Roberts Court: States have rights but you don’t

The ruling on the constitutionality of ObamaCare as been parsed, sliced and dissected, but has anyone noticed that the court basically held that Congress may not coerce states into doing something but it may coerce the people?

The opinion found states could not be coerced by threat of penalty to expand Medicaid coverage, but the people themselves may be coerced into buying health insurance rather than pay a “tax.”

Ramirez cartoon

Those who must behave as their government overlords dictate are not citizens, they are subjects.

The ruling basically tears the concept embodied in the Tenth Amendment in half. The powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states respectively, but not the people.

This is how Chief Justice John Roberts explained the rationale, basically arguing ObamaCare may not be a good idea but Congress can do it:

“We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.

“In our federal system, the National Government possesses only limited powers; the States and the people retain the remainder. Nearly two centuries ago, Chief Justice Marshall observed that ‘the question respecting the extent of the powers actually granted’ to the Federal Government ‘is perpetually arising, and will probably continue to arise, as long as our system shall exist.’ … In this case we must again determine whether the Constitution grants Congress powers it now asserts, but which many States and individuals believe it does not possess. Resolving this controversy requires us to examine both the limits of the Government’s power, and our own limited role in policing those boundaries.”

While the majority agreed with the contention that under the law “Congress is coercing the States to adopt the changes it wants by threatening to withhold all of a State’s Medicaid grants, unless the State accepts the new expanded funding and complies with the conditions that come with it,” they had no such compunction when it comes to us mere subjects who may be coerced, compelled and extorted into behaving in any way the Congress so chooses through the power of taxation.

I find it interesting that in a footnote the majority found a rather apt analogy for the degree of state coercion allowed, but could not find a similar one for the people. “More importantly,” the footnote observes, “the size of the new financial burden imposed on a State is irrelevant in analyzing whether the State has been coerced into accepting that burden. ‘Your money or your life’ is a coercive proposition, whether you have a single dollar in your pocket or $500.”

To illustrate the court’s expansive view of the power of the federal government to manipulate through taxation, here is a lengthy passage from the majority. Be patient and slog through it to see just how unlimited, unchecked, unabated that power can be:

“If it is troubling to interpret the Commerce Clause as authorizing Congress to regulate those who abstain from commerce, perhaps it should be similarly troubling to permit Congress to impose a tax for not doing something.”

They should have ended it there, but no:

“Three considerations allay this concern. First, and most importantly, it is abundantly clear the Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity. A capitation, after all, is a tax that everyone must pay simply for existing, and capitations are expressly contemplated by the Constitution. The Court today holds that our Constitution protects us from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause so long as we abstain from the regulated activity. But from its creation, the Constitution has made no such promise with respect to taxes. See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to M. Le Roy (Nov. 13, 1789) (“Our new Constitution is now established … but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”).”

I always thought that quote was meant to be a pejorative rather than a blank check.

“Whether the mandate can be upheld under the Commerce Clause is a question about the scope of federal authority. Its answer depends on whether Congress can exercise what all acknowledge to be the novel course of directing individuals to purchase insurance. Congress’s use of the Taxing Clause to encourage buying something is, by contrast, not new. Tax incentives already promote, for example, purchasing homes and professional educations. … Sustaining the mandate as a tax depends only on whether Congress has properly exercised its taxing power to encourage purchasing health insurance, not whether it can. Upholding the individual mandate under the Taxing Clause thus does not recognize any new federal power. It determines that Congress has used an existing one.”

The court just gave the Congress the green light to tax each and every one of use at 110 percent of income and assets and then allow deductions for health insurance, home purchases, tuition, electric cars, bicycles, broccoli, granola, recycled clothing, solar panels, windmills and anything else a lobbyist can bribe a majority of Congress to include.

Now that ObamaCare’s penalty for not buying insurance is instead a permissible tax that still leaves whatever Congress and president the voters choose in November with an opportunity to repeal it. But it also means that in 2014 when the “tax” kicks in, the Anti-Injunction Act expires and someone who pays the tax can file suit and start the litigation all over again.

