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Health Care Ruling Guts Constitution’s Taxing-Power Limits, Will Ignite New Taxpayer Revolt, Citizen Group Says
June 28, 2012
By Pete Sepp
(Alexandria, VA) – Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” has disastrous implications not only for health care but for all tax policy – thanks to the Court’s reliance on Congress’ taxing authority in their decision. That’s the word from the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has announced it will immediately begin an all-out campaign to rally taxpayers, repeal the 2010 law, and reassert constitutional limitations on the taxing power of government.
Even if the Supreme Court had set aside the individual mandate portion of the health care scheme, NTU was preparing an effort to roll back other parts of the law that would heap nearly $500 billion in tax hikes and $1.1 trillion in unaffordable spending. However, the Court’s reckless “reasoning” that the mandate falls within Congress’s taxing powers has added a whole new level of urgency to the debate – a debate for which NTU is uniquely suited.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision marks a terribly dark day not only for health care freedom, but taxpayer freedom as well,” said NTU President Duane Parde. “The federal government has been given a whole new license to wield harsh powers over all Americans’ pocketbooks for any of a number of reasons, limited only to the imagination of bureaucrats. The Court has unleashed a threat to the rights and well-being of taxpayers which, unless beaten back by the people themselves, could eventually devour our country’s very economic fiber.”
Parde noted that limitations inherent to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause had already been left in tatters by previous Supreme Court rulings, leaving citizens vulnerable to government expansion in many areas of everyday life. However, by relying on the taxing powers clause of the Constitution for cover to uphold the law, Chief Justice Roberts has, in Parde’s words, “opened a Pandora’s box of federal policies that could prey on taxpayers virtually unimpeded.” One potential silver lining, however, is the possibility that the Court’s blurring of the distinction between taxes and fees might force states and localities to revisit many of their exactions, some of which could be subjected to “supermajority” approval requirements or other safeguards.
NTU has immediately begun planning for several activities in opposition to both the health care law and the Supreme Court ruling, including a new grassroots push to obtain full repeal of the law before its worst taxing elements take effect in the coming years, a potential class-action suit on behalf of injured taxpayers, and a stepped-up strategy to obtain passage of tax and expenditure limitations in the U.S. Constitution.
Parde predicted that far from settling the question of the health care law’s legitimacy, the Supreme Court’s ruling will only ignite a new taxpayer revolt of unprecedented strength and depth.
“Now is the time for the legislative branch to do its job in preventing an unaffordable and unworkable law from moving forward,” Parde concluded. “Congress must act to repeal Obamacare immediately and press the ‘reset’ button on debates over reforming our health system. Our leaders must also work to reestablish and strengthen constitutional boundaries on federal taxing, spending, and borrowing powers. Taxpayers deserve a limited government.”
NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom.