||

    I want to punch the Commerce Clause in the face.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    You know the Commerce clause isn't the bad guy here, its 20th century intepretation is. Originally, "regulate" flowed from "regular" which was related to bowel movements. In order to regulate something, you would have to get something out of the way, like a gerbil or artificial bullshit restrictions. If they actually wanted to "regulate commerce" in the classical sense, they would have to allow for insurance to be sold across state lines instead of letting it be blocked by the gerbils of bullshit state deals. But nope, these assholes have taken the completely opposite interpretation: instead of taking down barriers to trade they are installing them, with gusto. Cuck these funts.

  • ||

    I want to punch Clinton in the face (for each sorry, low down, sh*tty thing he did then & forever more)

  • Tony||

    a lack of religious motivation doesn’t actually constitute no possible motivation at all.

    So declare libertarianism a religion. It has all the relevant qualities. Then you can all go to your mountain hideaways and develop a perfect society for us all the eventually emulate. We'll check back in a few years, when with considerable luck you'll at least be discovered alive.

  • ||

    Then you can all go to your mountain hideaways and develop a perfect society for us all [to] eventually emulate.

    The only thing most libertarians are asking for is the right to be left alone. No one is suggesting that anyone be forced to leave bastions of liberty like PPACA or Social Security. For consistency's sake I would expect members of the pro-choice party would sympathize with my desire to keep the government out of the decisions I make for my body but I guess hypocrisy really is the tribute that vice plays to (pseudo)virtue.

  • Tony||

    SS is no different from defense. You get its guarantee of protection, you pay up. Or leave. Don't even have to leave the country. It allows you to become a religion and object. Aren't we generous?

  • ||

    SS is no different from defense. You get its guarantee of protection, you pay up. Or leave.

    Social Security is profoundly different from national defense. If you understand neither the constitutional obligation for agents of the the federal government to provide for the common defense, nor simple economic issues like free ridership and public goods then I would be better off having this conversation with my dogs. The only guarantee I get from Social Security is that it will destroy a percentage of what I earn.

    So in addition to ignoring my original point about choice do you have anything to add as to why my body is any of your, or the state's, business?

  • Tony||

    Forget the constitutional objection. From my perspective a constitution that doesn't allow SS is flawed. Luckily in 75 years this has yet to be the case.

    Another guarantee you get from SS is that its return on investment is quite likely to outperform your personal financial planning, especially if you're an average American.

  • ||

    Forget the constitutional objection.

    Why?

    From my perspective a constitution that doesn't allow SS is flawed.

    Feel free to begin the amendment process.

  • Tony||

    You miss my point. I think SS is a good policy. A society that can afford to provide a safety net for the elderly and the disabled should, according to my moral principles.

    But the constitution doesn't, at present, need to be amended to allow for SS. It's been policy for 75 years. The constitution allows it, at least for now. You should defend your preferred policies on their merits, not hide behind the constitution. It's not a sacred text, and you're assertion that SS is unconstitutional is completely contradicted by reality anyway.

  • West Texas Boy||

    A society that can afford to provide a safety net for the elderly and the disabled should, according to my moral principles.

    Ha ha.

    It's funny because we can't afford it.

    Ha ha.

  • ||

    A society that can afford to provide a safety net for the elderly and the disabled should, according to my moral principles.

    Tell me more about the morality of forcing others to abide by your principles.

    [your] assertion that SS is unconstitutional is completely contradicted by reality anyway.

    I am merely asking for the same Constitutional devotion from progressives for the parts of the body that are not a uterus. If it works for abortion it sure the fuck works for an appendectomy.

  • ||

    But the constitution doesn't, at present, need to be amended to allow for SS.

    Nope. SS is entirely unconstitutional, because establishing a Ponzi scheme is not one of the seventeen enumerated powers granted by the constitution. This fact is not changed simply because of the federal government's choice to operate illegally.

    -jcr

  • .||

    A society that can afford to provide a safety net for the elderly and the disabled should, according to my moral principles.

    Your "moral principals" are those of a goddamned cannibal, you miserable little atavist.

  • Andrew||

    So, with that line of thinking, anything that the government does is constitutional?

    So, say the government wanted to start a bombing campaign in a foreign country that had committed no act of aggression against us (sorry, I know this is a far fetched example). Would you claim the act to be constitutional simply on the grounds that it hasn't yet been overturned by the Supreme Court?

    Regardless, in my view the Constitution is a fatally flawed document in the fact that its "Checks and Balances" are performed by other members of the same government. Imagine a private company forcing you to purchase insurance from it, or face a penalty. And when you protest, the company turns and says, "Don't worry, we have many checks and balances in our system to ensure that all of our decisions are fair. You can bring a case about this protest before a panel of judges, who are on our payroll of course, and they will decide what is best for all involved."

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    The ultimate "check and balance" is We The People - which is why the Second Amendment exists.

    Our Founders (Peace Be Upon Them) didn't anticipate an apathetic people who would fail to make the .gov live within its due bounds, nor an insidious enemy that would kill us all with incrementalism.

    Our would-be masters really need to stop and think before they push too far...

    DD

  • ||

    As the saying goes, "That's the problem with this country." Too many people believe, as you do, that theft is okay as long as it's for a good cause, and then leave it to your government mafioso to take care of it for you. Such compassion with other people's many really brings a tear to my eye. Especially since the so-called "safety net" is really a drag on what we could be doing with retirement and healthcare. But it's okay, Comrade. Freedom and rights are meaningless concepts if they interfere with a compassionate conscience such as yours. I just wish you were a little more conscientious so that you could see the bigger picture, and the unintended consequences of your morality.

  • Economic Freedom||

    Why don't YOU provide for the elderly and the disabled with your own money ?

    I barely have enough to provide for myself, so I can't provide for others.

    I'm happy that you have enough money to pay for others, I don't.

    So pay with YOUR money and leave mine alone !

  • Contrarian P||

    You're an idiot in two paragraphs. Good job.

    Nobody gives a damn about your perspective. The Constitution says what it says. If enough people don't like it, then there should be a constitutional convention and we should craft a new one. Your opinion of it is irrelevant.

