I must be getting old. I see good sense in the Roberts Court ruling that the penalty payment for not buying health insurance constitutes a tax. It will force Congress to refine the “tax” in the future, and it slams the door shut on use of the Interstate Commerce clause to justify government-mandated purchase of insurance and other products.
I don’t know how the Supremes keep their noses out of politics. But for all their disclaimers, their opinions show where the rubber of politics meet the road of law in America. They also show that even the exalted justices don’t know what the law is or means. They simply cannot agree on it.
In due course, a corresponding tax case will hit the Supreme Court. Maybe the Supremes will answer the questions of how the tax operates as an indirect tax (obviously it does not constitute a direct tax or the Congress would have “apportioned” it). Maybe they will explain how, if it constitutes a direct tax, Congress can collect it directly from the people without apportioning it, and whether apportionment means “everybody pays the same amount of tax” or “collect the taxes from the State Legislature or State Treasury.” Then maybe the Supremes will explain how Congress can tax the States through apportionment even though the States no longer have representation in the federal Government that “united” them. And if the Supremes think it constitutes an indirect tax, maybe they can explain what activity, happening, occurrence, or event triggers it, and from whom Congress may rightly collect it.
I see problems in America’s government as extensions of its civilizational problems – an excessively stupid, ignorant, irresponsible electorate. But for that, America would have no justification for mandatory Social Security or Health Care programs. Nor would a largely well-informed, intelligent, responsible electorate tolerate legislating from the bench, over-regulation, fiat currency, secretly owned central banks that pay no tax, and unconstitutional wars, laws, and executive orders. We need amendments to the Constitution to curb Government insanity that stems from an essentially insane electorate. The amendments must:
- Require all non-unanimous panel rulings to go to the next higher Court for immediate adjudication (even if that means appointing a few dozen justices to handle the work load).
- Require all non-unanimous supreme rulings to go to Congress for immediate clarification by law revision.
- Establish a 4th Branch of Government to Inform and Advise both the public (including the press, for mandatory publication) via internet and Government, and requires it to make full public disclosure of the salient issues in political campaigns, laws, executive orders, court rulings, and the backgrounds of political candidates for election/appointment and highly placed public officers. This branch has the power to sue government officials on behalf of injured Citizens or the Constitution for breaches of oaths and prosecute the cases with outside legal counsel at government expense. It would become like the ACLU on steroids. Its officers would consist of retired senior executives from industry, law, news media, academia, the scientific community, and military (but not from elsewhere in any government or from banking).
- Require the Courts to allow public recording of court proceedings and provide full, free public internet access to all court documents, organized for easy finding, and administered by the 4th Branch.
- Require Congress to explain precisely how the Constitution authorizes a law and how the law comports with the Constitution without violating any rights of the people or states.
- Require the same for Presidential executive orders.
- Requires the Supreme Court to adjudicate political issues like whether Congress or the President have comported with law and the Constitution in effecting executive orders, public/private laws, resolutions, and military/police actions.
- Limits suffrage to competent, productive non-felon Citizens.
- Require full-power Grand Juries in all States, require empanelment with informed, intelligent citizens, remove Government interference from them, and empower them to hire non-government counsel and private investigators, and to receive and investigate reports of crimes by all Citizens and legal aliens, and to prosecute public officers.
- Exclude bar members from government employment, prohibit bar membership for at least two years after cessation of government employment, and define Practice of Law as professional activities of licensed attorneys (meaning non-attorneys may do the same activities without government interference – caveat emptor).
- Mandate fostering nationwide eugenics programs to elevate the quality of the gene pool.
- Shift ownership of Federal Reserve to the US Government, eliminate all Federal Reserve debt to the US, nationalize mines and underground organic and mineral reserves (including oil, gas, gold, silver, diamonds, copper, iron, jade, etc), and eliminate fiat currency.
- Require a 4/5 majority of both houses to enact a deficit budget, but require elimination of all foreign aid, all payments to the UN and other treaty organizations, and a repudiation of debt to the Federal Reserve Bank as necessary to prevent the deficit first. This might go hand in glove with requiring all foreign holders of debt to diminish it by taking products (at full retail value) manufactured in the US prison system in lieu of debt payments.
- Define “natural born Citizen” and require hard proof of credentials and qualifications and actual verification (by the fourth branch) of all people taking government employment.
- Eliminate lobbying and campaign contributions except by individual US Citizens free of outside influence.
I have long agonized over questions of who owns land and the stuff in and under it. A farmer should have the right to his crops and to a fair return on his labor for unearthing natural resources. But should people own the gold in the ground? I think not, particularly when it operates as the basis of money values. A nation cannot maintain value to its currency unless backed by something generally considered precious like gold, silver, oil, etc. Private ownership of such stuff from the ground makes no sense (because of competition of nations and banks for it), even though ownership of the mining operation does. Government can take the refined produce of the mine and use it to back the currency, and pay the fair price to the miner in that currency, but own the product itself. Maybe in the end it benefits Government more merely to tax it, but so what? Private ownership of the raw or refined output that backs dollars makes no sense so long as Government maintains its money values in correspondence with the natural resource in question.
