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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It’s Illegal Not to Do That

With the recent passage into law of the National Healthcare Reform Act contemptuously referred to as ObamaCare, people have been expressing their outrage over one particularly offensive feature know as mandatory insurance. This would make it punishable by fine for individuals not having employer-provided coverage to not buy health insurance. A dozen state legislatures have even passed resolutions attempting to nullify this law in their state, claiming it is unconstitutional and unprecedented. But is it really, or are there other existing crimes of inaction (other than the payment of taxes) which could serve as precedents for the ObamaCare individual mandate?

When considering possible crimes of inaction, here are some that come to mind: compulsory school attendance for children; the requirement to serve in the military when the draft is activated; the requirement to report child abuse when observed; the requirement to verify employee legal status when hiring a worker; firearm registration; the requirement to serve on a jury when called; the requirement to purchase automobile liability insurance and to wear a seat belt or a helmet; food nutritional labeling; and coming to your city soon – mandatory recycling! I suspect we could come up with thousands of other examples if we pored through all the federal regulations.

I must regrettably conclude that crimes of inaction have long been with us, although there are no such laws that I would support. Our government apparently has the power to tell us what to do as well as what not to do. To my way of thinking, the power to command behavior is the power to enslave. Maybe we need a constitutional amendment that says something like this: Congress shall make no law mandating any action other than the payment of taxes. What a huge roll-back of the regulatory state, and a tremendous defense for our liberties, that would be! But first, please ask yourself - which of your favorite laws would be nullified, and could you live without them?

As for the constitutionality of ObamaCare, don’t be silly. Where is it stated in the constitution that the federal government shall regulate health care? (Answer: no place.) Lack of constitutionality hasn’t stopped our federal government for decades now, and in spite of recent lower court rulings, I expect that at least five Supreme Court justices will find some lame excuse to justify ObamaCare.