Then perhaps the dissenting opinion of Antonin Scalia and the other conservative justices can hold sway:

“What is absolutely clear, affirmed by the text of the 1789 Constitution, by the Tenth Amendment ratified in 1791, and by innumerable cases of ours in the 220 years since, is that there are structural limits upon federal power — upon what it can prescribe with respect to private conduct, and upon what it can impose upon the sovereign States. Whatever may be the conceptual limits upon the Commerce Clause and upon the power to tax and spend, they cannot be such as will enable the Federal Government to regulate all private conduct and to com­pel the States to function as administrators of federal programs.

“That clear principle carries the day here. The striking case of Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111 (1942), which held that the economic activity of growing wheat, even for one’s own consumption, affected commerce sufficiently that it could be regulated, always has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of expansive Commerce Clause jurispru­dence. To go beyond that, and to say the failure to grow wheat (which is not an economic activity, or any activity at all) nonetheless affects commerce and therefore can be federally regulated, is to make mere breathing in and out the basis for federal prescription and to extend federal power to virtually all human activity.”

I think that is pretty much what the majority said. You breathe, you are subject to the dictates of the Kremlin on the Potomac.

72 comments on “Roberts Court: States have rights but you don’t

  1. Bruce Feher says:

    The people have had it! At least those I speak to. Government is the ENEMY of freedom and mark my words, there will be a revolt and it will be ugly.
    A sad time for the land of the free but an important time for home of the brave.

  2. Vernon Clayson says:

    Sorry, Bruce, there will be no revolt, you can be sure our leaders have plans in place for such an exigency and any “revolt” would be short-lived. It, or they, would not last as long as any of the nearly routine riots of minority groups. Perhaps you haven’t considered that the only revolutionaries of the 1776 era that are remembered are its leaders and the rank and file that fought and died are long forgotten. You may think of the Minuteman statue as emblematic of revolutionaries but for all practical purposes he is nameless and faceless, an unknown soldier. Anyone taking up arms against the government now would face local, state and federal powers and responses that weren’t dreamed of in 1776. I don’t know who wrote the quotation and in what context but, “The rat race is over, the rats won”. All hail Barry and Harry, king rats that voters selected.

  3. From the great minds travel in the same plane, but fools just think alike category comes this piece in WSJ by John Yoo:

    “Worse still, Justice Roberts’s opinion provides a constitutional road map for architects of the next great expansion of the welfare state. Congress may not be able to directly force us to buy electric cars, eat organic kale, or replace oil heaters with solar panels. But if it enforces the mandates with a financial penalty then suddenly, thanks to Justice Roberts’s tortured reasoning in Sebelius, the mandate is transformed into a constitutional exercise of Congress’s power to tax.”

  4. Bruce Feher says:

    I still have “hope” Vernon but I fear you are correct…..

  5. A lot is riding on November, gentlemen.


  6. John Tobin says:

    Very well said! What is so disturbing to this retired lawyer is that five Justices “intrepreted” the restrictive purpose of the Constitution and its enumerated limited powers to expand Congressional taxing authority to be a vehicle for punitive action, all for the purpose of imposing government coercion upon the population.
    Why? Obviously its for the good of the collective, as the Soviets were so fond of saying.

  7. That is precisely the objective, John.


  8. John Tobin says:

    This may be referred to as the “Highwayman Decision” in legal history, as in, “Stand and deliver; your money or your freedom!”

    It is claimed that Chief Justice Roberts looks to the great John Marshall, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as the ideal leading jurist of the Court. Perhaps he forgot Marshall’s legendary admonishing maxim from the famous McCullough v Maryland case, “The power to tax is the power to destroy.”

    You betcha!

  9. nyp10025 says:

    Society imposes steep taxes on people who engage in smoking, in order to encourage them to change their behavior. It does the same thing with respect to every other “sin tax.” In economically indistinguishable fashion, it penalizes people who choose not to give money to charity by denying to them the deduction extended to their more civic-minded neighbors. If effectively makes people who don’t install energy-efficient devices into the homes pay extra tax in place of those who do, and who receive tax credits. And many conservatives believe that income taxes should be replaced with a consumption tax (such as the “Fair Tax”) in order to encourage taxpayers to save and invest rather than consume.