OPEC has proven the stupidity of governments allowing private ownership of oil. The US turned oil into the de facto currency standard in 1971, 11 years after OPEC had proven the cartel could jack up the price of oil and the world could do nothing about it. The US required that OPEC members sell their oil for US dollars only, till 1999, when international jealousy caused release of the Euro. Saddam immediately began selling oil for Euros. The dollar began an inexorable decline in value from 87 cents per Euro to $1.50 in recent years. To stanch this, Dubyuh invaded Iraq in 2003, forcing sale of Iraqi oil from the Euro to the Dollar, and the dollar decline stablized. His CIA also started oil riots in Venezuela to punish Chavez for selling oil for Euros. But you see the inevitable result – gasoline prices approaching $5 per gallon. Don’t believe me? Just wait till the impending election comes to its juicy end. See what happened at the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections? Gasoline prices plummeted, then spiked up afterward. Now it has begun to fall. So after the election, expect another spike upward.
And the President and Congress say “We can’t do anything about oil and gasoline prices.” The whole idea of OPEC boiled down to increasing oil prices for US and European producers in exchange for letting Arab nations nationalize their production facilities. Now they point finger at crazy foreigners and say “I can’t help it if they jack up the prices.” Of course US oil producers reap the benefit while denying responsibility, and they collectively force auto manufacturers to prevent cars from running on Hydroxy gas from fractured water that would make transportation incredibly cheap. And that forces the public to pay outrageous prices for transportation and everything delivered with expensive transportation.
If the US Government owned the natural resources (oil, gold, silver, platinum) in the ground, and THAT backed the dollar, then the dollar would retain its value, and Congress would not so flagrantly throw it away on no-win wars and useless social spending. The dollar retained its value pretty well till the US began going into debts for idiotic wars and social spending. You will note in the below chart that the Civil War (1866), HJR 192 (1933), and establishing oil in lieu of gold as the backing for the dollar (1971) coincide with the crash of dollar values. And now record deficit spending brought on by the S&L failures and the collapse of Mortgage Backed Securities through predatory lending have caused further collapse. Rothschild could not possibly have planned it better, could he?
Inflation kills nations by destroying savings, investment incentive, and currency values. Our inflation justifies cleaning the Congress and Supreme Court and Presidency out and repopulating them with legislators, justices, and leaders who have a clue about how to run a nation according to ideals of good government. That will not happen with a largely ignorant, reprobate electorate, but it must happen some day.
Ideals of good government require leaders, judges, and legislators to understand that charity has an intensely personal nature, that it starts at home, and becomes a community affair, not a state or nation affair. They must know that charity to individuals, groups, and nations NEVER becomes the province of government. They must realize that government must never rob from one group so as to bestow largess upon another.
That right there constitutes the core problem I have with the Affordable Care Act and with the Social Security Act. If government acted as a collector and investor of the money, and paid a return to the participants in the form of paid health care insurance premiums and old age/disability insurance that accumulates interest till used, I wouldn’t consider it so bad. But is is bad because the money, as a tax, goes into the Treasury, and then our reprobate Congress has no compunction about throwing it away on other projects instead of investing it responsibly.
To see an example of RESPONSIBLE money management, look at the State of Florida’s Board of Administration, working for the CFO, an elected coordinate of the Governor and Attorney General. The Board invests trust fund money in over 15,000 indexed securities or currencies, no more than 20% foreign, and the state legislature MAY NOT run a deficit budget. Last year the Board earned 10.5% on approximately $150 billion of trust fund money, most of which consists of the Florida Retirement System money. The FRS lays out about $8 billion for retirees, and even in bad years like last year it earned several billion. In good years, it earns from 18% to 22%. Within 20 years, it will have upwards of a trillion dollars to invest. THAT’s what I call good money management.
I doubt that the Roberts opinion on the Affordable Care Act will matter much in view of the massive resources Communists, Socialists, and liberals have poured into the Grand Theft of the resources of productive Americans to pay for the unproductive over the past century. The fait accompli of free health care for the poor needs balancing with laws that proscribe (and make into a crime) the procreation of the stupid. Most people of good sense seem to agree that unfettered capitalism results in monopolies that kill invention and competition and drive prices up, making slaves of the population. And they seem to agree that unfettered predatory lending collapses homeowner equity and causes massive job loss.
So we have laws to rein in the capitalists and make them more humane. Philosophers call that “balance.” We need further balance to keep our sympathy for the impoverished and feckless from driving us to mindless spending to support them. That balance will eventually come in the form of benign eugenics programs that reduce the percentage of stupid people in society who need free health care. Maybe it will not happen in my nearly spent lifetime.
But, it will happen.
On 07/04/2012 11:10 AM, John Wolfgram wrote: