Many of us are still in shock over the bizarre, bewildering and generally backwards ruling that came down from the Supreme Court on Thursday. In a decision that rivals Dred Scott for the scope of its stupidity, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius will be one of those landmark rulings that future generations of Americans will either look upon with openly bilious disgust or secret and deep-seated hatred. The first option will be possible if the effects of this heinous violation of the Constitution are overturned. The second reaction will be par for the course if the greedy federal government’s ever-growing obsession with power renders the expression of discontent unfeasible via dis-incentives like unpopular speech “taxes.”
This is not just invective meant to incite a response. The Supreme Court just told us that, while it is beyond the power of the federal government to mandate purchases, it can compel such action via penalties dubbed taxes. Under this decision there is seemingly no limit to the taxation power of the federal government. The PPACA is now understood as instituting a tax for not engaging in an action, a move without precedent in the United States and certainly without justification in the Constitution. So if this precedent-busting measure has become the new normal, then why can’t the Congress pass a non-compliance tax on consuming food they deem unhealthy, or listening to speech they deem incendiary? They could, and might even try to do so, if the public gives them enough time and leeway.