    Is all of that unconstitutional? The idea that a tax on those who (like Athos) free-ride on the healthcare system is itself unconstitutional is so absurd that the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court did not even bother to make it. (Nor did they assert Mr. Mitchell’s potted, meaningless “Tenth Amendment” argument.) Instead, they merely argued that the penalty was not really a tax. The Court did not accept that.

  10. Vernon Clayson says:

    If I read nyp10025s convoluted response he thinks Athos has a “free- ride on the healthcare system”, if that means that Athos is on Medicare then there is no “free-ride” involved. I’m covered by Medicare because the great society socialist LBJ decreed we all would when we turned 65. It’s not free, it’s deducted from Social Security, in my case I paid into that for over 50 years, during all of that time I paid income taxes on my wages that included that deduction, now I have to pay taxes on the total Social Security “benefit” including what they deduct for Medicare. I’m paying taxes again on income that was taxed earlier, granted that it is on 85% but it adds up. Someone explain to me why that isn’t a penalty instead of a tax using the reasoning I’m hearing explaining Robert’s vapid rambling opinion.

  11. nyp10025 says:

    Athos is a free-rider because he decided when he was young to go without health insurance. When he encountered serious medical problems he skipped out on his health-care providers by filing for personal bankruptcy. His bills were paid by you and me. In order to discourage such free-rider behavior, both the ObamaCare and RomneyCare system tax people who can afford health insurance but choose not to have it, and who can subsequently take advantage of the medical system the rest of us pay for.

  12. Rincon says:

    In this case, I think the Supreme court got it right. At this moment, we force hospitals to care for those who cannot pay. Why then, can we not make people pay for their own care? If we decide the opposite, then hospitals should be free to admit only those who can pay.

    Theories are great, but in my business, although we offer to pay for 50% of employees’ health insurance, 80% of my younger ones don’t have it. Their attitude is that they can always get care and declare bankruptcy if they come down with a major problem. These people are parasitizing the rest of us. Should we allow that?

  13. nyp10025 says:

    The most convincing defense of the ObamaCare provisions that were just upheld by the Supreme Court comes from the current Republican candidate for President of the United States:

    ” Using tax penalties, as we did … encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. …I don’t think the free market ever envisioned an idea that people would be able to do something and make other people pay for it.” Mitt Romney

  14. This all built on the premise that people should be able to get medical care and not be obligated to eventually pay for it. I can’t seem to find that “right” anywhere in the Constitution.


  15. So we start with the premise that all wealth is subject to the whim of the State, with a capital S.


  16. “At this moment, we force hospitals to care for those who cannot pay.”

    That’s the problem, Rincon.


  17. Rincon says:

    So Thomas, what is the solution to the problem?

  18. What problem? You get medical care, you pay for it — cash, insurance, bank loan, spare kidney. It is not a government problem.

  19. Society doesn’t impose steep taxes. Government does.

  20. Rincon says:

    OK Thomas, here’s the problem as I see it. Lets say my employee gets an attack of appendicitis and has no insurance or money to pay for it. No credit agency will accept her for a loan. How would you propose that the situation be handled in your proposed health care system?

  21. Nyp says:

    There are lots of things that society is entitled to do to alleviate suffering and promote human flourishing that are not individual rights in the Constitution. There is no right to education in the Constitution. Yet for 175 years we have all believed that everyone has a positive right to a primary and secondary education. Similarly, common law has always held that hospitals are obligated to provide emergency care to very sick people who show up on their doorsteps even if they have been unable to purchase (or, in the case of “Athos,” unwilling to purchase) health insurance.
    Of course, we could always adopt Mr. Mitchell’s moral viewpoint, and let those people bleed out on the sidewalk. But then we would not have had Athos to kick around.

  22. That is behind your employee and the hospital. It is none of my concern.


  23. “We have all believed”?


  24. Nyp says:

    1. “government” is what we call society working together to solve common problems and make life better.

    2. It is good to see that Mr. Mitchell’s solution to the free rider/indigent patient problem is to have them bleed out on the sidewalk outside the emergency room entrance. Their kids too, I suppose.

    Too bad, Athos!

  25. “Bleed on the sidewalk” are your words, not mine.