    It has been shown by numerous analysts that the return on Social Security is at or below the rate of inflation. Your assumption that the "average American" can't get a good return on an investment shows clearly how smart you believe yourself to be in relation to the rest of us. It also shows that you have no concept of what types of return on investment are available. In other words, it shows you don't know what the hell you're talking about.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Tell that to my mother, who passed away before collecting a penny in SS. Just plunked down in a passbook account, she'd have had hundreds of thousands saved, could have retired early and actually enjoyed a few years of life instead of paying into this Ponzi scheme.

  • Tony||

    I'm sorry about your mother, but SS works in part because it's a form of insurance--meaning not every payer will collect. It's not meant to be an individual retirement plan, it's meant to be a social safety net. Now, if wages were higher for the average American more could pay payroll tax and save on their own. But without SS it is a fact that there would be elderly or disabled people who didn't or couldn't plan adequately and would be left to die. All I think is that a decent society pays for this safety net.

  • Contrarian P||

    If it's an insurance plan, then stop talking about rates of return. Rate of return is an investment term. Make up your mind. Either way, it is a poor product.

    If wages were higher? How about if the government didn't take half of the money? You can't just create higher wages by fiat.

    By the way, elderly or disabled people being left to die did not occur before the enactment of Social Security, so your "fact" is clearly wrong. If you have any evidence that they were left to die because of its lack, please produce it.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Social Security is whatever you want it to be at the moment.

  • ||

    SS works in part because it's a form of insurance-

    That's a lie. SS is not insurance; insurance companies take their premiums and invest them to earn enough profit to cover their claims and then some. If any insurance company tried "investing" its premiums in its own debt instruments, somebody would end up behind bars.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Someone must not be up with the news in the last few years. What is AIG and why did it need a bailout? Any convictions yet?

  • JimBob||

    Uh, AIG was bailed out because its financial products subsidiary-- not its insurance subsidiary-- issued guarantees on bonds using horrendously faulty statistical models that didn't take changing risk profiles into account. Further, AIG didn't have nearly enough capital to properly back their guarantees.

    That said, AIG didn't NEED a bail out, it just had friends in high places. The alternative-- allowing the company to collapse-- would have been perfectly acceptable to most the folks here.

    And I'm probably going out on a limb, here, but I'm probably one of the few Reason readers who thinks that some of the folks at AIG should face criminal charges. Knowingly entering into a contract that you cannot uphold for the sake of making a profit is fraud, and ought to be prosecuted. AIG knew that they didn't have the capital to back even a small percentage of their CDS obligations if things went south, so what they did was fraudulent.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    If it's so frigging wonderful, then why is it MANDATORY?

    Ever notice how all the Leftard "great ideas" are so great they must force us to participate at the muzzle of a government gun?

  • bgates||

    Another guarantee you get from SS is that its return on investment is quite likely to outperform your personal financial planning

    60% of the time, it works every time.

  • ||

    The Supreme Court ruled 50 years ago that you do not have a property right in social security and that Congress can modify or terminate social security at anytime. In light of the current economic conditions Congress can and probably will raise the retirement age, the contribution percentage and lift the income caps and lower the welfare benefit that it actually is. Or abolish it outright. There is no constitutional right to social security or medicare or medicaid or welfare. That is not my opinion, but the Supreme Courts.

  • ||

    "Another guarantee you get from SS is that its return on investment is quite likely to outperform your personal financial planning, especially if you're an average American."

    Wow, that statement contains so much ignorance yet condescension in so few words it must set some guiness book of world record.

    I would reply that Bernie Madoff's scheme returned better than any american's financial planning until it didn't, but that ignores the fact that your statement is factually untrue. http://www.cato.org/pubs/ssps/ssp2.html

  • Jeffersonian||

    Government by metaphor.

  • Tony||

    How likely is it that you will die in war?

    How likely are you to be too old or disabled to work?

    We spend trillions to protect against the former, and we should spend nothing for the latter?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Nope. It's not authorized by the Constitution, the former is.

  • Tony||

    But it clearly is, or at least has been for 75 years. At any rate, whether it's constitutional has nothing to do with whether it's good policy. The constitution is not a sacred text! And for the time being it's on my side anyway.

  • prolefeed||

    OK, I call this a Tony spoof, or trolling. This is way beyond the usual level of stupidity of liberals.

  • ||

    Buy disability insurance. National defense is a constitutional requirement. Your welfare is not. Your problem is not my obligation.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You get its guarantee of protection, you pay up. Or leave.

    In Phony's brand of political theory, government and organized crime are only removed by the former's claim of good intentions.

    Get down or lay down.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tony, the old man two houses down from me quit driving earlier this year, which means he doesn't pay for car insurance anymore... and that makes MY car insurance higher... so I'm going to get a gang of toughs to go over there and force him to re-up his auto policy.

    Because, y'know, that's what YOU'RE proposing regarding health insurance.

  • ||

    On what basis are you demanding that I either leave or pay?

  • Dick Fitzwell||

    That is why I argue that most people who say that they are "pro-choice" are really just pro-abortion. They always tell me something like, "That's stupid. Nobody is pro-abortion." Then I ask them what other choices they promote--that's when I start to hear crickets.

  • ||

    How about you lefties try your goofy universal health care fixes in a community populated exclusively by liberals, and get back to us when it actually works without outside help? (So no, Sweden doesn't count, as it is subsidized by American pharma companies)

    Oh, wait. Already tried that in Massachusetts, didn't you? How did that work out?

  • Tony||

    The suggestion that America's relatively robustly free-market healthcare system is superior in any way to the other more interventionalist systems in the world is laughable. But ah, the foreign charity defense. Europe wouldn't be so livable and prosperous if they didn't have a leg up from our military/pharmaceutical companies!

    We're just trying to get the US to fully join the civilized world.

  • ||

    The suggestion that America's relatively robustly free-market healthcare system is superior in any way to the other more interventionalist systems in the world is laughable.

    The suggestion that the healthcare "system" in the United States bears even the faintest resemblance to a free market is the truly risible statement.

  • Tony||

    It's the closest example we have. Libertarians have to advocate and defend specific policy changes. That's the way it works. You can't forever be calling everything not a true scotsman and appealing to a utopian vision than can never be tested.

