Politics Explained: The Obamacare Ruling

With the Supreme Court ruling almost entirely in favor of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), there has been a lot of talk on both sides of the aisle on what exactly that means. To prime the discussion, I would like you to watch a clip from Candidate Barack Obama four years ago.

If you decided not to watch it, basically it is Candidate Obama promising not to raise taxes at all on the middle class. After he was President Obama, he was interviewed about Obamacare and questioned about whether or not it was in fact a tax increase on the middle class. This clip is a little bit longer, but worth it if you have time to watch it. When confronted on whether or not this is a tax he said, “absolutely not.” There are penalties he says, but it is all fair. What the President didn’t want to admit was, no matter how justifiable you think it is, it is still a tax.

Today, the Supreme Court confirmed that. I will not go too much in depth in analyzing the Court’s decision except for those parts relevant to the Campaign season in front of us. For more details about the ruling itself, here is a nice breakdown.

The Solicitor General (the Government’s lawyer) tried to make the argument that Congress has the right to force people to buy health insurance because of the Congressional duty to regulate interstate commerce. Today the Supreme Court in essence said, “Well, no, this doesn’t really count as interstate commerce, but this is a tax, and Congress can tax…so fine…keep your mandate, but you have to call it a tax.” Now doesn’t that make Obama feel a little silly?

What does that mean politically? Well the GOP now has just the ammo they need to call Obama a “tax-and-spend” president, and the Democrats have what they feel is validation from the Court. Even in Obama’s brief remarks following the decision, he said something to the effect of, “Now let me be clear, we see today that the Court stands with us in saying this is something the country needs.” No Mr. President, that comment could not be any farther from the truth.

Chief Justice Roberts, writing the Majority Opinion said, “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.” That is key to remember when thinking about this. The Court did not put it’s stamp of approval on the legislation. I think that Mitt Romney sums it up best when he said today: “What the Court did not do on its last day in session I will do on my first day if elected President of the United States. And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare….Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today.” Constitutional or not, it’s “bad policy”

I predict that this outcome gives Romney more of a boost than if the Court simply threw out the bill as unconstitutional. First off, the democrats can not turn Obamacare into a martyr appreciated more after it’s demise. Even more, I say this because more scrutiny will be brought back to the harmful bill and it will finally be revealed for what it really is, a tax on the middle class.

In Obama’s address today, he talked about what Obamacare means for America. It means that Health Insurance companies are put under Congress’s control. The policies that have made health insurance a profitable business are being outlawed and thrown out. This means that they are going to lose money and normally that would lead to an increase in premiums for policy holders. But no, we can’t have that. We can’t have big bad businesses raising costs on people, so instead we’ll put the Health Insurance companies on life support and then prop them up with government spending. Oh good, so the government will pay for it. I’m sure glad that I don’t have to pay…Oh wait…where does the government get it’s money from? Oh yeah…me.

I can’t seem to find a link for Obama’s remarks, but I really wish you could hear them and hear just what Obama plans on doing to our country.

But like I said, this is not going to end well for Obama and he knows it. At the end of his address, he tried to say we have bigger problems like the economy. Though I agree with the President, when Obama tries to distract from something towards the economy, you know he’s in bad shape. And not only does Obama see it, but we all do. Evidence of this can be seen in the surge of donations to the Romney campaign since the verdict was delivered. In the four hours since the verdict was delivered, the Romney campaign has raised over $1.5 million from over 13,500 donors; all of that in the name of repealing Obamacare. By the end of the day, the Romney camp over doubled that number to $3.2 million

I joined the ranks of those 13,500+ with my small donation, and if you want to send the President a message by supporting Mitt, click this convenient link.

So, though Republicans lost the battle today on getting rid of this harmful policy, it will put them on track to winning the war and getting rid of it in its entirety.

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Politics Explained: Obama’s Absurd View on Judicial Activism

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is always engaged in setting important precedent that shapes our judicial system and in preserving the integrity of the Constitution – or so we hope. In comparison to the number of cases that the Supreme Court chooses to take, it is rare that it gets more than passing mention in the media. When the highest court in the land does get as much media attention as it’s getting, you know that something important is going on.

Last week, oral arguments were heard before the court in the case National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, or more commonly known as the case against Obamacare. The main issue in this case, though there are a few, is the idea of an individual mandate and the governments ability to regulate health care. Basically, is it within the power of the national government to force people to either buy government regulated health insurance or pay a fine.

Though we may not get a final decision for months from the Supreme Court, many political commentators have pointed out the likelihood that the individual mandate will be deemed unconstitutional. The real question in everyone’s mind is that if the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional, will that be enough for the Supreme Court to overturn the entire 2,700 page bill or do they also need to make a ruling against the government regulation of health care. This is where it gets tricky. But anyway, that’s just the background. This is not meant to be an analysis of the case itself but peoples’ reactions to it, especially that of our President.

