Patterico's Pontifications

11/30/2009

ObamaCare and 2010: More on suicidal Democrats

Filed under: General — Karl @ 1:09 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The US Senate is set to begin debate today on the Democrats’ attempted takeover of the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system, and the gap between disapproval and approval of ObamaCare has never been bigger.

Nevertheless, the Left would like to jam this through in 14 working days or less, lest the debate slip into an election year and the numbers deteriorate even further. The Democratic logic — such as it is — is that Democrats need to pass a bill to keep their base from deserting them. Nate Silver is left arguing that failure is the worst of both worlds. The Daily Kos looks at its weekly tracking poll, showing that Republicans and Independents are much more energized about voting in 2010, and concludes that “passing legitimate health care reform [is] an absolute political necessity for Democrats.” Steve Benen demands the full “too much, too soon agenda” (missing only “cap and tax,” though that may have just been an oversight on his part).

None of these great thinkers addresses the probability that stomping on the gas as Dems hurtle over the cliff is likely to be most deadly to the swing votes they need to pass ObamaCare and the rest. Since they seem intent on ignoring Sean Trende’s regression analysis of the 1994 midterms, perhaps they may want to look at analysis by Brendan Nyhan (no member of the VRWC he), showing that passing major legislation has little effect on presidential approval. As Senatorial opinion on ObamaCare seems to be following presidential approval, Nyhan’s analysis ought to leave Senators — and the Left generally — asking whether passing an increasingly unpopular package of tax hikes and Medicare cuts pays any political dividends.

If they think that people will grow to love ObamaCare, they may want to look at Massachusetts, where only 32% of voters think the same basic scheme has been a success, only 20% say reform has made healthcare more affordable (31% say the opposite) and only 16% say it has improved the quality of care (24% say it has gotten worse). Any Democrats from someplace less Blue than the Bay State may want to think about how those numbers will look once the state starts rationing care in earnest, and whether they are physically fit enough to sprint away from angry mobs.

Democrats may try to shut all of that out of their minds. What they will not be able to avoid is the inevitable effects of their own debate. Unlike the House vote — or even the vote to proceed in the Senate — this debate involves actual substantive amendments (beyond the issue of abortion, which the Democrats permitted as a necessity in the House, but which they are working hard to drop now). At some point, Senate Dems have to figure out if they can find a bottom line that can be reconciled with the House bill — a difficult job in itself. But the votes on these amendments are likely to leave Senators — and the public — at least as unhappy as they are now. There will be losers on abortion, taxes, illegal immigration, Medicare cuts, doctor payments, etc. So far, the Democratic leadership has been able to lean on moderates with the argument that their votes are just “moving the process forward.” We are now reaching the point where the illusion that these bills are going to be improved somehow vanishes. That is the point where things will really get ugly.

–Karl

75 Responses to “ObamaCare and 2010: More on suicidal Democrats”

  1. The Dimocrats’s ability to self-destruct is something that will never change. A dim ray of hope deep within the morass of this legislation: the ones with a conscience may actually block the socialist wing from having it their way.

    Icy Texan (661211)

  2. “passing legitimate health care reform [is] an absolute political necessity for Democrats.”

    Not even the dirtiest of dirty socialists is gonna be all too excited about having to pay pay pay taxes years before having the pleasure of waiting in line at a squalid yet free government clinic.

    They better hope people don’t find out what they’re doing.

    happyfeet (0003d3)

  3. They’re rationing care now. The elderly are excluded from H1N1 shots, for example, no matter how weak their systems are. It is almost as if the administration wanted them to die.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  4. Karl makes a compelling case, Democrats have to know they will face an uphill fight in the 2010 elections if they continue to pass legislation the majority of voters oppose.

    One way to look at it is that Democrats are counting on incompetent GOP leaders to blow the elections with idiot candidates like Dede Scozzafava.