  • Contrarian P||

    We have, but that would require you to read and think, two tasks you don't do well.

  • ||

    You can't forever be calling everything not a true scotsman and appealing to a utopian vision than can never be tested.

    I can get you another shovel if you need some help digging. We have established your economic ignorance but try to understand that a welfare state and laissez-faire governance are antithetical.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Wrong again. The Netherlands and even France are more free market.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    As opposed to the utopian vision you liberals seek, Tony?

  • Tony||

    FIFY,

    I won't say I don't have an idea of utopia. It's something like star trek. But that doesn't inform my political beliefs in reality. I believe in taking policy positions for good reasons, not appealing to a utopian vision. That's something children (and libertarians) do.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But you're trying to defend your political system as something that will lead to a Star Trekkian future. Clearly, it won't. Because in the end, liberalism will not work.

    I'm not defending social conservativism here, mind you; that won't work, either, not without shitting on a lot of liberties - just as liberalism does. I AM saying, though, that fiscal conservativism DOES work - if it is adhered to stringently and diligently.

    Which means:

    A reasonable tax rate - if not a better way (national sales tax)

    True pay-as-you-go - no more deficit spending/borrowing outrageous 0's worth of non-existent money

    And a hardline balanced-budget approach.

    We ordinary fucks have to watch our dollars, pay our bills, and not get into shitloads of debt. Like what we've been doing the past couple of decades, for instance.

  • ||

    Let see, the motive for American's private health care is "for profit" and greed in America runs rampant. The common good is always last place in a race with "the bottom line". Big business will always milk the people dry if they can and government is doing everything to help in the process. There are many businesses that can fall in the realm of national security. If a government saw the interests and health of its people, which they are paid to protect, a national security concern, then taking care of them should be as easy as an executive order. We pay way too much for the military, as since WW II it has botched everything it has got the military industrial congressional complex involved in, except profits for their cronies. Since the inception of the bogus war on terror the spending has gone up 5% a year for all but one year since 2001, 4.7% one year with Barry Obummer. When an industry is considered part of national security, it only takes an executive order to bring it under government control. Check your Patriot Acts. What could be done by taking excessive profits out of the equation? Is the pay for a doctor in the service that bad? No. Then the government would also pay for their education. Malpractice insurance would be through the government, not some for excessive profits company. Hospitals would be maintained by the same funds (please don’t think Walter Reed as an example) as other government facilities. Just think, instead of us keep giving the military our money to support the crumbling corrupt empire it was used for the people and not big business, we might be better off. There are many other businesses that could also be brought under the concerns of national security, like the oil industry, pharmaceutical and many others. But of course, big business sets the agenda for government, not the people. Barry's health care plan is such a big business interet protector, with less than crumbs for the people. Of course if we went back to the Eisenhower tax schedual the national debt would come down and we could afford to take care of all Americans, not just those who can afford it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It would be fun to estimate the amount of spittle emitted by leftists when they use the term "for profit"...

  • .||

    Malpractice insurance would be through the government, not some for excessive profits company.

    Malpractice insurance for what - some government - employed doctor? Yeah, good luck trying to sue one, sonny.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I love it when Tony fabricates strawmen.

    The libertarian position is pretty much the anti-thesis of "utopian" as it specifically advocates the right of people to do things that may or may not be in line with what others think is right, good, offensive, proper or valuable.

    The view of "utopia" is the one created by central planners and other statist assholes like yourself who believe that if only we could write all the "right" laws society would be perfect.

  • ||

    "not a true scotsman"

    More like the Last King of Scotland.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    You can't forever be calling everything not a true scotsman and appealing to a utopian vision than can never be tested.

    Because that's SOoo much worse than advocating the system that's resulted in more state-sponsored murder than all others combined, right?

    It's so muche better than advocating the system that's failed miserably every time and every place it's been tried, right?

    Riiiiight.

    Only for lefTARDS like yourself...

    One question: If those euro-socialist paradi are so much better than here, why don't you pick one and move?

    Why insist on the (attempted) wrecking of the one semi-free Republic left on the planet?

    More importantly, why cause CW2? Do you REALLY understand all the ramifications of the game you're playing?

  • ||

    The suggestion that America's relatively robustly free-market healthcare system ...


    Please tell us what part of the “free-market healthcare system” isn’t buried in Federal regulations?

  • Tony||

    If only government would get completely out of the way, you could be proven right! How convenient for you that your assertion will never be tested on this planet.

  • ||

    If only government would get completely out of the way, you could be proven right!


    False dichotomy Tony. Basically Tony, what you are saying is that intellectual honesty isn't something you put any value in. I will ask again. Tell us what part of the “free-market healthcare system” isn’t buried in Federal regulations?

  • Tony||

    Yeah there's some intervention in healthcare. Just less than every other advanced country. Lo and behold we have the least efficient system. You promise it will go from bad to perfect if we just remove all intervention. I'm saying let's try what works. May not be the best possible system but until there's some real-world evidence of your system working at all then I'd rather be safe.

  • ||

    Yeah there's some intervention in healthcare. Just less than every other advanced country. Just less than every other advanced country.


    Some? Less? Less where Tony? Building codes? Medical devices? Drug approval? Legal requirements? Where Tony? I don't think you have a clue where.

    You promise it will go from bad to perfect if we just remove all intervention.


    No I didn't Tony. I promised nothing of the sort. Another example of your intellectual dishonesty.

    I'm saying let's try what works.


    No you are not Tony. You in complete ignorance think you know what will work when you know nothing of the sort. Your view of the medical industry is no more complex then a comic book. I live 20 miles from Canada and my girlfriend works for a Canadian company. She had a major heart attack about a year ago. When she got back to work a significant number of her Canadian coworkers told her if she lived in Canada she would be dead. I had 2 Canadian friends that died on waiting lists. I have a close relative that has 4 patents in the medical implant industry. Do you know that Europeans don't get the newest implant technology? We pay the R&D and get the benefits for the new technology. You do realize the the vast majority of medical advances come out of the US don't you? You want to kill the technology advances?

  • ||

    Yeah there's some intervention in healthcare. Just less than every other advanced country.

