I was shocked to see the decision 1-4-4, with a decision by Roberts essentially being written with a majority of 1. The opinions make it clear that the liberal judges on the court felt that the commerce clause allows the government to do basically whatever it wants in terms of forcing people to buy a service. On the other hand, the conservatives took the possition that most conservatives believed -- the individual mandate was illegal, and thus the whole law must be thrown out.
Roberts's majority of 1 opinion was a surprise. He argues that the commerce clause does not allow for Obamacare -- something I agree with. Then, he argues that the federal government has the ability to impose the fee as a tax. Critically importaint is that there was no language in the bill that provided for criminal punishment for not getting health insurance, the only punishment was a fee.
Our current tax code does this in a number of areas. Here are some:
- College Tuition expenses -- these are tax deductable and so if someone choses not to go to college, that person pays more tax than he would if he does not.
- Home Mortgate interest -- again, this is tax deductable and so if someone pays cash for a home or rents, he pays an additional fee.
- Child tax credit - if someone does not have children, he pays more in taxes than someone who has children.
- Charitable Giving -- again, if someone gives to charity he is not taxed on that money and thus pays more in taxes than someone who gives to charity
If Roberts were to have held that the government could not impose an extra tax/fee on healthcare, he would have also needed to rule all those tax loopholes/credits to be illegal.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that "the power to tax is the power to destory." Taxation power had been very much limited prior to the 16th ammendment, and there was a plethera of legal opinion prior to that time explaining what it ment to tax. Essentially, when the power to tax is granted, the court had held that his power could essentially allow taxes high enough to close businesses, bankrupt, etc. The power to tax is the power to destory.
The 16th ammendment allows the power to directly tax individuals. There can be no question that this means the government was granted the ability to impose taxes that some would consider a heavy burden, and even that could cause them financial hardship, could hurt the economy, and could cause the known problems of taxes.
Roberts held the correct interpretation, if one looks at why the founders initially did not allow for individual taxation, and the concerns they had regarding taxes. This tax would have not been legal prior to the 16th ammendment.
The 16th ammendment, however, granted the unconditional power to tax individuals's incomes. The income tax has been set over 90% for some people before.
The truth of the matter is that we need to repeal the 16th ammendment, or at-the-least constrain it with a new ammendment. For example, limit the taxing authority of the federal government to be equal to no more than 1/3 of a person's income. Until this is done, the legislative branches of government continue to have an essentially unlimited power to tax, and therefore to destory the liberty and prosperity of Americans.
Roberts, sadly, was right in his interpretation of the law. This does not mean the law was right.
In my opinion the law is wrong. there is an inalianable right, in my opinion, for people to be able to keep a sufficient part of their income safe from taxation; but any such right is legally not recognized due to the 16th ammendment -- which allows that power to tax individual incomes.
The solution is the change that ammendement, and until that is done to elect leaders who will not tax us so heavily.