Patterico's Pontifications

7/26/2014

It Doesn’t Matter What Congress Intended . . . If It’s Not in the Text

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:12 pm

We’ve all had some fun with Jonathan “Speak-o” Gruber. His quotes have shown that lefties were dead wrong when they said that absolutely nobody believed that subsidies would be limited to state exchanges. Absolutely nobody . . . except for the principal architect of the law. It’s a funny story, and the word “speak-o” adds to the humor . . . and his pathetic denials are a stand-in for the lefties’ pathetic and dishonest denials with respect to the language of the law itself.

All well and good.

But note the lefties’ response. The lefties will say (and are already saying): Jonathan Gruber may have advised Congress. The law may have been written based on his models. But he didn’t cast a vote in Congress. His intent didn’t matter. And everyone who voted for the law believed subsidies would be available on federal exchanges.

Now: I don’t believe this is true. I think most of them didn’t read the law. To the extent they did, they wrongly assumed all the states would set up exchanges — so yeah, they assumed universal availability of subsidies . . . through state exchanges.

But so what? Let’s pretend that everything they say about Congress’s intent is true. It doesn’t matter — because that’s not what the law says.

Let me cite an example of mine from 2010. (I’m going to tweak it by adding two zeroes to each number, to make the political parallel more realistic.)

Assume you make $5 million a year. The legislature passes a law imposing a hefty tax on “people making over $10,000,000 per year.” Since the law does not apply to you, by its plain terms, you do not pay the tax. However, you are convicted after a judge finds irrefutable contemporaneous evidence showing that all legislators who voted for the tax intended to impose it on people making over $1,000,000 a year. The judge, an “intentionalist,” finds that the intent of the legislature controls, regardless of the plain meaning of the law.

Under the plain language of the law, the tax does not apply to you. Applying the intent of the legislators, it does. Which is the better interpretation?

I will tweak the example further: the IRS passes a rule that says: for this law, $10,000,000 actually means $1,000,000. So anyone who makes over a million bucks owes us more tax.

And if you make over $5 million, but less than $10 million, Obama’s IRS is saying: You pay the tax, even though the law says you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter what the law says. Listen to what we say. And if you don’t, we will send men with guns to your home, to drag you off to a cage.

Lefties, who love taxing millionaires, would support the IRS on this. Tax the millionaires by hook or crook, and the process be damned. You know I’m right.

How is it that the law could end up saying $10,000,000 instead of $1,000,000? Different ways. It could be a typo (which, for those unfamiliar with the term, is like a “speak-o” — but in written form). But it wouldn’t have to be a typo! It could be that the staffers or lobbyists who wrote the law believed the tax would (or should) apply only to those making over $10,000,000. And, if the law was rushed into print, maybe absolutely nobody in Congress read it, and just all assumed it said $1,000,000.

As I understand the arguments of those who look to “intent,” though, a magical thing happens when Congress votes on the law. Even if the staffers meant $10,000,000 when they wrote the text, that term magically “means” $1,000,000 when Congress enacts the law — because their “intent” is that the tax apply to those making over $1,000,000.

And if that hypothetical actually happened, you would have lefties making all the same types of arguments they are making about ObamaCare. Absolutely nobody said in floor speeches or committee reports that the tax was limited to those making over ten million! Everybody talked about the “millionaire’s tax”! It was obvious what everybody was thinking! And all the news reports said it was a tax on people making more than a million dollars! Why, this is rank revisionism! Look, here’s our brief from Nancy Pelosi and thirty other political hacks, saying we all meant to say $1 million, and not $10 million!

The way to defeat these arguments is to say: It doesn’t matter. The law says what it says, and you can’t hold citizens accountable to pay a tax when the plain language of the law says they don’t owe it.

P.S. Note well: those who appeal to “intent” over text always make it sound like this problem has an easy solution: simply send it back to Congress and let them change it, if they got it wrong. But, as the ObamaCare example shows, that is often impossible, because the composition of Congress changes. What was possible in 2010 is simply not possible today. So, if you’re a judge, you’re stuck. You have a text, and you have (should you choose to consult it) a wide range of legislative history you could consult. You, as a judge, must decide what the law means.

Are you going to make that decision according to “intent”? Or according to the plain language of the text?

Your answer determines how much power you want to give to the dishonest left.

154 Responses to “It Doesn’t Matter What Congress Intended . . . If It’s Not in the Text”

  1. Funny how the ‘intent’ of the founding fathers is ignored by these same lefties

    Jerry Musial (0622ec)

  2. I ain’t got no money, baby
    I ain’t got no car
    I ain’t got no excuses baby
    I’m just hangin’ at teh bar

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  3. What Jonathan Gruber did was not a “speak-o.” What Dr. Johnny Fever did is a “speak-o.”
    Synopsis here. Full episode via Hulu here.

    L.N. Smithee (4e7e54)

  4. In legislation intention is nothing and the letter of the law is everything, and no Government has the right, whether to flatter fanatics or in mere vagueness of mind, to forge an instrument of tyranny and say that it will never be used.
    – W. B. Yeats

    The Sanity Inspector (1f0921)

  5. Yes! Intentionalism Wars, Round 3. Always makes for interesting discussion, seriously.

    Leviticus (1aca67)

  6. I always thought it was an interesting topic, Leviticus, but I somehow think people were more interested in the “wars” part. I like fighting battles of ideas, but there aren’t many of those on the Internet. Meanwhile, I have learned to ignore people who want to start wars of personality, of which the Internet has enough to last several lifetimes.

    Anyway, I doubt I could find a conservative who would want to take up a full-throated defense of looking to “intent” in the context of Halbig. It’s so obviously a tool of the dishonest people on the left who want to distort what Congress passed to suit their own ends, that I would think anyone on the right would be embarrassed to spend too much energy defending an appeal to “intent” in this context.

    Mostly what you see is dancing around the issue. As I suggested in the post, saying “send it back to Congress to fix it” is a dodge. Calling my argument a strawman is a dodge. Strong-form intentionalism means the dude in the hypo above must pay a tax, even though the law says he doesn’t have to. There’s no defending it if you confront the argument honestly, so the game is to dance around it, and pretend you have addressed it.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  7. For what it’s worth, I never thought looking to people’s intent was a bad idea in everyday communication. I think it’s a good one — although I also think speakers need to be aware how their words will be interpreted by reasonable people.

    But law is just a different animal. I think Halbig proves that conclusively.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  8. It depends. If the text is clear, then the text controls. If the text is ambiguous, then I need to look at the legislative history to ascertain intent – but the intent must be one of the meanings that the ambiguity is capable of producing.

    But part of the problem is that very little text is as clear as people would like to make it out to be, because most words inherently carry a range of meanings, and while sometimes you can discern those meanings without reliance on extrinsic evidence, a lot of times you can’t.

    aphrael (98d2d0)

  9. In your hypo, the guy should not be paying the tax, because the language is not ambiguous.

    aphrael (98d2d0)

  10. However, I can imagine a variant of the text wherein elsewhere in the bill there is language which clearly says that the $10,000,000 should be adjusted for inflation, and I can imagine a variant universe where significant deflation has occurred. In that case I think you have to look to intent to see whether or not ‘inflation’ was intended to cover deflation as well.

    aphrael (98d2d0)

  11. I agree with you its improper to go behind the plain, unambiguous language of the statute, no matter what was intended. But even if one does, the evidence is all on one side, that the language was deliberate, that incentives and “punishments” implied by it were deliberate.

    Any argument to the contrary is a recent lie, built around the practicalities of admitting the truth.

    That much was clear in 2012. The IRS’s “reinterpretation” was extra-legal and designed to manage a work of surprise – the mass rejection of state exchanges by states unwilling to shoulder the cost of development of exhanges, responsibility for outcomes, and the onerous rules which would punish businesses and subject them to EXTREMELY UNPOPULAR and economy-tanking employer mandates (that eventually, as you know, were delayed even for states with exchanges.)

    The loss of subsidies was supposed to be a stick, with high political cost; their gain a carrot. States decided the carrot was poison and accompanied by hidden sticks.

    This made the situation for Ocare rather desperate. And the lying began, and here, with taxing power of congress being monkeyed with, real danger.

    Arguments about “intent” being thwarted are the same arguments we’ve heard before for bending the law or changing rules – Congress intended people to have access to affordable insurance so COME ON GUYS SERIOUS YOU GUYS. Let it slide. Fudge it.

    But only congress has the right to say where tax money goes and they said subsidies were for states (and just what “state” means is referred to in and defined in another part of the bill).

    I refer people to these two articles, one appearing in Health Affairs in 8/2012, and one from Investors Business Daily. They lay out what everyone knew then, that Ocare cheerleaders seem not to know now.

    ObamaCare: 21 States Reject Exchanges On Cost, Rules
    Dec 6, 2012, David Hogberg
    Original Article: Investors Business Daily

    Currently behind subscription wall, republished here: http://www.letfreedomringusa.com/news/read/2285

    August, 2012 http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2012/08/01/the-illegal-irs-rule-to-expand-tax-credits-under-the-ppaca-a-response-to-timothy-jost/

    excerpt:

    “First, both sides acknowledge that the statutory language governing eligibility for tax credits is clear and unambiguous [....]

    Second, there is nothing in the statute that conflicts with the plain meaning of that language. Indeed, the rest of the statute supports that plain meaning. Nor has anyone identified anything in the law’s legislative history that conflicts with that language. The only statement anyone has found on this point shows the statutory language was intentional. During congressional debate, the bill’s lead author, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), explained that the bill conditions tax credits on the establishment of a state-run Exchange.

    Third, even though some members of Congress and the President might have preferred a law that authorized tax credits in federal Exchanges, they nevertheless enacted a law that did not. Many advocates of health care reform urged passage of the Senate bill even though there were parts of the bill they did not like, and knowing full well that not all defects could or would be fixed through the reconciliation process. Congress amended the sections of the Senate bill that authorize tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies a total of 12 times through the reconciliation process, but left the language limiting tax credits to state-established Exchanges undisturbed. Again, many of those amendments support the clear meaning of that language, and none of them conflict with it.”

    SarahW (267b14)

  12. If you don’t go by the text, what DO you go by? A man with two watches never knows what time it is.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  13. aphrael,

    Suppose the legislation has the term “Millionaire’s Tax” in the title and some other paragraph than the operative one says “Nothing in this legislation shall affect persons with incomes under $1 million.” Further, it requires some reporting actions by all persons making more than #1 million.

    Let us also say that it says that foreign nationals making over $1 million are included in the tax.

    There’s some ambiguity for you, but the clear text still says that tax is only due by US citizens making over $10 million. Would an IRS decision applying the tax to US citizens making less that $10 million be supportable?

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  14. I recommend that the Left consult Thomas More on this issue……there will be a Republican administration again one day.

    gahrie (a05ed4)

  15. If ambiguous text can initiate a search to ferret out intent, then Philistines have a strong incentive to write legislation in words that say one thing but can later be interpreted to mean something entirely different, something those who voted in the affirmative never intended.

    ropelight (903039)

  16. Here’s what: you are seeing the blatant dishonesty of those furious at the Halbig decision with their artful redactions and elisions and even capitalizations of 36B when they argue and complain that the Halbig decision is nonsensical.

    Get this Jill Horwitz and Samuel Bagenstos: “The ACA’s tax credit provision says that subsidies will be available to those who buy insurance on an “exchange established by the state.” If that were all the statute said, the plaintiffs might have a point. But the statute says much more.” http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-horwitz-bagenstos-obamacare-exchanges-20140725-story.html

    How ironic. It does indeed “say much more” and they are careful not to mention it. (They even diminish “State” to “state” as if to imply serious you guys, they meant the generic state)

    THe lnaguage governing the IRS rule is specific and doesn’t substitute federal exchanges for State exchanges, and you all know that territories can be treated “as” a state for purposes of the rule if they establish an exchange, but 1321 doesn’t make any similar substitution for the Feds.

    As RedState point out:

    Under longstanding rules, if the plain language of a statute says something, courts will enforce it unless it produces “absurd results” (i.e., there is no possible way it was meant to say that), it renders other parts of the statute meaningless, or the larger context of the statute shows that it was meant to be read some other way. The DC Circuit was unconvinced that any of these arguments could salvage the IRS’ insistence that “established by a State” really meant “regardless of whether the Exchange is established and operated by a State”.

    The problem confronting the IRS Rule is that subsidies also turn on a third attribute of Exchanges: who established them. Under section 36B, subsidies are available only for plans “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311 of the [ACA].” 26 U.S.C. § 36B(c)(2)(A)(i) (emphasis added); see also id. § 36B(b)(2)(A). Of the three elements of that provision—(1) an Exchange (2) established by the State (3) under section 1311—federal Exchanges satisfy only two: they are Exchanges established under section 1311. Nothing in section 1321 deems federally-established Exchanges to be “Exchange[s] established by the State.” This omission is particularly significant since Congress knew how to provide that a non-state entity should be treated as if it were a state when it sets up an Exchange. In a nearby section, the ACA provides that a U.S. territory that “elects . . . to establish an Exchange . . . shall be treated as a State.” 42 U.S.C. § 18043(a)(1). The absence of similar language in section 1321 suggests that even though the federal government may establish an Exchange “within the State,” it does not in fact stand in the state’s shoes when doing so.

    Dam McLaughlin at http://www.redstate.com/2014/07/22/dc-circuit-blocks-obamacare-subsidies-mandate-36-states/

    SarahW (267b14)

  17. The DC court ruled that 1312 defines the federal backup exchanges as 1311 exchanges in all respects except for tax credit powers.

    Common sense says exchanges a) without subsidies, b) without a monopoly and c) with a high barrier to entry (Sec 1301 QHP requirements) would attract exactly zero vendors. The entire market would be off-exchange, comprising ACA-compliant non-QHPs sold through brokers, private marketplaces, company web sites etc.

    So, on the court’s reading, the ACA orders HHS to establish a nullity – an agency that would perforce exchange nothing at all, but that would still be subject toma host of requirements in the bill that no longer make any sense.

    I think this counts as absurd, and that at a dead minimum suggests that “such Exchange” is plausibly read as equivalence language. It will be interesting to see what SCOTUS says when Halbig gets there.

    Ken Kelly (c7f9da)

  18. the tax vs. mandate case

    the one berobed whore john roberts got so confuzzled about

    it was all about the plain language of the law too

    american law is applied at the whimsies of ivy league trash

    this is just who you americans are anymore

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  19. “If you don’t go by the text, what DO you go by? A man with two watches never knows what time it is.”

    The intent was also clear, just ignored now by the left since it didn’t work. The Bill’s author explained the rationale .

    The only statement anyone has found in the legislative history that addresses this point comes from the Act’s lead author, who affirmed that Congress did intend to withhold tax credits in federal Exchanges. During a September 23, 2009, mark-up of his bill, which ultimately became the PPACA, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) refused to consider a Republican amendment regarding medical malpractice on the grounds it fell outside the Committee’s jurisdiction. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) protested, asking how Baucus’ bill could do other things that lie outside the Committee’s jurisdiction, like direct states to create Exchanges. Baucus responded the bill creates tax credits, which are within its jurisdiction, and makes eligibility for those tax credits conditional on states creating Exchanges. Conditional necessarily means that Baucus intended to withhold tax credits in states that did not create their own Exchanges.

    It could not be more clear what the intent was. Turning “State” into “state” doesn’t change that.

    Mike K (b5c01a)

  20. #10 –

    However, I can imagine a variant of the text wherein elsewhere in the bill there is language which clearly says that the $10,000,000 should be adjusted for inflation, and I can imagine a variant universe where significant deflation has occurred. In that case I think you have to look to intent to see whether or not ‘inflation’ was intended to cover deflation as well.

    aphrael (98d2d0)

    #8

    joe (debac0)

  21. Hardly, Ken.
    The federal government favored state exchanges (as Timothy Jost admitted in 2012) and created incentives for states to establish them.

    It’s true federal exchanges would tend to offer more expensive plans because burdensome regulations apply. But then those companies curry federal favor, and stand in place to benefit if the State changes its mind, (to get the carrot its constituents perhaps demand) as administration shifts to the state and prefers a turn-key operation.

    SarahW (267b14)

  22. There are off-plan ACA-compliant policies available in many states by providers that do not participate in the Exchanges. The main difference is that they do not have subsidies. Oddly, they have somewhat better benefits and wider networks. This may be because sick people tend to be poorer since they often cannot work.

    If Congress had actually intended to set up a federal registry that had non-subsidized plans, such would have many vendors since there would be no difference between that and what exists now in competition to state exchanges.

    It would be harder though on people who need the subsidies.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  23. Ken, without subsidies, what is the difference between off-exchange and on-exchange? If “none”, why wouldn’t a company want the free marketing help? By avoiding the exchange they make it harder for customers to find them.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  24. Sarah–

    I think the burdensome regulations apply anyway.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  25. Actually, sparing your state exchanges had benefits for employers re mandates/penalties, and the PPACA regulations in exchanges placed extra burdens on insurers that would tend to increase the costs of plans.

    SarahW (267b14)

  26. Again, from Rand:

    All laws must be objective (and objectively justifiable): men must know clearly, and in advance of taking an action, what the law forbids them to do (and why), what constitutes a crime and what penalty they will incur if they commit it.

    “The Nature of Government,”
    The Virtue of Selfishness, 110

    The retaliatory use of force requires objective rules of evidence to establish that a crime has been committed and to prove who committed it, as well as objective rules to define punishments and enforcement procedures. Men who attempt to prosecute crimes, without such rules, are a lynch mob. If a society left the retaliatory use of force in the hands of individual citizens, it would degenerate into mob rule, lynch law and an endless series of bloody private feuds or vendettas.

    If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules.

    This is the task of a government—of a proper government—its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government.

    A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control—i.e., under objectively defined laws.

    “The Nature of Government,”
    The Virtue of Selfishness, 109

    When men are caught in the trap of non-objective law, when their work, future and livelihood are at the mercy of a bureaucrat’s whim, when they have no way of knowing what unknown “influence” will crack down on them for which unspecified offense, fear becomes their basic motive, if they remain in the industry at all—and compromise, conformity, staleness, dullness, the dismal grayness of the middle-of-the-road are all that can be expected of them. Independent thinking does not submit to bureaucratic edicts, originality does not follow “public policies,” integrity does not petition for a license, heroism is not fostered by fear, creative genius is not summoned forth at the point of a gun.

    Non-objective law is the most effective weapon of human enslavement: its victims become its enforcers and enslave themselves.

    “Vast Quicksands,”
    The Objectivist Newsletter, July 1963, 25

    That which cannot be formulated into an objective law, cannot be made the subject of legislation—not in a free country, not if we are to have “a government of laws and not of men.” An undefineable law is not a law, but merely a license for some men to rule others.

    “Vast Quicksands,”
    The Objectivist Newsletter, July 1963, 28

    It is a grave error to suppose that a dictatorship rules a nation by means of strict, rigid laws which are obeyed and enforced with rigorous, military precision. Such a rule would be evil, but almost bearable; men could endure the harshest edicts, provided these edicts were known, specific and stable; it is not the known that breaks men’s spirits, but the unpredictable. A dictatorship has to be capricious; it has to rule by means of the unexpected, the incomprehensible, the wantonly irrational; it has to deal not in death, but in sudden death; a state of chronic uncertainty is what men are psychologically unable to bear.

    “Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,”
    The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 5

    An objective law protects a country’s freedom; only a non-objective law can give a statist the chance he seeks: a chance to impose his arbitrary will—his policies, his decisions, his interpretations, his enforcement, his punishment or favor—on disarmed, defenseless victims.

    “Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,”
    The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 5

    The threat of sudden destruction, of unpredictable retaliation for unnamed offenses, is a much more potent means of enslavement than explicit dictatorial laws. It demands more than mere obedience; it leaves men no policy save one: to please the authorities; to please—blindly, uncritically, without standards or principles; to please—in any issue, matter or circumstance, for fear of an unknowable, unprovable vengeance.

    “Antitrust: The Rule of Unreason,”
    The Objectivist Newsletter, Feb. 1962, 8

    Sorry, the point seems rather obvious to me. Do what the text of the law says for all the reasons stated above. If the text is unclear, throw out the case and chastise the legislature. If the legislature doesn’t like how the law is applied, change it or repeal it. End of problem.

    J.P. (bd0246)

  27. 21. Sarah

    Sarah,

    I appreciate your response, but I respectfully disagree with the substance of both of your points.