    So we have the worst of both worlds. All the driven up prices of socialized medicine in a private industry and all the privatized cost-cutting when forced to abide by government regulations.

    We could go fully socialized (single-payer) and be better off than what we have now, but experience shortages of supply since that is what government excels at (look at every other country that has the system you propose). Or we could try something that's never been done before (i.e. a true free market) because A) we're America and were founded on the idea that we are innovators; and 2) it definitely wouldn't make us worse off.
  • ||

    Damn forgot to close the <blockquote> tag.

  • ||

    If only government would get completely out of the way, you could be proven right!

    Funny you should mention that, because we have already been proven right. Read and learn:

    http://libertariannation.org/a/f12l3.html

    We had medical insurance that anyone could afford in this country, until the government intervened and fucked it up for everyone.

    -jcr

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "We're just trying to get the US to fully join the civilized world... by regressing to the point where we're no more advanced than the former East Germany."

    There, that's much more like it.

  • .||

    We're just trying to get the US to fully join the civilized world.

    Countries that enslave people to pay for the healthcare of others are not what I would call "civilized."

  • ||

    In that case we should only allow drug companies to charge in the US the lowest price they sell the same drug for anywhere else in the world. Lets see how long the 'civilized' world can maintain it's 'civilized' medical schemes without our subsidies.

  • ||

    ahhhh, that explains everything, your european.

  • ||

    "Europe wouldn't be so livable and prosperous if they didn't have a leg up from our military/pharmaceutical companies!"

    Why do you find this amusing? It's absolutely and indisputably true.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "I think SS is a good policy. A society that can afford to provide a safety net for the elderly and the disabled should, according to my moral principles."

    Social security, medicare, and "universal health insurance" are not safety nets. A real safety net provides the basic necessities for the people who actually need it. And the realities of relying on it should persuade people to provide for themselves as well as possible in order to avoid it.

  • Tman||

    Then you can all go to your mountain hideaways and develop a perfect society for us

    You use this "us" word quite a bit. I'm not sure it means what you think it means.

  • Tony||

    for us all to* eventually emulate.

  • Tman||

    No, I realize you had a grammar error. That's not what I meant.

  • Tony||

    I'm pretty sure you meant to make another equally ancient nerd-culture reference.

  • Tman||

    And I'm pretty sure you don't speak for all of "us" when you ask libertarians to "all go to your mountain hideaways".

    The reason this is the richest most powerful country in the history of the world is due in large part to Libertarian fundamentals.

    "We" already have our example. Care to show a successful communist paradise somewhere?

  • Tony||

    Why would I defend communism?

    But I'm glad you admit that you have indeed have had influence in this country, though I disagree with your conclusion. I think we're now suffering from it.

  • Tman||

    Why would I defend communism?

    Because you defend programs that deliver from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    Thus, you are a communist. Don't like the sound of that? Too bad. It is what it is.

    I'm glad you admit that you have indeed have had influence in this country, though I disagree with your conclusion. I think we're now suffering from it.

    First of all, "I" didn't have anything to do with it. People much smarter than I including the Founding Fathers, or Adam Smith or the Austrians or whichever free market/small government proponent/author you want to list are the reason for it.

    The whole idea is based around the fundamentals of individual liberty. And NONE of this has anything to do with your conclusion.

  • Tony||

    I do not believe in state control of all means of production. There, not a communist. Strong state influence in the market? Yeah. That can cover socialism, liberalism, realism, whatever. I don't care. But not communism.

    What may have worked in an agrarian society is pretty obviously not adequate for a modern one. But the age of the founding fathers was hardly a libertarian paradise. The era I'm referring to is when your (relatively new--definitely radical interpretations even of Smith) ideas gained a lot of traction in the rise of the GOP from Reagan onward. If you believe what reliable sources say, the more laissez-faire economic paradigm of the last few decades is what led to the recent catastrophe. People who learned from their mistakes would acknowledge that. Religious zealots would make excuses and become emboldened in their dogma. Hence, my initial solution.

  • Tman||

    I do not believe in state control of all means of production.

    Wow, really? I can't wait to hear Tony's list of what the state shouldn't control. I bet it's a small list.

    Strong state influence in the market? Yeah. That can cover socialism, liberalism, realism, whatever. I don't care. But not communism.

    Realism? Hilarious. Anti-reason would be the best explanation, if you prefer.

    What may have worked in an agrarian society is pretty obviously not adequate for a modern one.

    Except maybe for the one that transformed said agrarian society in to the richest most powerful country in the history of the world? Would that one count?

    But the age of the founding fathers was hardly a libertarian paradise.

    I'm sure they'd be thrilled to hear that a Federal Court Justice just ruled that it's cool if the government wants to run 20% of the entire economy. They are spinning in their graves so fast they've reached China.

    If you believe what reliable sources say, the more laissez-faire economic paradigm of the last few decades is what led to the recent catastrophe.

    So free market principles are what led to the recent economic downturn?

    Is there a hole in your neck where your brain drains out every night or something? Is that why you believe these "reliable sources"?

    People who learned from their mistakes would acknowledge that. Religious zealots would make excuses and become emboldened in their dogma. Hence, my initial solution.

    It's amazing how eloquent you can sound spouting such complete fiction. Such a waste, really.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "I do not believe in state control of all means of production... just most of the means of production."

    There, that's much better.

  • Tony||

    Nah, not most. Just perhaps services essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and only when its proved that it can do a better job than the market to these ends.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    In other words... pretty much everything.

  • Tony||

    I don't think cars are necessary to these ends, so government shouldn't provide them on a single-payer basis. I do think that seatbelts contribute to these ends, so government should mandate them. The market is great, but it's not perfect, and there's no good reason we should obey its every whim--it may not have all the same priorities in mind that citizens do.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Are you in favor of forcing people to wear seatbelts? If so, you are taking it one step too far.

    But it should be up to the customer to decide if he wants to buy them in the first place, really.

  • .||

    The market is great, but it's not perfect, and there's no good reason we should obey its every whim--it may not have all the same priorities in mind that citizens do.

    There's no good reason we should obey your every whim either - neither yours, nor your like-minded fellows, nor your tyranical government. We may not have the same priorities in mind that y'all have.

