Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:58 am

You're starting to sound a little "Doomsday" there. I think you have some pretty solid points, but Idk if it's THAT bad.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby KysenMurrin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:12 am

The way they approved the healthcare mandate (by rejecting all of the arguments the defenders of it made, and keeping it only because it counts under taxation) actually makes it easier for congress to make changes to how it works in the future. It's now possible for them to adjust the penalties down to practically nothing if they're that way inclined.

As for point 3, if they had approved it based on the arguments regarding the commerce clause (arguments which they spoke very strongly against in their ruling), that would have set the precedent for the government to be able to force purchases of any commercial product, and they've very clearly said no to that.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:28 am

I tend to agree with part of Jabari's take.  I figured that the Healtcare law would not be thrown out, but not really in the way that it was handled.  I figured if any of the "conservative" justices were to cross over it would be Kennedy, if memory serves he had crossed over in the equally horrific (at least in this case most dems agree too) iminent domain ruling.  Roberts was the last person I expected to cross over.

Anyhow, there are two really disappointing outcomes (in my mind) with today's ruling.  First is that the supreme court just ceded all sorts of power, the checks and balances are really now out of whack.  They basically told congress that they can do anything they want, as long as they wrap it in a tax.  The constitutionality loop hole created by this system is massive, and both sides are going to exploit it to our detriment.  There is no limit to what the government can legislate you must do, or pay a tax.  In fact, under this system, they can completely do away with the concept of "fines" which have a much more stringent legal burden to meet, and just replace it with a tax.

The second part has been the continued erosion of individual rights in favor of group rights, and now that notion has the go ahead for limitless further erosion.  There is absolutely nothing that can't be  tied to some sort of shared cost model.  Anything that affects your health or the environment no matter how indirectly can be legislated with a group mentality.  If NYC wants to make it illegal for me to buy a soda in portions larger than 16 oz, they are now free to do so.  They can simply lump that in to some sort of shared obesity "cost" and infringe on my ability to conduct free commerce in my own best interest...
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:35 am

It's not that bad. Yet. But I'm pretty sure it will be, and probably sooner rather than later.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:42 am

Fivelives wrote:It's not that bad. Yet. But I'm pretty sure it will be, and probably sooner rather than later.

Right, it's not the healthcare law itself that really concerns me. I'm ok with coming up with a system that achieves better health inurance coverage. To me it's purely the mechanics that the government is allowed to use to achieve that, and how they will be wielded in the future.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:22 pm

Here's the ruling: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-393c3a2.pdf

The dissent starts on page 127, and is well worth reading. It's absolutely scathing, and rightly so.

This in particular is really good:
"That clear principle carries the day here. The striking case of Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U. S. 111 (1942), which held that the economic activity of growing wheat, even for one’s own consumption, affected commerce sufficiently that it could be regulated, always has been regarded as the ne plus ultra of expansive Commerce Clause jurisprudence. To go beyond that, and to say the failure to grow wheat (which is not an economic activity, or any activity at all) nonetheless affects commerce and therefore can be federally regulated, is to make mere breathing in and out the basis for federal prescription and to extend federal power to virtually all human activity."

Aubade wrote:You're starting to sound a little "Doomsday" there. I think you have some pretty solid points, but Idk if it's THAT bad.

It's THAT bad.

The only possible "saving grace" :roll: is that the math doesn't work. With the current projections, in 30 years the Federal Government is going to be spending 15 Trillion a year solely on healthcare (yes, that's with a "T"). That obviously isn't going to happen - the only choices are to "go Wiemar" (uncontrolled hyperinflation), or to cut something (hence my "rationing" comment earlier).

As I said, get in shape. Either the "health care" won't be available (so try not to need it), or we've gone full TEOTWAWKI and being in shape is great for outrunning and/or fighting the zombies. (Or at least outrunning your neighbors so the zombies get them instead.)

Fridmarr wrote:First is that the supreme court just ceded all sorts of power, the checks and balances are really now out of whack.

...

To me it's purely the mechanics that the government is allowed to use to achieve that, and how they will be wielded in the future.

