Saturday, October 5, 2013

Obamacare’s Unconstitutional Origins

Tax legislation has to originate in the House; the health-care law didn’t. 

By Andrew McCarthy



Of all the fraud perpetrated in the passage of Obamacare — and the fraud has been epic — the lowest is President Obama’s latest talking point that the Supreme Court has endorsed socialized medicine as constitutional. To the contrary, the justices held the “Affordable” Care Actunconstitutional as Obama presented it to the American people: namely, as a legitimate exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce.
To sustain this monstrosity, Chief Justice John Roberts had to shed his robes and put on his legislator cap. He rewrote Obamacare as a tax — the thing the president most indignantly promised Americans that Obamacare was not. And it is here that our recent debate over the Constitution’s Origination Clause — the debate in whichMatt FranckRamesh PonnuruMark Steyn, and yours truly have probed the historical boundaries of the “power of the purse” reposed by the Framers in the House of Representatives — descends from the airy realm of abstraction and homes in on a concrete violation of law.
It is not just that the intensely unpopular Obamacare was unconstitutional as fraudulently portrayed by the president and congressional Democrats who strong-armed and pot-sweetened its way to passage. It is that Obamacare is unconstitutional as rewritten by Roberts. It is a violation of the Origination Clause — not only as I have expansively construed it, but even under Matt’s narrow interpretation of the Clause.
It is worth pausing here briefly to rehearse an argument often made in these pages before the Supreme Court ruling two summers ago. The justices’ resolution, whatever it was to be, would in no way be an endorsement of Obamacare; it would merely reflect the fact that our Constitution, designed for a free people, permits all manner of foolishness. “Constitutional” does not necessarily mean “good.” What Obamacare always needed was a political reversal in Congress. Thus, it was unwise for Republicans to become passive while hoping the justices would do their heavy lifting for them — both because it was unlikely that this Supreme Court would invalidate Obamacare and because a ruling upholding it would inevitably be used by the most demagogic administration in history as a judicial stamp of approval for socialized medicine.

Contrary to Obama’s latest dissembling, the Supreme Court’s decision is far from an imprimatur. The president insisted that Obamacare was not a tax, famously upbraiding George Stephanopoulos of the Democratic-Media Complex for insolently suggesting otherwise. Yet, the narrow Court majority held that the mammoth statute could be upheld only as an exercise of Congress’s power to tax — i.e., contrary to Obama’s conscriptive theory, it was not within Congress’s commerce power to coerce Americans, as a condition of living in this country, to purchase a commodity, including health insurance.
Note the crucial qualifier: Obamacare could be upheld only as a tax. Not that Obamacare is necessarily a legitimate tax. To be a legitimate tax measure, Obamacare would have to have complied with all the Constitution’s conditions for the imposition of taxes. Because Democrats stubbornly maintained that their unilateral handiwork was not a tax, its legitimacy vel non as a tax has not been explored. Indeed, it is because Obamacare’s enactment was induced by fraud — a massive confiscation masquerading as ordinary regulatory legislation so Democrats could pretend not to be raising taxes — that the chief justice was wrong to rebrand it post facto and thus become a participant in the fraud.
We now know Obamacare was tax legislation. Consequently, it was undeniably a “bill for raising revenue,” for which the Constitution mandates compliance with the Origination Clause (Art. I, Sec. 7). The Clause requires that tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Obamacare did not.
If you’ve followed our recent debate, you know I’ve argued that the continuing resolution (CR) — the legislation at issue in the current congressional impasse that has partially shut down the government – violates the Origination Clause. The Senate presumed to add Obamacare spending to a House CR bill. I contend that the Origination Clause means that not only tax bills but government spending bills must originate in the House because the Clause was intended to vest the House with control over the “power of the purse.” Matt disagrees.
Our dispute over Obamacare spending in the 2013 CR, however, has no bearing on the Origination Clause analysis of the 2010 Obamacare law itself. The Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court has held, was a straightforward tax. No theorizing about spending is necessary. Everyone agrees that tax-raising measures must originate in the House.
Obamacare originated in the Senate.
It was introduced in Congress in 2009 by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, who called it the “Senate health care bill” (a description still touted long afterwards on Reid’s website). Employing the chicanery that marked the legislation through and through, the Democrat-controlled Senate turned its 3,000-page mega-proposal into a Senate amendment. The Senate attached its amendment to a nondescript, uncontroversial House bill (the “Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009”) that had unanimously passed (416–0) in the lower chamber.
Thanks to the Supreme Court, it is now undeniable that Obamacare was tax legislation. It was also, by its own proclamation, a bill for raising revenue. Democrats maintained that the Senate proposal would reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 million. More to the point, the bill contained 17 explicit “Revenue Provisions” — none of which was remotely related to the House bill to which the Senate proposal was attached.
Therefore, Obamacare is revenue-raising tax legislation, originated in the Senate in violation of the Constitution.
This has the Obama administration and its Justice Department scrambling. House conservatives, led by Representative Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), are pushing an Origination Clause challenge in the federal courts.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Obama: The Affirmative Action President


