I have become increasingly depressed about the fact that “truth” has become subservient – if not non-existent – in our culture today, and especially in our political culture. The recent US Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare – or the Affordable Care Act, if you will – is a perfect example. While many on the Right, and people who I respect greatly, condemn the SCOTUS – and especially Chief Justice John Roberts – for their decision to uphold the individual mandate, not under the Commerce Clause but as a tax, they misdirect their ire. SCOTUS ruled constitutionally and honestly on the argument presented to them. The Right’s anger – the American people’s fury – should instead be directed at the Obama Administration and its Progressive minions for executing one of the most egregious “bait and switch” schemes ever perpetrated on the American people.
If you take a moment to think back to when Congress was debating Obamacare, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a congressional Democrat or an Obama Administration mouthpiece that wasn’t adamant in their denial that the Affordable Care Act was a tax. President Obama himself is quoted on numerous occasions as saying, without reservation and with clarity, that under no circumstances and in now way, shape or form, was his signature agenda item a “tax.” And as we approached the vote on Obamacare in Congress, congressional Democrats, Obama Administration operatives, union activists and special interest groups flooded the media with specific declarations that stated clearly that the Affordable Care Act was not a tax. Bottom line, the American people were assured that this initiative was not a tax, “cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.” Well, everyone who ever made this claim lied, and it didn’t take the SCOTUS ruling to prove it.
As soon as the Obama Administration’s lawyers took to the podium at the US Supreme Court to defend the Affordable Care Act against the myriad lawsuits brought against it, the Department of Justice lawyers immediately identified the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – as a tax in order to avoid the SCOTUS striking the entire law under the Commerce Clause, which SCOTUS did in their June 28, 2012 ruling.
The singular act of Justice Department lawyers presenting the Affordable Care Act as a tax before the US Supreme Court, while politicians and the Obama Administration continued to insist to the electorate that it was not, serves as proof positive that the Obama Administration recognized the legislation as a tax from its inception and chose to deceive the electorate in a very concerted and deliberate manner; to lie, to betray the public, in its lust to see this contentious, unpopular and ideologically driven legislation brought to law.
With regard to US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s ruling, it cannot be said that he did not serve the United States Constitution in his opinion:
“The Affordable Care Act is constitutional in part and unconstitutional in part. The individual mandate cannot be upheld as an exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause…That Clause authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, not to order individuals to engage it. In this case, however, it is reasonable to construe what Congress has done as increasing taxes on those who have a certain amount of income, but choose to go without health insurance. Such legislation is within Congress’s power to tax.”
It needs to be noted – and through eyes of honesty – that Roberts stressed on several occasions during the reading of his opinion that the decision does not speak to the “merits” of the law, saying:
“We do not consider whether the act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the nation’s elected leaders.”
If we who embrace constructionist constitutional values are to live up to that moniker, we cannot chide Chief Justice Roberts for refusing to be activist. Would Chief Justice Roberts have struck Obamacare on the grounds that Congress did not have the authority to levy this tax, he most certainly would have been practicing judicial activism. Remember, the question posed to the SCOTUS defended “a tax” and Congress’s “power to tax.” Congress has that authority per the Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution:
“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
This is why it is intensely important to recognize the purposeful “bait and switch” scheme that the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats perpetrated on both the American people and the SCOTUS, doing so with the hope that Americans of all stripes – Conservative and Liberal – who disagree with socialized medical insurance, would place blame at the feet of the High Court. Truthfully, it is a grave error to place blame on the US Supreme Court. Truthfully, it is appropriate to punish and penalize congressional Democrats and President Obama himself for deceiving, for lying, to the American people in their pursuit of this indisputably ideological piece of legislation.
The debate over a national health insurance is just beginning. Congressional Republicans will move in days to come to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), saying:
“The president’s health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Today’s ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country Obamacare.”
Additionally, the issue of the Affordable Care Act is now equally as potent as the anemic economy where 2012 presidential politics is concerned and has, without doubt, served to re-invigorate the TEA Party Movement, which was born of this issue, exclusively.
To me, and many that I know and respect, the issue of “truth,” of “honesty,” has become a pinnacle issue, not only for this Presidential Election cycle, and not only as a general political issue, but as a societal crisis of epic proportions. For too long Americans have both rolled their collective eyes and chuckled at the many political spin doctors and operatives who contort the truth in order to paint their political champions in a favorable light. For far too long we have allowed many charged with the public trust to manipulate the truth and/or omit issue substance where that substance changes the meaning of a situation’s reality; or an issues reality. Because of this, we have arrived at a time where the President of the United States – along with his representatives – and members of Congress can purposefully and intentionally deceive the very electorate they are supposed to serve in an effort to fundamentally change the relationship between government and citizen to the benefit of the government.
In 2009, President Obama, in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, when asked if the ramifications of Obamacare presented in a tax increase, said:
“No. That’s not true, George. The…for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America, just about, has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I’m not covering all the costs.”
And when Stephanopoulos responded, “But it may be fair, it may be good public policy,” President Obama looked him directly in the eye and said:
“No, but…but, George, you…you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”
Today, June 28, 2012, the Unite States Supreme Court essentially called President Obama and congressional Democrats on their disingenuous and deceitful rhetoric. If the SCOTUS ruling were to be summed up on a bumper-sticker it would read:
“They fed us lies, and our taxes rise.”
In the end, Mr. Obama was correct in his 2008 campaign rhetoric. Words do matter. Something tells me he is going to understand the raw power of that truth in November.