The Constitutionality Proof Is Worse than the Pudding
Ed Fitzpatrick’s column, yesterday, suggests that the healthcare law, including the individual mandate, is constitutional, but one needn’t be as far right as Anchor Rising to be very concerned about the reason:
The Supreme Court has held that Congress “can tax for any legitimate reason, and certainly providing health care for all Americans is a legitimate reason,” Goldstein said. “It was imposed based on Congress’ reasonable conclusion that when some people don’t have health insurance, it hurts them and shifts a lot of costs onto the rest of us. The tax is little different than taxes Congress imposes on companies that pollute, which are similarly based on the conclusion that pollution hurts everyone and could be deterred through a tax.”
Also, the high court has upheld Congress’ power to regulate “economic activity that substantially affects interstate commerce,” Goldstein said. “And there is no question health care and health insurance affects interstate commerce.”
So, not taking care of your own health is like large factories’ polluting the air and your health-related habits also affect interstate commerce, making them a legitimate target for regulation and taxation. I took up this topic in a Rhode Island Catholic column a few months ago. The question arises: under such reasoning, what doesn’t Congress have the authority to regulate?
Statists already would have answered “nothing,” but shouldn’t we find it frightening to stare down this dark slope? Now, not only is the authority asserted, but the federal government has a massive new entitlement to bolster and defend by making the American behave in particular ways.