Eyes on the ball, folks: SCOTUS has ruled Congress can make us buy stuff

Gird your loins.

A surprising number of conservative commentators have come out cheering the ObamaCare decision because it ruled that the Commerce clause in the Constitution – Congress’s power to regulate commerce across the 50 states – doesn’t empower our legislators to force us to buy things (in this case, health insurance).

Of course, Congress can require those who propose to engage in regulated activities to purchase things, as a price of doing business.  But ObamaCare forces us to buy insurance just because we woke up one day and were citizens of the United States (and earning a certain income and not covered by insurance our employers have to buy).

The real decision

SCOTUS has said Congress can do that.  Focusing on SCOTUS’s repudiation of the Commerce- clause justification is pursuing a gigantic red herring.  Who cares what the Commerce clause allows, if SCOTUS says Congress can make us buy stuff anyway?

The Commerce clause has been made irrelevant by this ruling.  Chief Justice Roberts found another way to justify Congress making us buy stuff.  No one will ever have to invoke the Commerce clause again to propose a law that makes us buy stuff.  Regardless of what stuff we have to buy today, any Congress in the future can make us buy other stuff.  All Congress has to do is impose a monetary penalty if we don’t buy the mandated stuff, and SCOTUS will call it a “tax.”

The victory for the Commerce clause is the Pyrrhic one here.  Another such victory, and we are lost.

Tax versus mandate

A purchase mandate and a tax are two different things.  It seems silly to have to lay this out, but apparently there are a lot of people who are confused.  What distinguishes a tax from all other requirements is that its first-order effect is producing revenue for the government – not because the citizens engage in any particular activity, but because the government needs revenue, and chooses one or another basis for levying a tax to produce it.  To gain tax revenue, the government surveys what the citizens do and chooses to tax some of it.  A tax is not something that arises from government-mandated activity, nor is it levied because of what people choose to do.  You may choose to buy milk and have to pay a sales tax on it (in some states), but the tax isn’t imposed because you buy milk, it’s imposed because the state or local government needs revenue.

There are other ways – non-tax ways – in which we send money to the government for various things.  We pay fees, for example, to operate businesses or get driver’s licenses.  We pay speeding fines.  We buy hunting licenses.  We pay fees to register private vehicles and boats.  We get fined for particular transgressions, such as littering or polluting.  All of these ways of handing money over to the government are contingent on us choosing to do something.  If we don’t choose to do it, we don’t fork over money to the government.

Taxes are a different matter.  Their existence doesn’t depend on us wanting to “do” things, or doing wrong things, for which a fine is imposed; they exist because government needs revenue.  Taxing income, sales, cigarettes, liquor, gasoline, property, etc is intended to produce revenue, on a regular and somewhat predictable basis.

The purpose of the ObamaCare insurance-purchase mandate is not to produce revenue for the government.  It is not a tax, by any valid definition of “tax.”  It doesn’t tax sales.  It doesn’t tax goods.  It doesn’t tax income.  It doesn’t tax property.  It doesn’t tax activity (e.g., federal taxes on commercial airline flights or landline services).  It mandates that certain citizens buy something from commercial vendors, and it fines them if they don’t.  In that way, its closest analogue is the requirement of the various states that drivers maintain auto insurance.  That’s not a tax, and has never been held to be one.  And even that analogue is imperfect, since no one who doesn’t own a vehicle has to maintain the insurance.

I really wish Republicans would stop cynically chanting that Obama has broken his pledge on taxes with the ObamaCare legislation.  (And for the Republicans doing it foolishly, because they don’t understand or care that there is a significant difference in law and our philosophy of government between a tax and a purchase mandate:  you guys stop it too.)  This battle can’t be won if we concede that any old way of being ordered to send money somewhere at the government’s direction equals a “tax.”

Get this if you get nothing else

Understand this:  it doesn’t matter if ObamaCare is repealed next year.  Repeat as necessary until understood.  The SCOTUS ruling is on the books.  Congress can make you buy anything, as long as it fines you if you don’t.  The concept of constitutional limits on the power of government has been effectively removed from our guiding idea of law and jurisprudence.

As the vice president would say, this is indeed a big effing deal.  We have reached the end of the quiescent consensus on which we conducted most of the 20th century:  the consensus by which we tacitly agreed that the encroachments of government – with big surges under Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and Nixon – weren’t a menace to constitutional protections for our liberty and rights.  The consensus was that we had those protections, and could therefore afford to hover at the precipice in the certainty that nothing could push us over it.

