Posts Tagged Supreme Court
Under Citizens United, Public Employees Are Compelled to Pay for Corporate Political Speech – NYTimes.com
How Pensions Violate Free Speech
By BENJAMIN I. SACHS
Published: July 12, 2012
A CENTRAL principle of American political life is that everyone gets to choose which candidates to support. The idea that the government could force us to support those we oppose is anathema. But this unacceptable state of affairs is one of the unintended consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case.
That’s because the vast majority of people who work in the public sector — state, local and federal employees — are required to make contributions to a pension plan. Nearly all states make participation in a pension plan mandatory and a “condition of employment” for public employees. To get and keep your job with the government, you have to give some of your paycheck to the pension plan.
Public pensions, moreover, are so-called defined benefit plans, which means that employees don’t have a say in how their mandatory contributions are invested. The employees cannot request, for example, that their money be used only to buy government bonds or that it be invested only in certain mutual funds or only in select corporations.
Instead, the employees’ money is invested according to whatever decisions the pension plan’s trustee makes. And, not surprisingly, pension plans invest heavily in corporate securities: in 2008, public pensions held about $1.15 trillion in corporate stock.
Here’s the problem. In its Citizens United decision, the Supreme Court held that companies have a First Amendment right to make electoral expenditures with general corporate treasuries. And they’ve done so, with relish, pouring millions into the political system.
What Citizens United failed to account for, however, is that a significant portion of the money that corporations are spending on politics is financed by equity capital provided by public pension funds — capital contributions that the government requires public employees to finance with their paychecks.
This consequence of Citizens United is perverse: requiring public employees to finance corporate electoral spending amounts to compelled political speech and association, something the First Amendment flatly forbids.
Contrast this situation with how the court treats political spending by unions. In many states, public employees are required to pay dues to a labor union. If the public employees union were to spend any of the money raised through dues on politics, the court has ruled, the dues requirement would amount to forced political speech and association. To prevent this First Amendment violation, the court has held that no union may use an employee’s dues for political purposes if the employee objects.
The same should be true for pension funds and corporate politics. In a world where corporations can use their general treasuries for political spending, no government should be allowed to require employees to finance the purchase of corporate securities through a pension plan, unless the government provides those employees with a meaningful way to object to financing corporate politics.
The good news is that the rules governing union dues and political spending provide a road map for restructuring public pensions in order to bring them back into conformity with the First Amendment.
Here’s one way it could work: Pension plans would determine the number of employees that object to financing corporate political spending. They would then negotiate “opt out” rights with the corporations in which they invest. These corporations would calculate the percentage of their annual expenditures that go to politics and promise to return to the pension plan an amount equal to the objecting employee’s pro rata share of the corporation’s political budget.
Whatever the route to reform, however, public pension plans need to ensure that employees are not compelled to finance corporate political speech. Until they do, these pension funds will be vulnerable to the challenge that they are violating the First Amendment.
- Op-Ed Contributor: Under Citizens United, Public Employees Are Compelled to Pay for Corporate Political Speech (nytimes.com)
- The Court – Citizens United – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Montana attempts to buck the Supreme Court on Citizens United – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- US Supreme Court: Citizens United (goodolewoody.wordpress.com)
- Our View: Pension plans using rose-colored crystal ball? (appeal-democrat.com)
- California the sixth state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC (blogforarizona.com)
- Democracy in the hands of idiots. Part II (english.pravda.ru)
- Former justice predicts cracks in Citizens United decision (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- Supreme Court Declines to Revisit Citizens United (nytimes.com)
- Initiative declaring corporations aren’t humans certified for Montana ballot (missoulian.com)
It probably wasn’t the greatest idea in the world for President Obama to gripe the other day about the “unelected group of people” on the Supreme Court who might “overturn a duly constituted and passed law” (i.e., Obamacare). Those unelected justices have had the power to overturn laws ever since Marbury vs. Madison, a fact that appeals court Judge Jerry Smith, who apparently is an obnoxious bully, this week required the Justice Department to reaffirm in a letter of no less than three single-spaced pages. (I like that Attorney General Eric Holder showed a little defiance by going only about one-third of the way down page three.) Judicial review is an important component to our nation’s system of checks and—Christ, now Smith’s got me doing it! Anyway, I can relate to the president’s frustration. But I think I have a better way to address it. Why not impose term limits on Supreme Court justices?
I’ve never liked the idea of term limits for members of Congress, because if a member outstays his or her welcome voters get the chance every two or six years to hire a replacement. But term limits for judges—not just Supreme Court justices—make a certain amount of sense when those judges are appointed. For all their clairvoyance, the Founders couldn’t possibly have anticipated the impact that longer life spans would have on lifetime judicial appointments. As Northwestern’s Steven Calabresi and James Lindgren have pointed out , between 1789 and 1970 the average tenure of a Supreme Court justice was about 15 years—and that timespan includes the 29-year service of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a Civil War veteran who didn’t vacate the bench until 1932, at age 90. Since 1970 the average tenure has expanded to about 26 years. By longevity if not by eminence, Holmses are a dime a dozen today. Until John Paul Stevens retired in 2010, fully one-third of the Supreme Court were appointees not merely of presidents who had since died, but of presidents who, before they died, lived longer than any others in history. (That would be Reagan and Ford, who departed this vale of tears at 93. The previous record-holder was John Adams, an 18th-century outlier who lived to 90.) Dead presidents shouldn’t have that much power.
Life terms might make sense if Supreme Court justices had life spans comparable to those of rock stars. But they don’t. Possibly because they don’t typically abuse drugs, or possibly because they don’t fly as often on private planes, Supreme Court justices live much, much longer than rock stars. And because they usually aspire to leaving office feet first—a goal often met —they’re much more likely to become gaga on the job. Another problem is that longevity has made the Supreme Court confirmation process extremely partisan and contentious—the stakes are just too absurdly high. The era of bitter Supreme Court confirmation fights—some say the era of bitter partisan politics in general—began in 1987, when Democrats defeated Reagan’s nomination of Robert Bork. That was a quarter-century ago, and if Sen. Ted Kennedy, D.-Mass., hadn’t played it pretty rough (“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution,” etc.) then Bork, who turned 85 last month, would probably still be sitting on the Court.
Term limits are a conservative idea (when he was still in the GOP nomination race Rick Perry favored limits for Supreme Court justices) but they’ve also become popular lately among liberals: Rick Hertzberg , Matt Yglesias , and my esteemed predecessor in this space, Jonathan Chait, have all come out for it. Wishing for term limits sure feels healthier than wishing that whatever voting bloc you happen to dislike crosses a six-lane highway against the light to buy ice cream cones and gets flattened by a tractor trailer.
- Former N.J. Supreme Court Justice joins the fight to free the innocent from prison (nj.com)
- Biden hits Romney adviser Bork over civil rights (wnd.com)
- Michael B. Keegan: As Romney Embraces Judicial Extremism, Supreme Court is a Winning Issue for Progressives (huffingtonpost.com)
- Rep. Bachmann: Justice Roberts’ Obamacare Ruling Was ‘Completely and Utterly Wrong’ (cnsnews.com)
- Elena Kagan Becomes Supreme Court’s Newest Justice (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Critics Fault Supreme Court Justice Over Politics (abcnews.go.com)
- Does Congress have the power to tax, including Obamacare tax? (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Former Town Official Wishes Cancer On Supreme Court Justices (huffingtonpost.com)
- Tea Party Leader: ‘I Hope The Supreme Court Justices Get Colon Cancer’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Biden to NAACP: Imagine a Romney court (content.usatoday.com)
July 3, 2012 6:52 a.m.
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court health care ruling, the early conventional wisdom was that an unfavorable health care ruling at the court would be good for Republicans politically, even as it was a serious policy setback for conservatives. But that’s not shaping up to be the case. Mitt Romney, after giving a brief statement decrying the decision, has been virtually silent on criticizing the health care law. He’s been on vacation and his campaign has been giving off clear signals that it doesn’t want to make health care a major part of the election.
His senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, and ended up agreeing with the Obama campaign’s spin that, even though the Supreme Court declared the individual mandate a tax, it really still is a penalty. Significantly, his campaign appears to want to take the most potent argument against the president on the health care subject off the table, likely out of fear the Romney himself is vulnerable when it comes to his health care record. He, after all, supported a mandate as governor of Massachusetts, and doesn’t want that to be considered a tax, either.
