Today’s lengthy landmark Supreme Court decision on the affordable care act in the case of the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius will take time to fully digest. It is filled with multiple precedent setting judicial opinions. Most notable was the court’s near unanimous decision to finally rule that the federal government’s powers under the commerce clause are in fact limited. The commerce clause has consistently been used as a means for which Congress has been able to abuse its powers. However, make no mistake, the ruling on this case was a victory for President Obama. It upheld the heart of his signature legislation, the so-called Affordable Care Act. But the victory comes at a very high price for him and all Americans.
For Americans the decision’s economic impact will bring about a further contraction of our economy. Businesses which have been holding their breath until there was some finality on Obamacare will now pull the trigger on any short term expansion and new hires. Within less than an hour of the Supreme Court ruling, the stocks experienced a broad and dramatic selloff . All of this means that our fragile and stagnant economy is now certain to continue to remain on the verge of a downward spiral into a double dip recession or depression.
And those are just the immediate, tangible, ramifications of the constitutionality of the Obamacare. Other more ideological ramifications affecting people because of the court’s decision are rooted in the fundamentals of our free society and the power of government.
For President Obama, the price of the court’s declaring his government-centric healthcare law constitutional, is a significant undermining and value of himself, his word, and his liberal based Party.
Through the healthcare reform debate debacle, the President and his liberal minions declared that their forced individual mandate was not a tax. But the President’s attorneys argued before the Supreme Court that the mandate was a tax and now the Supreme Court has agreed. So the stage is set for Americans to go to the polls in November and consider whether or not President Obama deserve to be reelected after his signature accomplishment was proven to be based upon what are ultimately lies.
In addition to that, the decision has now ensured that the 2012 election will ultimately come down to two things. Taxing and spending.
While many on the right are quite disappointed and angered by the decision and more specifically Chief Justice John Roberts for his being the swing vote in this case, I am not. The individual mandate is a tax and the Constitution gives Congress full authority when it comes to taxation. So whether it is convenient for conservatives or not, Roberts is probably right in a very round about way. His opinion in this case was a conservative victory in the sense that it upheld a key tenet of conservativism……. our opposition to judicial activism. Chief Justice Roberts is also correct in his written opinion on the case when he suggests that while some policies may be legal, that does not mean that those same policies are smart or helpful. In his remarks, Roberts suggests that in line with the laws of our land, the solution to such situations is found not in the courts but in the hands of the voting public who can change policies at the ballot box. And while the court’s decision may initially seem to be a conservative setback, it has successfully helped to define what the 2012 election is now all about.
The court’s decision to deem the individual mandate to be a tax, now helps the American people to focus on the liberal policies of taxing and spending, the very issues at the heart of our economic condition which many including the former Secretary of Defense have described as so dire that it is a national security issue.
After nearly four years of a liberal dominated government, Americans have gotten a taste of the ideological extremes of the two dominant political philosophies in our nation and they are quickly losing faith in the liberal policies that have gotten us to the dreary point we are at today. The electorate is extraordinarily polarized, so much so that the presidential election will essentially be decided by 25 million independent minded voters in anywhere from 6 to 8 states. The rest of the population is more or less solidly on one side or the other. They either want a government that does more, spends more, and controls more, or they want a government that does less, spends less, and controls less. And today’s decision only clarifies this choice.
The Supreme Court’s decision merely helped to highlight this choice.
If Republicans can continue to frame the 2012 election in this manner, they will have a good shot at increasing the size of their majority in the House, taking control of the U.S. Senate, and winning the White House.
Of course with Mitt Romney’s own fingerprints on a state healthcare mandate in Massachusetts that he was the driving force behind when he was the Bay State’s Governor, he may not be the best person to lead this fight for the G.O.P. Comparisons of Romneycare and Obamacare will blur the ideological lines that this election can be won or lost on. Or will it?
Romney’s legitimate defense for his healthcare plan in Massachusetts is that it’s a states rights issues.
As Governor he had the right to prescribe a cure to his state’s unique problems. But as President, Barack Obama devised a one-size-fits-all plan that mandated states to do what liberals in the federal bureaucracy want. This brings us back to today’s Supreme Court ruling. While it declared Obamacare’s individual mandate constitutional, it declared other aspects that specifically forced states to comply with sections of the law, as unconstitutional. This again brings up the ideological debate on how much power should the federal government have. In this case, over the states. For Romney, even though his Massachusetts healthcare plan is an albatross around his neck, it positions him quite well to campaign on a very potent states rights plank.
In the end, today’s victory for the President will be quite short lived and in the final analysis it will boost the chances of a Republicans to win control of all three branches of the federal government. By ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional, the very same T.E.A. forces which elected a record number of Republicans to the House in 2012, have just been reactivated and incorporated into Mitt Romney’s base vote. And in addition to that, the issues which Democrats are weakest on have just become center stage. That will especially be the case when the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts come up for debate during the election.
With the individual mandate deemed constitutional, Americans are now facing the creation of the largest American federal entitlement program in history and it comes at a time when entitlements are destroying our national economy as well as the economies of many of our city’s and states. This is the issue which produced a surprise landslide vote of confidence for Republican Governor Scott Walker in the recent liberal and union initiated recall election.
But perhaps the most powerful argument in the 2012 election will be this.
Since Obamacare is constitutional because the individual mandate is legally considered a tax, do the American people really want to encourage the liberal tax and spend policies of Democrats by rubber stamping their policies at the voting booth? Do Americans want to expand the entitlement policies that are bringing down our economy? Do Americans want to continue down the current path that is turning us into a European-style socialist nation, with permanent high unemployment, business-killing regulations and taxes, a shriveling private sector, and a loss of stature in a dangerous world?
All in all, I must say, today might just be the day that Barack Obama lost the presidency and that the liberal base of the Democrat Party turned themselves in to the minority Party for years to come. Now, Republicans have to step up to the plate. It is one thing for Democrats to lose the election, but it is another thing for Republicans to win the election. Today, the G.O.P. has been given a chance to define a more responsible course for our nation that is based not just on constitutional government policies, but smart and effective government policies. So if Republicans intend to win this election in their own right and not just by default, they must begin to lead. That requires us to produce bold plans, plans to reform such things as our arcane tax code and how to strengthen the American free market and entrepreneurial spirit that is driving force behind our economic health. And in the case of Obamacare, we need to know not just how earnest they will be in repealing bad policies but what if anything are they willing to replace those bad policies with.
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