But now something has.  If we abide by our judicial tradition, this SCOTUS ruling will govern the rulings of the future.  Congress has been accorded a colossal power.  All it has to do to use it is impose a fine if we don’t buy whatever Congress says we have to.

What we will have to think about

Here are some questions we will have to grapple with.  What is our view of jurisprudence?  In the 19th century, Americans did not see judges as infallible, or the courts as the sole and final arbiters of what the law means, as if Congress just dispatched some monkeys to produce our laws on a bank of typewriters, and we had to wait for the Supreme Court to organize the unintelligible mess for us and tell us what it meant.  SCOTUS was never intended to be a Delphic oracle.  We have come to treat it as one, however, and now it has handed down a ruling that will destroy our concept of natural rights and limited government.  What are we to do about that?

Can we discipline ourselves to speak as if words have meaning, and the content of the law matters?  Republicans have behaved just like Democrats by immediately jumping on the “Obama broke his promise on taxes” bandwagon.  In this instance, he didn’t break his promise on taxes.  He and Congress imposed a mandate that violates the American principles of limited, constitutional government.  That’s not a broken promise; it’s a bad use of the executive and legislative power.  Call it what it is, not what seems convenient for campaign sloganeering.

Words and concepts matter.  There is no accountability, for government or anyone else, if they don’t.  Can we come to grips with the damage we do by letting the sentimental, imprecise use of words become our form of governance?

The biggest question we have to answer for ourselves is whether we really believe in limited government.  If we do, how do we approach our current problem?  Our national tradition over the last 100 years gives us no solution.  By that tradition, we are required to abide by a SCOTUS ruling that makes the character of Congress the only thing standing between us and a fatal expansion of government power.  (David Brooks lauded that outcome very specifically on Thursday.)  In other words, we have become ancient Athens.

The Framers didn’t mean for that to be the case.  They wrote limits on power, separation of powers, and checks and balances into the Constitution precisely so that the character of the legislature (or indeed, the character of the other two branches, in their separate capacities) would not be the sole determinant of everything that happened to us.  They took as their example of legislative bodies run amok the ancient Athenians, and intended – with great and sincere determination – to prevent transient legislative majorities from bankrupting and destroying the new nation.

Do we now have any remaining feel for that purpose, in our consciences as Americans?  Do we no longer agree with the proposition of constitutional limits?  Is John Roberts, born in 1955 – and therefore educated starting in the 1960s and the years afterward – an example of what the American feel for constitutionalism now is?

Where do we go from here?

Suppose we do have a better feel for it than the Chief Justice.  What is the way to proceed, to invalidate the SCOTUS ruling on ObamaCare?  This is an important question, and there are drawbacks with either of the most likely methods.

One is for the Supreme Court to rule differently on a case trying similar issues in the future.  This method would have the virtue of leaving the judiciary to correct itself.  But it would also be likely to involve issues that are not perfectly identical or even analogous, which would make application of the ruling uncertain.  If the judiciary behaves the way it usually has, correcting the ObamaCare ruling for any useful purpose would be a lengthy process requiring a number of separate rulings on related matters over time.

We should not despair of a different Supreme Court ruling differently on the same matter in the future.  Supreme Courts throwing out precedent – e.g., on the interpretation of the 9th and 10th amendments – is how we got to where we are today.  It can happen.  But it’s a big philosophical question whether that’s the best way to correct the ObamaCare ruling.  The judiciary has not, over time, been nearly as unified and single-trending as today’s shallow education leads Americans to think, but there has nevertheless been a certain coherence to the body of jurisprudence, even where many Americans continued to disagree with specific rulings.  A spectacular reversal might be popular, but what would it say about the integrity of our idea of law?

I’m not enamored of that possibility, but there are issues with a constitutional amendment as well.  As big an undertaking as it is, I see an amendment as the quickest and most effective way to clarify that Congress does not have the power to levy a purchase mandate of the kind embedded in ObamaCare.  Probably the biggest drawback with an amendment is the precedent it would set for adding such clarifications to the Constitution.  How many would we end up needing, to fend off all the federal mandates that may creep up on us?  A prohibition on a purchase mandate seems very general, but there’s no telling how many permutations of a sort-of-almost-not-quite purchase mandate Congress could come up with, to get around the amendment – and the people would still have to funnel money by mandate to Congress’s chosen goods or services.

That said, an amendment may be the way to go.  I am quite sympathetic with those who don’t want to just keep adding to the Constitution, but we have added very little to it in the much-changed political environment of the last 80 years.  The Constitution was written in a world in which many of the things people want to do with government today were unimaginable.  Those things have now been imagined, and it may in fact be time to update the Constitution.  That’s what we did with the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments:  update the Constitution to reflect our national posture on emerging developments.  The 14th amendment may have been abused in the 20th century, but it was good law, in my view, clarifying the minimum that it meant to apply the law equally in a land of former slaves.  The Civil War amendments were added because big things had changed.

Big things have certainly changed in the last 80 years, and the chief result of legislation and jurisprudence has been ignoring or finessing the Constitution’s limits on government.  My preference for updating the Constitution involves affirming limits on government – in particular, the federal government – in the context of modern ideas about using it for absolutely everything.

I am not sure that a single amendment, or two or three, would accomplish everything that is needed.  I’ve been thinking about a private citizens’ “constitutional convention” for a number of years now:  a convention to approve and propose a small set of amendments to the US Constitution.  The idea would be to get legislators and presidential candidates to endorse the proposal, and a critical mass of them to push it in Congress, and perhaps prompt another official constitutional convention, which would adopt them.  (I believe others are thinking about this as well.  Please chime in if I haven’t mentioned your effort.)

Obviously this concept could have dangers with it, but it resonates with me because of my sense that we can’t keep going down the same path and hope for a course correction.  Leaving Congress to focus on thousands of minute regulations, with executive agencies doing basically whatever they want, and with the media picking over all the proposals and screaming bloody murder about some while hailing the Second Coming as regards others, isn’t working for us.  We need to get law and government, and our idea of law and government, back onto a more accountable footing.

No one will do this for us.  Those who take up the challenge will be called names and railed against, no matter how lawfully and peacefully we go about it.  We can expect the shrillest and most vituperative of opposition.  I have offered one suggestion, but I firmly believe that many heads produce wiser counsel, and I would very much like to hear other suggestions as well.  Working, initially, outside of the regime of politics – Democrats, Republicans, sentiment, cynicism, vote-getting and horse-trading – is essential if we are to have integrity in definitions and prescriptions.  The process must be about limiting government, and how to do it.  But ultimately, the point is to garner political support for an updated American affirmation of limits on government.

There are undoubtedly multiple ways to go about this.  But there is only one thing that will give us the time to embark on it, and that is defeating Obama at the polls in November.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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25 thoughts on “Eyes on the ball, folks: SCOTUS has ruled Congress can make us buy stuff”

  1. I came up with an idea for a Constitutional Amendment – I don’t know if it will work, or even how to get started. It’s 27 words long (Keep it simple), it would be the 28th Amendment, it might keep the government’s paws off of us.

    If you like it, please pass it along – I’m not sure how to “start” a tweet hashtag, but #27for28 seems catchy:

    “No branch of Government may compel any Citizen to participate in Commerce, nor may any Citizen be penalized or taxed for choosing not to participate in Commerce.”

    That’s my humble submission for a new Constitutional Amendment.

    It’s not much; then again, a wise Government teacher once said that when it comes to the Constitution, the less wordy an amendment is, the better.


  2. Here’s an idea that might have helped. Follow the actual existing Constitution. Heyhey, what about this:
    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
    Perhaps we should have paid attention to THAT?????
    It is patently obvious that our legal system, along with everything else, is corrupt at its’ core. Several patriots, most notably an ex-Soviet Communist citizen have been attempting to get the US courts to see that barack does not meet the eligibility requirement set forth in Article II Sec V of our Constitution as transcribed above. But no court NONE including SCOTUS would spend more than a fleeting moment considering this. “The people do not have standing ..blahblah..” has been the most common rejection. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? The American people DO NOT HAVE STANDING TO BE concerned as to whether their government has been USURPED??
    And now here we find ourselves saddled with a law, passed in an arguably illegal manner, in the dead of night, by the most vile of demorats, for their own self-serving constituency to pick the pockets of actual working Americans once more all the while championed by a nowhere man whose life’s records are under lock and key. None of the above legalities were challenged in any meaningful way by the “opposition party” who now say “elect more of us and we’ll fix this”. Really? WHERE have you been for the last 4 or more years?
    Personally I am unfortunately coming to the almost inescapable conclusion that the USA is history. That our complacency and apathy combined with the zeal and underhandedness of the anti-American “Americans” have combined to take our country and toss it in the trashbin of history. obamacare is at its’ core socialistic and utterly unsustainable. Our debt and deficit will now combine to destroy what’s left of our livelihoods. A constitutional convention leading to one or more amendments to fix all this? We pay only lip service to the existing document. Get serious. Why waste your time trying to affix a bandaid to fix an open jugular? We are toast. Melba toast. Say good night, Gracie. Good night, George. Good night, Abe. Good night Mr Reagan. It was a good run but it was doomed by the late 1960s/early 1970s when our corrupt legal system set free a terrorist bomber by the name of Bill Ayers and then our corrupt, communistic educational system allowed this same man to become an icon of “education”. As you pointed out in your article, Justice Roberts has been educated by this Bill Ayers system. And these chickens have now come home to roost on our heads.

