Today, June 28th, 2012 is a historic day. The Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as Obamacare, as constitutional. The basis for constitutionality is not the commerce clause, as the Obama administration argued, but the taxing authority. Rather than extending the reach of congresses ability to regulate to allow compelling actions in the name of regulating commerce, the Supreme Court has stated that congress has the authority to compel action through taxation. This means inaction is now a taxable activity.
What does this mean for those of us advocating for limited government? This is a huge set back and a massive expansion of government power. This ruling officially marks the end of any constitutional limits on federal power. However the government wants to remake society, they are authorized to compel compliance through a fee and call it a tax.
A Reason.tv interview claimed there was a silver lining. However, everything that congress could have done to abuse the commerce clause if the mandate were upheld on that basis, they can still do through the new taxing power.
Given that Obamacare is widely unpopular, this is a huge victory for Mitt Romney. Though he would never denounce Obamacare by pointing to how Romneycare has decimated health insurance in Massachusetts, he can gain support by promising to repeal Obamacare. Since Republicans will need to hold the House and win the Senate in order to gain enough support for repeal, we may see a sweeping change in the balance of power.
Unfortunately, the failure of the Supreme Court to uphold the limited and enumerated powers nor the clear intent of the tax laws cannot simply be repealed by government action. And why would we expect congress to want to repeal their new powers? The only way we can ever expect to get back to limited constitutional government is if we make our voices heard.