    It’s true that the Senate in particular was desperate to avoid any appearance of a federal “takeover’ of the insurance market. They were particularly sensitive to demands from Republican governors on this point. It doesn’t follow from that they would build a possibly unconstitutional coercion of the States into the law. The Virginia amicus in the King appeal useful in this regard.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0110/31516.html
    http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/VA-Amicus-Brief-King-v.-Sebelius-4th-Cir-2014.pdf

    As for exchanges without subsidies are concerned, all I can say is that you are seriously underestimating the barrier to entry that the QHP requirements in Sec 1301 represent. No rational company would make fools of themselves by jumping through hoops to create QHPs that interested customers would probably buy off-exchange anyway (to avoid privacy hassles). As it stands many large companies and alomost every small non-group insurer stayed off-exchange exclusively this year, waiting to get a sense of how things will shake out. I simple can’t credit curying the governments favor with any weight in this scenario. To the extent that you do, we will simply have to agree to disagree.

    https://sites.google.com/site/healthreformnavigator/ppaca-sec-1301
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/11/health-insurers-decisions-on-exchange-participation-obamacares-leading-indicators

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  28. Kevin M.

    QHPs are subsidy-eligible plans that can be sold on the exchanges (and off-exchange too, so long as the cost is the same). The regulations governing QHPs are much more burdensome than simple ACA-compliant plans (i.e. ones that satisfy the mandate, but aren’t eligible for subsidies).

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  29. Ken Kelly – your half hearted effort is understandable.

    JD (a2e54e)

  30. It doesn’t follow from that they would build a possibly unconstitutional coercion of the States into the law.

    Okay. That was just funny. All of a sudden Consitutionality mattered to them? But not when it came to their MediCaid expansion extortion. You guys crack me up.

    JD (a2e54e)

  31. Ken Kelly (c7f9da) — 7/26/2014 @ 3:15 pm

    So we are supposed to conclude that Gruber didn’t understand the law which of which he was a primary author ( based on his original statements before it became apparent that many states wouldn’t participate).

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  32. QHPs are subsidy-eligible plans that can be sold on the exchanges (and off-exchange too, so long as the cost is the same)

    They are only eligible for contemporaneous premium subsidies and cost-sharing subsidies if they are sold via the exchange. The same plan sold directly may be eligible for a tax credit later, but will never be eligible for a cost-sharing subsidy.

    So, one answer is “No one would sell a qualifying plan off-exchange to anyone who expected a subsidy.”

    As for plans with fewer regulations … well, these regulations are intended to enhance value and utility to the buyer, right? So, assuming that isn’t just complete crap, why would anyone not want one of these MUCH BETTER, if more expensive plans. By the entire logic of the ACA, the off-exchange plans are substandard. Your argument that people would all flock to the cheaper lesser-quality plans belies the whole argument about why we cancelled all those self-employed people out of plans that worked.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  33. As for plans with fewer regulations … well, these regulations are intended to enhance value and utility to the buyer, right? So, given that there are no subsidies possible, why would anyone not want one of these MUCH BETTER, if more expensive QHP plans. By the entire logic of the ACA, the off-exchange non-QHP plans are substandard. Your argument that people would all flock to the cheaper lesser-quality plans belies the whole argument about why we cancelled all those self-employed people out of plans that worked.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  34. Ken Kelly, will be here are week, try the veal.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  35. Having editing problems, clearly. 33 was supposed to replace the end of 32.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  36. Kevin M.

    1. The primary regulatory burden on the QHP issuers is in the form of various extra requirements. In particular they can’t cherry-pick : in order to sell anything at all on an exchange they must sell at least one silver and one gold plan (silver is at the tax credit & subsidy sweet spot). Non-QHP off-exchange sellers can design attractive high-value plans without being subject to any QHP constraints. It’s not an accident that the off-exchange plans tend to have better networks and be more expensive (subsidies ignored) than the most comparable on-exchange plans.

    2. Any and all QHP’s can & would in the scenario under discussion off-exchange by any rational vendor. That’s where all of the buyers would be. Once that step is taken, why tie yourself to QHP requirements in the first place? It’s all cost and no benefit.

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  37. Kevin M.

    “Any and all QHP’s can & would in the scenario under discussion would also be sold off-exchange by any rational vendor.”

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  38. Kevin M.

    I should add something: the QHP regulations exist to support a new and risky subsidy-eligible market. There is no suggestion anywhere that QHP’s are generally superior to non-QHP ACA-compliant policies.

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  39. oh Emmett Kelly
    now there was a fu*king clown
    ken is funnier

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  40. Kellys come and go
    there is only one for me
    Chubwa on Megyn

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  41. This is typical leftist blather. Thanks Ken.

    JD (a2e54e)

  42. So we are supposed to conclude that Gruber didn’t understand the law which of which he was a primary author ( based on his original statements before it became apparent that many states wouldn’t participate).

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  43. Applying the leftie sophistry of having the courts rewrite a law based on the theory that it wouldn’t be rational for Congress to write the law as it’s written, couldn’t they throw the whole thing out?

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  44. Ken,

    So in essence all of this furor has been could possibly be summed up like this:

    “We couldn’t put our intent into the text – because the bill wouldn’t have passed”

    EPWJ (e8c813)

  45. the whole process, is in keeping, with Cass Sunstein’s nudge theory, pushing people in the directions
    they want.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  46. EPWJ,

    No, I don’t believe that a properly fleshed out Sec 1312 (i.e. saying what “such Exchange” actually meant) would have cost the bill a single vote. I doubt that it would have even been a subject of discussion outside the most wonkish of circles.

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  47. Gruber is just working feverishly so as not to wake up on the bottom of the Mystic in concrete sleepwear.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  48. Ken, to a self-employed person in California who does not expect a subsidy, God willing, the off-exchange plans have an obvious benefit: their pools are statistically less likely to have high-cost policy-holders since really sick people usually need the subsidy.

    That isn’t stating a policy preference, just a preference not to shoulder the effing entire burden of ensuring the previously-excluded, which the ACA dumps on the laps of the self-employed.

    I am never surprised that the people most in favor of what the ACA has done are people who are immune to its effects. They’re on government benefit plans, or Medicare or have solid employee plans and just cannot understand how BADLY the self-employed have been screwed by being assigned to the national sacrifice zone.

    Did you know that you cannot BUY insurance on the exchange as good as the “Enhanced Silver” routinely offered to some of the subsidized?

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  49. Funny, Ogabe is pushing full repeal of the Iraq War Resolution so as to ensure we don’t get re-enmeshed.

    Possibly that was a bipartisan-o. Doubtless the GOP is eager to give Urkel a mulligan in losing Iraq.

    Meanwhile methinks the WH should be considering a ‘kinetic action-o’ now that Libya is reverting to total chaos.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  50. The Obama Admisration spent an entire year writing ACA. They spent a massive amount of political capital getting it passed. The President spent years explaining how great healthcare was going to be as a result of the ACA. He spoke with confidence how it would be better, you can keep your plan, your doctor, and not only that a family would save over $2,399.99 as a result.

    Now I being told by the administration that somehow there is “type-o”, a “mistake-o”, and by one of its authors he “mis-spoke-o”. Something to do with understanding the laws “intent-o”.

    When the SCOTUS disallows the IRS ruling who is he going to “blame-o”?

    highpockets (b8830b)

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  52. 51. Oh sure…Ima gonna click right on it!

