Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Health Care decision

The Supreme Court upheld most of Obamacare. This was not a total victory for the Obama Administration. The Individual Mandate was upheld as a tax instead of as part of the Commerce Clause. It was upheld in part because it does not include prison time.

A big problem for the Obama Administration is that the Court upheld a state's right to opt out. Obamacare threatens states with total loss of Medicare funding if the opt out but the Court ruled that the new law can only touch new Medicare funding that is part of the law. This has some serious implications for Congress's future power over the states. Often they force the states to go along with new legislation by threatening to cut existing funding. This ruling may stop that practice.

Allowing the Individual Mandate is just the most recent in a string of rulings that could have limited federal power but did not. A couple of other cases involve copyright and eminent domain. The Constitution says that copyright will eventually expire but that has not happened in decades. Hollywood, especially Disney, keeps lobbying Congress to extend the length of copyright. The excuse is so that Disney will not lose the rights to Micky Mouse (Technically, they would only lose the rights to early Micky movies. The character himself is protected as a trademark which does not expire). The Court agreed that there should be some limit on copyright but declined to say that we have reached it.

With eminent domain, the Court agreed that the government can seize someone's land and give it to a private developer even if the only public good is an increase in taxable value.

With all of these decisions, individual liberty is being slowly eroded in favor of moneyed interests. You would think that the outcry would be coming from the liberals instead of the conservatives.

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