03/13/2018

Can ‘Texas V. United States’ Set Us Free From Obamacare?

David Catron, American Spectator

The lawsuit filed by 20 states has far more merit than is generally believed.

Ignore everything you have been told by the “news” media about Texas v. United States, the lawsuit recently filed by 20 states challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Fourth Estate, in its all but official role as the public relations department of the Democratic Party, has generally downplayed the suit as yet another futile attempt by fanatical Republicans bent on destroying former President Obama’s “legacy.” Following their usual playbook for reporting constitutional challenges to the “Affordable Care Act” the media briefly sneered about its merits and then, to paraphrase David Burge, “covered the story with a pillow.”

It is nonetheless an important case and it’s useful to review the basis on which the plaintiffs actually base their case against the mandate: In 2012, a majority of the Supreme Court’s justices — including Chief Justice Roberts — rejected the government’s claim that Congress could impose the individual mandate pursuant to the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Yet Roberts held that the mandate was stillconstitutional because its penalty was a tax collected by the IRS to raise revenue. The plaintiffs argue that this “saving construction” evaporated when Congress reduced the penalty to zero last year. Their complaint puts it as follows:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act… as recently amended, forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the States and their citizens. Because this recent amendment renders legally impossible the Supreme Court’s prior saving construction of the Affordable Care Act’s core provision — the individual mandate — the Court should hold that the ACA is unlawful and enjoin its operation.

In other words, because Congress has no authority to impose the individual mandate pursuant to the Commerce Clause, and it can’t be justified as a revenue-raising device (since enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), the mandate must be struck down. But why should the entire “reform” law also be struck down? Virtually all statutes contain a “severability” clause essentially stating that, if any of its provisions are found to be legally invalid, the remaining provisions stay in force. The “Affordable Care Act” has no severability clause. 

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In Search Of History

4,000 Years Of Price Control

Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...

 

Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!

-- Henry Hazlitt,

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  • Inflation:
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    FreeMarket Central Shadow Stats: 9.9%

*[cpi-u is the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation rate for all urban consumers]

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