    Another view, a more sinister view, is that Democrats either don’t expect to face the voters because elections will be canceled because of some sort on national crisis, say an atomic bomb in NY City for instance, while KSM and his jihadi pals are on trial. Either that, or Democrats expect ACORN to stuff the ballot boxes. One or the other.

    ropelight (57a4b7)

  5. happyfoots: Socialists, however, will be quite happy if “the rich” pay taxes for years before “the needy” get get their “free” medical care. “The rich” can be glad that they get the same “free” care, but if they don’t like it they can go without.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  6. Democrats will be worse off if it doesn’t pass. Not only will they get tossed out of office for being insane, but they’ll also be seen as weak and ineffective and insane.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  7. They’re not suicidal, not at least as their own seats are concerned. Pelosi isn’t going to lose her seat regardless of how Obamacare turns out… and neither will, I guess, 80% of the other Democrats. They may lose power, but they feel that is a long shot at best (and why fear the Republicans, they’re guaranteed to self-destruct?), so why not go ahead and do what they want?

    This is the mirror of the battle among Republicans, where the issues that please the base alienates moderates and vice versa. The moderates claim they need to be coddled as their votes are critical to reach majority, the base argues that the traitorous moderates need to be dumped.

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  8. By the way, does anyone really think that Federal courts won’t insist that an all-encompassing health plan include abortion? Sure, it will help if there’s something in the bill banning it, but it probably won’t matter much.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  9. Well, the bigger and more astounding idiocy is that all the taxes, just about all the pain, comes first. then the benefit starts YEARS LATER. even if obamacare is AWESOME (not likely), how could anyone love it until the benefit starts, which is not for several years?

    Of course the reason why they did this was to make it appear to be deficit neutral. the fact they can only assert that for ten years, and only after something like 4 years of pure revenue raising before the benefits and costs kick in demonstrates how shallow their claim is.

    i suspect also the real problem is that dems can’t tell their people what this is really about: turning america into a socialist democracy. so because they have to lie through their teeth, they can’t be particularly compelling.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  10. Dumb q from a Canuck for you guys: even if Obamacare passed, could the R’s not just run next year on a platform of “elect us and we’ll undo the monstrosity?”

    Heck, they could even put their own plan forward, with all the proper changes (e.g. real tort reform) and offer the voters the choice. It would j-u-s-t be soon enough that the voters won’t be stuck and afraid to change, but still fresh anough that they’d still be angry at the D’s for forcing it thru.

    Um, right?

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    ras (1d003b)

  11. Karl: Again, you’re putting the cart before the horse in your analysis.

    The independent votes don’t matter if you don’t have the base. Silver et al. are right. The base will desert the Dems if the bill fails, especially now that it’s come so far. That is a sure thing.

    Democrats also see the effects on the Republicans of a base revolt. It’s ugly. Dems who vote for reform will, at minimum, avoid a draining primary challenge. And the ones likelier to get challenged will be the ones who vote against. That’s my prediction.

    Dems’ll take their chances in the general, where, you might be surprised to learn there are a great many safe seats on both sides of the aisle.

    So you can see that the Democrats’ thinking is almost the reverse of what you’re hoping they’re thinking.

    With all due respect, I don’t believe you quite grasp how important health care reform is to Democrats. I believe you think you do, but that’s not the same thing. You still look at the issue fundamentally like a Republican, and can’t quite penetrate into the mind of a Democrat. This is no dress rehearsal, my friend. This is The Show. This is it.

    You also have to assume a “dug-in” mentality, too. To hand a victory to your side — the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, the Jim DeMints and Sarah Palins of the world — while simultaneously saddling the promising Obama with his greatest defeat — that would be too demoralizing for most Dems to seriously contemplate.

    So for all those reasons, reform in some form will pass. Or what they will call reform (if it doesn’t have a public option.)

    Rather than looking at poll numbers of the Massachusetts health care, Senate Dems are more likely looking at the M.I.T. analysis which concludes the Senate bill will cut costs and expand care.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  12. test comment

    (I think the system has been filing my comments under “G” recently, so I’ll try changing the email address to see if that helps.)

    ras (1d003b)

  13. The Democrat healthcare bill will cut costs and expand care when the bird of paradise flies up you nose, Moron.

    ropelight (57a4b7)

  14. Yup, it helped. My old email address said nosp*m@nosp*m.com and I guess Patterico’s sp*m filters won’t let it thru anymore.

    [Sorry ras, I’ve been under the weather and was taking a nap. Your comment was picked up by Akismet and I just fished it out. –Stashiu]

    ras (1d003b)

  15. The moderates claim they need to be coddled as their votes are critical to reach majority, the base argues that the traitorous moderates need to be dumped.