  3. If fourth generation forces bring down the nation-state, Lord, let it begin here and let it begin now.

  4. I’m afraid you are too optimistic at times. The Commerce Clause is not dead or seriously injured. It could easily justify another government mandate on slightly different facts in another case. And whatever Roberts established this week will be undone with Obama’s next Supreme Court appointment.

    Well, at least we should never have to worry about economic recession because the public is not buying enough goods and services. Congress can easily fix that now.

    1. You make a very good point about the Commerce clause, Vin. The report of its death may be greatly exaggerated. That said, I still think the way has been paved for future forms of coercion to have the “tax” wand waved over them, as long as they include a fine and administration by the IRS. This would seem to be the path of least resistance for an energetic Democrat-controlled Congress. Why get into a Commerce clause fight when you can just impose a fine and call it a “tax”?

      One question I have for the lawyers is this: given this Mulligan stew of a ruling, how closely are arguments and judgments on related topics likely to be reasoned in the future? This bizarre ruling, with its baby- and hair-splitting, seems to stop jurisprudence in its tracks. The memo to Congress – make sure you include a fine in any future purchase mandates – seems to be the only actionable thing from it. The rest is just a bunch of triangulating to avoid striking down Obamacare. Where do we go from here?

    2. Well, at the very least its important to make sure that Obama doesn’t have another SCOTUS appointment.

  5. J.E. – I skimmed your argument on the way to the on the gym and say bravo, well done and I agree with your main thrust.
    I do have a question on this point, “A tax is not something that arises from government-mandated activity, nor is it levied because of what people choose to do “. It seems to me that you are incorrect as “sin taxes” are not uncommon and are levied to restrict or at least compensate society for actions by a minority which is perceived to cause significant costs for the entire group. I assume that, since they’ve been around for some time, “sin taxes” have survived litigation and appellate review.
    I think it would be more accurate to indicate that traditional “sin taxes” focused on sins of commission while the “Obama Care” tax targets sins of omission.
    I have not read the majority decision in this case but it would be interesting to know whether they addressed the matter of “sin taxes”.

  6. Thanks for a good question, MarcH. I actually disagree, because the purpose of “sin taxes” is still to raise revenue. The governing concept is that of raising revenue. The governing concept of the Obamacare mandate is not raising revenue.

    It’s not that I don’t see your point, but I consider it very important to make the distinction. The Obamacare mandate is about coercing active behavior. That it its purpose. In the language of conflict, if you will, it’s not about deterrence but about compellence. It is extremely important that that be understood as the premise, rather than trying to fit the Obamacare mandate into some other model we already use.

    For the reasons I have laid out, the Obamacare purchase mandate isn’t a tax, and its fine isn’t a tax either; it’s a fine. Consider this question: why didn’t the Democrats write Obamacare as a payroll-withholding scheme, as with Social Security and Medicare? The government could just “buy” your insurance for you, after all, using the amount withheld from your paycheck. The premise of payroll withholding for social welfare programs is already established.

    There is more than one reason why this wasn’t done, but one of the important ones is that handling it that way would not establish the federal government’s power to coerce you into commerce “for the public good.”

    One additional point. The power of the federal government that is most similar to the Obamacare purchase mandate is that of the draft. The US government can compel you to serve in the military, if you’re a man over 18. There is a conscience clause allowing you to avoid combat, but you still have to serve in a non-combat capacity. Unless you’re Amish. So there are a few narrow “outs,” but the element of compulsion is there. Being drafted is the closest thing to being forced to purchase health insurance under Obamacare.