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  53. General Hafter is the strongman we can do business with over there, not quite an eradicateur in the Algerian model, the Embassy basically gets in the way.

    narciso (ee1f88)

  54. Kevin M

    I’m not sure how to respond. I don’t live in California and I have a solid company plan. It might help if you elaborated on that “Enhanced Silver” plan. Is that literally a plan that you cannot buy unless you are subsidy-eligible? I can’t say that I’ve heard of that before – it certainly sounds like a really bad idea.

    Ken Kelly (f754a2)

  55. So you gonna keep your plan and your doctor then, Ken?

    elissa (ff35cf)

  56. Narcisco, that is a week old story but it does not seem able to get any traction.

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  57. More’s the pity…

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  58. I think most of them didn’t read the law.

    None of them read it. It didn’t even exist in a readable form at the time of the vote. Literally nobody knew exactly what was in it. Not any congressman, not any staffer, nobody.

    Milhouse (9d3e42)

  59. It’s one thing to discuss “original intent” when the usage of language may have changed over the years, so that what the drafters of a law understood it to mean might be different from the way some people have come to understand it.

    None of them read it. It didn’t even exist in a readable form at the time of the vote. Literally nobody knew exactly what was in it. Not any congressman, not any staffer, nobody.

    Justifies the removal from office of any Congresscritter and senator who voted for it.

    Peter B (b74e27)

  60. Ken – how would you square Gruber and Baucus’ remarks at the time with your current sophistry?

    JD (a2e54e)

  61. Ropelight, at 15: you’re right that that’s a hazard. On the other hand, if the text of a law is ambiguous, then courts can either impose their own views, or they can try to ferret out intent – there are no other options. What would you have the court do in the face of ambiguous text?

    Kevin, at 13: that’s an interesting hypothetical. In that case I think the text is ambiguous enough to allow a court to investigate to see if it’s a drafting error.

    Joe, at #20: I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

    aphrael (98d2d0)

  62. aphrael asked, What would you have the court do in the face of ambiguous text?

    The court should declare the text ambiguous, suspend enforcement, and remand the invalid legislation back to the originating body.

    ropelight (5e27c4)

  63. aphrael,the IRS’s position is that it was the lear intent of Congress to provide subsidies at both state and federal exchanges (page 2).

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-23/pdf/2012-12421.pdf

    f. Federally-Facilitated Exchange

    Under the proposed regulations, the
    term Exchange has the same meaning as
    in 45 CFR 155.20, which provides that
    the term Exchange refers to a State
    Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary
    Exchange, and Federally-facilitated
    Exchange.
    Commentators disagreed on whether
    the language in section 36B(b)(2)(A)
    limits the availability of the premium
    tax credit only to taxpayers who enroll
    in qualified health plans on State
    Exchanges.
    The statutory language of section 36B
    and other provisions of the Affordable
    Care Act support the interpretation that
    credits are available to taxpayers who
    obtain coverage through a State
    Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary
    Exchange, and the Federally-facilitated
    Exchange.
    Moreover, the relevant
    legislative history does not demonstrate
    that Congress intended to limit the
    premium tax credit to State Exchanges

    Everything in the above is now a demonstrable lie. The fact that supporters of Obamacare are trotting out “ambiguity” and “drafting errors” is all the proof I need to demonstrate that the administration’s initial defense the law’s intent was clear is laughable.

    Do you disagree?

    And if they were false in the first instance, that the very clarity of the law compelled them to issue the rule, why shouldn’t I conclude they are false in the second instance, when they argue that the ambiguity of the law allows the to issue the rule?

    Steve57 (70f802)

  64. 62. …if the text of a law is ambiguous, then…

    aphrael (98d2d0) — 7/27/2014 @ 6:48 am

    But then, that’s not what this is about.

    The IRS said the law was unambiguous. Hence their rule.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  65. he tax vs. mandate case

    the one berobed whore john roberts got so confuzzled about

    it was all about the plain language of the law too

    Yes, it was, and he followed the plain language as far as it went. Yes, Congress called the thing a penalty, which would be unconstitutional. But do you really think the courts should just take Congress’s word for things, when it is plainly lying? Precedent says it shouldn’t. Feets, seriously, do you think that in the case Roberts cited, the court should have let Congress get away with an unconstitutional penalty by calling it a tax? Do you think they should be able to ban guns by calling them navigable waters, or pass a bill of attainder by calling it a letter of marque? I don’t think so. The language of a law controls, but the operative part controls, not the part that gives it a name.

    Milhouse (9d3e42)

  66. I see no way the 4th circuit could arrive at their decision based on intent. If we are using intent as the determining factor then anything that increases access is included and we have no law at all just unlimited power to impose any conditions they wish.

    The actual text has to control or we are no longer a nation of laws but of men and their fickle desires.

    brainpimp (2d9b8f)

  67. One caveat: sometimes a mistake is completely obvious to all, and in such a case I think it’s legitimate for a court to recognise that fact, and to treat the law as if it said what was obviously meant. In contracts this is a nunc pro tunc correction, and the courts do it all the time. But there must be no ambiguity at all in the intent, no possibility for anyone to honestly believe that the text as written was intended. That obviously isn’t the case here.

    Milhouse (9d3e42)

  68. “Your answer determines how much power you want to give to the dishonest left.”

    Redundancy alert, end of the sentence!

    Jeff Lebowski (a19bd1)

  69. Ken,

    If you don’t know what a Silver 94 plan is, you really don’t have much knowledge of the ACA.

    Silver 94, income of $17K/year, 60 years old, Los Angeles. $140/month.

    Platinum, income of $50K/year, 60 years old, Los Angeles. $893/month.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  70. Hmm. Image insertion doesn’t work.

    Silver 94

    Platinum

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  71. Note also that if you were to falsely claim an income of $17K, you would have to pay back the premium subsidy of $500/month (compared to the unenhanced Silver 70 plan which has quite different copays and deductibles) but you would not have to pay back any of the cost-sharing subsidies.

    Further, if you actually made $30K and claimed $17K, you would have to pay back only a $155/month premium subsidy difference, but you would still get for “free” all those tiny copays and zeroed out deductibles which you were not entitled to.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  72. “You, as a judge, must decide what the law means.”

    Why can’t a judge decide that it’s ambiguous and defer to another interpretation?

    “The Obama Admisration spent an entire year writing ACA”

    No it was congress that wrote it.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  73. If there is a plain, non-ambiguous meaning — even if you think some other interpretation might be better policy — you have to go with the text. You cannot create an ambiguity that doesn’t exist, then fix it.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  74. But even without getting into policy you have to read an individual sentence or section as being part of a whole.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  75. Imdw is so cute.

    JD (9ac469)

  76. Read it as part of the whole? Like where they tried to strong arm States over Medicaid expansion? Or where Gruber readily admitted that they did not intend to provide subsidies for federal exchange to encourage States to establish their own?

    JD (9ac469)

  77. As part of the whole, maybe imdw could show us other sections that indicate they intended to extend subsidies to the federal exchange participants.

