So much else that is wrong in the current bill set for vote today stems from the mandate, including the use of the IRS as enforcement agent and the sharing with the IRS of the details of our health care coverage.
More important than the details of this bill, the mandate destroys one of the last bastions of individual autonomy in this society.
Randy Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown, summarizes the problem today in The Washington Post:
It truly amazes me that the left-wing of the Democratic Party, which foams at the mouth at the thought that the NSA might intercept a phone call from someone in the U.S. to a known al-Qaeda operative in Pakistan, is so willing to hand over to the government the power to control the most personal aspect of our lives.
But the individual mandate extends the commerce clause's power beyond economic activity, to economic inactivity. That is unprecedented. While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying "cash for clunkers" is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.
If you choose to drive a car, then maybe you can be made to buy insurance against the possibility of inflicting harm on others. But making you buy insurance merely because you are alive is a claim of power from which many Americans instinctively shrink.
What if Barack Obama were not President, and Democrats did not control Congress. Would liberals be so willing to give the federal government this sweeping power?
The answer to that question is so plainly obvious that it should give pause even to those so infected with Obamamania that they have lost the ability to reason.
Liberals shouldn't wish too hard for the mandate, because they just may get it. Freedom, once relinquished, is very hard to get back.
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Taxing Your Mere Existence
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