Peter Suderman on How to Think About The Obamacare Decision

 

Just a few hours after the Obamacare decision came down, Nick Gillespie talked with Reason's Peter Suderman to get the straight dope on the good (none, really), the bad, and the fugly regarding the Supreme Court's take on the Affordable Care Act.

Click above to watch. Here's our original writeup from June 28, 2012:

Is there a silver lining to the Supreme Court's Obamacare Decision?

In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act by ruling that the individual mandate is legal under Congress' power of taxation, while giving states more flexibility in deciding whether to participate in the law's Medicaid expansion.

What does today's decision mean for the implementation of the law and the political effort to repeal it?

Nick Gillespie sat down with Reason Magazine Senior Editor Peter Suderman to discuss today's ruling and its implications for health care policy.

Approximately 8 minutes.

Camera by Jim Epstein and Meredith Bragg, and edited by Epstein.

Go to http://Reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This is what happens when you rush video without the full Reason TV staff. Good conversation shot to hell for want of a mop-up.

  • Chloe||

    How to think about the Obamacare decision? Sadly.

  • Federal Dog||

    I am sufficiently confused by the NFIB opinion that I finally opened an account to post again at this site. I have a three-part post (because, I am sorry, of its length). I apologize if this is a stupid question, or if it has been asked before; if so, I would love to see that discussion (if someone would please point me to it). Specifically, I am wondering whether there are an awful lot of unconstitutional “taxes” on the books, and whether the only way to reimpose limits on the government might be to contest their constitutionality?

    John Roberts states that regardless of emphatic (and continuing) legislative declarations to the contrary, the penalty exacted for failing to secure medical insurance that the government deems adequate is a tax (because, regardless of legislative intent, it functions as a tax).

    I do not know tax law, and I do not understand this because functionally, on my understanding, taxes and penalties are diametrically opposed.

  • Federal Dog||

    Part II:

    My understanding has been that a tax is different from a penalty because a tax is levied to raise revenues, whereas a penalty is levied to deter and punish some failing by omission or commission. On this logic, there is no “fair possibility” that the penalty can be interpreted as a tax. That is because the goal is that no one pays the penalty: The goal is that everyone buys insurance instead, thus foreclosing revenue generation. Since no revenue-generating mechanism has as its goal securing conduct that forecloses revenue generation, I do not understand how the penalty can be deemed a tax.

    Instead, it is expressly designed to punish people who fail to act on government orders. The legislature, for this reason, has correctly insisted all along that the only fair way to interpret the penalty is as a penalty, and not taxation. A familiar example for me would be a fine in a criminal prosecution: That too has the secondary effect of generating revenue, but there is no “fair possibility” that it could be interpreted as a tax. Generating revenue is not a recognizable sentencing function, though criminal fines unquestionably generate revenue.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Your interpretation is correct and matches a scathing dissent by Thomas, Scalia, Alito and Thomas.

    Roberts opinion requires a redefinition of the words "tax" and "penalty" that no one other than Roberts accepts.

    Which leads to the conclusion that his ability to redefine the words used in laws renders all laws meaningless.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Noted Roberts knob polisher Randian will be along any minute now to obsfucate this issue, claim that up is down and Roberts position is correct.

  • Randian||

    Aw, the little girl wants his crush to come out and play! Don't worry, honey, someone someday will love you and want to play with you.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Tell us again how tax and penalty are interchangeable terms.

    Or maybe how words mean exactly and only what Roberts wants them to mean.

  • Randian||

    Did you bother to read the decision, or is your knee jerking too hard to look at the PDF?

    Again, I would rather the whole act have been struck down. I cannot for the life of me figure out how it is you think that means I am somehow a defender of the decision. What I am doing, however, is pointing out where the anti-intellectual dogmatist crowd is just flat fucking wrong and acting like a host of whiny chicken littles who sound, frankly, like the leftists in the wake of the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision. "Waaah! I want my COUNTRY BACK!"

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Right.

    Calling bullshit on Roberts contortions of logic and redefinition of words is anti-intellectualism.

    'Cause you red da decision.