    JD (9ac469)

  78. Oh we’re not talking about intent remember. Just the text.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  79. The text doesn’t indicate anywhere that subsidies are to apply to the Federal exchanges. There were numerous place that they could have done so, yet chose not to.

    JD (9ac469)

  80. This link does a good job showing where the legislation chose to not include federal exchanges in subsidies.

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/07/23/no-halbig-did-not-gut-obamacare-because-of-a-drafting-error/

    JD (9ac469)

  81. Most of this is in the Burwell ruling. For example, does the section where the feds establish “such Exchange” (as opposed to, say, “an exchange”) mean that federal exchanges function as the ones that states are mandated (the mandate is also another important point) to establish?

    I can see how it doesn’t resolve the issue, which is why one gets to result that the statute, complex as it is, is ambiguous.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  82. Lol. Shockingly, you prefer sophistry to the actual words. And the stated words of the architect. Rewriting history in broad daylight. Even Baucus stated that fed exchanges would be treated differently. The only ambiguity stems from after the fact butthurt from leftists.

    JD (9ac469)

  83. Oh we’re not talking about intent remember. Just the text.

    The intent did match the text. They intended to coerce states into starting their own exchanges hoping to shame politicians into accepting a federal mandate that the states would ultimately bare the cost of maintaining. It’s now up to liberal judges to divine some other “intent” based on their political bias.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  84. You have to be impressed with how high imdw can pile its bu!!$h!t.

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  85. Mr. Milhouse the perverted John Roberts opened up vast new tracts of oppression for America’s fascist congresswhores to explore

    he’s enabled the ruling class of our once-respectable little country to take the coercion of their subjects to even more spectacular plateaus

    as a free pikachu, the benighted morally bankrupt fiscally risible whorestate of America should not be able to dictate my purchasings of services on any level not even a little

    and a berobed slut like John Roberts with a vaunted Harvard education should know as much

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  86. See, you’re going with what Baucus says, that’s intent. This post is about how it doesn’t matter what the intent is.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  87. No sense in wasting any more time with you. Next troll!

    Hadoop (f7d5ba)

  88. Then, imdw, show us in the text where federal exchanges are affirmatively included.

    JD (9ac469)

  89. “Most of this is in the Burwell ruling. For example, does the section where the feds establish “such Exchange” (as opposed to, say, “an exchange”) mean that federal exchanges function as the ones that states are mandated (the mandate is also another important point) to establish?”

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  90. That is an extraordinary stretch, and forces people to ignore actual words printed in the actual law, instead of the ones you wish were there.

    JD (9ac469)

  91. 86. Mr. Milhouse the perverted John Roberts opened up vast new tracts of oppression for America’s fascist congresswhores to explore

    he’s enabled the ruling class of our once-respectable little country to take the coercion of their subjects to even more spectacular plateaus

    as a free pikachu, the benighted morally bankrupt fiscally risible whorestate of America should not be able to dictate my purchasings of services on any level not even a little

    and a berobed slut like John Roberts with a vaunted Harvard education should know as much
    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 1:12 pm

    I wonder if you appreciate the irony.

    You’re all for FreeDOOOOOM!!!

    Until the people of Kali vote the wrong way on prop 8. Then you’re all kinds of cool with the risible whorestate of America headed by the Robert’s court being able to dictate all kinds of $he-ite.

    Makes the act hard to buy, doncha think, pikachu?

    Steve57 (70f802)

  92. nonononono Mr. 57

    it’s morally repugnant for a majority to put the rights of an historically despised minority to a vote

    it was so gross

    but of course today prop 8 would fail if it were put to a new vote

    fail like those disgusting new lunchables kraft put out where they package it to where you can’t even see the disgusting food they’re selling you

    they thing they’re jet blue or something hell if i know

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  93. they *think* they’re jet blue i mean

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  94. Steve – his staunchiness is conditional.

    JD (9ac469)

  95. it’s not all about process Mr. JD if it was all about process it wouldn’t be worth all this fuss

    life’s too short for a passionate devotion to process process process i think

    sometimes it’s just about doing right by people, not as an American

    just as a pikachu

    i never said everybody has to think like me

    but I know mom and dad raised me to say hey

    these people, we should treat them like we treat everybody else

    and that is what i say

    ad effing nauseum

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  96. Imdw views the law as a mission statement

    JD (9ac469)

  97. Whether or not I treat them the same, which I do, is not predicated on redefining a word.

    JD (9ac469)

  98. 95. Steve – his staunchiness is conditional.

    JD (9ac469) — 7/27/2014 @ 5:12 pm

    I’ve noticed.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  99. you can still have your definition of marriage Mr. JD

    it’s not like my definition of ice cream sundae is authoritative

    you still have these whack job fascists who put nuts on it

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  100. To digress from my earlier digression, and perhaps wind my way back to the original topic, does anyone else find it typically weird of this administration that it’s now arguing the law is ambiguous? When it first argued the law is clear?

    Steve57 (70f802)

  101. So, for example, the “such Exchange” language. Those are words from the law. You can’t just pick and choose, only look at some of the parts to interpret. And if looking at the whole leaves it ambiguous, then you get the 4th circuit result.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  102. Not that weird. When arguing interpretaion you’d of course argue first that it’s not ambiguous, but supports your result. Then you’d argue that in case the court found it ambiguous, it should apply Chevron deference.

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  103. Imdw’s tap dancing is precious. The law says what it says. The fact that the results turned out different that. You hoped for doesn’t mean it is ambiguous. It means you wrote a flawed law. And you are begging some Judges to fix what you cannot.

    JD (9ac469)

  104. 100. you can still have your definition of marriage Mr. JD

    it’s not like my definition of ice cream sundae is authoritative

    you still have these whack job fascists who put nuts on it

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 5:30 pm

    I don’t want to put my nuts on your definitions of marriages Mr. feets.

    In fact, I don’t want to put my nuts on your wedding cake. Which I shouldn’t be forced to make.

    Which is my point.

    “Leave my nuts alone” is my battle cry.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  105. “No it was congress that wrote it.”

    By any objective analysis, that is the problem.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  106. the cake thing is just weird

    amusing but weird

    all these super-angsty hyper-christian gay-hating bakers out there in the hinterlands

    who knew baking was so ideological?

    But it’ll all sort itself out sooner rather than later i imagine.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  107. 104. Imdw’s tap dancing is precious. The law says what it says. The fact that the results turned out different that. You hoped for doesn’t mean it is ambiguous. It means you wrote a flawed law. And you are begging some Judges to fix what you cannot.
    JD (9ac469) — 7/27/2014 @ 5:54 pm

    It is especially precious because his admonition that we can’t “just pick and choose”requires us to…

    “pick and choose.”

    Obviously we can’t “pick and choose” differently than IMDW would have us “pick and choose.”

    Steve57 (70f802)

  108. Steve – plus he wants people to pick and choose everywhere except the definitions within the law, and the relevant passages within the law. Pick and choose, just not from certain places.

    JD (9ac469)

  109. 107. …But it’ll all sort itself out sooner rather than later i imagine.

