It has long been understood that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Regardless of where one stands on healthcare in the United States, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts’ decision to give the federal government near unbridled power to tax (or mandate) – or otherwise compel and force a United States citizen to buy a good or service whether they want it, need it, or not – is to give the federal government near unbridled power to destroy individual liberty. In making this ruling, Roberts ominously noted that elections have consequences, but he ostensibly failed to appreciate that so do Supreme Court decisions.
Today, as a result of this decision, federal laws could be passed that would punish, compel, or force United States citizens, regardless of their state of residency, to buy a good or service whether they can afford it, need it, want it, or not. For example, laws, through tax enforcements, could potentially be passed that would require each American to purchase handguns, or mandate, through tax enforcements, that citizens buy a certain amount of birth control each and every month for the rest of their lives – again, whether they want it, need it, or not.
... to give the federal government near unbridled power to tax (or mandate) – or otherwise compel and force a United States citizen to buy a good or service whether they want it, need it, or not – is to give the federal government near unbridled power to destroy individual liberty.
As a result, through President Obama’s healthcare tax-plan-mandate and Chief Justice Roberts’ decision, Americans have effectively lost, to a great extent, the power to decide for themselves what they want, need, or don’t. Even more troublingly, this power also extends, by proxy, to lobbyists who have long held substantial sway with those in political office.
Chief Justice Roberts, and perhaps others who support this decision, would likely counter that this is what elections are for. However, such arguments fail to account for the fact that elections cannot adequately address problems associated with those that would misrepresent and/or lie to win office. Thus, through this decision, Chief Justice Roberts stripped away an important Constitutional check against wielding such power by politicians who would seek to mislead or lie. Ironically however, whether by design or serendipity, this decision also gives Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and other Republicans a new and potentially powerful campaign weapon – and it is not simply to campaign on repealing this controversial law.
Many voters are still confused about President Obama’s health care overhaul; many voters are also confused as to whether it is mandate, tax, or penalty – and since such confusion behooves the President who repeatedly campaigned on no taxes for those making under $250k, this confusion will undoubtedly be kept alive by his campaign [though one could call it a pony and it would still cost middle class families]. However, the federal government’s new Orwellian power, affirmed now by the Supreme Court, to force a citizen to buy something regardless of whether they want or need it, under penalty of the IRS, is indeed a frightening proposition of which there is seemingly less confusion.
Consequently, Romney and other Republican Congressional candidates should campaign not only on repealing this new tax, mandate, and/or punishment, but also, and more importantly, to pledge to close this newly crafted federal power. In doing so, Republicans could gain the support of many undecided voters wary of federal overreach while also garnering the support of the youth vote in the form of millennial libertarians who have so clearly embraced Ron Paul, but have been, so far, less than enthusiastic about Romney and other Republican candidates.
Ultimately, in their efforts to repeal the law, Republicans would do well to remind all voters that the power to tax is the power to destroy and therefore the central issue is not only a tax issue, but also a question of individual liberty.