  • Randian||

    You can't even cite to the record. I want you, yourself, to fashion an argument against the decision. Not do or rely on what others have told you to think, as is evident right now.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The decision hinges on the definitions of taxes and penalties.

    The penalty is for not buying insurance in Obamacare is clearly a penalty and not a tax based on commonly understood definitions for the two terms.

    Furthermore, Roberts GF's, sole reason for redefining those words was a preceding desire that the law be upheld.

  • TomD||

    Incidentally (well, not so incidental, actually): It seems increasingly clear that Roberts switched from an initial vote against the mandate. http://www.volokh.com/2012/07/.....olding-it/

  • Brutus||

    This makes the decision even that much more maddening.

  • Robert||

    I agree with Roberts (and I like his name). Taxes have long been enacted to discourage the actions they tax. No matter what the legislators and signer want to call it, it's a tax because it operates as a tax -- apparently one on income.

  • Federal Dog||

    But it does not function as a tax, and it is not on income.

  • wareagle||

    Taxes have long been enacted to discourage the actions they tax.

    1. bullshit
    2. that is not the purpose of taxes. Unless your argument is that income taxes exist to discourage the earning of income, sales taxes exist to discourage commerce between consenting parties, and property taxes exist to discourage ownership of property.

    The purpose of taxes is to raise revenue to fund govt services, not to serve as officially-approved means of social engineering.

  • Sudden||

    Taxes have long been enacted to discourage the actions they tax.

    If you're referring to sin taxes, like taxes on alcohol or tobacco, then the central thing to remember is that these are all taxes on acts of commission. Every single tax that I'm aware of is a commission tax (you are taxed on income, but won't be if you don't earn income). This is the first "tax" of ommission that I'm aware of.

  • Alex||

    Which leads to the conclusion that his ability to redefine the words used in laws renders all laws meaningless.

    Always applicable, but especially now.

  • ||

    "Generating revenue is not a recognizable sentencing function..."

    Get yourself some popcorn, go sit for a day in traffic court anywhere in the land and watch the shakedown artists in action.

    Welcome Federal Dog, good to see you back.

  • Federal Dog||

    Thanks for the good word, Suthenboy!

    And I know what you mean about courtroom shakedowns; I merely note that were you to argue revenue generation as a sentencing factor, the court would cut that argument down as legally improper.

    That, in conjunction with Roberts's claim that the penalty is is a tax, though its function is diametrically opposed to a tax, leave room (on Ronerts's own logic) to contest the "tax" status of many exactions that function solely as unconstitutional penalties.

  • Federal Dog||

    Part III:

    My question is this: Aren’t many “taxes” really nothing but penalties for legal conduct the government does not like? If so, is that constitutional?

    Cigarette and alcohol taxes, e.g.,: The goal of both is to stop people from smoking and drinking, and success means that no revenue is generated. For this reason, the sole “fairly possible” interpretation of their function is to punish, not to generate revenues, making them penalties and not taxes at all.

    Is this constitutional? Is there no analytical distinction between a tax and a penalty? If not, why? Doesn’t that simply give the government more or less unfettered power to punish any conduct – legal or illegal – that it does not like?

  • wareagle||

    if you look at taxes, virtually ALL are tied to some sort of purposeful action. Sales taxes, even on alcohol or tobacco, are paid only if you purchase either product. Income taxes are incumbent on you earning money. Property taxes on having, at some point, purchased real estate.

    This "tax" differs in that it would be imposed for NOT doing something. By the way, the goal of sig/alc taxes has nothing to do with stopping people from either smoking or drinking. A far more solid case could be made that govt could not take the revenue loss if people stopped doing either. This is particularly prevalent with alcohol where taxes are rarely monkeyed with; tobacco is such a pariah that there is less public heartburn about tax hikes.

    Is there no analytical distinction between a tax and a penalty?
    THAT is the question. In theory, a penalty is paid for having done something deemed as unlawful; a tax is paid based on some activity, with the proceeds to fund some aspect of govt. I am not a lawyer, either, but just in a logical sense, it boggles the mind to see how the two can be equated. (See: IRS...you pay a tax. If you are late or try to avoid paying, you are assessed a penalty.)