  • wheelock||

    "Markets" don't have priorities. People do, and those you want to see rule certainly have theirs.

  • Contrarian P||

    Except that it's never been shown that the government does any service better than private industry. If I'm wrong, please feel free to illustrate the example where the government's approach produced much better results.

  • DaveS||

    Government is good at killing people....100 million+ for communist governments. Murder by civilians doesn't even come close to that.

  • ||

    Strong state influence in the market? Yeah.

    Whose stocks should the government pick, just our of curiosity?

    How should the government decide exactly which aspects of the economy to influence, and in whose interests?

  • Alex||

    Re: your "reliable sources"

    If you're reading any source that tells you that government played no part in directing credit, and that played no part in the mess we're in, then you should no longer consider what you're reading "reliable," nor should you use it as a "source."

  • ||

    "Strong state influence in the market? Yeah. That can cover socialism, liberalism, realism, whatever. I don't care. But not communism"

    Actually it is a near perfect discription of fascism.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Why would I defend communism?

    Why wouldn't you?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yeah, cause Bush deregulated everything and opened the door for the Kocktopus to get his arms in the door.

    Fuck off, taint licker.

  • ||

    Looks like an early Christmas for Commerce Claus, filling the stockings of naughty Congressthings with new powers.

  • DG||

    Ignore the troll.

  • ||

    They can't, dude. They can't. No matter how obvious it is. They just can't.

  • ||

    I like Tony and like talking to him.

    Though, I will miss him when the collective decides that having gay people killed by tigers on payperview is acceptable entertainment.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That WOULD lower health-care costs...

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    Any threat with Tony in it gives my mouse buttons a work out. Pass him by.

  • ||

    The decision is not surprising at all. It decision follows naturally from Wickard v Filburn. As long as W v F is on the books this sort of opinion will continue to be issued.

  • ||

    CHIEF JUSTICE: As long as I'm on this court, McBane, we do things by the book!

    JUSTICE MCBANE: ::draws pistol:: [BLAM!!!] Bye, book.

  • C'mon man||

    There is a rational basis to conclude that, in the aggregate, decisions to forego insurance coverage pay for every fucking medical product and service under the sun (as mandated by idiotic state mandates) with insurance in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket most shit out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance medical care.

  • ||

    Genius liberals like Tony have put the next george bush in charge of their health care.

    I would love to point and laugh at that fact but they have put him in charge of my health care too.

  • Tony||

    And genius libertarians will be doing their part to get the next George Bush elected, either to prove themselves right about government incompetence or because he dangled shiny promises of fiscal conservatism in front of them.

  • I am not the government's ATM||

    Here a bush, there a bush, everywhere a bush bush. They all suck Tony, haven't figured that out yet?

  • Tony||

    Among many other lessons, one that Bush taught us is that there are indeed consequences to who we choose as leaders. That's why we have elections, with the understanding that who we elect matters. President Gore couldn't possibly have done as bad if he tried.

  • I am not the government's ATM||

    Tony, have you thought about selling your beach house and chipping in to help all the suffering masses? I know you wouldn't steal your neighbors wallet but you elect people that do just that. Man up bro and do your own work!

  • Tony||

    I don't consider taxation and legitimate government policies that transfer wealth to be the equivalent of theft. I donate to the charities of my choice, but I'm aware that it won't be nearly enough to make the world a significantly better place.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Bigger scale = not the same. Fascinating.

  • MJ||

    Being a liberal means being extremely generous...

    ...with other people's money.

  • I am not the government's ATM||

    It is a matter of degree, how much is enough?

    I donate also, in fact I think the organizations do a far better job identifying the best way to distribute limited resources to the most needy. That is why I favor private charity than a government run welfare system.

  • Tony||

    That may very be so--I don't know. What government can guarantee is universal, equitable access, and even better a universal safety net. I said can, mind you, not necessarily does.

  • I am not the government's ATM||

    Think about it Tony, you know.

    The governments least common denominator approach to everything is just not working.

  • Tony||

    What's not working is government's corporatist pay-for-play approach. Social safety nets have been pretty fabulous successes around the world, when they're not being undermined by such corporatists.

  • Leroy||

    Tony,

    If I understand the situation correctly, you support the government taxing everybody to pay for social safety nets, because some people are not able to support themselves. If this is incorrect, please disregard the rest of my comment.

    My question to you is that if you are morally obligated to support those in need, how do you justify taxing everyone, including people struggling on low incomes to support their families, rather than giving up your own personal wealth in the form of vacation homes etc.?

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that you would rather tax people less fortunate than you in order to help pay for safety nets for those less fortunate than you, rather than spend your own personal wealth to help. If you have such a strong moral obligation to helping the less fortunate, why is this so?

  • ||

    "Can" in a sort of theoretical sense. Not that it actually *will* in the real world.
    Hahaha.

  • ||

    but at least then YOU would be doing something useful, as opposed to merely voting that I should pay for it. You have somehow convinced yourself that voting dollars out of your fellows pocket to give to the poor is more admirable than giving your own. You need to have a quiet think about your self.

  • .||

    The only money that lefties are ever generous with is someone else's. Hell, I had that figured out 40 years ago.

  • ||

    Perhaps you ought to learn the distinction between charity and compulsion. Legitimate policies as defined by whom? You? The 51% who steal from the 49%?

  • ||

    Practically every president ever elected in this country proves that there are consequences to who "we" choose as leaders. Unfortunately, our leaders also have gone to great lengths to make sure that our choices are quite limited. Can't have pesky radicals upsetting the boat, you know.
    If government won't give us a "level playing field" in the electoral system, why should anybody trust that it will do so in any other area?

  • Grizzle||

    I hate to defend the judge's argument, but if you are a wage earner, you are forced to pay for Medicare even though most wage earners do not qualify to use Medicare services. If you are a business owner, no matter how tiny your business is, you are forced to pay for unemployment insurance that explicitly forbids you from making a claim to collect it yourself. Those two examples, which have been in place for as long as I can remember, are more grotesque than forcing someone to pay for medical insurance that he is eligible to use.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    So...the government can use the tax power to put me in a market against my will and then use that "participation in the market" to dictate my choices to the heart's little content?