For an issue that’s supposedly potent against Democrats, Romney’s campaign is . This, even as the law polls unfavorably and it proved to be a motivating force for Republicans and disaffected independents in the 2010 midterms.
It’s becoming clear that Romney has decided to focus on the economy at the expense of everything else, even issues that could play to his political benefit. He’s avoided criticizing the administration’s handling of the botched Fast and Furious operation, even as it threatens to become a serious vulnerability for the president. He’s been silent in responding to Obama’s immigration executive order, not wanting to offend receptive Hispanics or appear like a flip-flopper. He appears more likely to tap a safe, bland running mate like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty who won’t do him any harm but won’t benefit him much either. If the economy continues to sputter, that safe strategy might be enough. If not, his options are limited.
In football, there’s a well-worn cliché about the prevent defense (a scheme utilized when a team holds a big lead over its opponent): It prevents teams from winning games. In politics, Mitt Romney is testing that proposition as far as he can.
- Romney Declaring Cease Fire on Health Care (realclearpolitics.com)
- Obama Puts ‘Romneycare’ in Crosshairs – 2012 Decoded (mbcalyn.com)
- Tea Party and Obamacare: How the activists are not taking anything for granted in their fight to stop the ACA. – Slate Magazine (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney camp sides with Obama on health care “tax” (cbsnews.com)
- Tea Party still warming up to Mitt Romney (cbsnews.com)
- Romney in bind over health care mandate – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument (npr.org)
- Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument (npr.org)
- Romney Adviser Seems To Undercut GOP Health Care Tax Argument (npr.org)
- Aide: Romney sees mandate as a penalty, not a tax (kansascity.com)
Cat in a Box
Posted on July 2, 2012
No, it’s not a new fast food chain, or the latest dish from your local Chinese restaurant, but it is where our newest household addition likes to sleep at night.
A few weeks back we received a large delivery of books and happened to leave the box they arrived in on the floor in our bedroom. Later that night, while looking for Polly, we found her curled up inside the box, sleeping peacefully. She purrs up a storm in that box; Kathy claims she can actually hear it from our bed (I can’t, but then my hearing is as bad as my eyesight.) This cat loves small spaces.
She also loves food. Polly seems to be motivated mainly by food, which is a clear signal that she was living on her own. During the long, hot summer days – and they are hot, as we have had six days over ninety, and it’s only July 2nd – we give her little handfuls of treats to keep her going. Also, we always make sure she has fresh water in her bowl, as it is tough wearing a fur coat in this heat.
She truly has acclimated to having a family, and has no compunction about joining us on our bed, even if all four of us are already on it watching a movie. (Like on family movie night.) I call her the Queen, because she thinks the house revolves around her. If she wants something and we don’t move fast enough, she claws the box spring. This gets our attention. When she is hungry, which is always, she simply leads us to her food bowl. She seems to have little patience with us, and I am waiting for her to fire us and hire new help.
And to think I felt sorry for this homeless feline.
I really do feel sorry for Chief Justice John Roberts. Conservatives are roasting him all over the internet.
He has been called a liberal in conservative garb, a fool, an activist judge, an Obama toady and many other unprintable things since his vote on the Affordable Healthcare Act. You would think he just punched Grover Norquist in the face. One person wrote that it is implausible that one mans vote can erase our freedoms so easily, not realizing that there are nine Supreme Court justices, and his vote was just the deciding vote. Without the other four votes, Roberts’ vote would have meant nada. Some folks have no clue. Another tool commented that the Supreme Court should be disbanded. Obviously, he was not a constitutional scholar. Still another opined that Roberts has some sort of devious plan up his sleeve, as he wouldn’t have deserted his conservative brethren so readily. Yeah, right. And life goes on.
Can you name all nine Supreme Court justices? (Answer below.)
Finally, let’s end on another recipe (I did start this piece talking about food, albeit our cat.) Kathy came up with a good one the other day, as she gets bored if I make the same stuff all the time. How about noodles with peanut sauce, she asked? So I looked up peanut sauce on the Internet and found many recipes, and luckily we had most of the ingredients on hand.