    Steve Sturm: Yes. And I would argue that the GOP sided with the moderates and look what happened.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  16. shorter myron:

    Socialism is inevitable. but i am not a socialist.

    First, myron, you are wrong to pretend the base is more important than the middle. um, you need both to win.

    Second, you forget that there are not actually 60 votes. there are 59. Lieberman is not a democrat, percisely because of a revolt of the base. and he could give a rat’s behind about avoiding defeat for obama. he will not blindly support a party that didn’t support him, especially given that these days his constituency is the middle.

    And then there are dozens of red state dems, people like Jim Webb who will look at how four years go, Deeds and McConnel faced off for AG, and were at a dead heat. but after obama, it was a landslide again. or in NJ which when red. and Webb will have to decide whether 1) his principles are more important than reelection and 2) if they are, what are those principles. Webb is not a very liberal democrat, you know?

    But i am sure as all the tax hikes, etc. kick in in the first years, without any of the benefits, the program will be even more popular. *rolls eyes*

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  17. Meanwhile, if you look at the actual report from the CBO, you see the opposite of Myron’s claims.

    Here is the report, look on page where the CBO says that the Democrats bill will raise the cost of individual insurance premiums. That some will then be subsidized by taxpayer subsidies is not “cutting costs”.

    CBO and JCT estimate that the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law. About half of those enrollees would receive government subsidies that would reduce their costs well below the premiums that would be charged for such policies under current law.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Sorry for the typo, the quote appears on the bottom on p4.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. A.W.: If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I acknowledge Lieberman is the problem b/c he has no allegiance to Dems.

    But if you’re hanging your entire hopes on one independent who caucuses with the Democrats — that’s a pretty darn slim hope.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  20. Let me see.

    Who should I believe on the costs of reform?

    M.I.T. economists

    or

    Ras, some random person on a blog?

    Hmm. Let me think …

    What’s your degree in, Ras? Have you crunched the numbers?

    Myron (6a93dd)

  21. Myron

    #19

    MIT economists… are they something like CRU scientists? why yes they are. they are people claiming to understand a system far too complex for understanding, speaking with artificial certaity.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  22. they are people claiming to understand a system far too complex for understanding,

    So, if no one understands it, why should I accept one analysis over another?

    Myron (6a93dd)

  23. Myron, who should I believe MIT analysis of the CBO report or what the CBO says its report means?

    More interesting, a large amount of the reduced premiums in group policies comes from the fact that at least one in five policies will be punished for being too expensive with a 40% tax thus pushing group plans out of gold-plated plans into less pricy, less generous plans.

    A point Myron ignores … or is ignorant of.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. the M.I.T. analysis which concludes the Senate bill will cut costs and expand care.

    That was the conclusion for non-group plans. It was just released so no one’s had a chance to give it a thorough going over yet. It seems to rely on some assumption of massive savings on administrative overhead compared to the current system. The underlying assumptions apparently were based on an analysis by the CBO, which gets some of their assumptions from Congress.

    Analysis of the non-partisan information from the CBO suggests that for those facing purchase in the non-group market, the House bill [Senate] will deliver savings ranging from $200 for singles to $500 for families in today’s dollars – even without subsidies.

    I’m guessing all the underlying assumptions that CBO was told to make just passed through to the MIT analysis. Since the Senate plan eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions, which means an additional cost, the whole thing sounds Alice-in-Wonderlandish.

    Gerald A (a66d02)

  25. Ha!

    “…What’s your degree in, Ras? Have you crunched the numbers?…”

    Now that is funny, considering the source. I wonder if Myron felt that way about all the experts committing troops overseas when GWB was POTUS. I mean, why disagree with their conclusions? After all, Myron is no expert in geopolitics or the logistics of military assets.

    Oh, but that’s different.

    It’s all partisanship, all the time, for the gentleman in question.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  26. Myron – Why should we accept an opinion of MIT economists when their analysis is based on ginormous assumptions supplied by SanFranNan, and their conclusions fly in the face of all real-world experience?

    JD (9c7a92)

  27. Myron

    Re: 21

    Exactly. And what policy makers and economists must do is follow the hypocratic oath: first do no harm. translation: if you don’t know what you are doing, do nothing.

    but even as Obama hits employment rates higher than his worst case scenario, he decided to plow ahead remaking 1/6 of the economy.