  26. nyp10025 says:

    My words, but your consequences.
    Come on now, Mr. Mitchell — you have courageously followed your libertarianism this far. No reason to get wobbly just because Mr. Athos is bleeding on the sidewalk outside Ayn Rand Memorail Hospital! Simply because he (or his kids) don’t have the greenbacks, and haven/t purchased insurance (or, perhaps, couldn’t because of that pre-existing condition,) is no reason for you to abandon your Galtian principles!

  27. I didn’t.


  28. Rincon says:

    Thomas, when you say that a case of appendicitis is between the patient and the hospital (or doctor), I believe you would be implicitely giving the medical community permission to shut their doors to all who cannot pay, which is quite similar to the policy of many 3rd world countries. Do you agree?

  29. I doubt compassionate doctors and hospitals would ever allow anyone to bleed to death at their doors as Petey suggests I am advocating, though I am old enough to remember patients being dumped on the charity hospitals. I simply do not believe medical professionals should not try to collect a fair price for their services from those who receive it. What’s the going rate for emptying bedpans? Insurance is a cheaper alternative.


  30. Rincon says:

    So the answer is that doctors would be allowed to ignore the medical needs of those who cannot pay without legal consequence as in many 3rd world countries. In those countries, the “compassionate doctors” let ’em die. The same already happens here daily, only in a more subtle way.

    Because only medical emergencies are required to be treated here, we practice a lot of fire engine medicine in this country, to the detriment of the poorer patients. That’s part of the reason that the citizens of over 25 countries enjoy longer lives, and lower infant mortality than we do. Sounds like that number would go way over 25 under the kind of health care that you advocate.

  31. nyp10025 says:

    If there is no insurance, doctors and hospitals have not choice but to turn away people who need medical care but who not have the extraordinary funds to pay for treatment. If you have lost your job and the COBRA has run out and you have a lump in your breast, tough luck to you. If your husband as a growing prostate gland, too bad. If your kid has a heart condition and needs extensive surgery .,,,,
    That’s Mr. Mitchell’s world. It really isn’t based on a realistic expectation that people will get better medical care. It is based on utter indifference as to whether other human beings suffer and die.

  32. You are citing flawed U.N. stats shown to bogus.


  33. nyp10025 says:

    They are OECD studies, not UN, and they are not bogus. Anyone who sees how the healthcare system works in places like France, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, etc., etc. knows that how badly our system sucks. Try explaining to a Frenchman or a German that a major medical crisis in America and completely wipe out a family financially. They won’t believe it.

  34. Try explaining to a European why his economy is imploding.


  35. One of the key criteria in those rankings is whether the country has publicly financed health care.


  36. Nyp says:

    1. Of all the many economic analyses of the Eurozone crisis that I have read, this is the fist time anyone has suggested that it is due to the fact that most European countries have universal health coverage. It is an especially absurd idea given that health care expenditures on a per capita or per GDP basis are much, much lower than they are in the US.

    2. Those OECD statistics are based on things like mortality, morbidity, etc. You could look it up.

  37. Vernon Clayson says:

    Around and around, the money waltz plays on. Health care is secondary to requiring that those with the ability to pay for insurance freaking pay for it, it’s about money flowing to Washington DC, to be spent as fast as it comes in on more things than health care. It goes into a pool and larcenous and devious greedy individuals grab every dime they can, it’s not just the members of Congress, Obama appropriates and designates as much to his compadres as any single member of the House and Senate, I should say the Obamas as his wife spares no expense for her luxuries. Think of the exemptions from the plan, Muslims and the Amish come to mind, they don’t have to pay but the same doctors and hospitals that treat those that pay the tax/penalty, whatever, will treat them, it’s not exactly like they are self-insured. Why does anyone wish for the European style care, is it because their tax rates are higher and the care involves rationing and waiting? This nation was founded to get away from European masters and cultures, now those like nyp10025 want to go back to copying them. I don’t care that Athos used the system set up by politicians, most of them lawyers, to skate on a medical bill, perhaps nyp10025 wants to re-establish debtor’s prisons or banish debtors off to colonize some far off land. So hospitals have to absorb some losses, big deal, they don’t operate independently, they do business under laws, rules and regulation set up by every level of government. As far as I’m concerned medical doctors are the last and only true professionals, pay them their worth, what other profession has made the advancements in their practice that medicine has? Attorneys? Politicians?