Start with half a cup of peanut butter, five tablespoons of soy sauce, three tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar, a half cup of water and three tablespoons of sugar. The recipe also called for scallions, which I lacked, so I diced up a small onion. Although the sauce can be eaten cold, I chose to warm it over a low heat. I then boiled up some linguine, as Kathy figured the thicker noodle would approximate Chinese noodles. We also added a pound of pre-cooked shrimp. Simple, right? The meal was a big hit, with everyone having seconds. Kathy even took the leftovers to work the next day.
Here’s the best part. The shrimp was $6.33 – buy 1 get 2 free at Big Y – the pasta was $.79, the onion $.30, The peanut butter approximately $.50, and lets say another dollar for the rest of the ingredients (a high estimate.) Overall price, $8.92. You can’t beat that with a stick.
I realize this recipe isn’t for everyone, as peanut allergies are on the rise, but if your kids are into peanut butter the way my kids are, this meal will be much appreciated.
I guess I’m still Mr. Mom.
(Answer: Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Kennedy, Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer.)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth (mbcalyn.com)
- Mitt Romney: A Major Mistake | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth – A Nation of Prostitutes (mbcalyn.com)
- Catholics and Contraception | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth (mbcalyn.com)
- The Death of the American Dream | breezespeaks (mbcalyn.com)
- Enough with Obamacare’s silver linings (biasbreakdown.com)
- Following the Supreme Court’s Health Care Ruling, the GOP Comes Back, Guns Blazing … With Blanks (woodgatesview.com)
- Roberts Hands a Poisoned Chalice to the President (americanthinker.com)
- Roberts switched views to uphold health care law – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
Tax Issue Gives Republicans a Health Care Talking Point
Updated: June 29, 2012 | 2:03 p.m.
June 29, 2012 | 12:29 p.m.
AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters outside the Senate, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 26, 2012, following a political strategy session with other GOP Senate leaders.
Chief Justice John Roberts may have handed Democrats an unexpected and historic victory Thursday when he upheld their health care law, but at least he had the courtesy to give Republicans a talking point to soothe their pain.
Besides vowing to once again vote in the House to repeal the health reform law, Republicans seized on Roberts’ decision that insurance mandate was within Congress’ power, because it is a tax. That, Republicans said, proves President Obama is a deceptive tax-and-spend liberal, as they’ve said all along.
Democrats and the Obama administration originally said the insurance mandate was not a tax when they were working to pass the law in Congress. Of course, they changed their tune when they argued in front of the Supreme Court and lower courts, saying the mandate was within Congress’ power as a tax. Although that argument has been in black and white in briefs to courts for several months now, Republicans only started really harping about it Thursday.
“The bill was sold to the American people on a deception,” Senate Minority Leader , R-Ky., said in a statement.
“What the Supreme Court did was they completely rewrote the law, which they have a right to do,” Sen. , R-Utah, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said in an interview.
“A lot of us don’t think there was any justification for [the Supreme Court]to find it a tax when all through the process it was called a penalty, not only by the administration but by everybody up here on Capitol Hill. So for the Court to just ignore all of that…was just extraordinary.”
The problem with that argument? Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney imposed a similar tax on his constituents in the health reform bill he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts.
Hatch dismissed that criticism as a state’s rights issue. But highlighting any tax raised by Romney when he was governor could prove unpalatable to the Republican base.
Senior administration officials dismissed Republican critiques on the mandate as a tax, saying it was nothing new. They said the campaign between President Obama and Romney would focus more broadly on the economy, and who the middle class trusts more with their taxes.
The silver lining for Republicans is the Court’s ruling came in the form of Medicaid. The Court surprised just about everyone by saying the federal government cannot force states to agree to the law’s Medicaid expansion by threatening to take away their current Medicaid funding. The Medicaid expansion was expected to cover 17 million of the estimated 30 million people who will get insurance under the law.
The federal government and the states now roughly split the cost of the Medicaid program, which currently covers 60 million people. As of now, most states do not cover low-income adults. The Affordable Care Act aimed to change that. The federal government promised to fully fund an expansion of the Medicaid program to poor, childless adults for the first few years, but then states would have to pick up some of the costs later on. If they did not participate in the expansion, the ACA said that states could lose all of their federal Medicaid money.
But the Supreme Court says Congress cannot force states into such a deal.
That means that the Medicaid expansion to 17 million people under the health care law is optional, said Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy.
