The Power to Tax is the Power to Destroy
So said Daniel Webster, counsel for the Second Bank of the United States, repeated by Chief Justice Marshal in McCulloch vs Maryland.
Those of us yearning for a Supreme nullification of ObamaCare, were splitting hairs of course, expecting that the current Court would deny the individual mandate on grounds of the commerce clause lacking an enumerated power to force American citizens to purchase something, anything -- to engage in commerce. The hair splitting was that the individual mandate couldn't simply be a tax in disguise, instead, because it wasn't written as a tax. After all, words matter; so we thought.
The Democrats demurred calling it a tax in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act , "ACA", bill itself. To do so would have been beyond their reach in political courage, while they singlehandedly wrote and jammed this bill through Capitol Hill onto Obama's desk for signature, gleefully not needing a single Republican vote nor allowing any time beforehand to read and digest its contents.
The Supreme Court, ruling substance over form in denying the mandate as a commodity purchase but accepting it as a tax, is now beyond reproach given the 16th Amendment.
This interpretation is a splash of acid in the face for limited government libertarians. If any activity mandated by Congress accompanied by a money transaction can be construed as a tax, despite its commerce clause proscriptions, there is no limit to the power of the federal government over our lives.
Repeal of ObamaCare would fix the immediate horrifying consequences of this Supreme Court ruling. Yet what are the odds of both a Senate takeover by Republicans and a Romney victory? Even so, permanent damage has been inflicted on this nation. Any future Congress with enough votes to override vetoes or with a like-minded president can now force US citizens to purchase anything at any time, under the guise of a tax. Congress has an unlimited power to confiscate resources-any and all-- from us by simply calling it a tax.
Which is why conservatives can never compromise on their political exhortations for limited taxation. There are now no restraints on how Congress may hook up vacuum hoses to our wallets, our assets, our future earnings, and prospects for life and liberty.
Indeed liberty collapsed today under the weight of the power to tax and destroy.