In a confusing constitutional Rorschach test, Chief Justice Roberts determined that the individual mandate, which the Obama Administration had alternately argued was either a penalty or a tax (depending on the audience before which it was making the case), does indeed have the properties of a penalty to avoid the Anti-Injunction Act and is a tax for purposes of constitutionality.
Despite the Administration insisting again this week that the mandate is not a tax, this ruling means that federal and state bureaucracies can continue to figure out how to establish and implement the massive new entitlement program known ironically as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
As Jerry Seinfeld’s character said:
Meanwhile, below is a selection of recent reports from the Government Accountability Office about how some of our current programs are doing. As I observed a few weeks ago, the GAO goes out of its way to find gentle language to point out what would otherwise be known as failure and incompetence. The studies often seem to imply that if only federal programs were granted sufficient resources and oversight, they could attain a state of perfection.
- Rural Housing Service: Efforts to Identify and Reduce Improper Rental Assistance Payments Could Be Enhanced
- Nonpoint Source Water Pollution: Greater Oversight and Additional Data Needed for Key EPA Water Program
- Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Could Better Manage Security Surveys and Vulnerability Assessments
- Employment For People With Disabilities: Little Is Known About the Effectiveness of Fragmented And Overlapping Programs
- Foreclosure Mitigation: Agencies Could Improve Effectiveness of Federal Efforts with Additional Data Collection and Analysis
- Management Report: Improvements Needed in Controls over the Preparation of the U.S. Consolidated Financial Statements
- Millennium Challenge Corporation: Georgia and Benin Transportation Infrastructure Projects Varied in Quality and May Not Be Sustainable
- Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites: Changing Requirements, Technical Issues, and Looming Data Gaps Require Focused Attention
- Kachemak Bay Ferry: Federally Funded Ferry Was Constructed with Limited Oversight and Faces Future Operating Challenges
- VA/DOD Federal Health Care Center: Costly Information Technology Delays Continue and Evaluation Plan Lacking
- DOD Financial Management: Improvements Needed in Prompt Payment Monitoring and Reporting
- Supplemental Security Income: Better Management Oversight Needed for Children's Benefits
- Federal Real Property: National Strategy and Better Data Needed to Improve Management of Excess and Underutilized Property
- Intelligence Community Personnel: Strategic Approach and Training Requirements Needed to Guide Joint Duty Program
- Nanotechnology: Improved Performance Information Needed for Environmental, Health, and Safety Research
- Farm Programs: Direct Payments Should Be Reconsidered
If the electorate permits the ACA to continue, I’m sure that it will provide fodder to the GAO for similar reports for years to come.