Whether states will opt out of the Medicaid expansion is now the question. It would be a politically difficult position to choose against the Medicaid expansion, but governors of both red and blue states have grumbled about Medicaid costs since the health care law passed in 2010, and the economic slowdown has squeezed state budgets. Medicaid made up nearly a quarter of state spending in fiscal 2010, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
But, going a little off-message, Hatch said he expected every state to sign up for the Medicaid funding. “There’s no state in its right mind that wouldn’t take the money,” Hatch said. The federal government picks up 100 percent of the expansion cost for the first few years.
If states do opt out of the Medicaid expansion, it could mean that the cost of the health care law will increase as people who would have gone on Medicaid shift to private insurance and collect federal subsidies. However, senior administration officials said it was unclear whether low-income people in states that choose not to accept the Medicaid expansion would qualify for tax credits on state insurance exchanges.
The Congressional Budget Office said on its blog that a new cost estimate would “probably take some time.”
- Kentucky Sen. McConnell vows to repeal health care law (kansascity.com)
- Senate Deal May Save Students…At Least for One More Year (loans.org)
- After Health Care Ruling, GOP Hits Rewind As Democrats Look To The Future (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Republicans still determined to strike down “Obamacare” (fsn.typepad.com)
- Republicans Turn Health Reform Loss into a Rallying Cry (swampland.time.com)
- S.C. Republican lawmakers say voters will punish Obama over health care ruling (kansascity.com)
- Health Care: When Is a tax Not a Tax? – Wall Street Journal (India) (live.wsj.com)
- 42 Republicans Who Called Mitt Romney A Tax Raiser (thinkprogress.org)
- BREAKING: Supreme Court Upholds ‘Obamacare’ (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
Nothing says leadership more than bravely standing up against a concern that’s not actually a problem.
We’ve had a one-sided battle with Sharia Law in the U.S. No one is fighting for replacing U.S. law with an Islamic moral code, but nonetheless Republicans are heroically fighting against it. Same with aborted fetuses in commercial food stuffs: Not something that’s ever happened but earlier this year Republican freshman Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey had the temerity to introduce a bill to outlaw it.
Davis Fitzsimmons / Arizona Daily Star
Republicans love what they call “simple solutions” but it’s really just the easiest possible answer to a trumped up crisis. In short: busy work. America needs to streamline for the challenges of the future so we can remain competitive (blah blah blah). Yet Republican offers are akin to organizing all the paperclips in the office by color and size.
Republicans and bureaucracy are, after all, frenemies. Sure they tell the media they despise bureaucracy, but secretly they love it when it makes them appear to be doing something. Even better if it keeps them from doing anything difficult.
For example: We’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic. It’s the number two leading cause of preventable death in this country. The Center for Disease Control estimates 112,000 American deaths a year due to obesity, which is down from their previous estimate of 365,000 deaths from poor nutrition and physical inactivity. The CDC reports in 2008 Americans forked over $147 billion in medical costs on obesity. We’re dying and going broke from being too fat.
But what are Republicans trying to warn us against? Terrorism. China. Russia. Obamacare. ACORN. The New Black Panthers. The Fed. All of which cumulatively killed no Americans last year.
It’s (ironically) lazy to try to and scare Americans about some elusive menace in order to avoid the reality that we’ve become the proverbial elephants in our own living rooms.
Illegal immigration? Republicans say to secure the border, build a fence and arrest anyone who even looks illegal. Mitt Romney said Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 should be a model for the nation, which would be something if Mexicans were still coming into the U.S. They’re not. Immigration from Mexico is now net zero. That is actually a way bigger problem than undocumented workers (whom we love in boom times for a way to circumvent the minimum wage and exploit a non-litigious underclass). It’s the fact we are no longer an attractive enough country to motivate Mexicans to come here.
But as we saw last week with the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s law, governor Jan Brewer’s just doubled down on a non-problem, “We cannot forget that we are here today because the federal government has failed the American people regarding immigration policy, has failed to protect its citizens, has failed to preserve the rule of law and has failed to secure our borders.”
For a party that likes to peddle free market and common sense, they sure get a lot of traction ginning up irrational fears.
Our energy plan is stuck firmly in the last century, but that’s not the point the presumptive Republican nominee decided to make. In March, Mitt Romney told Fox News that President Obama “has done everything in his power to make it harder for us to get oil and natural gas in this country, driving up the price of those commodities in the case of gasoline.” Gas prices were the thing Republicans were going to fix by paying attention to them!
With little fanfare, gas prices are down now, by the way. Production has increased overall under the Obama administration. Republicans managed to sound the alarm and assign blame for a symptom while steadfastly avoiding the cause entirely.
Think I’m way off here? Remember this is the party that in the wake of September 11th—an attack by citizens of Saudi Arabia, organized in Afghanistan by a leader hanging out in Lebanon—decided to invade (wait for it) Iraq.
Because things indirectly involved with real problems hate us for our freedoms.
- GOP: Boldly Offering Solutions to Our Nation’s Symptoms (crooksandliars.com)
- Supreme Court Ruling Leaves Both Sides Declaring Win, But Climate Of Fear Intact (huffingtonpost.com)
- High Court Shoots Down SB1070….Mostly (pertinaciouschase.wordpress.com)
- Gov. Scott failed to follow through on immigration pledge (miamiherald.com)
- Arizona’s immigrant status checks OK’d (mysanantonio.com)
- Arizona Republicans tout SB 1070 ruling (bizjournals.com)
- Supreme Court Issues Mixed Decision on Arizona SB 1070 (princefirm.com)
- Brewer: ‘Heart of SB 1070′ upheld (abc15.com)
- Mitt Romney’s Warped Idea of ‘Leadership’ (crooksandliars.com)
- Top Court Rules on Immigration Law (huffingtonpost.com)
Nationwide is on your side . . . as long as you make those payments.
In a move that shocked a nation, the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s healthcare law, scathingly referred to as Obamacare. Surprisingly, the deciding vote was cast by Chief Justice John Roberts, who is now persona non grata where conservatives are concerned. In the past, Justice Kennedy – no relation to the clan – was considered the swing vote, but his liberal leanings are now under fire. He dissented, along with the incompetent Justice Thomas, the ignorant Justice Scalia, and the Scalia toady, Justice Alito. Thankfully, Roberts is more than a political hack, which cannot be said of the gang of four.
Conservatives began going into shock soon after the decision was announced, but not before FOX News got the story wrong and announced victory for the Republican cause. Even after FOX amended the story, they refused to admit their error. Fox doesn’t make errors, at least according to FOX. (CNN also got it wrong, but admitted their error.)
What did throw them off was the way the decision was announced. The Court found the law unconstitutional under the commerce clause, but legal under Congress’s power to tax. Here is the simple explanation:
If you already have insurance, you will see no change. If you don’t have insurance, you either must obtain some or pay a tax at the end of the year, which I believe is 1% of income. As it stands today, if a person gets sick, they can go to an emergency room without fear of being turned away. It is the law. The cost of care is currently paid by everyone else who carries insurance, both in premiums and hospital/doctor expenses. With this Supreme Court decision, if you can’t afford insurance, your cost will be subsidized by the federal government. Plus, and I think this is paramount, pre-existing conditions are no longer cause for exclusion. The insurance companies can’t cherry pick their customers anymore. Insurance, and thereby healthcare, will be available to all. And, hopefully, with doctor care more readily available, such drastic measures as emergency room treatment will decline. It is all about preventive maintenance.
Justice Roberts made the right decision. You just know he’s going to be excommunicated from the church of the conservative right, but I guess he doesn’t care. Maybe the horrendous Citizens United decision finally got to him (the one that granted corporations personhood and claimed money is free speech.) I know, I’m probably grasping at straws, but one can dream.
In other news, Ann Curry was fired from the Today Show. I stopped watching this show after the kids became old enough to hold their own bottles, but this is the final straw. Curry was the last actual newsperson left. They should rename it the Fluff Show. With the smarmy Matt Lauer as the titular leader, and Al “Roxie” Roker as weatherman, it really doesn’t matter what Barbie they trot before us, the show is dead weight. Look for Good Morning America to lead in the ratings with great regularity.
United Technologies, which owns Sikorsky Aircraft locally, pleaded guilty to charges of selling information that enabled China to build their first attack helicopters, amongst other charges, and will pay a fine in excess of 75 million, chicken feed to a company so large. American corporations long ago lost their moral compass in search of their next dollar, and this just reinforces the idea that American companies don’t care about America, just their own bottom line.
Okay, I hear more conservative whining. “Without profits to pay wages there would be no jobs,” or, “Maybe companies should send all profits to Washington, they’re just going to get it in taxes anyway.” Good try, my conservative friends, but liberals have nothing against profits, just price gouging. Plus, most of the jobs being created are over in Southeast Asia. And with loopholes and tax shelters, companies like Exxon Mobil and General Electric paid nothing in taxes for the last few years, if not longer. So there go those arguments. I guess UTC felt justified selling to China because Wal-Mart buys everything from China.
Speaking of China, it was disclosed yesterday that the fabled Apple corporation does major business with some of the biggest slave labor companies over there, and even by Chinese standards, which is saying something. The companies force employees to work off the clock, provide no benefits, pay less than other companies, and are generally run like Dictatorships. Sounds like a great way for Apple to make its products (and sounds a bit too much like the aforementioned Wal-Mart for my liking.) All in the name of a buck.
And life goes on.
- Supreme Court upholds healthcare law as tax measure – chicagotribune.com (mbcalyn.com)
- breezespeaks | The Awful Truth – A Nation of Prostitutes (mbcalyn.com)
- The Supremes Give Some Love to Obamacare (louismayeux.typepad.com)
- US Supreme Court Upholds Obama Law’s Requirement That Most Americans Have Health Insurance (swampland.time.com)
- High court upholds key part of Obama health law (sfgate.com)
- AP: Supreme Court upholds Obama’s healthcare requirement (jacksonville.com)
- It’s a tax (humanevents.com)
- With Opinion: SCOTUS Upholds Entire Health Care Law, Including Individual Mandate (sbmblog.typepad.com)
- Supreme Court health care law decision: Insurance requirement upheld (pennlive.com)
- Supreme Court Rules On Health-Care Bill As a Mandatory Tax (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
June 27th, 2012
05:38 PM ET
Sterling, Virginia (CNN) – The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the Supreme Court will hand President Barack Obama some kind of defeat to his health care law that could damage his re-election chances. But what’s the political prognosis for Mitt Romney?
“My guess is that they are not sleeping very well at the White House tonight,” Romney quipped at an event one day before the Supreme Court’s expected ruling.
The presumptive GOP nominee said if the Supreme Court opts against bringing down the law, he would do so as president.
“If I’m elected president we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with real reform,” Romney said, though he avoided naming specific measures he would take as president to reform health care.
The president is warning voters to take Romney at his word.
“He wants to roll back the reforms that we put in place that prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people who are sick. I believe it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Obama said in a speech to supporters in Miami Tuesday.
Romney went further in his criticism of the law at a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month. At the event, the former Massachusetts governor argued the health care law deserves to be struck down.
“Gosh I hope they do the right thing and turn this thing down,” Romney told a fundraiser in Atlanta earlier this month, according to pool reports. “And say it’s unconstitutional because it is.”
At the heart of the conservative complaints about the president’s law is its individual mandate, which forces all Americans to buy health insurance, if they can afford it, or pay a fine.
As most voters now know, the president fashioned much of his law by borrowing heavily from the reform plan signed into law by Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts six years ago. The centerpiece of the Massachusetts plan is its own mandate.
In an interview with CNN in 2009, Romney touted the mandate as a free market alternative to the president’s original plan that offered Americans the option to buy into a government insurance plan. That so-called “public option” was later dropped from the law.
“I think there are a number of features in the Massachusetts plan that could inform Washington on ways to improve health care for all Americans,” Romney told CNN in 2009. “The fact that we were able to get people insured without a government option is a model I think they can learn from.”
Romney explained his mandate, or “incentive” as he preferred to call it in the interview, was designed to achieve universal coverage.
“No more free riders. Everybody is part of the plan. And that way, we get the costs down. We let people know that they never have to worry about losing their coverage,” Romney said in the interview.
Romney has since said on numerous occasions his plan was meant for Massachusetts only.
“Our plan was a state solution to a state problem, and his plan is a power grab by the federal government to put a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation,” Romney said in a speech in the weeks before he jumped into the race last year.
This time around, he spent much of the primaries fighting off attacks from Rick Santorum and other rivals who complained Romney indeed supported a national mandate.
In March, Santorum stood on the steps of the Supreme Court to blast Romney as the “worst candidate” to take on the president on health care.