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 6:09 pm

    Yeah, fascism is good at that. Sorting things out.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  110. fascism is unfortunate but that’s the road you Americans have chosen

    you had a good thing going but you pissed it all away

    but this has nothing to do with baking cakes

    cakes are love incarnate

    they’re designed on purpose to make people feel special and loved

    and cakes do not discriminate

    does anyone really think some bigoted idiot baker is going to spark the flame what cauterizes the fascist gangrene what is rotting America from the inside?

    of course not

    bakers what hate gay people are just ridiculous distractions, cost-effective clickbait fodder at best, if they are to be socially valued in some way

    you can tell cause of, invariably, these bakers are always all like

    I will gladly gladly gladly sell you homos some low-margin product – would you like a dozen sugar cookies? But no way in hell am I selling you my highest-margin product.

    because Jesus

    ok

    so what we know is

    there’s a subset of bakers with ISSUES

    but this is not relevant to the neo-fascist ascendancy in America

    but I wouldn’t trade it for the world

    these bakers make the entire anti-gay marriage crowd look effing ridiculous

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  111. I was thinking sushi.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  112. Do you really not understand that you’re suppose to look at all the sections, not just the ones that support your view?

    cfrom (d2bcf3)

  113. HF

    Is freedom best served by demanding people give up one freedom to accommodate someone’s demands?

    EPWJ (db4127)

  114. i’m so over sushi I’m more of a ramen house kinda pikachu now

    ask Mr. red

    where we live probably has the highest per capita number of sushi places outside of somewhere in japan

    but ramen is wonderful and magical, just not during a hot summer – I think I already linked this for you Mr. 57 but this one’s my favorite

    i get the Jinya Tonkotsu Black and add a “seasoned egg”

    so good

    if you take some home and refrigerate it you end up with an inch-thick layer of fatty goodness on your to-go dealio

    so it’s not health food

    but it’s what i go for nowadays when I’m in the mood for pho

    especially since so much of the pho here in the valley (what little there is) is usually more or less disappointing

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  115. You can’t put nuts on a California Roll.

    But you can on some cakes. Like German Chocolate.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  116. Mr. EPWJ even in the robustly anti-fascist imaginary America what yet lives in story and song

    you still need to pick your battles

    and I’m certainly not someone what says they shouldn’t have the right to get all up in those matrimonial homo people’s faces and say no cake for you I love Jesus

    but not enough to where I’m gonna sympathize with a screechy hyper-ideological baker what gets face-stomped by the boot of fascism

    not when there’s so much actual serious injustice in this sad pathetic burgeoningly nazi-like country of ours

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  117. yes nuts on some cakes is pleasing in the eyes of the lord Mr. 57

    i been looking and looking for someone who makes an amaretto laced italian cream cake

    like how mom used to make

    which you really don’t get the real deal without the pecans

    same with carrot cake with cream cheese icing

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  118. who knew baking was so ideological?

    But it’ll all sort itself out sooner rather than later i imagine.

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 6:09 pm

    Actually it’s the fascists, who are all on your side of the issue, that make baking ideological. The baker’s just saying “I don’t feel like making a wedding cake for a SS wedding”. Then the SSM fascists say “You can’t do that!” and sic the courts and who knows what else on them. Maybe their taxes got audited.

    If you had any capacity for thinking about this objectively you would be able to see that, but you have none.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  119. Imdw never fails to ignore its own advise, and to so aggressively prove that it is in fact imdw under yet another moniker.

    JD (9ac469)

  120. gay people have a right not to be discriminated against in lots of place in america Mr. A

    if Team R wants to change that then they need to campaign in a compelling way to where everyone hates gay people as much as they do

    Team R used to use anti-gay fervor to stampede people to the polls on a regular/semi-regular basis, at least for awhile there

    but lately it seems like their heart’s not in it

    which is something to note

    social conservatives are the third leg of the stool you know

    without them the stool isn’t even a stool it’s just a kitchen hazard someone might could trip over and break a hip, or worse

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  121. imdw or cfrom or whatever:

    Do you really not think that no one in Congress actually looked at the various sections? Sure, I’m certain their aides did, but I didn’t elect their aides.

    And maybe, just maybe, the members of the Circuit Court did look at the whole law? Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. You don’t know and neither do I. However, I will bet a lot that the Court did indeed have clerks and report on relevant sections before making their decision. If they didn’t, there are more problems to our system.

    Did you ever stop to think that passing a law that the people who passed it didn’t bother to read might have a few flaws?

    Did you ever stop to think that Congress has a mechanism to correct laws after passage to correct such things, yet Congress did not try these mechanisms?

    Did you ever stop to think that the whole section in question was intended to force the states to adopt exchanges and only now, when they didn’t, it’s suddenly a problem?

    Do you not understand that passing such a sweeping law through parliamentary tricks rather than trying to compromise might make it unpopular and subject to scrutiny?

    Do you not understand that the only reason this has all come up is because Chief Justice Roberts did exactly as you suggested and a whole lot of people still don’t like it?

    Do you not understand that sometimes things just don’t go the way you want? And if all you can do when that happens is whine, then you might be a baby?

    The Supreme Court has made a lot of decisions over the years I disagree with, but I am not a lawyer nor a member of Congress. I just go on and carefully gauge my vote in future years. Your opinion counts exactly as much as mine. Except in Chicago.

    Do you really not understand that you’re suppose to look at all the sections, not just the ones that support your view?

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  122. If you can’t put nuts on a California roll, I guess I’m just not living in America anymore.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  123. I’m sorry. This is terribly, terribly off-topic. It’s just that I went to college with Mike Godwin, formulator of Godwin’s Law, at the University of Texas. We were freshmen together in Plan II and shared a study group for Biology 301 with Dr. Irwin Speer, which was supposed to be the weed-out course for the pre-meds, and neither of us being pre-med we enjoyed getting blind-graded strictly-curved As in the course. (We told each other we were protecting tomorrow’s patients at the margin.) So I’m exempt from Godwin’s Law. That said, this quote, which is terribly off-topic, from a fabulous book that I highly recommend, Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin:

    The Germans had already shown, by December 1941, that they could do something far worse than deport Jews …. The reality of resettlement from which the Germans now distanced themselves can be brought closer by simple quotation of [contemporary] German usage: “Resettlement site: on the resettlement site eight trenches are situated. One squad of ten officers andmen are to work at each trench and are to be relieved every two hours.”

    No idea why I thought of that when I was thinking of today’s Democrats and their verbal contortions. Again, I apologize for straying so far off topic.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  124. 123. …gay people have a right not to be discriminated against in lots of place in america Mr. A

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 7:05 pm

    Used to be forcing someone to work for you was an American thingy.

    You may not have noticed, but this country fought a bloody civil war to end that kind of employer-employee relationship.

    I’d be curious to know when you rethought the matter and decided enforced servitude is a gay right.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  125. 125. If you can’t put nuts on a California roll, I guess I’m just not living in America anymore.
    Ag80 (eb6ffa) — 7/27/2014 @ 7:32 pm

    You put nuts on anything you want. It is a free country, if you’re Honduran.