  • Jerry on the road||

    How would we know when the tax in this case becomes a penalty? If insurance is $3000, by what objective standard do we see a fine of $500 for not paying insurance being a penalty or not? It's not something that can be defined by the legislature it seems.

  • wareagle||

    How would we know when the tax in this case becomes a penalty?

    I think that is the A-HA moment. It becomes a penalty when some unaccountable bureaucrat says so. Takes the old favorite around here - fuck you, that's why - to uncharted levels.

  • robc||

    This is particularly prevalent with alcohol where taxes are rarely monkeyed with

    And the one obvious example of monkeying proves this:

    A far more solid case could be made that govt could not take the revenue loss if people stopped doing either.

    Beer federal excise tax payments are paid either quarterly of semi-monthly. Once you reach a certain size ($50k in excise taxes per year) you have to do semi-monthly. So that means 24 payments per year, right? Wrong, its 25.

    In general, for beer crossing the tax line on the 1st-15th of the month, the tax is due by the 29th. For the 16th-31st, the 14th of the next month. However, September has 3 payment dates. The 14th for the last half of August, then a special tax for the 16th-26th, due by the 29th of September. This special tax may be approximated. Also due on the 29th is the regular tax for the 1st-15th period.

    On October 14th, the tax for the last few days of Sept, plus an adjustment for the approximation made previously, is due.

    Why does this idiocy exist? It becomes obvious when you realize Sept is the end of the federal fiscal year. At some point in the past, for some budgetary reason, they needed to boost tax revenue in a fiscal year, so they dragged money from October back into September. And its never gone away.

    Its pretty clear that the Feds *need* that source of revenue, they arent trying to kill liquors sales with it, but to collect off of it.

  • wareagle||

    maybe I am missing something but if this goes on every year, aren't actual tax collections not really what the state claims them to be? Seems the state's attitude is to pretend that a single collection period actually exists twice. Only in govt.

  • robc||

    The FIRST year it was implemented, lets call it year 0, it boosted the tax collections within year 0.

    If it had been a one year only change, then the tax in year 1 would have been less by the same amount, hence why it was kept around. It basically balances out after year 0, with a little of year N tax shifted to year N-1 and a bit of year N+1 tax shifted to year N.

  • Federal Dog||

    "I am not a lawyer, either, but just in a logical sense, it boggles the mind to see how the two can be equated. (See: IRS...you pay a tax. If you are late or try to avoid paying, you are assessed a penalty.)"

    This is exactly my point: Taxes and penalties are, in terms of function, diametrically opposed. One functions to generate revenue, and the other to secure conduct that forecloses revenue generation.

    Therefore, if Roberts is right, and function is all we care about (and not what the legislature represents), penalties cannot logically count as taxes.

    Therefore, are cigarette and alcohol "taxes," e.g., taxes?

  • wareagle||

    and there we are: a question that on its face seems so simple - is the transactional cost of buying beer or smokes a tax or penalty - has been turned on its heads. My answer would be tax, without the quotes, but I'm not a SCOTUS Justice.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Another unintended consequence of Roberts idiocy relates to the fact that waivers have been granted for the penalty tax to politically favored groups. So now we can look forward to selective enforcement of other taxes penalties.

    Double taxes for the evil one percenters. But give waivers to those enlightened ones that support O.

  • Robert||

    Looks like you never heard of a head tax. Gov'ts at various times have also taxed the status of being unmarried as an adult.

  • ||

    Which is related to US precedent, how?

  • Robert||

    Related in the way that allows you to determine what a gov't -- any gov't -- means by "tax".

  • Robert||

    It's also the same way that any language that can be xlated as "spouse", "married", etc. bears on the issue of who is married to whom. This may be another one of those issues where libertarians don't realize that the important consider'n is not the substance of a statute or constitution, but the meaning of words.

  • Robert||

    Who says a tax can't be on NOT doing something, or on not being in a certain status? There have been taxes on having vacant apts. and unimproved land, to discourage speculation. There were self-inflating currencies issued by Calif. that operated effectively by taxing the holding of them -- actually charging more over time for redemption of them.