  38. Athos says:

    Well, the things you miss when you’re busy! If you’re going to use me for a reference, petey, you should at least get your facts right.

    Oh. Silly me. I forgot I was referencing a collectivist Karl Marx worshiper!

    Let me press on. I was treated in an emergency situation (felony assault/ thrown out) and my life was saved. My net worth (before the medical bills) was negative, my income was “commission only” (I made just enough money to disqualify me for Medicaid), and Dave Ramsey would have had a heart attack over my financial acumen. I had nothing of value, no steady income, no savings, and no prospect of acting like the responsible adult I am today. I might add, that I didn’t have a TV, car, tattoo, cell phone, A/C, microwave, expensive clothes, jewelry, or an asset protection trust fund.

    My actions caused my predicament. Even without the medical bills, I was an irresponsible, money managing disaster. Maybe I was born 35 years too early! At least I didn’t have a student loan!

    From this humbling experience, I turned my life around. I paid my bills, on time, and took out the necessary insurances recommended by old fashioned finance gurus (like Dave Ramsey), got married and raised kids.

    Too many people today think that they have the right to commodities. We don’t. Our rights are God given, and as such, are basically free. I have the right to bear arms, but the government doesn’t GIVE me a gun if I don’t have one, does it? (unless you’re a Mexican Drug lord, right AG Holder?)

    All this Collectivist crap that’s been foisted on us since 1935 MUST be reversed. Because guess what, petey? It WILL be reversed or America will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

  39. Rincon says:

    The “collectivist crap” is the nature of insurance. The only thing we’re discussing is whether the government or private enterprise should administer this “collectivist crap”.

    With the only health care system of the OECD countries administered mostly by private enterprise, we have a system that clearly doesn’t work: 40% higher costs than any of them, and a shorter-lived population than almost all of them. We’ve had 50 or more years to perfect it, but it is worse than ever, so your answer is to have more of the same. Hanging onto a system that doesn’t work reminds me of the old Communists: “Your system may work in reality comrade, but it doesn’t work in theory, so it’s off to the gulag with you”.

    I’m still willing to give private enterprise a chance, but unlike the Republicans, I am dissatisfied with the present system. We need substantive proposals involving private enterprise, or we need to follow those that have proven to be more successful than us. So are there any substantive proposals?

    P.S. I just read in Newsweek: “Virtually all of the productivity gains since 1979 have flowed to the top 1% of income earners.” Are you sure that big government is the problem when income taxes are less than they were in the 1950’s?

  40. Vernon Clayson says:

    Big hearted Rincon is willing to give “private enterprise a chance”, cool, it worked for people like Henry Ford, but we all can’t be Henry Fords, he wouldn’t have been Henry Ford if the constraints on business innovations were as they are today. Today’s politicians and government functionaries would have soiled themselves when, for examples, he used wooden spokes on automobile wheels and you had to use a crank to start the car, broken arms often resulted. Horrors! And how about the flimsy crate with wings the Wright Brothers first flew, the government didn’t demand the standard for every single part on that aircraft, and they had no government issued pilot’s license. Horrors! The most substantive proposal I can think of is to tell government to butt out of private enterprise and people’s lives, we’ll pay taxes with less complaint if governments use the money wisely, every day doesn’t have to be a party or profit for the few. Newsweek is America’s “pretty in pink” version of Pravda, every word is liberal spin, why should the editors and writers at that rag be surprised that productivity gains flowed to the top percentage of income earners, the freeloading class isn’t hiring.

  41. Rincon says:

    So Vernon, once I get past the sarcasm, I detect little of substance. To start with the last, if you dispute the quote from Newsweek, please give me your source of information. As for health care, railing against government regulations is fashionable, but a little too general. How far do you take this thought? For example, would you have us go back to the days of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” or Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath”, or do you feel that some government intervention, such as police protection, are worthwhile?

  42. Nyp says:

    You are against government-issued pilots’ licenses?