Earlier today, President Obama made this statement. Quoting from an article from USA Today:

“In his first comments on the court’s historic oral arguments last week, Obama said a decision to reverse the actions of Congress would be “judicial activism,” which conservatives usually oppose.

‘I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,’ the president said.”

I’ve read that quote a dozen times and it astonishes me more and more each time. President Obama was even a self proclaimed professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School (self proclaimed because he was technically just a “Senior Lecturer”). Of all people, he should know what constitutes judicial activism, and this outcome would not fall under that classification. Judicial activism refers to judges letting personal politics affect their decisions and even legislating from the bench. As seen from his absurd comment, Obama feels that overturning any part of Obamacare would be unconstitutional because it was voted upon by the congress. There are many things wrong with that statement. I’ll try to briefly sum up my main points.

Of all people, a senior lecturer of constitutional law at such a well respected law school should understand the principle of separation of powers. There’s a reason why the judicial branch is separated from the other two branches, and not subject to election. It is so that they don’t have to worry about being pushed around by sly Chicago politicians as was the case earlier today. Their whole purpose on the Supreme Court is to keep the legislative and executive branches from passing things like this that erode our constitutional liberties. To top it off, to call such an action “unprecedented” is simply laughable.

Now, there are cases in which, by overturning a law, the Supreme Court is practicing judicial activism. These are the cases in which the law for all intents and purposes is constitutional but the court decides to “interpret” the constitution in such a way that they create a whole new precedent. This could not be further from the truth in this case. To suggest that somehow, by overturning this particular law, the judicial branch would be overstepping their bounds is completely absurd and even embarrassing to hear from our country’s executive leader.

Then why make this unfounded comment? Because Obama wants to make this political. He’s scared that his claim to infamy will be thrown out and then he will have to explain his way around this come the Fall when the general election is in full swing. He hopes that if he can perpetuate the idea now that the justices are a bunch of rouge activists out to get him, then the public will look past that the authorities in the land on the constitution have deemed his precious legislation unconstitutional.

Orrin Hatch (R-UT) summed this all up quite nicely when he said, “It must be nice living in a fantasy world where every law you like is constitutional and every Supreme Court decision you don’t is ‘activist,’ ”

But the truth is, when he was inaugurated, the President swore to uphold the constitution and he has made more attempts since F.D.R. to rip it to shreds for his own political gain. It’s time for this to come to an end.

Contraception and the Constitution

Some quick thoughts on the issue of government subsidized contraception.

First off, how ridiculous is it that we are even having this debate! I mean seriously, how bloated has our government become that we are actually arguing about this. The government has no business subsidizing something like birth control as a contraceptive, period.

There are a couple of arguments floating around about this issue that I feel are confusing the public.

The most ridiculous of them being that people are claiming that Republicans believe contraception is a bad thing and we should deny women access to it. False. Even Rick Santorum – who personally doesn’t believe it is right to use contraception ever –  doesn’t feel that it is right to deny access of this medication to women. That’s the first thing.

The reason this is even an issue is because Obama is undermining religious liberties in order to push his own social agenda. Obama likes to give people stuff using other people’s money. I don’t blame him, it’s smart politics. People like you if you give them stuff. As part of Obama’s Health care plan, commonly known as Obamacare, all insurance providers would be required by law to include contraception as a part of that insurance coverage. This means that every institution in America would be forced to offer its employees insurance with contraception coverage. This includes religious organizations. The use of contraception is against the moral code of the Catholic Church, to just name the biggest player in this debate. Under this law, the Catholic Church would be forced to pay for insurance policies that provided contraception. This would be like forcing Muslims to take everyone out for pork chops or Mormons to buy people beer. It is simply ridiculous and it is a direct attack on religious liberties.

Proponents of the government subsidized contraception say, “Wait a minute bud, this isn’t about sex, it’s about health! Major diseases can be treated and prevented because of birth control pills.” To them I say, “GOOD!” No one out there is saying that nothing good can come of birth control pills. Even the Catholic Church recognizes the medicinal value of birth control pills and has said that they would allow the use of birth control pills for the explicit purpose of curing these various diseases, just not for their more popular purpose of controlling birth. They feel that that is God’s responsibility, and if that’s what they believe,  let them believe!

What we really need to do is get government out of the way of health insurance. If health insurance providers want to include birth control as part of their coverage, let them. If people want to purchase a health insurance plan that includes coverage of contraceptives, let them. But if people want to opt out, that should be just as much their right.

I would challenge anyone to find a spot in the Constitution where it talks about how people have a right to contraceptives. I understand the desire to want to help the less fortunate. But there already is a system set up for that. There are plenty of Non-profit health clinics who would be glad to give people all of the contraceptives that they wanted. And if we really feel that at the end of the day the government needs to be involved, then at least do it in a manner that does not infringe upon the religious beliefs of others.