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Unicorn v. Constitution


MaxedOutMama has read the judge’s decision that ruled UnicornCare unConstitutional. Her analysis is focused on the legal aspects instead of the political or economic. On the legal points, MOM doesn’t see either side with an an advantage. It depends on how the Supremes might decide to reconcile conflicting precedent.

Contradictory to what I heard on righty radio, the ruling doesn’t require the current Administration to immediately halt implementation of the legislation. There was no injuction issued. The ruling may, however doom the legislation for both legal an economic reasons if it is left to stand. But I have no difficulty envisioning Barry charging ahead, letting the consequences sort themselves out after his Reign Presidency is over.

MOM does touch on politics within the legal system:

At this point, I began to suspect that [Judge] Vinson's aim was to get the SC justices really interested in this case. He probably suspects that not one of the nine wishes to be forced to rule on health care reform, and I think he's right!

A couple of other times, too, the language is reportedly designed to force the Administration to appeal in a way that forces the Supremes to take the case. (Remember that the Supreme Court is not required to take up any appeal. They can refuse to hear it and thus allow the latest lower court ruling to stand.)

And in the discussion of her post, MOM touches on the political aspects that forced the legislation to be written as it was, in a way that created this conflict:

Had Congress done this another way - changed the mandate and penalty to a tax credit - I think it would survive. But to do so, Congress would have had to raise income tax rates considerably, which would have shifted far more of the cost to high income earners. That was not going to be popular with a portion of the Democratic base that has a lot of influence within the party. If you had told the average college professor that he or she would be paying 15K more in income taxes, the NY Times would exploded in outrage. Also about 20% more of mortgages would have rolled into default.

Funding UnicornCare by the already-Constiutional means of a tax would have put the burden on rich Democrats. Both lefty radio and popular culture refuse to acknoweldge that there are far more wealthy lefties than wealthy righties. But the political insiders know they’re writing laws to appeal to rich and influential Democrats.

The Progressives may be correct when they claim that government is owned by (evil) corporations. What they miss is that those corporations are owned by fellow leftoids. Add in the non-profit corporations, like unions and Big Education, and most of the government is owned by lefties.

But I digress…

MOM works the economics and finds that if the Progs actually read the meat of the legislation they would find it anathema to their philosophy:

The way the law is now structured, this is not an income tax. Because of the bottom tier, it is a regressive tax - the amounts lower income persons who exceed the 150% FPL limit qualification for Medicare are forced to pay are far in excess of the amounts a 2nd highest quintile person is forced to pay.

See, if more people had ever run the numbers, this health bill would be acutely unpopular in democratic circles.

In other words, what I am trying to tell you is that this bill doesn't actually give lower income people access to health care, and the sicker they are the less likely they will be able to get it.

It is very similar to the "deal" announced in December which gave tax breaks of $2,000 to earners making 100K and tax breaks of $300 to earners making 15K, thus actually raising federal taxes in comparison to 2010 on about 40% of earners.

This sort of regressive stuff will not work in practice.

UnicornCare is a stretch of the Constitution, an economic impossbility, and an attack on the poor. But it effectively remains the law of the land.

The elements of the righthood and political center who want to simply reform the legislation—instead of repealing and starting over—are trying to pick peanuts out of a turd. Wouldn’t it be easier and more pleasant to start with fresh peanuts?

Eric Allie cartoon of elephant and donkey over toilet