    If we accept this is there any decision that they can't make for me?

    I pay---directly or indirectly---taxes that support the schools. Can they decide for me how much education I must get and what I must study?

    Not being independently wealthy I certainly "participate in the labor market". Can the government dictate what job I must do.

    Your argument points out the intrinsic absurdity of this decision---at least if there is to be a pretense that we have a government of limited and defined power instead of a wholly unlimited tyranny.

  • Grizzle||

    What I'm pointing out is that there are existing, established government mandates that are worse than the medical insurance mandate.

    UI (unemployment insurance) is far and way the more evil, with respect to business owners, than the health insurance mandate.

    The reasons it doesn't come up is that 1) too many people who doesn't own a business think businessmen make gobs of money and are unworthy of being treated fairly, and 2) the UI mandate is only about $56 per year per employee (including the business owner).

    I think the principle that the federal government has the right to take money from someone, for an insurance policy, would be easier to rebuffed government mandated insurance on UI than the health insurance mandate.

  • ||

    I hate to defend the judge's argument...

    That is probably why your comment is not really a defense of the judge's argument (not that it should be).

    The issue relevant to this post is the scope of congress's power under the Commerce Clause (and what seems like a judicial decision that illegitimately expands that scope to include almost anything).

    Are the examples you cite (Medicare taxes and unemployment insurance) justified under the Commerce Clause or some other constitutional power (such as the power to tax)? If the Commerce Clause is not invoked, then those examples are not really on point. Even if you have good reasons for opposing those policies, it would still be a separate issue from the scope of the Commerce Clause.

  • Grizzle||

    Are the examples you cite (Medicare taxes and unemployment insurance) justified under the Commerce Clause or some other constitutional power (such as the power to tax)?

    Focus on UI, it's a smaller but stinkier turd than Medicare. This is not a tax, it's a fee for services. It's separate line item on all business quarterly and annual reporting forms that have be sent to the IRS.

  • ||

    Focus on UI, it's a smaller but stinkier turd than Medicare.

    Aren't both paid for by payroll taxes or are you referring to something else?

    This is not a tax, it's a fee for services. It's separate line item on all business quarterly and annual reporting forms that have be sent to the IRS.

    Well if the amount the employer pays to the government is based on a percentage of the wages paid to the employee, then I would say it can be considered a tax (similar to an income tax or a sales tax for buying labor). This holds true even if the government keeps the revenue from that particular tax separate from general funds and uses that revenue only for unemployment benefit payouts).

    This does not necessarily mean that unemployment insurance shouldn’t be repealed or reformed. But again I think the power invoked for that policy is different from the Commerce Clause power invoked here.

  • Grizzle||

    UI is $56 times the number of employees, plus $56 times the number of company officers. It is not calculated as a percentage of anyone's earnings. I am not a lawyer so I don't know what relationship this fee has to the Constitution's commerce clause, but I am interested in how the feds got away with levying this fee in the first place. Whatever it's justification was, UI is a precedent for federally mandated insurance. UI also has the strange property of having its benefits unavailable to some of it's forced contributers.

    I am only suggesting that libertarian legal experts take a look at challenging UI as means to get their foot in the door to later challenge the health insurance mandate.

  • ||

    From the Department of Labor:

    The FUTA tax rate is 6.2% of taxable wages. The taxable wage base is the first $7,000 paid in wages to each employee during a calendar year. Employers who pay the state unemployment tax, on a timely basis, will receive an offset credit of up to 5.4% regardless of the rate of tax they pay the state. Therefore, the net FUTA tax rate is generally 0.8% (6.2% - 5.4%), for a maximum FUTA tax of $56.00 per employee, per year (.008 X $7,000. = $56.00).

    http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/uitaxtopic.asp

    So it is effectively a tax on income, except that income above a certain level is no longer subject to that tax. This makes it similar to the payroll tax (or at least the non-Medicare part), except that the cutoff for the payroll tax is much higher (over $100,000). A cutoff amount of $7,000 per year is so low that everyone (except a few part time or seasonal workers) reaches it. Thus the cost usually ends up being $56 per person.

  • ||

    Apples and oranges. Medicare and FICA deductions are authorized under the Tax and Spending Clause, not the Commerce Clause.

  • ||

    It looks like tony is starting to realize the stupidity of what the liberals are accomplishing.

    Looks like you can teach an old dog new tricks.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    He also thinks Obama is sooo much better than Bush. What a fucking fool.

    It's obvious BOTH men suck.

  • Tony||

    A lot of liberals disagree with me, but I think Obama has done an uncommonly good job as president. But we'd have been better off with a poodle in charge than Bush. (Poodles are smart dogs!)

  • Mr. FIFY||

    You have pretty low standards, then. I may have only been three months old when JFK got shot, but IMO there has never been a president in my lifetime - including JFK - I could be proud of.

    Then again, I have very high standards.

  • Tony||

    Well what are you comparing them too? In this day and age someone who can just hold the country's shit together is something to be proud of.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    People who think the Tenth Amendment MEANS something, Tony. People like that are in very short supply in our government.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    IOW, politicians who don't think they can do whatever the fuck they want just because they hold public office.

    I guess that's too much to ask of either Team.

  • CJ||

    In this day and age someone who can just hold the country's shit together is something to be proud of.

    Now if only we had such a president.

  • MJ||

    It would be easier to hold the country's shit together if he would stop tightening his grip.

  • Contrarian P||

    And what exactly has he done differently than Bush while in office to make you think of him so highly? Speak more effectively? Win the peace prize? He's continued pretty much every one of Bush's policies that he ran against.

  • ||

    t I think Obama has done an uncommonly good job as president.

    So, you approve of Bush's entire agenda which Obama has made his own, then?

    Funny, I thought you lefties at least pretended to care about killing people on nothing more than the president's say-so.

    -jcr

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    No!!

    They care about killing people based on BUSHITLER'S saying so.

    Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of their kool-aid-flavored lollipop-messiah, The Won, Dear Reader, is gospel - and only questioned by racists and other sub-humans.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    Told y'all so.

    The courts are part of the government. They aren't going to step in and try to prevent the government from becoming more powerful because they will, in turn, become more powerful.