  • PapayaSF||

    I would say that cigarette and alcohol taxes are constitutional, because they are excise taxes, which are explicitly permitted.

    But as pointed out by IceTrey below, since Obamacare originated in the Senate, and tax bills must originate in the House, doesn't that make it unconstitutional?

    And another angle: since the Obamacare tax(es) aren't excise taxes, and aren't income taxes, doesn't that make them direct taxes, which mean they have to be "apportioned"? And since they aren't, aren't they unconstitutional in that way as well?

  • Brutus||

    SCOTUS has been wiping its ass with the Constitution for nearly a century now, do you think the origination issue will be anything more than the tiniest of speedbumps for them in the quest to grant total power to the Central State?

  • Robert||

    That's what I wondered too, until I realized this tax is going to be collected via form 1040 and according to criteria including income. It's an income tax, which may be considered either an indirect or a direct tax.

  • PapayaSF||

    Collecting a tax via the IRS and using criteria "including income" doesn't really make it an income tax, though. If Congress taxes people for not buying a new GM every year, and exempts people who make under $25K/year, it's not an income tax.

  • Federal Dog||

    It's not an income tax. You must do more than earn an income to incur the penalty. And if you comply with getting insurance, you do not pay at all, which is the exact opposite of how a tax functions.

  • Robert||

    The income tax is loaded with conditionals like that, and it's still a tax on income.

    Is anybody here going to argue that a protective tariff isn't a real tariff, because its aim is to discourage imports rather than raise revenue?

  • Federal Dog||

    "I would say that cigarette and alcohol taxes are constitutional, because they are excise taxes"

    Fair enough. But can "taxes" be expressly designed not to generate revenue (but only to compel conduct that, if undertaken, forecloses revenue generation) and still be taxes? Are you saying that any conduct that the government does not like can be reached as an "excise?"

  • PapayaSF||

    An excise tax is a tax on a good or service, so I don't think you can have an excise tax on just anything. Many are traditionally designed to influence behavior: e,g, a duty on imported goods to make local goods more attractive. If (say) a tax on imported cars generated no revenue because everyone bought domestic cars, that wouldn't mean it wasn't a tax.

  • Federal Dog||

    "An excise tax is a tax on a good or service, so I don't think you can have an excise tax on just anything."

    According to the IRS, an excise tax can reach activities too (e.g., gambling).

    http://www.irs.gov/businesses/.....17,00.html

    Positing that the goal here is to influence behavior (i.e. deter people from gambling) -- and, if successful, no revenue is generated -- how can such taxes be taxes, even if you label them excise "taxes?"

    After all, Roberts now tells us that labels are irrelevant: Only function counts.

  • T o n y||

    Doesn’t that simply give the government more or less unfettered power to punish any conduct – legal or illegal – that it does not like?

    Economic conduct perhaps. But thanks to the Court, not private sexual habits anymore! (Those darn progressives and their overbearing concern about people's behavior.)

    There are perhaps some novel elements to this law at the federal level (not that that automatically makes it constitutionally suspect). But in this case, opting out of the behavior (buying health insurance) is not the same thing as not participating in the healthcare or health insurance markets. Again, maybe a novel argument but it's for a unique type of market.

    In terms of violating taxing authority I don't see how this tax penalty differs in any way from tax subsidy for homeownership, for example. Trying to influence behavior. You are perfectly free not to buy health insurance; you're just not free to do so and pay the same taxes as people who do. There's no "punishment" here any more than renters are punished for not buying a house.

  • Federal Dog||

    "There's no "punishment" here any more than renters are punished for not buying a house."

    The point being that if the function of the exactment is not to generate revenue, but merely to force behavior that, if done, stops exactment, that the functional opposite of a tax.

    Roberts states that the crux of the legal issue is how exactment functions: It is a tax if it functions as a tax (regardless of what intent the legislature is declaring from moment to moment).

    Since the "tax" actually functions as a penalty, on Robert's own logic, it cannot be a tax.