“There is one candidate who is uniquely disqualified. That’s why I’m here and he’s not,” Santorum said.
The Democratic National Committee ran a web video in March featuring Romney’s apparent defense of a national mandate that he made in a debate during his 2008 run for the presidency.
“No, no I like mandates,” Romney said during the debate.
If the president’s law is struck down, Romney has promised to bring back some of its protections for consumers.
“Fixing our health care system means making sure that every American, regardless of their health care needs, can find quality, affordable coverage,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.
“That is why Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage,” she added.
What’s unknown is how a partial ruling against the president would affect both campaigns. A decision to uphold most of the law but strike down only the individual mandate could have unforeseen consequences.
The insurance industry has warned members of Congress of just that scenario.
“It is important to keep in mind that severing the individual mandate from market reforms in the (Affordable Care Act) could have a negative impact on individuals and families,” the industry’s lobby warns on its web site.
- Romney once touted mandate he now deems unconstitutional (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Supreme Court health ruling will unleash campaign ads (tbo.com)
- No Matter What Court Decides, Health Care Law Has ‘Got to Go,’ Romney Says (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Romney: If health reform is stricken, Obama’s first term ‘wasted’ – msnbc.com (blog) (firstread.msnbc.msn.com)
- US Supreme Court to Rule on Health Care Law as Early as Monday (blogs.voanews.com)
- Romney tips hand on SCOTUS health care response (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- SCOTUS win-lose scenarios (politico.com)
- Supreme court healthcare decision: Romney and Obama await ruling (guardian.co.uk)
Romney responds to the SCOTUS ruling by making stuff up
To say that Mitt Romney’s response to today’s Supreme Court decision was brazenly dishonest is an understatement:
“Obamacare was bad policy yesterday. It’s bad policy today. Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It’s bad law today. Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion. Obamacare cuts Medicare, cuts Medicare, by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt and pushes those obligations on to coming generations.
“Obamacare also means that for up to 20 million Americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance that they like and they want to keep. Obamacare is a job killer. Businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of Obamacare. Three quarters of those surveyed by the Chamber of Commerce said Obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people. And perhaps most troubling of all, Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor.”
From beginning to end, this is incredibly misleading. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t cut $500 billion from Medicare services; it ends the Medicare Advantage program, which cost the government a huge amount of money with few benefits. Likewise, the law doesn’t add “trillions to our deficits.” By most accounts, the law reduces the deficit over the next decade and works to reduce the overall rate of health care spending by the federal government. And on the claims that the law will cause “up to 20 million Americans” to lose their insurance, and make it harder for businesses to hire, Romney is simply lying. Under the law, you can maintain your current health insurance if you like it. As for small businesses, since the Affordable Care Act hasn’t actually been implemented, there’s no way that it can be responsible for sluggish hiring.
The fact that Romney has decided to fabricate knocks against the Affordable Care Act is a sure sign that this ruling was bad for his campaign. The focus is no longer on whether the law is constitutional, but on whether the policy is good, and on a provision-by-provision basis, the Affordable Care Act is fairly popular with the public. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling gives the Obama campaign a chance to reframe the law, and highlight its benefits for ordinary Americans. If this works, then the focus will be on what people might lose if Republicans are elected in November. This is terrible ground for a challenger to fight on.
Of course, if Romney can muddy the waters, then he might keep Obama from capitalizing on any post-SCOTUS boost. So his best bet is to lie constantly about what’s actually in the bill.
- My take on tomorrow’s SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act (traderjb.com)
- SCOTUS win-lose scenarios (politico.com)
- The Romney campaign’s surreal arguments about the economy – The Plum Line – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Obamacarians’ Pregame Rationalizations: Doesn’t Matter; Good for O; All Scalia’s Fault, and More! (txwclp.org)
- How Sun-Times plans to report the Supreme Court ‘Obamacare’ ruling (jimromenesko.com)
- Obamacare Decision Looms (huffingtonpost.com)
- SCOTUS & ObamaCare (queenofspainblog.com)
- Colbert Plans Ahead, Pre-tapes Reactions to SCOTUS ObamaCare Ruling (distriction.com)
- Obamacarians’ Pregame Rationalizations: Doesn’t Matter; Good for O; All Scalia’s Fault, and More! (reason.com)