Understanding the recent Supreme Court ruling on "Obamacare"

Through a strained and tortured logic, the Court, in 5-4 opinion, struck down the individual mandate—the requirement that individuals must purchase health insurance if they do not have it already provided through other means—while upholding the federal government's ability to "tax" you for failing to do so.

The court managed to do so by refusing to call the "tax" a "penalty"—even though the Affordable Care Act itself nowhere refers to a tax, but no less than EIGHTEEN times calls it a penalty.

The options that any government has at its disposal to force you to do something are limited: it can incarcerate you, or cost you money. The Supreme Court's ruling, reduced to its essence, is this: the federal government may force people to spend their own money to purchase something, so long as the penalty for failing to do so is collected through the IRS.

The U.S. Constitution says that Congress may "regulate interstate commerce." According to the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress now may compel you to partake in commerce in the first place (even if it is not interstate commerce). This is without precedent. The concept of a federal government limited only to specific, enumerated powers is, as a practical matter, dead.

If you can bring yourself to read it, the opinion is here:

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

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