  • Brutus||

    But thanks to the Court, not private sexual habits anymore!

    How long do you think that's going to stand, Tony, once your sexual habits impinge on health care costs? Why do you think sexual habits are free from regulation while you simultaneously thump the tub for taxes on smokers, Mt. Dew-chuggers, helmetless bikers, etc?

  • PapayaSF||

    Yeah, perhaps there should be a tax on the Logo channel or rainbow flags to finance AIDS treatments....

  • Brutus||

    How can anyone possibly be against this? Externalities and all...

  • T o n y||

    If the court gets packed with religious zealots then they very well could reverse Lawrence v. Texas. I'm not gonna wait around for a rights enforcing superhero to emerge from Krypton to tell us how everything will be, which is what you seem to favor as the alternative to our system in which these things are played out in the democratic and judicial processes.

  • Brutus||

    Lawrence?? What are you talking about, Tony? No one's going to criminalize your sex life, we're just going to levy a tax on it to compensate the People of the United States for the costs it imposes on us.

    Do you oppose this?

  • T o n y||

    I'm perfectly happy paying taxes to pay for condom distribution. What could possibly be more virtuous a use of government taxing power than that?

  • T o n y||

    I'm perfectly happy paying taxes to pay for condom distribution. What could possibly be more virtuous a use of government taxing power than that?

  • wareagle||

    Trying to influence behavior.

    which is not how taxes are supposed to be used. The purpose of taxation is NOT social engineering.

  • Brutus||

    Welcome to Progressiville!

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, except that we all know that taxation inevitably influences behavior, so it's just a matter of what you choose to suppress. The left prefers to suppress things like income, profit, hiring, investment, and savings. Suppressing things like smoking and drinking seems like a superior approach to me.

  • Federal Dog||

    But isn't there a logical difference between function (the sole legally relevant factor, according to Roberts) and collateral effects?

    The function of a tax is to generate revenue. If it does not function that way -- and instead prompts people to act so as to avoid financial exaction -- that is the functional opposite of a tax. In which case, on Roberts's own logic, the tax power does not authorize it.

  • Federal Dog||

    Oops! Fourth (and final) Part:

    I can definitely see that the government could bring about roughly the same effect by completely constitutional means, but that would be subject to specific political pressures that might just check abuse and overreach. With respect, again, to cigarettes and alcohol, e.g.: I can see how the government could simply have people complete their tax returns, then essentially offer those who do not drink and smoke a money gift (via a relevant deduction) to encourage that conduct.

    I do not see how the constitution stops the government from spending that way. I just do not see how anyone can functionally conflate taxes and punishment, which have logically exclusive goals (the former is to effect a financial exaction, and the latter to assure conduct that forecloses financial exaction).

  • ||

    Justice Roberts is the only justice of the majority that held the inactivity/Activity distinction as being unconstitutional. That is hardly a fucking silver lining. IMHO, that is hardly compelling precedent. In fact, I think it makes the opinion illigimate and unworthy of support. The only others that held the commerce clause argument went to far was the dissent.

  • wef||

    As I understand it, the rejection of the commerce-clause rationalization was NOT the "opinion of the court" - it was the opinion of the joint dissent and the opinion of the factotum of the Noble House of Bush - who wrote his commerce clause section as his own, separate opinion. The Chief weasel did write the opinion of the court with respect to the constitutionality of the law under the magical-power-to-tax-anything-and-everything doctrine, the severability of the part demanding state-compliance-or-else, and some other things.

    Some expert, please reveal the truth.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Roberts opinion limiting the commerce clause will be considered to be , with no force of law, by progressive jurists in the future.

    Those pushing the idea that it somehow reigns in the governmental action in the future are either self delusional or flat out liars.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Should be:
    Roberts opinion limiting the commerce clause will be considered to be dicta

  • Brutus||

    Really, does it matter? The words of the Constitution, the Federalist, other Founders, precedent...none of it mattered to the progs when power was within their grasp. Why do you think precedent now would make the slightest difference in their long march?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm just pointing out that claims of a silver lining that limits the Commerce Clause are wrong.