  43. Vernon Clayson says:

    Sarcasm comes easy when someone uses novels as life lessons. The books Rincon mentions are novels, I was born in and lived through the depression years so I am familiar with the poverty and hard times of the time. We had a roof over our head but there was no central heat, no electric service, no running water, feed sacks covering broken glass in windows and sewn together for bed covers, a two holer in the backyard, and that was in the town of Ischua in the winter frozen hills of Western New York. Don’t talk to me of fictional characters, my father thought he was fortunate working on a farm for a dollar a day. Wait, I haven’t mentioned that he was tubercular, the wife of his farmer employer often mentioned how hard he worked, including milking cows while coughing up blood. No welfare case workers came by, I guess they saved their time for people in more dire need. And don’t call police service a government intervention, police officers are far more necessary than what that infers, I know whereof I speak on that subject as I spent 26 years in law enforcement. The subject of pilot’s licenses moved too fast for nyp, I was speaking of a century ago, not today. And don’t speak of flying, I was a tail gunner on B-29s in 1952, 1953 and part of 1954 when they were taken out of service. I didn’t need a license for that and I didn’t question whether the pilot’s had licenses, all I had to know is they were trained and qualified to take us up and bring us back and down.

  44. Rincon says:

    Sorry Vernon. The novels were metaphors.

    You’re right, things have changed a great deal. I was a definite conservative in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and my views haven’t changed much since then, but the world has. Now I would be termed a moderate. I know that because my conservative friends think I’m a liberal and my liberal friends call me a conservative.

    Getting back to health care, our system was the envy of the world back then, and now, it’s clearly second rate. My views on health care changed when it became clear that others had found a better way. As for my “willingness to give private enterprise a chance” as you say, I’m not “big-hearted” but rather, practical. If we can harness the energy of private enterprise to achieve our ends, then it’s almost always better than government. Find a way to do that, then I’m in. Now, I just need someone to tell me how we can accomplish that.

  45. Steve says:

    And this very discussion has also left the first and foremost of Thomas’s points. Boiled down, with Roberts tortured explanation, now my money is only mine to spend as long as I spend it the way and on what I am told to. If I choose not to do so I do not break a law or go to jail, the feds simply take the money away from me because I did not spend it the way they told me to.

    Tom, you are correct about 2015. Once that tax has been charged and if we have not all become the sheep Nyp wants us to be, someone will challenge the tax. This will open the whole can of worms once again. But this time the whole thing will be over one and only one issue, just how much power is Congress really allowed to use taxes as “encouragement”. So far this encouragement has been in the lowering of liability, in this case and possibly many future cases this libaility is created if one does not spend money as directed.

  46. Rincon says:

    Businesspeople have had this hanging around our necks for decades. Income is ours to spend as long as we spend the proper portion of it on Workman’s Comp., Unemployment Insurance, and Social Security.

  47. Steve says:

    Big difference Rincon, you employ people. That gives you responsibilities outside your personal life.

  48. Thanks for the bio, Vernon. I’ll not mention that Dad claimed, though Mom denied, that we once lived in a converted chicken shed.

  49. Rincon, you falsely assume we have a private medical system now. It is more than half funded by government already. Maybe that is the problem.

  50. Nyp says:

    I get taxed as a penalty for choosing to smoke tobacco. If I rent a home rather than purchase one with a mortgage, I am discriminated against with respect to my neighbor, who gets to deduct his interest.
    Are those things all unconstitutional?

  51. Steve says:

    Every example Nyp posts does not TAX him if he chooses NOT to spend those moneys.

  52. Rincon says:

    Bottom line Steve is that I’m being forced to pay for someone else’s insurance, but somehow we don’t want to force anyone to pay for their own insurance. As for my responsibility, I’m not sure why I’m responsible for deciding someone else’s health care options. I pay them. Let them decide on their own insurance.

    And Thomas, you bring up a good hypothesis. Perhaps more privitization of health care would be better than more government control, but I hope we agree that the system as it is now needs work. I think we would both agree that legal reform would be necessary. I’m also pretty sure you said that medical care providers should have the right to refuse treatment to poor credit risks. So we should just let Darwin take his course in those situations? I don’t think I would go that far, but how about grade B medical care for those that cannot pay?