    I mean think about that for a moment. The economy is worse off than their worst predictions of what would happen with the stimulus. there are only two rational explanatons for that. Either:

    1) they don’t know what the true effects of their policies were be and therefore cannot with an accuracy predict what the economy is going to do; or

    2) they are making it worse.

    I lean two #2 myself, but either way the answer is: stop screwing with the economy! But that option doesn’t seem to be on the table right this minute.

    And when the insurance industry goes bankrupt (a very likely outcome when the mandate turns out to be (1) too toothless to really mandate anything or (2) so tough that it is actually unconstitutional), how popular will obamacare be?

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  28. To a guy who played Rugby for Cal Tech, a study from the Department of Dismal Science at MIT just isn’t the last word on much of anything. Those guys don’t clean their glasses often enough, and the cold weather this time of year makes the blood creep cold. Not much activity going on upstairs…

    ropelight (57a4b7)

  29. In 2010, when voters consider the truly astronomical amounts of debt that Obama and Congressional Democrats have piled on the backs of taxpayers for pork-laden faux “stimulus” and then realizes how much horse manure has gone into these fraudulent CBO “estimates”, and the resulting even more extraordinary and unprecedented deficit spending … well, I’m expecting 2010 to be an equally unprecedented shift in political control.

    The trend shows a blood bath for Democrats and Democrats in Congress are starting to realize that Harry Reid has led them to Mont St Jean / Waterloo and they are not on Wellington’s side.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. Btw, there is alot packed into the last paragraph, so let me expand. the insurance companies cannot afford the new restricitons without a massive rise in the rolls of the insured. the mandate is meant in part to meet that need.

    but the plans don’t meet the need. on one hand you have Baucus’ idea which is to say that if people don’t spend at least $4,000 on insurance, they will be fined about $1,000. this, Baucus claims, gives them an incentive to buy insurance, proving that Baucus is either a liar or has no idea what the term “incentive” means. now some people will be scared by the word “mandate” into buying insurance despite the incentive pointing the other way, but there is a good chance that most people will notice that continuing to not buy insurance is cheaper than buying it and thus choose not to buy it. so the mandate probably doesn’t work.

    Then there is the pelosi approach: insurance or jail. at least she understands the concept of incentive, but apparently she understands nothing of the Supreme Court’s precedents (let alone the constitution they purport to interpret). Ironically, the precedent she doesn’t understand is a little known case called Roe v. Wade. If that decision stands for anything, it is the principle that you are allowed to control your health care destiny. And bluntly i can’t see how it can be unconstitutional for a person to be sent to jail for killing what might be considered a human being, but it is constitutional to send a person to jail for refusing to buy a certain kind of health insurance. And bear in mind, the baucus approach might also be struck down by the supreme court for the same reason (the power to tax is the power to destroy, you know), although its chances of survival are better because it is so toothless.

    Either way, the mandate goes bye-bye, and pretty soon, so does the entire insurance industry.

    And the question is, will there be a public option waiting in the wings if they f— up the insurance industry? Er, f— it up more, i mean. They have already done a great job f–ing it up.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  31. Oh, I get it, MIT is a university! That means I can trust them. Right?

    Sorry, this is a mess. Even if it was a good plan that would do great things, which is absurd, this kind of action is not the government’s business.

    We need less entitlements, not more. It’s time to raise the Social Security age up to 75 in order to pay for the excess spending of both parties (mainly the democrat congresses, but both parties). It’s time to cut as much spending as we possibly can, decrease taxes on employers, and create American jobs. It is not time to create the largest entitlement in history.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  32. A.W., there is no “buy insurance or go to jail” provision in the House bill. The penalties for not buying insurance are tax-based, and the same penalties for willfully failing to pay income tax exist in current federal tax law. And are no less constitutional.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  33. In other words, if you do not comply with the insurance penalties for not buying insurance, you go to jail. But they worded it in such a way that it can be argued around.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  34. No, Dustin, that’s not it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. SPQR, I realize they are rewriting this awful law to specifically not put me in jail if I do not pay the penalties, but I’d like to know how my characterization of the pelosi bill is wrong.

    Why did she say it was OK that her bill put people in jail for not complying?

    Do you argue that it did not actually put people in jail for not complying?

    Do you really think it matters that it’s via the taxation penalties that you go to jail?

    Just saying ‘no, that’s not it’ is the same as not discussing it at all, which is fine with me. I don’t really think there’s any defense. If you think this is constitutional, then you’re lost. I cannot be compelled to buy health insurance.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  36. The CBO doesn’t just get assumptions from Congress, they are dictated by Congress. So if Congress says “assume 4.5% growth in the economy per year for the next ten years”, that’s one of the base assumptions of CBO’s analysis. No matter how unrealistic it is.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  37. Dustin, if you willfully don’t pay capital gains tax when you sell your house, then you will also go to jail.

    Wow, that means that it is unconstitutional to tax capital gains?

    Uh, no.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  38. You still look at the issue fundamentally like a Republican, and can’t quite penetrate into the mind of a Democrat.

    I have the same disability.

    I am not optimistic that voters will get this in time to warn off Congress. On the other hand, an exceedingly dangerous trend is developing. It’s called the common wisdom about Obama. Bush was tarred with the Iraq War being based on lies, even though it wasn’t. What it was, though, was not properly explained. Bush went with the WMD argument to make it easier for Tony Blair to get approval from Parliament. The result was a disaster for Bush no matter what was true and what wasn’t.

    Obama is getting into that territory now. What could happen is a bill is passed that is as bad as the present ones are and then, the people start to realize what it says. Maybe Pelosi will be dumb enough to bring up Cap & Trade next spring. Nothing she does surprises me.

    By November 2010, the public could be looking for tar and feathers. One feature of the health bills is that the costs are front loaded to pacify the CBO but they also allow repeal. Nobody will see any benefit before 2012.

    Put this together with KSM in New York, nuclear Iran, the global warming hoax and you could see real trouble for Democrats. I thought they were going over the cliff in 2006 but Republicans were even worse. Their only hope now is the GOP riding to the rescue with idiocy.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  39. “… elections will be canceled because of some sort on national crisis, say an atomic bomb in NY City for instance…”

    If that were to happen, a lot of Leftists who actively worked within government to downsize the military will be looking around uncomfortably for someone to protect them from the mobs that will be coming for them.
    Facing the voters, which is usually the least of their worries since ACORN and others make sure the fix is in, will now be the greatest of their fears since those voters will be carrying torches, pitchforks, vats of tar and bags of feathers, or other instruments that used to laughingly be referred to in clandestine commerce as “farm implements”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (eab8f3)

  40. Will someone waterboard Myron to see if he really has a brain?

    Anyone hear of the clause Chuck Grassley got into the Senate Bill? The clause reads that Congress, their staffs, and families have to subscribe to the public option!!!!

    PCD (8beddb)

  41. Well, here’s a clue, PCD. Myron wants to talk about the silly MIT piece but won’t discuss the actual CBO report its supposedly based on.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  42. FLASH: LA Times Readers Rep. Jamie Gold is leaving the LAT. They want a replacement.

    I nominate Patterico.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (f87e26)

  43. Bradley – You should apply for that opening. Maybe you could use the AP as a reference 😉

    JD (355e34)

  44. What makes you think they plan to have a replacement ? They have all those editors and stuff. That should be enough, at least for gummint work.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  45. I nominate Patterico.

    I nominate Moron – he’d be perfect for the post of a hacky flunkie who has his cranium firmly lodged up his nether regions. And the opportunities he’d have to fellate his fellow travelers would be off the charts.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  46. As despised as the LAT is, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to wish The Maroon One upon them.

    AD - RtR/OS! (eab8f3)

  47. Myron,

    I’m not putting the cart before the horse.

    You are assuming that passing something drives the base to the polls. Given Nyhan’s numbers on Presidential approval, why should I assume that in general?

    More to the point, why should I assume that it helps in the swing districts, when Trende’s analysis of the 1994 midterms says the opposite?

    Put another way, what is your evidence that passing ObamaCare creates such a groundswell among the base for midterm turnout that it compensates for the obviously disgruntled Independents — AND saves the Blue Dogs and moderates whose arms are being twisted?

    Karl (404c05)

  48. SPQR, as I understand it, a law that taxes someone as punishment for doing/not doing something beyond the reach of direct legislation is also unconstitutional. You could not tax people for going to the wrong church or owning guns or, it seems, for having an abortion.

    So to try to differentiate tax penalties from direct fines is pretty much worthless, UNLESS you can first demonstrate that the direct fine would pass muster.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  49. Karl – The short answer to your question is that they have the votes, therefore they can, therefore they should.

    JD (b028f8)

  50. Karl, I guess this is why most politicians don’t opt for lose-lose strategies. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Obama isn’t most politicians.

    Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

  51. what is your evidence that passing ObamaCare creates such a groundswell among the base for midterm turnout that it compensates for the obviously disgruntled Independents

    Karl: I’m not arguing any such thing. I’m saying that the only sure bet is that failing in reform will definitely hurt the Dems.

    I’m not arguing that passing reform will endear them to independents. It may not even help with the base, if the bill is too weak to be any good.

    But the one certainty is that doing NOTHING (with big majorities in both chambers) will sap the fire from the foot soldiers and donors who will make any electoral success possible in 2010. Again: Consider the McCain campaign. That is not ancient history.

    I think Harry Reid’s phrasing at a press conference before Thanksgiving says it all:

    “But we’re not going to not pass a bill.”

    For phlegmatic Harry, that counts as downright fiery. :)
    But more importantly, the double-negative is a very obvious indicator of how the majority leader views his options.

    I understand you have a need to rally the troops, and it’s a thankless task and I don’t envy you. By all means, keep hoping to kill the bill — but I’m saying it won’t happen, barring some circumstance none of us can see yet. Your side is in “miracle hour” (deus ex machina) right now. The long bomb with no time on the clock. Praying for the fumble. (Normally with Dems that’s a good bet!)

    And yes, Dems are counting on the GOP’s lack of ideas and in-fighting to help out in what will be a challenging election in 2010, even after a bill passes.

    Myron (63564c)

  52. Myron – Based on all the readings in the Senate and of public sentiment, I think you have got the sides completely reversed in your comment at 7:31.

    “Your side is in “miracle hour” (deus ex machina) right now. The long bomb with no time on the clock. Praying for the fumble.”

    You are truly speaking of the Dems.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  53. “I’m not arguing that passing reform will endear them to independents. It may not even help with the base, if the bill is too weak to be any good.”

    Myron – If you were not arguing either of these points then why were you criticising Karl’s post and telling him he was putting the cart before the horse? You make no freaking sense.

    If your only point was that health care reform is incredibly inportant to Democrats, that’s fine. We understand that. That stands apart from your inane criticism of Karl’s post.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  54. Kevin, all of your examples are not merely beyond Congress’ reach but explicitly forbidden to it ( BTW, note that the transfer tax / stamp process of the NFA of 1934 has been ruled constitutional ).

    The idea that health insurance is not within Congress’ commerce clause powers is one that I wish you luck with. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  55. Dustin, if you willfully don’t pay capital gains tax when you sell your house, then you will also go to jail.

    Wow, that means that it is unconstitutional to tax capital gains?

    Uh, no.

    Comment by SPQR

    And if the government taxes me for not murdering my wife, and I don’t pay that tax, I will also go to jail.

    I don’t think you’re seriously interested in discussing this, and like I said, I understand. it is indefensible.

    At least you seem to be admitting you were wrong. Indeed the democrats wanted to send people to jail for not cooperating with pelosicare. You said I was wrong, but I was right, and I think it’s a serious problem. As I said, if you think this is constitutional, you are lost. The government cannot compel me to buy insurance.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  56. Dustin, to the contrary, I don’t think your arguments are the serious part of the discussion. And you still don’t understand my point about the claims about jail. The Democrat proposal’s enforcement mechanism is not jail, it is taxation.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  57. And Dustin, as for your comment: “As I said, if you think this is constitutional, you are lost. The government cannot compel me to buy insurance.”

    Your comment is wrong in two ways. First of all, I think a lot of things the Federal govt does are “unconstitutional” – sadly, the USSCt does not agree with me. Secondly, if you think that the Federal government can’t compel you to buy health insurance, then you might be surprised to learn that the legal precedents already existing don’t support your argument very well. For instance, a little more than seven decades ago, people thought that the Federal government could not forbid them from growing a crop that they would only use on their own farm …

    SPQR (26be8b)

  58. SPQR

    > Dustin, if you willfully don’t pay capital gains tax when you sell your house, then you will also go to jail.

    > Wow, that means that it is unconstitutional to tax capital gains?

    > Uh, no.

    The difference is that capital gains is income, a subject that is explicitly subject to taxation under the constitution. By comparison you are contemplating a tax on existence. That is if you exist, you are taxed. Congress has never been allowed to do that.

    And further, congress is not allowed to tax every single activity. For instance, the government can’t levy a “criticism of the government” tax—so why do you think it can levy a “choose your own health care destiny” tax? You cannot tax a person for exercising a constitutional right. At best you can do so only as part of a general tax scheme not specific to the constitutional right. So you can have a journalist pay a general undifferentiated income tax, but there can’t be a “journalism tax.”

    Seriously, if you don’t think there is a serious problem with the mandate from a constitutional angle, you are just not thinking very deeply about the issue.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  59. A.W. you are incorrect. The Constitution was always understood to allow a “tax on existance” ie., a direct or capitation tax. Look at Art I sec 8 cl 1. The reason that it took a constitutional amendment to allow income taxes was because a tax on incomes was not going to fall evenly across the states proportionally to their population because of varying amounts of wealth/income in contradiction to the original tax provision of Art I sec 8 requiring apportionment per person.

    There is no constitutional right to have/not have health insurance.

    Lastly, making a comment about how deeply another is thinking about an issue is a poor idea when one is making claims so easily refuted.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  60. “there is no constitutional right to have/not have health insurance”

    Freedom of association?

    Right to liberty (property rights)?

    The government cannot force me to buy health insurance.

    You miss the basic point, though. The reason we object to the federal government involving itself in this kind of matter is that once it does, people can go to jail merely for not obeying some health care rules. You might think it’s OK that the government throw someone in jail for not buying health care, but you can’t deny that this is the effect of the government dealing with such an issue.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  61. Dustin, when are you going to stop writing such stupid bullshit as: “You might think it’s OK that the government throw someone in jail for not buying health care …”

    I don’t think its OK that the government throw someone in jail for not buying health care. And I’m getting more than a little tired of your stupid misrepresentations of what I writing.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  62. Democrats say that “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

    Now, this is plainly untrue. Anyone who interprets the constitution to give the government such wide latitude that its ability to collect TAXES to bay DEBTS and provide GENERAL welfare = it can force me to buy health insurance is completely lost. They will grant any power for any reason, despite the constitution working in the opposite manner.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  63. I said that incorrectly. Democrats justify this massive and intrusive power on the constitutional quote I and others have quoted. Read that section yourself.

    And also consider your bill of rights. The government cannot force you to associate with anything. that is the very core of our nation’s civil rights.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  64. I hate to quadruple post, but this Constitution has been in effect for hundreds of years.

    NEVER has this government forced anyone to purchase a good or service. It is completely foreign to our system of government. The CBO has admitted that this is a central question. SPQR considered this unprecedented grab of intrusive power to be an obvious and closed issue, in favor of a power the government has never exercised and has never claimed it had until health care proposals came along.

    Think VERY HARD about the implications of our government having this much power. If it does, we need to take that power away. We need a freedom of association.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  65. Spqr

    > The Constitution was always understood to allow a “tax on existance” ie., a direct or capitation tax. Look at Art I sec 8 cl 1.

    Um, actually you are wrong. Article 1, section 2, “direct” taxes according to the population of a state are levied on states, not people. That’s what it means when it says in Art 1, sec 2 that such taxes “shall be apportioned among the several States” and why the 16th Amendment says that such taxes may be levied “without apportionment among the several States”—to make an income tax an exception to that rule. So in essence it’s a population tax on states, rather than an existence tax on individuals (although you assume the states passed the cost to the people somehow).

    And even then it has to be strictly proportional to population and not according to their behavior. The only exception is the 3/5 clause. And the amazing thing about your wrongness on this point is that you grasp my second point, saying:

    > The reason that it took a constitutional amendment to allow income taxes was because a tax on incomes was not going to fall evenly across the states proportionally to their population because of varying amounts of wealth/income in contradiction to the original tax provision of Art I sec 8 requiring apportionment per person.

    Well, as noted above that is only part of the obstacles that had to be overcome by the 16th Amendment.

    Second, you acknowledge that but for the income tax amendment, taxes have to be uniform among the states according to population, meaning that the per-person breakdown has to be constant. According to you even taxing differently according to income was unconstitutional until the 16th amendment was ratified. And that is true even if you don’t comprehend that even then the taxes have to be levied on states and not individuals. But then you miss the implications of your own logic. If the tax is on “existing without insurance” then that tax will not fall evenly among the states according to population, will it? So if it is not a tax on income, and it is not falling evenly among the states, then by your own (incomplete) analysis, the tax is unconstitutional—or at the very least you need to articulate another basis for that tax. And adding in the fact that such direct taxation can only be levied on states not people only bolsters my point: this tax is unconstitutional.

    > There is no constitutional right to have/not have health insurance.

    Then what do you think Roe v. Wade stands for, if not the right to control your medical destiny? I am sure short-sighted liberals will say it was only about abortion, but that is not how the courts will look at it. Conservatives will dislike the big government end of this. The liberals will think “if this is constitutional, then abortion can be banned” and they will strike it down for that reason. I expect to see a 7-2 decision, with Soto and Ginberg being the two dissenters.

    Now if you want to say Roe is itself unconstitutional, I would have some sympathy, but then so was wickard v. filburn, so that gets you nowhere. That is why my original comment differentiated between the constitution and the supreme court’s precedents on it. they are not the same.

    The fact is the supreme court has NEVER allowed anything like this to happen. And the constitution itself doesn’t allow it.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  66. A.W., the idea that the federal taxes had to be levied on states rather than individuals had been ignored long before the issue of income taxes and the 16th Amendment if you look at the USSCt cases on that clause.

    As for the “right” issue, health care is not health insurance and vice versa.

    The bottom line is that the odds of this legislation being declared unconstitutional are slim at best.

    SPQR (159590)

  67. “The bottom line is that the odds of this legislation being declared unconstitutional are slim at best.”

    This is clearly true.

    This also doesn’t mean it’s not unconstitutional. The supreme court has had sevearl examples of calling something constitutional before later admitting it was atrociously unconstitutional. That’s because our system for interpreting the constitution is now a game. And it got there by politicians and jurists reaching way too far to get plainly bullshit meaning out of sections that are even explicitly contradicted in other places.

    Chemerisnki is right about almost everything, when you look at why the law is articulated the way it is… and yet he’s clearly completely wrong about what the constitution means. This is something I am proud to whine about.

    [Found in spam filter.]

    Dustin (cf255c)

  68. Spqr

    > A.W., the idea that the federal taxes had to be levied on states rather than individuals had been ignored long before the issue of income taxes

    Really? The courts have allowed the federal government to tax individuals just for existing? Care to provide a citation Mr. Constitutional Expert? Because that is not the history I have been taught.

    (Psst, tariffs, and other taxes on goods don’t count.)

    > As for the “right” issue, health care is not health insurance and vice versa.

    Right. Insurance companies exert no power over people’s health care. *rolls eyes* Sorry, the mandate is unconstitutional, either as the constitution was originally written or under the precedents of the modern court.

    > The bottom line is that the odds of this legislation being declared unconstitutional are slim at best.

    Which goes to show that you don’t even understand the issue. Its not an all or nothing issue. Indeed the legislation contains that usual severance boilerplate meaning, that the mandates can and probably will be struck down, and if they are, the rest of it stands. Which as I noted at the start, will mean the bankruptcy of the entire insurance industry.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  69. A.W. – I’m with you on the basic unconstitutionality. Whether or not it gets struck down I believe we all agree is another matter.

    daleyrocks (718861)

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  71. daley

    i understand your lack of faith in the courts, but i have watched them for long enough to know even the liberals will not stand for this kind of control over healthcare.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  72. The bankruptcy of the insurance industry is assured by the “shall issue” provision which does not allow the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. In fact, I think the final bill will be stripped of most of its provisions except this one. That will be the compromise version signed and the purpose will be to kill private insurance. Mandates were the provision to mitigate the damage done by the shall issue provision.

    Mike K (2cf494)

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  74. […] them is their delusional faith that passing some version of ObamaCare will help them politically. Statistics and history suggest the opposite is true. Anecdotally, recent polls show freshman Rep. Larry Kissell […]

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  75. […] them is their delusional faith that passing some version of ObamaCare will help them politically. Statistics and history suggest the opposite is true. Anecdotally, recent polls show freshman Rep. Larry Kissell […]

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