First there was the “death tax;” now with the Supreme Court’s rationale for Obamacare, the United States has a “birth tax.” Under the law, simply by being born, American citizens are saddled with a tax burden if they are not covered by a health insurance plan. They don’t have to possess anything; they don’t have to do anything; they simply have to be.
This is an unprecedented level of government power. Progressives may point to Social Security as a tax on existence. However, that tax is not collected unless a person engages in some sort of economic transaction such as earning wages. Paying a tax for NOT enrolling in a health insurance plan is a de facto tax on a person’s automatic biological processes. Instead of deducting Social Security from earnings, every heartbeat, regardless of one’s economic activity, will have a calculable monetary value.
And to determine that monetary value, they must determine how much will cover the health care costs of a person through a flat periodic payment. With that, the relationship between the individual and the federal government changes forever. Now, the American citizen is first and foremost a cost, a risk to be managed–and that will become the foot in the door for any regulation imaginable. Obamacare already taxes tanning beds because of their assumed health risks. New York City will ban large cups of sugary drinks.
This can and will be used to justify endless bureaucratic absurdity–a video game tax, a swimming-without-water-wings tax, a microwave tax, a bad-shoe-insole tax, a ban on white bread tax–whatever Uncle Sam can think of. Thanks to the avarice of politicians, it has always been probable. Now, thanks to the Court, it is entirely possible.
Electoral victory and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will not be enough to end this push toward government control of healthcare. Even if the bill is repealed and replaced, the electoral winds need only change for a single Congress to pass the legislation again, citing this SCOTUS precedent. Inevitably, the agencies required to enforce the act or a variant of it will become too firmly entwined to citizens’ lives for a lasting solution through the U.S. code or executive order.
To gain ground in the fight against civic illiteracy on this scale, it will take nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment to–and I cannot believe this phrase must be written–prohibit the federal government from taxing mere human existence.