Archive for August 13th, 2011

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So maybe I’m not delusional

August 13, 2011

It’s always amazed me that anyone tries to make a Constitutional argument for the individual mandate – the requirement to buy health insurance – portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I’ve mentioned earlier that Radley Balko nailed that angle pretty well.

So it’s reassuring to hear a(nother) federal court agree that Congress doesn’t have the authority to pass such a law.

Appeals Court Strikes Down ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate, Calls It “a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority.”

Posted on August 12, 2011, 1:35PM | Peter Suderman

No, Congress can’t just decree that individuals must buy a private product, even if the market has unique properties. To do so would be more than unprecedented; it would be an unconstitutional overreach. That’s the gist of what an 11th Circuit appeals court said today when it ruled in favor of 26 state governments by saying that the federal requirement to purchase health insurance contained in last year’s health care overhaul is unconstitutional. From the ruling:

The individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives. We have not found any generally applicable, judicially enforceable limiting principle that would permit us to uphold the mandate without obliterating the boundaries inherent in the system of enumerated congressional powers. “Uniqueness” is not a constitutional principle in any antecedent Supreme Court decision.

However, the panel, made up of two Democratic appointees and one GOP-appointed judge, did overturn lower court Judge Roger Vinson’s decision to invalidate the entire law, preferring to strike only the mandate and related provisions.

It will be interesting to see whether the Supreme Court agrees with this circuit court. Decisions on the matter have gone both ways in different courts.

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Amen, Mr. President

August 13, 2011

When I was a kid of 12, delivering the Peoria Journal Star to the people on my route, I started reading Ann Landers’ advice column. I recall something she often said to advice-seekers: "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day."

That’s the first thought that popped into my head when I read the article quoted below.

Obama: Something is wrong with country’s politics

HOLLAND, Mich.

Seeking to align himself with a public beleaguered by economic uncertainty and frustrated by Washington, President Barack Obama declared Thursday: “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics.”

His toughly worded message — he said there was frustration in his voice, in case anyone missed the point — came amid a series of polls showing that people are disgusted with political dysfunction and are dispensing blame all around, including on Obama.

I think you’re absolutely right, Mr. President. There is something wrong with our politics.

What could that be?

Maybe it’s because your administration has been asserting control over more and more segments of the economy and those have become politicized? Health care, auto makers, large investment banks all come to mind as examples of the crony capitalism you espouse – where the businesses being bailed out or subsidized start to spend their efforts seeking political favors instead of focusing on their customers and markets. Of course, a lot of this started during the Bush administration but you’ve had three years to change course. And haven’t.

Maybe it’s because your administration uses the political system to pay for political backing by labor unions? Here’s an interesting chart I ran across this week.

Maybe it’s because all levels of government continue to impose relatively minor but annoying regulations — like those on light bulbs and lemonade stands? This isn’t your personal responsibility, of course. On the other hand, it fits right in with the leadership example your administration sets.

Maybe it’s because the way your administration has expanded the political sphere over more and more areas of peoples’ lives means that you’re going to see a lot of resentment of that expansion?

Or maybe it’s your party’s never-ending spending increases in the face of record deficits and debt levels? All the debt ceiling deal did was make some promises about slowing the rate of increases in spending in the future. It didn’t actually reduce current spending. That was a great compromise, wasn’t it? Yep, just what a bad balance sheet needed.

I think what’s wrong with our politics, Mr. President, isn’t that the Congress won’t stop wrangling about toeing your administration’s line.

The problem is that your administration has an unreasonable line that many of us aren’t at all interested in toeing. I hope my representative continues to vote to obstruct your policies.

God bless gridlock.

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