    How did the unwilling react to the draft during the Vietnam War? By dodging it. If the concept of purchase mandates stands, and is used for other things — even if Obamacare itself is repealed — people aren’t going to just sit still for having their earnings gouged out of them in this manner. More will emigrate, more will decide not to earn at all, since it doesn’t get them ahead; some will take income-hiding to a new level. Coercion doesn’t work the way ideologues invariably dream of it working. It never does anything but destroy.

    1. no, the purpose of sin taxes is not always merely to raise revenue and you probably, upon reflection, would admit that the revenue isn’t always even the primary purpose. taxes on tobacco have been increased intending to drive teenagers out of the market rather than to grab their gold.

      1. I think fuster has a good point here. Taxes can have both a revenue-raising and a social engineering purpose, and some of the sin taxes lean more to social engineering. With regard to cigarette taxes, our governments also spend millions (billions?) trying to convince people not to buy the product, thereby reducing its revenue-raising potential.

        The real protection against using taxes for non-revenue purposes is that the Congress and President will have to defend a record of raising your taxes. Here they dodged that consequence by falsely claiming it was not a tax, and the Supreme Court refused to accept either the express language of the statute or the representations of the people who enacted it.

        It is not just a tomato/tomahto distinction.

        1. When the US federal government taxed liquor and tobacco in the 19th century, were those taxes intended to discourage people from buying the items because they were considered sinful or damaging?

          We have always taxed liquor and tobacco. We didn’t do it originally because we wanted to discourage people from using them or create programs to lecture the public about them. We taxed them for decades without either of these purposes. This doesn’t mean no one wanted to warn the public about them; it means the US federal government didn’t tax them for that purpose.

          It was acceptable to the public for these items to be taxed because no one, strictly speaking, “needed” them. You don’t tax milk and flour. You can tax liquor and tobacco, and a lot of imports, because those are considered discretionary or even luxury items. That, at least, was the case 150 yers ago, before technology allowed us to start importing basic food items from abroad.

          America was here for a long time before any of us were born, doing stuff that we still do today, but not for the social-engineering, ideological purposes we have lately come to adopt. Taxing liquor and tobacco was one of the earliest things we did. It was an excellent source of revenue for the federal government.

          This is why I continue to disagree that taxes on liquor and tobacco are to be interpreted solely in the terms of the modern penchant for taxing bad habits in order to reengineer the people. It is short-sighted to see the issue only in this light. Nor do we need to accept that taxing tobacco in order to produce anti-smoking commercials is really a representative use of the concept of a “tax.”

          If we let sort-of taxes come to represent the concept of “taxation” for our political purposes, there will literally be no limit to what Congress can do to us. It is essential to avoid lumping in social engineering programs, which is what the modern cigarette tax PARTLY is, with the proper function of taxation.

          And that said, if you think cigarette taxes aren’t intended to raise revenue, you obviously don’t live in California. Whenever there’s a budget problem, the first thing Sacramento wants to do is raise the cigarette tax. This isn’t because of a concern for making more anti-smoking commercials.

          1. Kid, what the US taxes on alcohol and tobacco were about, has absolutely no bearing on the intentions of tobacco taxation in the late 20th century…..and aside from yourself, no one offered the “solely” argument.

            every now and then, Kid, cede a point instead of fudging around. I’ve always found your commitment and tenacity worthy of esteem, but sometimes reinforcing a poor position isn’t nearly as wise as re-forming on better ground.

            1. “every now and then, Kid, cede a point instead of fudging around.”

              Perhaps I missed it but I cannot recall you ever ceding a point.

              And just to be clear, silence in response to a point made is not ‘ceding’ the point. So physician, first heal thyself. Or stand guilty of hypocrisy.

            2. The nature of taxation, as an interaction between the state and man, is not something that changes. If it does, then the category of a “tax” has no meaning — and what that means is that there is no limit in principle on what the government can do, and call a “tax.”.

              The authorities of government have to be well and narrowly defined, if there is to be a concept of “constitutionalism.” It is fatal to liberty for citizens to sit around vaguely supposing that whenever government does anything that costs you money, that represents a “tax.”

              The Framers very clearly saw a “tax” as a levy of the government intended to produce revenue, typically designed as either a percentage of a given value or as a specified amount. That’s what they thought they were giving Congress the authority to do, when they gave it the power to tax.

              To say that it doesn’t matter what America thought a tax was in the past is ridiculous. The authorities of the government don’t just morph into other things, as if water was added and they started growing like the coral colonies for your fish tank that you used to be able to buy from the backs of comic books.

              It matters terribly today what we call a “tax,” because Congress does have the power to tax us. It is shooting ourselves in the head, in terms of our liberty, to go along with vague, half-formed, and emotional ideas about this issue.

              If you agree that, whenever Congress imposes a monetary penalty and has the IRS administer it, that constitutes a “tax,” then you have agreed that Congress can do anything to you. It can make you buy anything.

              There are good reasons to rehash the points on defining taxes narrowly and remembering what their primary purpose is. Fortunately, I am superb at ignoring red herrings, and will continue to make the case that we must not allow the concept of “taxation” to be expanded at the expense of our rightful liberties.

    2. Quote: ” … more will decide not to earn at all, since it doesn’t get them ahead; some will take income-hiding to a new level. ”

      Been there for some time now. Back in the 90s I used to work in the defense industry, and after seeing 14% of my productivity (plus more unseen) sent off to be spent mostly on social(ist) programs, I decided to just stop carrying the burden. I haven’t engaged in any activity requiring filing federal income taxes for fifteen years now. I still do productive things, own two houses, etc., but the federal government doesn’t get any of it, and my state not very much. I expect many more to figure out how to be joining me soon. If you want the rules changed, crash the system, and the sooner the better – it’s the only way the demands of the mob can ever be stopped.

  7. How about an amendment limiting the length of any law passed by congress to the number of words in the Constitution? Seems like a lot of monkey business could be controlled if legislation was written in accessible chunks of text.

  8. As the sin taxes have gotten more and more narrowly defined, they have moved toward the “compel” side of the equation. But their purpose of sanctioning people’s “bad” behavior has always run counter to their purpose of raising money for all sorts of “good” things. The less people smoke, the less money there is for education.
    The Obamacare penalty works in just the opposite way. The more people avoid the penalty the more money they will be forced to pay into an overloaded insurance system to subsidize other health-care consumers. The young and healthy, whatever their income level, will subsidize the older and less healthy. Far from forcing everyone to eat broccoli, we will be expecting the broccoli-eaters to pay the way for the donut-eaters.

    1. fair point, taxing to eliminate large parts of demand isn’t likely to be consistent with raising max revenue over the long haul.

      might even lead to funding education in more straight-forward ways.

  9. Can I please opt out of buying guns, and bombs, and socialized healthcare and pensions for the military and other civil-servants?

    1. If we could know that only you and those of your ilk would reap the consequences, I for one would willingly vote to allow you to opt out.

      Were the US to unilaterally cease producing and buying ‘guns and bombs’ and cease the relatively meager benefits that our military enjoy, the barbarians would quickly arrive at our gates and you would find that no ‘rough and ready’ men were willing to place their lives on the line in defense of those, such as yourself, who’ve proven themselves to be ingrates and thus unworthy of the sacrifices you so cavalierly expect of them. Ingratitude and naivete aptly describe those who suppose that guns and bombs are unneeded and that medical benefits and modest pensions are excessive compensation.

  10. Gb, you respond to a quite less than serious comment designed to call attention to the the apparent inconsistency of an American desiring that we have a huge government taxing the citizenry in order to support an enormous military with the near-imperial mission of guarding half of the world and all of its oceans, often for the direct benefit of other nations and peoples…and at the same time decrying that a government that taxes to provide medical benefits to all Americans is killing freedom.

    1. We’ll have to disagree as to the seriousness of the comment.

      It is an infringement upon individual freedom when a government attempts to compel its citizens to buy a product or service. Nothing in our Constitution supports that action. It is the means by which the left is attempting to pay for the provision of medical benefits to all Americans, wherein our objection lies.

      American’s desiring huge government; the left and its useful idiots known as liberals, don’t support the military, much less an enormous one. They pay mere lip service to support for the military but their desire to severely cut the military and greatly expand social entitlements is beyond dispute.

      Our military is far from an imperial one but in fact, the most courteous an self-effacing in history.

      The Pax Americana to which you refer are necessary for both the vital shipping necessary to world commerce and restraint upon ‘the barbarian’s’ ambitions. The barbarians to which I refer are thuggish Russia, totalitarian China and the rogue nations.

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