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Obamacare: A Blank Check For the Commerce Clause Or A New Tax?

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Posted on July 20 2010 1:00 pm
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In its lead editorial today entitled “The Republicans and the Constitution,” the New York Times criticizes Republicans for opposing Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court because of her broad interpretation of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause. At her confirmation hearings, she refused the opportunity to suggest that there are any limits at all to federal power under the Commerce Clause – even whether Congress could constitutionally mandate that all Americans eat three vegetables and fruits a day.

As the Times recognizes,  the issue has direct bearing on the challenges brought by twenty states against the individual mandate in the new national health care law. For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress is ordering us to buy a product or service just because we are alive and living in the United States. If we don’t, we will be punished with a penalty.

Even the Obama administration recognizes the problem. Now, to avoid the law being struck down on the grounds that requiring Americans to buy something goes too far under the Commerce Clause, the Obama Justice Department is arguing in court that this individual mandate is a legitimate exercise of the federal government’s seemingly unlimited power to tax.

Disturbingly, we are witnessing yet another Obama lie exposed. Here is what the fibber-in-chief told  George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program “This Week” last September:

For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase…No, but—but, George, you—you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.

When Mr. Stephanopoulos said the penalty appeared to fit the dictionary definition of a tax, Mr. Obama replied,

I absolutely reject that notion.

In other words, Obama rejected the tax characterization of Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty to fool the American people — until it passed. After all, he had promised during the campaign not to raise the taxes of folks earning below $250K a year.  Then, to defend Obamacare’s constitutionality after it was enacted into law, his administration turned around and embraced the idea that it’s a tax – proving that he not only violated his campaign promise, since the penalty will affect folks at all income levels, but also revealing his deceit during the lead-up to Obamacare’s passage.

Hopefully, the courts will see through Obama’s deception. The penalty was not enacted for the principal purpose of raising revenue – the touchstone for calling it a legitimate exercise of the government’s taxing authority. It was enacted to force Americans into buying something against their will – an abuse of government power under our Constitution if ever there was one.

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