    That wasn’t the point. The point was, can you make me call it a California Roll after you put nuts on it. I say no.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  126. you misunderstand Mr. 57

    i think the anti-gay bakers should fight fight fight against being forced to make wedding cakes for gay people

    they have to sing their truth

    this is their moment their moment – it’s their time flying high limelight – this is their moment

    and if we have to fight another civil war for so the matrimonial homos don’t get their cakes then so be it

    this is a key issue

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  127. Steve57/Job. That is all.

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  128. Happy,

    “you still need to pick your battles” – so in this scenario – who brought the battle to who?

    Are you thinking the people who own the bakery are the protagonists? – but in this scenario – they were being forced to do something they had never done before?

    Maybe I’m not seeing it -

    EPWJ (db4127)

  129. But I’m overstaying my welcome – back to banlandia

    EPWJ (db4127)

  130. i’m not sure if there’s any actual incidence as of yet of anyone having been forced to bake a cake

    but it’s just a matter of time

    evangelical slave cakes are on the horizon

    and they said it couldn’t happen here

    yeah well they lied

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  131. We should organize a flotilla to bring wedding cakes to beleaguered same-sex newlyweds in all places where they are contraband. Also something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

    nk (dbc370)

  132. But after I find a Rolls Royce grill for my Nissan.

    nk (dbc370)

  133. i second this motion

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  134. At least we now know who is to blame for our problems. It’s not Washington, it’s you stupid Americans. Happy and David Brooks are in complete agreement:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/383872/liberal-media-panel-blames-ted-cruz-american-people-harry-reids-do-nothing-leadership

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  135. 133. …and they said it couldn’t happen here

    yeah well they lied

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 8:25 pm

    They lied about a lot.They’re still lying.

    Maybe someday you’ll come around to my point of view.

    Whih isn’t anti-gay.

    It’s pro-saying-what-you-think-is-right.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  136. i think Mr. Cruz is just ducky as a senator

    just like that Rand Paul person

    it’s like how that obese jersey trash guy found his niche as governor

    and how that Mark Zuckerberg douchebag is just exactly the sort of person what’s found his calling running a sleazy social media site

    bird in the hand, people

    bird in the hand

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  137. it’s a little anti-gay

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  138. 135. But after I find a Rolls Royce grill for my Nissan.

    nk (dbc370) — 7/27/2014 @ 8:32 pm

    If you wanted a Rolls Royce grill, you should have bought an F150. Like everybody else.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  139. 140. it’s a little anti-gay

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 8:54 pm

    Well just how down for the cause must I be to pass your litmus test?

    Steve57 (70f802)

  140. Life imitates Through the Looking Glass

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

    htom (412a17)

  141. Well just how down for the cause must I be to pass your litmus test?
    Steve57 (70f802) — 7/27/2014 @ 8:59 pm

    Never, they will always move the goalposts. It’s not about equality. It’s about power and revenge. Always has been. I suppose if you just let him put the tip in…

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  142. Here’s the entire chapter.

    htom (412a17)

  143. Well just how down for the cause must I be to pass your litmus test?

    Never, Mr. 57. I will always move the goalposts. It’s not about equality. It’s about power and revenge. It always has been. I suppose if you just let me put the tip in then that would be really awkward for both of us.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  144. I knew it!

    Gazzer (e04ef7)

  145. 146. Well just how down for the cause must I be to pass your litmus test?

    Never, Mr. 57. I will always move the goalposts. It’s not about equality. It’s about power and revenge. It always has been. I suppose if you just let me put the tip in then that would be really awkward for both of us.

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/27/2014 @ 9:10 pm

    Well, alrighty, then.

    If it’s not too anti-gay to say this, it’s already too awkward for both of us.

    Steve57 (70f802)

  146. to every man his little cross I guess

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  147. as a free pikachu, the benighted morally bankrupt fiscally risible whorestate of America should not be able to dictate my purchasings of services on any level not even a little

    and a berobed slut like John Roberts with a vaunted Harvard education should know as much

    And indeed Roberts confirmed that American can’t dictate your purchasings of goods or services, so you should be grateful to him instead of insulting him. That was an important precedent to establish for the future. The interstate commerce clause does not allow Congress to compel someone to engage in commerce. (Congress probably could compel you to buy a gun under its militia power, but that’s a different matter.)

    What he also found was that despite all the blathering about “mandates” and “penalties”, the ACA actully doesn’t require anyone to buy anything. The requirement to buy, which we were all told was there, actually wasn’t. The law allowed people the legal option of paying the so-called “penalty” and remaining uninsured. That’s not a mandate. A mandate is where if you don’t comply you’re breaking the law, and willingness to pay the penalty doesn’t make it legal. If you keep breaking the law and paying the fines, they call you a scofflaw and raise the fines. But the ACA says you can pay up and be exempt from the “mandate”. Which makes it not a mandate at all.

    Milhouse (c63fe5)

  148. bakers what hate gay people are just ridiculous distractions, cost-effective clickbait fodder at best, if they are to be socially valued in some way

    you can tell cause of, invariably, these bakers are always all like

    I will gladly gladly gladly sell you homos some low-margin product – would you like a dozen sugar cookies? But no way in hell am I selling you my highest-margin product.

    because Jesus

    That’s simply not true, feets. They have no objection to selling cakes to gay people, so long as it doesn’t facilitate their so-called “wedding”. And they won’t facilitate the “wedding” with cookies or cake or anything else, high or low margin. It’s like a car rental place who will rent cars to anyone, except if they have specific knowlege that it will be used as a getaway car for a robbery.

    Milhouse (c63fe5)

  149. Do you really not think that no one in Congress actually looked at the various sections? Sure, I’m certain their aides did, but I didn’t elect their aides.

    No, the aides didn’t either, because the bill didn’t even exist when the senate voted on it!

    Milhouse (c63fe5)

  150. As I understand the arguments of those who look to “intent,” though, a magical thing happens when Congress votes on the law. Even if the staffers meant $10,000,000 when they wrote the text, that term magically “means” $1,000,000 when Congress enacts the law — because their “intent” is that the tax apply to those making over $1,000,000.

    To me, a better hypothetical would be:

    …Even if the staffers meant $10,000,000 when they wrote the text, that term magically “means” $1,000,000 when Congress enacts the law — because their “intent” is that the tax fund activities that Congress determines is necessary to execute the government function.

    With this reasoning Congress can make any earnings dollar amount applicable to the tax. Doesn’t that interpretation sound more like this situation?

    Rodda (c1edfb)

  151. Rodda @153, I couldn’t resist asking.

    Does your name have anything to do with the gun company?

    http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=427186311

    Rodda & Co. 450/400 2 3/8″ Nitro For Black Powder. 24″ Barrels. Beautiful wood. Weight: 9 lbs. LOP is 13 3/4″. Complete Expert Refinishing on both Metal and Wood. 1/4 Rib. Express Sights. Border Engraved & 90% Case color remaining over the action. Very nice bores with sharp rifling.

    Steve57 (7f8e80)


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