Justice Roberts May Have Done Us a Big Favor

By Kate Kicks, Townhall.com

The following is excerpted from an article written by Kate Hicks at Townhall.com:

Over, and over, and over, President Obama assured us that this was not a tax. He was not raising taxes on the middle class (that’s what the Republicans were doing, remember?). Nope, . .   you raised our taxes [and on the people who can’t afford it. You did it on the backs of the poor.] Politically, that’s going to prove troublesome for Obama this fall, and in a much more substantial way than having his “signature legislative accomplishment” overturned altogether.

For one, Roberts took away Obama’s ability to campaign against the Court. They upheld his law; he can’t do as he did after Citizens United and construe the ACA ruling as a massively political attack on the little guy and his uninsured plight. He has nothing to blame on the Justices. All they did was recharacterize the “penalty” as constitutional under the taxing power. Roberts robbed Obama of a scapegoat, and stuck Obama with an unpopular law in an election year. Ouch.

Second, Roberts has literally forced Obama to acknowledge that he broke a promise, and raised taxes. And tax increases don’t resonate well with the voters. Now, it’s doubtful Obama will assume responsibility for raising taxes – note that in his speech today, he didn’t acknowledge the Court’s reasoning for the ruling, only that they ruled in his favor. But the GOP has just added a major weapon to its arsenal: want to lower taxes? Then don’t reelect Obama.

This third observation is one that isn’t immediately evident, but nonetheless just as important as those prior two, if not more so. Roberts has made it substantially easier to repeal Obamacare and substantially harder to pass anything like it in the future. As noted above, Americans don’t like taxes. And thanks to the fact that many will opt to pay the tax rather than buy insurance (as that will cost less), the insurance problem in this country hasn’t been solved. The fact that we’ve settled the question of the mandate’s constitutionality means we can turn to the rest of the law, and address the flaws contained therein, and perhaps find a real solution to the healthcare crisis. As for future laws, Democrats lost the ability to hide behind “penalty” language. Roberts saw that the mandate waddled and quacked, and gave it the appropriate name. (He also forbade Congress from actually “mandating” anything, so that name isn’t even correct anymore.) The ACA barely passed the first time; future iterations of this theory are destined to fail, because Congress will have to stand up and say, “We propose to enact a new tax so as to influence your behavior.” If that isn’t the proverbial lead balloon, I don’t know what is.

So there you have it: it’s really not all bad. It’s not what we wanted, but then – as I suspect Obama will learn in the coming months – we must remember to be careful what we wish for.