Skip to comments.The Obama/Roberts Doctrine of Christian Rewards/Punishments (SCOTUS opened a Pandora's box of taxes)
Posted on 07/02/2012 7:51:41 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
The notion that we are all our brothers' keepers lies at the heart of our Judeo-Christian heritage. It also happens to be one of the fundamental tenets of socialism - which accounts in large parts for that perverse ideology's widespread appeal. Either philosophy can - and has been - used to justify the notion that health care is a "right" rather than a good tradable in the marketplace.
Our nation's Founders, despite their religious backgrounds, rejected this communitarian ethos at the time of the writing of the Constitution. Instead, they placed strict limits on the power and scope of government. These limits were designed to protect the freedom and autonomy of the individual, leaving it up to civil society to promote virtue. However, they have been eroding for eighty years, and are now all but dead.
Looking at the recent Supreme Court's decision upholding Obamacare, I am struck with the notion that it's not the Constitution that served as the controlling authority but, rather, the Bible put in service of a runaway democracy. Viewed this way, it should come as no surprise that a "compassionate conservative" should be the prime enabler of a collectivist agenda for a government takeover of the health care business. After all, the seeds were planted 2,000 years ago.
When Paul of Tarsus launched his mission to bring Jesus's gospel to the gentiles, he replaced the communal view of sin and atonement long practiced by the Jews with an individual standard that tracked each individual's sins and good deeds. The Almighty could then dispense judgment based on an accounting between the two. Lest the irredeemable completely give themselves over to a life of wickedness, confession allowed sinners to periodically wipe the slate clean. Through these methods, the behavior of large numbers of believers could be controlled by promising the appropriate rewards, or punishments, in the afterlife.
The state has long had the power to shower financial benefits on citizens of its choosing as a means to reward political fealty or influence broad classes of behaviors - such as, for example, incentivizing people to buy an electric car that makes no economic sense. The problem with this approach is that not everyone can be bribed. Despite the enormous resources at the government's disposal, its power to spend is insufficient for a task as large as commandeering 16% of the economy. Hence the individual mandate, which the Court's majority tenuously justified as based on the power to tax.
Thanks to his brilliant sophistry, Chief Justice John Roberts has now given the state a stick to complement the carrot, articulating a power to tax the absence of behavior the government deems virtuous. The business model that penalizes a citizen for failure to "do the right thing" - in this case buy health insurance to assure the solvency of the insurance industry - is profoundly Christian in that it is asking an individual to act against what he perceives to be his own self-interest for the greater good of the community.
While socialists and Christians are not often portrayed as bedfellows - the latter are strongly represented among the more conservative elements of the Republican Party - Obama is merely practicing what the early Christians preached. But ponder for a moment, particularly if you are a Democrat celebrating this latest expansion of government power, what happens when Republicans come to office and begin to wield this new power?
What limiting principle will Democrats call on to prevent a Republican majority from taxing, say, the failure of an individual to save for his own retirement? Does it not impose a cost on the whole community if a young person engages in conspicuous consumption only to become a burden on society in old age? What about taxing the failure to get an education or learn a trade? Can this also be justified because of the potential burden the unemployed place on society? How about taxing the failure to get married before having children? Or taxing the failure to take care of elderly parents?
The list of virtues is at least as long as the list of sins. Now that the power to tax the absence of the former has been codified in law, imagine the mischief that an out of control Congress can get into.
-- Bill Frezza is a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and a Boston-based venture capitalist.
Roberts didn't give the states anything. The states have had this power for a long time. Just look at taxes on cigarettes and liquor.
True....... the fed has to power to tax everydamnthing it pleases... always had this power, they got nothing extra...... but, try to explain this to those that rely on talking points, and you just get anger without logic...
"Thanks to his brilliant sophistry, Chief Justice John Roberts"? barf.
This will not "assure the solvency of the insurance industry", it will drive up rates that will not be able to compete with the government rates and eventually kill the insurance industry so that government can become the "single payer" to healthcare. BARF!
And since when is subjecting people to tyranny and losing liberty is "profoundly Christian"? BARF BARF!
Before “Roberts” we were not taxed for not buying cigarettes, now we can be, its a huge difference.