  • Brutus||

    I think the best we could do now is to clarify the CC and other misinterpreted passages of the Constitution so that not even mealy-mouthed lawyers could change the meaning.

    We need an Amendment, or this nation is cooked. Gone. Done for. Kaput.

  • Randian||

    What is with the strain of "If X doesn't happen the country will die", where X is "my preferred policy prescriptions".

    I am sick of the hyperventilating. We're reason's Commentariat. We get informed and angry, not desperate and whiny.

  • Brutus||

    I'm not hyperventilating. What I say is true. If there is a political core identity to America, it is one of limited government power, subsidiarity of functions and individual rights against the State. This decisions all but sweeps the first two aside. All that is left is tiny islands of rights, floating precariously in a sea of federal power.

    If you're cool with this decision, fine. But from where I sit, it's 2700 nails in the republic's coffin.

  • Randian||

    I'm not hyperventilating...But from where I sit, it's 2700 nails in the republic's coffin.

    Yeah sure OK.

  • ||

    Randian, you don't understand. If you don't agree with us, Democracy is DEAD. Also you have to clap really hard.

  • Brutus||

    On the contrary, I think democracy is all too alive.

  • R C Dean||

    Nonbinding dicta. No other judge joined that part of the opinion.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Barack Obama says, "If I've lost the anon-bot, I've lost America!"

  • Elphie||

    Anon-bot should be Romney's Joe the Plumber.

  • Hell's Librarian||

    You are a good man, anon-bot.

  • IceTrey||

    Since all revenue raising bills must originate in the House and this bill started in the Senate can't another case for it's unconstitutionality be brought?

  • Longtorso||

    The Senate stripped every word out of a House bill and replaced it w/ ObamaCare. Dishonest, but standard dishonest practice.

    And they consider themselves 'clever' instead of sleezebags for coming up w/ that trick.

  • IceTrey||

    It still seems to be a constitutional question. If the Senate completely replaces the language in a House bill is it still a House bill?

  • Longtorso||

    They've gotten away w/ it enough for the answer to be 'yes'.

  • Longtorso||

    CBS: Roberts Switched His Vote From Invalidating the Mandate to Upholding It
    ...Because Roberts was the most senior justice in the majority to strike down the mandate, he got to choose which justice would write the Court’s historic decision. He kept it for himself.

    Over the next six weeks, as Roberts began to craft the decision striking down the mandate, the external pressure began to grow. Roberts almost certainly was aware of it.

    Some of the conservatives, such as Justice Clarence Thomas, deliberately avoid news articles on the Court when issues are pending (and avoid some publications altogether, such as The New York Times). They’ve explained that they don’t want to be influenced by outside opinion or feel pressure from outlets that are perceived as liberal.

    But Roberts pays attention to media coverage....

  • TomD||

    Yeah. 2:10 p.m. ^^^^ Up that way.

  • Longtorso||

    Your attempt to link was tiny and pathetic, so I redid it for you.

  • TomD||

    My link was early and svelte, the way award-winning comments work.

  • Longtorso||

    It was as small and useless as your genitals.

  • TomD||

    Your comment is so fat it can't even SEE its genitals.

  • Longtorso||

    My comment's unit is too big to miss. You can see it from space.

  • ||

    There was a previous attempt to link it? I missed it completely, no joke.

  • T o n y||

    If you've been made heavily emotionally invested in this law by partisan hyperbole, the correct way to think about the decision is with monumental despair.

  • Brutus||

    Despair is a sin. OTOH, anger channeled into this coming political campaign is about to yield another 2010-esque ass-kicking to the Democrats, followed by repeal - substntial or total - of this totalitarian legislation.

  • Hyperion||

    In order to accomplish that, the Republicans will not only have to take the Senate, but have a super majority. Also, there will have to be a president that would sign it. Outside of Gary Johnson, there is not a candidate running that will do that.

    The progessives want a Soviet style state. They have been working on that for 100+ years now and have nearly acheived it. They are only about 15% of the population, but they now control our media, most of both major political parties, the courts, and the education system. We have our work cut out for us... that is an understatement. The progressives have the potential, with this new health care monstrosity, to eliminate the middle class. And that is their goal. That will be the end of America as we know it. Hell, the America that I knew growing up, is already long gone.