  53. Steve says:

    Social Security should be phased out. Unemployment insurance should be a personal choice and I think Aflac offers something that could be built upon if we could phase out that program. Workmans comp could be replaced with a liability insurance for employers. Smart employers would want to remain out of harms way if an employee was hurt on the job.

    It was employers that created a need for unions and later, laws regarding emploer employee relations.
    But all of these things should not have to be in the pervue of the federal government, it should be up to the states for the most part as most emnployers do not operate outside state lines.

  54. Rincon says:

    I think you’ve got something there Steve. There is one advantage to Workman’s Comp that should be preserved and expanded. There are strict limits on damages that can be awarded to an injured employee. I say use those rules for all healthcare. I have to say though that I’m unsure what to do about fly-by-night employers that decide to forego insurance.

    As for Social Security, I can see some pretty radical changes, but let’s not forget what led to it’s creation. The sight of helpless old people being rendered homeless en masse is pretty sickening. It’s a given that no matter what incentives we create, large numbers of people will screw up their lives, leaving the rest of society to decide what to do with them.

  55. Steve says:

    You got it on both counts. But today’s social security is not the safety net it was envisioned to be. It has become an integral part of retirement planning.

    Fly by night employers have always existed and little can change that no matter how many laws one puts in place. In those cases its employee beware, even now as ever.

    Even ACA has a built in exemption for business’s with fewer than 50 employees. Talk about paying for other peoples insurance, those employees will probably be getting those subsidies to buy insurance through the exchanges. But I bet a bunch of them do the math and decide to pay the tax instead.

  56. Athos says:

    Why not, Steve? When you get sick, you can’t be denied coverage! Had this been the law in 1980, I could have been covered, and never learned the lesson of self responsibility.

  57. Rincon says:

    Your answer about fly by night employers is a good one Steve. Although we would still find some injured people without coverage, it would probably be a small enough problem. Although the coverage of disabilities by SS needs to be eliminated or transferred, what do you feel we should do about the retirement portion of SS?

    As for the lesson of self responsibility, that’s the problem, Athos. We often learn these lessons only after we’ve been burned (no insult intended. It’s human nature), and after the lesson’s learned, the caregivers still go unpaid. Much of the problem with health care is human nature. People pay their cable TV subscription religously, but often fail to buy insurance or save for the rainy day. Then it’s up to the rest of us to clean up the mess. It’s worthile to find a way to prevent the mess in the first place.

  58. The trouble, Rincon, is that liberals want to prevent any ill from happening to anyone at any time. Sounds like a padded cell to me.


  59. Athos says:

    Rincon, insurance serves the purpose of protecting assets. No assets, no insurance. What’s the point? No one has a right to the labor of another. It can be offered, but not demanded. And that is the basic problem with collectivism, socialism, communism, share and share, alike.

    Even the rally cry of my namesake, “One for all, and all for one”; only works if you can pick your foursome!

  60. Right you are, Athos, otherwise it is called slavery.


  61. Steve says:

    Athos posted
    July 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Man, I hope that was sarcasm….

    Now I am off to use my private toilet. Because, really, just who wants to use a public (shared) one?

  62. nyp10025 says:

    Athos thinks it is great that he was able to learn “the lesson of self responsibility” by going bankrupt as a result of medical bills for which he had no health insurance.

    I suspect that those who were stuck with his medical bills have a different perspective.l

  63. […] “The court has lost sight of the fact that we have limited government, and that the president and Congress are subject to constraints on what they can impose on the American people,” Hutchison concludes — a point made here earlier. […]

  64. Steve says:

    Nyp seems to think responsibility can be tought by force.

  65. nyp10025 says:

    No, I don’t.

  66. Steve says:

    Good then you don’t support the ACA!

  67. Rincon says:

    So no assets, no insurance. Is one’s health an asset?

  68. Health is hardly negotiable.

  69. Rincon says:

    I’m not sure what negotiability has to do with this. Can you help me with that?

  70. Health is not an asset in the marketplace, any more than you can trade your soul with the devil. It is yours alone and asset to no one but you.

  71. 4TH ST8 says:

    […] Roberts court said states may not be coerced in following the dictates of Congress, but individuals are not so […]

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