Obama: The Affirmative Action President

by Matt Patterson

Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job?

Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an unaccomplished single term in United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions. He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as legislator.

And then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor. It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?

Not content to wait for history, the incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street Journal:
To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist like Bill Ayers would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberaldom to have hung out with protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme, he was given a pass.
Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass -- held to a lower standard -- because of the color of his skin.  Podhoretz continues:
And in any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also articulate and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the curse of racism to rest?
Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon -- affirmative action.  Not in the legal sense, of course.  But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about themselves. 
Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat themselves on the back.  Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor performance and high drop-out rates which follow.  Liberals don't care if these minority students fail; liberals aren't around to witness the emotional devastation and deflated self esteem resulting from the racist policy that is affirmative action.  Yes, racist.  Holding someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin -- that's affirmative action in a nutshell, and if that isn't racism, then nothing is.  And that is what America did to Obama.
True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but why would he be?  As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois; he was told he was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate.  All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.  What could this breed if not the sort of empty  narcissism on display every time Obama speaks?
In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character.  Those people -- conservatives included -- ought now to be deeply embarrassed.  The man thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clich├ęs, and that's when he has his teleprompter in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think or speak at all.  Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth -- it's all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years.
And what about his character?  Obama is constantly blaming anything and everything else for his troubles.  Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited this mess.  It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence.  But really, what were we to expect?  The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly?
In short: our president is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job.  When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense.  It could not have gone otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office. 
But hey, at least we got to feel good about ourselves for a little while.  And really, isn't that all that matters these days?
Update:
Author's Note.  A lot of readers have written in asking me how I came to the conclusion that Obama was an unremarkable student and that he benefited from affirmative action.  Three reasons:
1)  As reported by The New York Sun: "A spokesman for the university, Brian Connolly, confirmed that Mr. Obama spent two years at Columbia College and graduated in 1983 with a major in political science. He did not receive honors..."  In spite of not receiving honors as an undergrad, Obama was nevertheless admitted to Harvard Law.  Why?

2)  Obama himself has written he was a poor student as a young man.  As the Baltimore Sun reported, in:  
"'Obama's book 'Dreams from My Father,'....the president recalled a time in his life...when he started to drift away from the path of success. 'I had learned not to care,' Obama wrote. '... Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.' But his mother confronted him about his behavior. 'Don't you think you're being a little casual about your future?" she asked him, according to the book. '... One of your friends was just arrested for drug possession. Your grades are slipping. You haven't even started on your college applications.'"   
3)  Most damning to me is the president's unwillingness to make his transcripts public.  If Obama had really been a stellar student with impeccable grades as an undergrad, is there any doubt they would have been made public by now and trumpeted on the front page of the New York Times as proof of his brilliance?  To me it all adds up to affirmative action.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obama_the_affirmative_action_president.html#ixzz2Nx2imLwH

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why our Country is Going Down The Drain

video



Everyone needs to see this! This is what America is becoming and the Liberals are encouraging it.