  • Brutus||

    All that is needed to repeal the mandate is a simple majority, and it cannot be filibustered. Repeal the tax and it cannot be reintroduced for another 10 years. Repeal it, and it will gut the enforcement mechanism of Obamacare.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't get me wrong, Brutus, I want this thing to die a horrible death. But we are stuck with it now.

  • Brutus||

    For now.

    If Roberts says it's a political matter, then we need to deal with it politically.

  • Brutus||

    Sorry, hit "submit" too quickly.

    I agree completely with your second paragraph. All of my kids speak a language other than English, as do I. I've told them to keep emigration in their pockets as an option. The trouble is, where do they go?

  • Hyperion||

    I speak Portuguese as well as English, and my wife and I own a place in Brazil. You had better use that option quickly if you want to use it. I expect the US to disallow anyone to leave the country before long. The taxes are becoming so oppressive that it will trigger a mass exodus, and they know that. Look for anti-expat legislation to be introduced soon, and look for a majority in both parties to pass it.

  • Brutus||

    Eu tambem falo portugues, e estou pensando de viver la no Brasil de novo. Nao tenho uma casa ou chacara ainda, mas seria a primera coisa que iria comprar.

    Os filhos falam alemao...nao sei se isso e' uma boa opcao para eles, mas podera' ser melhor que uma America progressiva.

  • Hyperion||

    Voce falar bem.

    Did you spend some time in Brazil?

    I love Brazil. Our place is near Boa Viagem beach in Recife. The problem is that I am still working here, and I don't have quite enough money to retire yet. But I am seriously considering retiring there when I do. I feel much more free there than I do here. Maybe in 5 years or so, I hope that they haven't built the big wall to keep us in yet.

  • Brutus||

    Yes, I spent 3-1/2 years in Campinas, Sao Paulo. I love it, too...great people, great food, great climate. Stupid government, but they all are, aren't they?

    I probably have enough to retire, but I need to make sure. Like you said, once the ball really gets rolling here, the trick might be getting it out.

  • Hyperion||

    I've never been to Sao Paulo. My daughter in law lives there, in Moema. The only place I have been in the south is Rio. We were there in March, it's fantastic. My sister in law has a place there in Leblon.

    I love the north though, especially Olinda, and Maria Farinha. Boa Viagem is nice too. It's hot, but there is AC, the beach is near, and the beer is cold.

  • Brutus||

    I remember Moema, and Google-mapping it, it's where I remember it, near SP itself. Too busy for me...Campinas was a town of about 1 million when I was there, and that's enough for me.

    My apartment didn't have AC or a furnace, and I can count the times I missed either on one hand.

  • Hyperion||

    You will die in Nordeste without AC. Seriously, I love the equatorial heat, but I can't sleep without the AC on most of the time. 70%+ humidity year round.

  • T o n y||

    Yes, that kind of partisan hyperbole.

  • Brutus||

    Democrats gave us this, and now they need to pay the price for it, again. This anger isn't going away. Expect to feel it in four months.

  • Hyperion||

    The anger is not going away. I was in serious shock when I saw the courts decision. I was so furious on my drive home that I think steam was rolling off of me, lol. It didn't help seeing the comments of the parasite class around the web... 'Pay up, you evil rich people who have jobs!, gimme, gimme, gimme more, I want all of that money that you work hard for, the government says that it's mine! I'm gonna live in mommies basement forever, and you need to pay my way!'. Sickening.

  • T o n y||

    Next time don't let yourself get so angry.

    This was the plan the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney thought were groovy a few years ago. Hardly something to feel oppressed by, barely worth anger. Or are you mostly angry that Obama got a win?

  • wareagle||

    you are so full of shit. Had Roberts gone the other way, you would be leading the charge accusing the Court of being partisan, political, another wing of the GOP, etc etc.

