Monday, September 17, 2012

Obamacare Constitutional but Still Sucks

Robert Sterling,

In a last minute reversal by Chief Justice John Roberts, Obamacare was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.  It is important to note that in upholding the law, the Supremes rejected the usage of the Commerce Clause to justify the individual mandate, which is a victory for those who found such an argument to be insidious.  Obviously, include myself in that group.

The claim that mere existence made one involved in commerce (which was central to the Commerce Clause argument) had no historical precedent, as even judges who had previously upheld the law had agreed in unanimty.  Even worse, any precedent that was even close to this was one that no self-respecting progressive should ever embrace.  (The most notable precedent being written by Antonin Scalia, where he argued that due to the Commerce Clause, the War on Drugs trumps the power of states to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.)  It was disappointing to see so many so-called liberals, in their desperation to defend Obamacare, to be totally oblivious and dismissive of such concerns.  It shouldn't be surprising, as in the last four years what has passed for liberalism has bottomed out to merely mean being a pathetic shill for Barack Obama rather than represent any coherent philosophy.

Of course, that Obamacare is constitutional should be the minimum standards one should expect for a law.  (Alas, in the age of torture and the Patriot Act, such minimum standards is increasingly becoming a norm.)  Another standard is how popular it is with the public.  On this score, Obamacare has been a major flop since its inception.  A June 2012 NY Times/CBS News poll before the Supreme Court ruling underscored this: 41 percent of all polled believed the entire law should be overturned, while 27 percent wanted an overturn of the mandate.  Only 24 percent wanted the law to be upheld.  This was despite a relentless push by the White House, Democratic Party and the media establishment to sell the public on the law as some sort of progressive victory.  While there was a slight increase in approval of Obamacare after the ruling (a bump that is normal in terms of how polling goes) the general trend on Obamacare is unpopular with a bullet downward.

That Obamacare is unpopular shouldn't be too surprising, and I for one am someone who warned of this when the law passed.  And the establishment liberal response to this unpopularity, merely dismissing the opposition to ignorant dupes, is not only false but highly insulting to voters.  In this case, the public rightfully smells a loser here.  While Obamacare is sold as a progressive law, all its origins come from from right-wing think tanks, and its premises are all based on snide contempt for the poor and working class.  It's solutions are based on slashing funds to Medicare (a fact which proves the widely mocked "death panels" cry to be not completely off-base) and the individual mandate is based on the premise that poor young people are somehow cheating the system by not purchasing health insurance they can't afford.  It is a Marie Antoinette solution to our health care crisis, except cake is a lot cheaper and not manufactured by parasitic oligopolies that rip off its customers at every opportunity.  (The opportunities, thanks to Obamacare, will soon radically increase.)  The worst thing about Obamacare isn't Obamacare itself, which I assume will eventually fail and die due to its fundamental flaws.  The worst thing about Obamacare is whenever a real progressive reform is ever proposed in the future, it will be called Obamacare II, and it will be that much harder for it to pass.  Sadly, any such skepticism will be deserved, as the liberal apologism for the reactionary law known as Obamacare should rightfully discredit any supporters further arguments on the issue of health care.

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