June 29, 2012 Leave a comment
If I wasn’t pregnant, this would definitely be a night or two that involved a glass of whiskey. The Supreme Court has ruled the individual mandate of Obamacare is constitutional. I guess five justices bought into the last-minute argument that the $1,900-per-year penalty is a tax. Because we don’t have enough of those to go around. I’m sure that a good portion of the progressives I know are going to be throwing a party tonight.
Here’s the issue. Constitutionally, Congress isn’t allowed to tell you what you will and will not buy. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand this stuff. Does that sound like it’s throwing shade at the five justices who voted in favor of the mandate? It is, and it should be. They have no more respect for the Constitution than I do for communists. (That’s very little, not that I needed to tell you.) To me, it takes nothing less than audacity to think that a penalty “tax” for not purchasing something doesn’t count as regulating individual commerce. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the words “tax” and “penalty” are practically interchangeable to me.
As an expat, what I’m concerned most about right now is the possibility that I will be forced to pay this penalty, in spite of the fact that I’ve lived outside the US for over three years. I have full coverage health insurance where I am now. The original version of Obamacare mandated that even expats living outside the US take out a US health insurance policy or face the penalty, as it as called every day prior to the Supreme Court hearings. Supposedly it was left out of the final draft, but frankly, I haven’t read the final draft, and if the Supreme Court is willing to rule that Congress can effectively tell me what I must and must not buy, then I wouldn’t put it past them to shove the penalty down my throat.
Do you want to know how much $1,900 is to me? It’s almost a month’s salary, and from that salary, I already pay into my health insurance plan over here, as well as my state pension. I also have to report my earnings to the IRS, which it doesn’t tax, since I’m obviously not a high earner. I also pay property taxes to the state of Illinois, which went up this year in the spite of the fact that my property value has plummeted since 2008, and I couldn’t get rid of that land if I wanted to. And I’d love to. If anyone wants to buy some prime development land in a nice, upscale subdivision, feel free to email me! But the point that I’m making is that it goads me – nay, pisses me off – that I am expected to pay rent on my own property, a portion of my earnings to the government as though I have no right to them in the first place, and perhaps even a penalty for being satisfied with my out-of-country health care plan.
I am a sovereign individual, as is everyone else who reads this post and everyone who doesn’t. You owe the government nothing. You have the right to keep every penny of what you’ve earned, and they have no right to take it from you. The very notion of income taxes rests on the idea that the government owns your earnings, and they may redistribute them as they see fit. This is legalized plunder. Call it any other name – remember the rose – but it still has the same stench of theft.
Let it be said that I love my country. I really do. I ache for the wilderness and the spread of the North American continent. The prairie is in my veins, much as the bored, fed up teenager in me hates to admit it. But I do so very much hate our government right now. They would take everything from us, if they thought they could get away with it, and we are heading increasingly in that direction. There is more freedom and prosperity in other nations than in the US, and that is the honest truth. The ideals of the constitutional republic, much as it saddens me to think this, seem to be alive only in the hearts and minds of a committed few, and some of them are getting the hell out of Dodge. I think any truly honest libertarian would vow allegiance to himself and the principles of freedom long before he or she would ever vow allegiance to a morally and financially bankrupted government. I am teetering tonight on that point myself. As much as it pains me to say this, my mind is turning towards the idea of getting out for good, in spite of the 15% escape tax and wondering where I would go from there.
Times like this, I think of Daniel Day-Lewis in his role as Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. He is a man doesn’t consider himself subject to much of anything, and he refuses to live by another’s leave. He is speaking frankly and yet eloquently about freedom, and if the absence of control by another is true freedom, it is no longer to be found in the US, the land which once so jealously guarded its freedom. I hope things will change. I really do. There are a lot of people out there who are working towards it, but sometimes it seems like one step forward and two steps back.
I hope we will eventually see Obamacare repealed, but the blackguard cynic in me suspects that at least some parts of it will survive in the US tax code and health care Goliath that already give us so much headache. Maybe I’m wrong. But I doubt it.