    It is so predictable with liberals - a conservative who votes their way is seen as having grown or evolved or nuanced. But, a liberal voting the other way....wait, that never happens, does it.

  • T o n y||

    Well, American conservatism is a zombie-like wave of very well-funded wrongness on just about everything. It's a mystery to me why intelligent people like Justice Roberts doesn't see it for what it is, even as a longtime member of it, and evolve to the correct positions, but he's probably just saving up "perception capital" for other issues and didn't want to blow the court's remaining credibility by being seen as an instrument of the Teapublicans.

  • Brutus||

    Was there something you wanted to say here?

  • Hyperion||

    He wished to say that he is an effiminate mangina.

  • Hyperion||

    Evolve to the correct positions, lol. Tony, if you evolve any further, will you still have a penis? Do you have one now? I doubt it.

  • ||

    Kinda like how Obama "evolves" and Romney "flip-flops".

  • T o n y||

    Your theory has significant holes, considering I have a very large penis.

  • SIV||

    First the US taxes us for not buying "health care" now France taxes Frogs who don't watch TV

  • Hyperion||

    Well, if you are out of the public education system, how else are you supposed to get your daily dose of indoctrination, if you don't watch the state run media? I think we need this here. Bad peoplle like me have cancelled our cable TV and are posting on evil blog sites that are not supported by the state.

  • mike c.||

    I've not heard or read about people like the Amish who may have religious problems with the law. There are those others who don't use medicine even if they are sure to die. Will these be forced to pay?

    Lawyers out there?

  • Randian||

    I highly doubt they are going to be able to get around the taxes. The SCOTUS has been pretty clear on that point for 235 years or so.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Hi Reason! I just wanted to drop this off and ruin the rest of your weekend!

    A Manifesto for Economic Sense by Paul Krugman and Richard Layard

    The causes. Many policy makers insist that the crisis was caused by irresponsible public borrowing. With very few exceptions - other than Greece - this is false. Instead, the conditions for crisis were created by excessive private sector borrowing and lending, including by over-leveraged banks. The collapse of this bubble led to massive falls in output and thus in tax revenue. So the large government deficits we see today are a consequence of the crisis, not its cause.
  • Brutus||

    Ignoring, of course, that it's the sovereign debt that is threatening the banks. I wonder if he's ever heard the name Jon Corzine before.

  • Hyperion||

    Ruin our weekend with the brain dead ramblings of Paulie Krugman? Get real. Do you have any charts by Ezra Klein to support some more nanny statism? The Soviet system is already proved a failure, and no it will not work if only the right statist fucktards implement it. Durrr.

  • Anonymous Coward||

  • Hyperion||

    The only thing that will save people from cancer is more medical research and less government red tape. ObamaTax discourages both of those things. God help us. We are so fucked as long as these progressive idiots are in control.

  • T o n y||

    Obama is worse on medical research? Without even looking up his relative funding, he talks about it in almost every speech he gives.

    Yes, medical research requires government funding, like all scientific research.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    he talks about it in almost every speech he gives.

    Speeches = money. Thanks for that revelation.

    Tony w/spaces, you are the worst sockpuppet ever.

  • Fate||

    *Yes, medical research requires government funding, like all scientific research.*

    This wins mt personal retarded comment of the day.

  • Hyperion||

    I am just so glad that they upheld this shit. I wasn't really looking forward to driving over the dead bodies of 50 million or so dead children in the streets, on my way to work, on the day after the court struck it down. So we have that, and afterall, it's for the children. Now if we could just hurry up and give the rest of our rights away, for the children, we will finally have that rainbow colored unicorn land that we have been looking for.

  • T o n y||

    Or maybe just the $1000 yearly cost imposed on your family by the free riders the law is meant to do something about. Hyperbole--fun, but dangerous. The undisciplined start to believe, the more hyperbolic the truer.

  • tee shirt pas cher||

    I apologize if this is a stupid question, or if it has been asked before; if so, I would love to see that discussion (if someone would please point me to it). Specifically, I am wondering whether there are an awful lot of unconstitutional “taxes” on the books, and whether the only way to reimpose limits on the government might be to contest their constitutionality?

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