  • ||

    The same logic can be used to justify nearly any government action, since everything we do affects interstate commerce in some way.

    Obviously that was not what the framers meant when they granted the power to regulate interstate commerce. Indeed, coming to such a conclusion, which you would have to do by this logic, would utterly twist the meaning of the clause beyond recognition.

    If you must conclude that the commerce clause gives the government the power to regulate all economic decisions, then you must conclude that the constitution gives the government unlimited authority over every decision every citizen makes.

  • The Federal Government||

    Is that ice cream in your grocery bag, Hazel?

  • ||

    Canned air is sold in California. Breathing in Maine uses air, which flows freely across every state border between. Therefore it's consumption in Maine affects the supply and hence price of canned air in California. Hence, breathing should be regulated.

  • ||

    wow. i pray every night that florida would succeed from the union all old timmie like but then i come to my sense and realize it would be worse for me in this ridiculous state then pray to move to singapore

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hey, shrike, wherever you are... I'm calling you out on your self-proclaimed affinity for Hayek and Rand.

    NO fan of either of those thinkers, would EVER think this health-care bullshit is anything but bogus.

  • Ghost of Shrike||

    Quit listening to Rush Limbaugh! Something something talk radio.

  • Maobama||

    By not buying US made goods, you are making those goods more expensive for other consumers and also putting Americans out of jobs. This effects interstate commerce, so we are "mandating" that you buy only American made products from now on. Trade deficit solved, bitches. Who's ready for some more hope and change? Open wide.

  • steveegg||

    And since the profitability of Government Motors directly affects the government's bottom line because it is a government enterprise, you're going to be buying a new Government Motors Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sport Edition every 4 years whether you drive or not.

    Oh yeah, all of your loans will be made through Ally Bank.

  • .||

    By not buying US made goods, you are making those goods more expensive for other consumers

    Increased demand would drive prices up, not down.

  • Maobama||

    I'm busy running the country. I don't have time to worry about small things like the laws of economics. Anyway, pointing out my mistakes may cause people to lose confidence in the government, which could lead to stock prices dropping, which effects interstate commerce. From now on, you are no longer allowed to question any government official. Just realize we are your betters. We have degrees from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

  • josh||

    second thought, why bother wasting time on debating this or anything else for that matter because its all gonna be null in a couple of years when the dollar hyper inflates. its just a matter of time before the rest of the world realizes we are a burden on the world and stops giving us money.

  • Terr||

    We do not own ourselves.

  • Maobama||

    My fellow Americans, we have finally solved the issue of sustainable energy and dependency on foreign oil. As I speak, officials from the Department of Energy have been dispatched to the grave sites of all the Founding Fathers to connect their caskets to power generators. Our scientists have calculated that the force of the spinning caskets is enough to power the entire US electric grid for the foreseeable future. This is truly an historic day for our country. Thank you, and good night.

  • ||

    Thomas Jefferson was right. We can't rely on the federal courts to limit the power of the federal government. The only way we can defeat socialized medicine is through nullification.

    -jcr

  • Democrats||

    Externalities!

  • Grizzle||

    So how do you nullify paycheck withholding? Easy, no employees, just 1099's, for all private sector workers. Bring it on, that'll be a hoot.

  • ||

    You laugh now.

    But you don't realize that's not an uncommon practice.

  • Alan Kellogg||

    Judge Steeh said, "...decisions to forego insurance coverage in preference to attempting to pay for health care out of pocket drive up the cost of insurance."

    I have a question for his honor; how?

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    He means

    [...] drives up the cost of insurancecollectivized medical care.

    because nether he nor the government nor the advocates of Obamacare are actually talking about "insurance". Insurance is a bet made to hedge risks and has nothing to do with the kind of medical care plans these people are talking about.

  • ||

    And Tony shits all over another thread with his idiocy and lies.

  • adam||

    "The costs of caring for the uninsured who prove unable to pay are shifted to health care providers, to the insured population in the form of higher premiums, to governments, and to taxpayers."

    This argument always gets me since the PPACA doesn't stop cost-shifting, it just takes it on a different course. Intead of causing premiums to increase due to uncompensated care and thereby shifting costs to insured folks and taxpayers, it provides subsidies to people to people to buy insurance and limits risk-based pricing, thereby shifting cost to taxpayers and other insured folks. PPACA does nothing whatsoever to stop cost-shifting, so how is preventing cost-shifting an argument for the the mandate and PPACA?

  • MNG||

    The mandate to buy insurance is one of the most loathesome provisions to the awful health care reform, but I do think it can fit under Lopez and Morrison. Whether to buy insurance is a primarily economic decision (it's not a romantic, religious, etc., decision), different than the decision to carry a gun into a school zone or to sexually assault someone. Everything can't be constitutional, we need to reject some dumb things politically.

  • ||

    If not buying health insurance makes me a part of interstate commerce and subject to not just regulation but federal mandate, then my decision not to buy grapefruits because I don't like them is subject to the same regulation and potential mandate.

    Following this logic, I can't think of a single aspect of my life that can not only be regualted but potentially mandated by the government. This would include controling people's diets, the movies and art they consume, the cars they drive, everything. People don't watch enough documentaries. Why can't now the federal government madate that everyone in America purchase or rent at least five documentaries a year? People don't eat enough healthy foods, why can't the feds now mandate every American purchase and consume so many fruits and vegitables? The list is endless.

    This decision is the end of freedom in this country. Not today, but it really sets the stage for a final takeover of private life by the government. The judge who rendered it and the people who passed this law, ought to be run from public life and never allowed back into any position of authority again.

    I for one am going to drop my health insurance the day this goes into effect. Fuck them. I will also not pay any fine. The IRS can come get me. I hope millions of others follow. And then when the entire voluntary tax system breaks down and we turn into Greece, these people can have fun trying to steal then. Civil disobedience is the only answer.

  • ||

    This decision is the end of freedom in this country.

    This is not hyperbole. When I read this decision, my mouth dropped. I've never bought a country-western CD, purchased a pomegranet, rented a hooker, etc. And to think that the authority of the governement rest becuase of what I don't do? This is mind boggling.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Everything can't be constitutional

    Of course everything can be constitutional. just click your heels together three times and say "interstate welfare externality". See? Now everything is constitutional.

