Skip to comments.On Obamacare, Oklahoma Leads
Posted on 06/04/2013 7:34:06 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt has found an ingenious way to call a halt to the Obamacare project: Hold the federal government to the letter of that misbegotten law. His fight is a lonely one: While a majority of states signed on to the 2010 lawsuit opposing Obamacare on constitutional grounds, Oklahoma is standing largely alone today.
It should not be. Its lawsuit challenging the IRSs attempt to spend tax dollars and levy taxes without authorization from Congress speaks to a fundamental issue. Simply put, the executive cannot will into being a tax that Congress has not created through legislation because it suits the president and his party to do so. Nancy Pelosis famous retrospective approach to creating health-care legislation turns out to be a pretty poor way to write a law.
The ACA contains an assortment of carrots and sticks, the pertinent ones here being the subsidies available for the purchase of health insurance through state-created exchanges, and the penalties for individuals who do not buy insurance and employers who do not provide it. The employer taxes are triggered when employees use the tax credit, and in some cases the individual taxes are triggered when the credit is available to them. The tax credits apply only to those using exchanges created by the states. The federal government can create its own exchanges within states; however, it has no authority under the law to use them to offer subsidies and inflict the accompanying taxes. But there was an unforeseen development: Some 33 states have refused to create those exchanges, Oklahoma among them. If a states residents are not eligible for exchange subsidies, then its employers are not subject to the associated punitive tax. Contra the administrations amen corner in the media, this was not a rookie drafting error in the legislation it was an intentional feature of the bill. The law is explicitly written to deny subsidies to states that refuse to create exchanges. The president and congressional Democrats simply failed to anticipate that the majority of states would refuse to create exchanges.
By offering the subsidies in states that have not set up exchanges, the federal government is inflicting tax penalties on individuals and employers that go beyond even what Obamacare allows. But the Obama administration, demonstrating its habitually cavalier disregard for the rule of law, is proceeding as though it has the legal right to offer subsidies and impose penalties in states that have refused to create exchanges. That the law does not give the administration that right apparently is of little concern at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But then, Eric Holder has a knack for retrofitting inventive legal theories to the presidents political needs, and the IRS has shown itself to be an effective advocate of Democratic political interests.
Pruitt v. Sebelius has been supplemented by a lawsuit filed last month by a group of small businesses and individual taxpayers also challenging the IRSs authority to impose penalties outside of state-created exchanges.
One would think that at this particular moment in history, fighting back against the administrations illegal use of the IRS to punish those who refuse to go along with the Obama health-care agenda would produce a very full political bandwagon. Republican governors who have pronounced themselves opposed to the ACA and yet have knuckled under to the associated expansion of Medicaid meaning, among others, Governors Brewer, Scott, Kasich, and, especially, the ambitious Governor Christie ought to be supporting Oklahoma and filing lawsuits of their own. Those in states that have refused to set up exchanges should not allow the IRS to in effect overrule them. Stopping the IRS from imposing punitive taxes where it has no legal power to do so should in fact be a popular and bipartisan issue, regardless of ones opinions about the ACA itself.
Republicans may not have a great deal of power in Washington, where they control, in John Boehners words, one half of one third of the federal government; but we have 50 states for a reason, and Republican governors lead 30 of them. Republican governors, attorneys general, and state legislators looking to use their offices to the significant benefit of the nation as a whole should be lining up to create a 30-state united front with Oklahoma. Scott Pruitt is fighting for the rule of law, and Republican governors might trouble themselves to give him a hand.
RE: If Oklahomans can get rid of Ethanol...
Iin fact, Obama, Nanny Pelosi and the enablers in Congress absolutely declared these fees were NOT a tax, so ObamaCare was not a tax passed by Congress. Chief Dupe Roberts cannot declare a tax into being just because the Chicago thugocracy managed to dig up some dirt on him.
I think, however, that the ruling of the Supreme Court would trump Nancy Pelosi, so therefore, OK is right and it is a tax that did not originate as constitutionally mandated.
I’ve never understood why this was not pursued by other groups, since it has always seemed to me that Roberts, for whatever reason, had provided the perfect out.
I have thought the same thing but only to a degree... by declaring it a tax the court (that I can’t call supreme) ruled that congress created a tax? If so then how can it be argued that the tax is unconstitutional?
And yes, Oklahoma offers ethanol free gasoline in some locations... not sure how much longer this will go on or how it has been managed but I am grateful for it.
Is it remotely possible this is the question begged by John Roberts last year?
I buy ethanol free gas at my local station here in OKC. It costs more, buy my mileage is much better.
You are both right. Nothing is as blind as the man who would not see. Roberts gave an opening to drive a truck through. Instead of castigating him, people should line up and say , okay, it’s a tax-that’s the rule of the land. Congress did not approve the tax, therefore, it’s void. Let us know when you get around to approving the tax.
I used to buy non-ethanol gas from an Indian-nation-owned gas station near me. I loved the mileage too.
After using it for about six months, my catalytic converter signaled that at was dead; this put my engine into "dumb mode," thereby canceling all my mileage gains. In addition, the replacement cat converter cost me a cool $900.
I thought that ethanol was a problem for converters, not the opposite - ?
I don't think it was the lack of ethanol. I think it was the presence of something, like maybe lead. There was no notice on the pump however. I think someone just screwed up.
The gas station is on a country road that leads to a large lakefront vacation region. A lot of people fill their boat tanks there. I don't think boat engines have cat converters, do they?
There are stations all across the country that still sell ethanol free gasoline. We are not allowed to use car gas with alcohol in our airplane... for obvious reasons. The government doesn’t care if their mandated go juice wrecks the engine in your car or lawn mower, but they don’t want small planes falling from the sky. You can find a list of 6756 stations here:
The one I buy from is a CFN (Commercial Fueling Network) station. We use it in our airplane and our 1942 Cadillac.
Presumably, that will happen sometime in January 2017 after Speaker Pelosi is sworn in.
Well, make that 2015...
I buy ethanol free gasoline at my local station in Norman. I just wish I could find 93 octane.
I think the question would be, did the bill that created the tax originate in the House? If not, it would violate Article 2, Section 7 of the Constitution.
"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."
Correct but wasn’t this a pelousy creation so it did originate in the House.
Actually there is some question about that. Remember that this was passed by the Senate first, and then went to the House for concurrence. The Senate gutted a bill previously passed by the House (a bill to provide US service members a tax credit originally), and used that as the vehicle to pass Obamacare. Since the original bill was related to taxes, some argue that this meets the constitutional requirement, even though none of the original bill remained except the bills number - even the bill title was changed. Some have argued that this does not meet constitutional muster, however, and that argument has not been addressed by the USSC.
Lots of states have ethanol free gas.