Yes, we were. The taxes were just cloaked behind tax exemptions and credits. If you don't have a mortgage, you pay more taxes because you don't get the mortgage deduction. If you don't give money to your local politician, you pay more taxes because you don't get a political tax credit.
“The notion that we are all our brothers’ keepers lies at the heart of our Judeo-Christian heritage”
Well, to a point. It is said in the Bible that we are to ‘leave’ part of our harvest for the poor. That is, harvest our crops leaving part in the field for the poor to harvest.
The Bible does NOT say harvest all crops and give part to the poor. The poor are to be freely given the food that is left in the field provided they harvest it.
Biblical work ethic? I think so.
Indeed, the STATES have had (and do have) such powers...but not the Fedgov. The oriiginal "theory" of the Constitution (and Roman Catholicism, btw) says that as one moves "up" the heirarchy of gov't, those things allowed are highest at local, less at state, and least at the federal level. The FedGov has been usurping individual and states powers since its inception. The Anti-Federalists were right!
a credit or exemption is different from a tax. your inactivity is “penalized” in a way, but you are not forced to pay a tax. Now we cannot go Galt..they can tax inactivity and force us to work to pay the tax-involuntary servitude 13th amendment and violation of due process 14th amendment- discrimination based on national origin-illegals dont have to pay.
I’m sorry you cannot comprehend the magnitude of his decision. We are now slaves belonging to the government our last freedon from taxes of inactivity has been destroyed.
John Roberts killed John Galt
Actually, that's not true. It's just that limitations on federal taxing power in the Constitution rarely come up because the federal government has relied on income, excise and tariffs to raise money, which are permitted under the Constitution.
But the Framers included a VERY IMPORTANT limitation on the power of the federal government to raise a certain type of tax called a DIRECT TAX.
An example of a direct tax is a tax on people for doing nothing, just for being people (also called a capitation or head tax).
The Framers did not want the federal government to have the power to single out groups of people in the population they didn't like, and then lay direct taxes on them.
Like a tax on all people who are not members of the state church.
Or a tax on all people who live in red states and not blue states.
Or a tax on all people who don't like broccoli.
Or a tax on all people who haven't signed a certain insurance contract the federal government doesn't like.
The Framers required that instead of singling out these groups of people, the federal government MUST lay direct taxes apportioned on all the population in the states evenly.
Angus poop! That 'brothers keeper' thing was a murder's snide answer given to a questoning God. This bean head has no idea what our Juedo-Christian heritage is. The notion that we are all our brothers' keeper is just an unbiblical platitude liberals, particularly Christian liberals, like to wave around and tear-up over. There's usually a verse or two of Kum Ba Yah lurking about the edges of it also.
you are correct about the framers intent... however, the 16th amendment contains no restrictions whatsoever... none, zero, zilch.... so while the framers meant one thing, in the early 1900’s, it was changed... they can tax anydamnthing they want, at any time... the only thing that stops them is that we would throw them out of office... well, with so many people not giving a damn and staying home, or in denial about who they elect ( they are all bums except for MY bum, so I will reelect him )...
politicans are like diapers, they need to be changed often, and for the same reason..
The 16th Amendment deals ONLY with income tax.
It did not change the requirement for apportionment for taxes other than income tax.
The Obamacare mandate is not an income tax. (In fact, it is not a tax at all, Roberts rewrote the statute and then passed judgment on this new statute that he rewrote instead of what Congress did. But anyway, Roberts rewrote it as a “tax on not obtaining insurance” and not as an income tax.)
Yea, you are beginning to convince me. (thick skull)
you should reread the article. Despite a disagreeable understanding of Christianity, the tax in question was a tax of inaction not action like the buying of cigarettes and liquor.
The difference is quite profound, as for his sujested conservive responces. Hes right, Conservtives could tax the falure to donate to the republican party. Or perhaps more likely the failure to get married, the failure to have children, the failure to attend church ect...
Utilizing the mandate of the present abomination, Mitt should while ordering that the law be ignored also change the requirements so that health insurance mandated by the law does cannot provide care for liberal services.
This will be essential to both to stirring up liberal support for its repeal and controlling costs.