  • Directive 10-289||

    You know I am coming.

  • ||

    The judge who rendered it and the people who passed this law, ought to be run tarred and feathered and driven from public life and polite society and never allowed back into any position of authority again.

  • Wind Rider||

    Or only eleigible for the worst of the Mike Rowe featured "dirty jobs" - I'm kind of leaning towards the episode where he showed what's necessary to clean out the shit pump at an SF/Bay Area Sewage treatment plant, for starters.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    The judge who rendered it and the people who passed this law, ought to be run tarred and feathered and driven from public life and polite society and never allowed back into any position of authority againgiven a fair and speedy trial for treason then hanged from the nearest lamp post immediately thereafter.

    FTF*Y*.

  • ||

    Its time to amend the Commerce Clause, I'm getting sick of this Totalitarizam... yea free heathcare don't equal freedom, if you think you get to carry on in your life as is till you twist your ankle you have another thing coming when a former Gunny Sergeant is at your door at 5 A.M. dragging your fat ass out of bed for Government Mandatory PT... you wouldn't of twisted your ankle in that Wal-Mart parking lot with Slurppy Juice running down the side of your mouth and after you are done with PT don't take too long showering, your fat ass is riding the bus to work: We The Government is taking your keys to your car and your ho ho's in the name of Interstate Commerce you fat (bleep)

  • ||

    As horrible as the health care bill is, all you have to do is read Scalia's concurrence in Raich to realize that it is perfectly constitutional. With the narrow exceptions of Lopez and Morrison, there are effectively no limits on the commerce power. There might be on Due Process grounds, but no one is arguing that because it would be much harder to show given the state of Due Process jurisprudence. The only effective check on congress' section 8 powers since 1937 is political.

  • Robert||

    No, even if this makes it all the way thru, it doesn't establish what you think. Congress could, as part of a broader regulatory act, make you buy goods or services, or prohibit you from making things that you'd be prohibited from acquiring from someone else, but that's about it. Not everything else affects commerce in a way that'd be part of a greater regulatory scheme, without piling inference on inference.

  • MJ||

    It is not perfectly constitutional, but it is in line with the Wickard line of precedent.

    We need to recognize that having a "living" Constitution and "dead" precedent is ass backwards.

  • ||

    As horrible as the health care bill is, all you have to do is read Scalia's concurrence in Raich to realize that it is perfectly constitutional.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that it is unlikely to be struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.

    Which isn't the same thing, IMO, as being constitutional. But I always had a problem with legal positivism.

  • Greg||

    "In addition, some people might be able to maintain their health simply by buying services that aren’t usually covered by insurance anyway, such as numerous low-cost medicines available in drug stores and the like. In such cases, they aren’t really participating in the same market as insurance purchasers."

    Until what age? Unless you die young and suddenly, everyone will end up requiring some degree of healthcare. The older you are the more expensive it is. The assertion that some people will just never need health care applies to less than 1% of the population.

  • ||

    Taking a dump must be regulated also due to externalities and the decision over which scarce resource (shovel or sewer) to utilize.

  • ||

    I've never owned a gun before.

    Looks like it's time to change that.

  • Dedicated_Dad||

    Long PAST time. A perfectly serviceable sidearm, rifle and shotgun - and 1k rounds for each can be obtained for

  • ||

    This is an extension of the thinking behind the feds requirement forcing us to buy low-flow toilets and florescent light bulbs! First they came for our toilets and now they've flushed health care down them!

  • Michael Kennedy||

    As a surgeon who has spent thousands of hours working for free, I have some mixed feelings. The worst feature of the Health Reform Act is the stipulation that government will decide what is an adequate insurance coverage. This will lard up the policy with ridiculous mandates, as California does, for example, and make insurance a giant boondoggle. Frankly, I'd rather take my chances on working for free.

    What the average uninsured person needs is a catastrophic coverage policy with a high deductible, which for the average young person who makes up half the uninsured, would be cheap. If that was the mandate, I would have a hard time opposing it, except of course on principle.

  • ||

    It infuriates me that it is even necessary for anyone to "flesh out the response". The mere act of doing so legitimizes the flagrant asshattery of the logic in this ruling.

  • ChrisO||

    I, for one, welcome our upcoming underground economy.

  • ||

    Using this reasoning, since it is possible to purchase the services of a prostitute, and a surrogate mother, that means the Feds can regulate your sex life and family size.

    I shouldn't give them any ideas.

  • ||

    Using this line of "reason" would certainly make being an unproductive boil on society's butt by not working and accepting "entitlements" when one is fit and able to do so punishable. After all, such behavior negatively affects commerce and society as a whole.

  • ||

    I agree with Cyto and Hazel Meade--by reading the Commerce Clause this broadly, that bozo congressman from N.Cal is right--the government can do anything it wants. By this logic the rest of the Constitution is abrogated by the Commerce Clause. There's nothing left of the enumerated powers doctrine. Hell, there's nothing left of the Bill of Rights.

  • Chad||

    The judge is right. Libertarians are wrong.

    It's straight-forward economics that have been understood for nearly a century. It's time you got caught up.

  • ||

    Finally, we no longer have a 'living constitution'. It has had stake driven through its prose.

  • ||

    Next up instead of TARP funds to banks and bale outs to the car companies they will just pass a mandate that we have to buy stock in their favored banks and can only buy cars from Government motors AKA GM, this is communism pure and simple. Say goodbye America it is over if this stands.

  • ||

    What of those who do not live in the US? Generally, they do not participate in any way in medical delivery services or payment thereof or not.

  • ||

    Now is the time to buy guns and ammunition. And identify the enemy. MOST OF ALL, identify the enemy.

  • Leif||

    [I can't believe this hasn't been said yet:]

    What you say!?

  • James in TN||

    I submit that not buying a full-page advertisement detailing the judge's personal life is also an economic decision that harms the national (hence inter-state) commerce in gossip magazines.

  • ||

    Great article. Would love it if you would have a citation to the case---at least the parties' names?--to make it easier for readers to find the cases. Thanks.

  • ||

    I don't like broccoli. I'm not going to buy any. But now they can make me?

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