Exactly. This precedent is ... double-plus ungood (tm).
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Thalia » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:23 pm

I literally felt like you do when you find out someone you care about died, it sounds dramatic yes, but I can't help what my body did, my stomach wanted to jump out of my mouth. I know we don't all agree, this is just how I feel, for all the reasons everyone else has posted and more... I know a lot of you have debated on this thread weather to even vote, if it matters, if it counts, it's obvious it does (if the hanging chads didn't prove that to you I hope this does). Many feel the parties are the same, they all abuse power and screw it up. But for me, they have woken a sleeping giant. I haven't cared much about being active in politics since I was in college, 10 years ago, today I have committed myself to volunteer for the November elections and to do everything I can to get out the vote.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:47 pm

So much melodrama in this thread.

I'd type a gigantic essay, but I'm trying to ween myself off of "people are wrong on the internet", and this issue is complex enough it would have to be a large essay indeed. And I suspect people like Jabari are beyond rational convincing anyway.

So suffice to say, I disagree with your analysis.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:32 pm

Speaking from a resident of "the rest of the Western world", first: let me welcome the US to it, and second: it's not so bad.

Most Western nations provide health care. It's about time the US did so as well. It doesn't impoverish us - you'll just have to learn how to balance it. Some judicial reform would help, so that malpractice lawsuits don't break the system, but providing health care is a good start. Yes, the transition period is going to be painful, but I am sure a country as strong and powerful as the US can work it out.

Now if we can only get you to adopt the metric system as well, we won't have to see things like this:
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:41 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Jun 28, 2012 5:42 pm

Brekkie wrote:So much melodrama in this thread.

I'd type a gigantic essay, but I'm trying to ween myself off of "people are wrong on the internet", and this issue is complex enough it would have to be a large essay indeed. And I suspect people like Jabari are beyond rational convincing anyway.

So suffice to say, I disagree with your analysis.

Oh well gee thanks for sparing us more melodrama...oh wait.

Fortunately, there's no need for essays now that the decision is out and publicly accessible (even linked here for convenience). No one here is going to put it to words any better than that document does. Both sides agree on what the precedent means, so there's not much analysis needed.

Koatanga wrote:Speaking from a resident of "the rest of the Western world", first: let me welcome the US to it, and second: it's not so bad.

Most Western nations provide health care. It's about time the US did so as well.
Technically it's insurance not care that is more accessible, those aren't quite synonyms. But as has been pointed out, the bulk of the complaints aren't about health care at all, it's about the power the government has.

As Kysen noted, since it's now a tax (something both sides have 'fundamentally' denied in the past), it's now subject to different rules in congress. In other words it's far more likely to be a constantly moving target that we have to deal with in every budgetary hearing for the next few years...bleh. I think we are pretty safe this election, but down the road I fear this become another place to make political hay, which isn't a good thing for something like health insurance.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:42 pm

Agreed. I agree that healthcare for everyone should happen someday. I don't like the politics that allowed it to happen, and the way it was implemented.

Government given more power? No thanks.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby razul » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:45 pm

beyond all the prior arguments, there is one other key point that has not yet been stated. The purpose of the bill was to reduce the cost of healthcare. Unfortunately the cost of the bill is [money], which is a hell of a lot more expensive then [negative money]. Even taking into account the partial annihilation of personal freedom, the bill fails to reduce costs, and goes as far as to add even more government bureaucracy into the healthcare system.

Obamacare stated cost
2.8 trillion over 10 years: 280 billion a year
current federal income 2.3 trillion (source http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
add 12% to your current federal taxes, and that's how much more your healthcare will cost in the long run.
For me that adds $700 a year money fed directly to government waste, without even taking into account the provisions of the bill.
Do I pay this directly? No, but that is just more money added to our debt.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:26 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/28/opinion/b ... ?hpt=hp_c2
Jack M. Balkin wrote:The only consequence for failing to pay the tax was that your income tax refund would be reduced by a bit. And if you didn't have a tax refund that year, there were no consequences at all!

I'm failing to see what everyone is so up in arms about... unless this writer for cnn professor from Yale is just completely off-base, then you're really only "penalized" if you normally get a refund AND refuse to purchase insurance...

Also...
Jack M. Balkin wrote:Congress provided that failure to pay the tax would not result in either criminal penalties or tax liens. Nobody would come after you if you didn't pay the tax. Congress planned to rely primarily on the fact that most Americans understand and accept that they have to pay their taxes.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:52 am

As far as I know that's correct, but I don't think it's really relevant to what everyone (or anyone) is "up in arms" about. It's not the outcome, it's the repeatable process.

The tax was never thought to be particularly onerous, about 90% of citizens already have or can afford health insurance, and those that can't afford it are generally going to be subsidized anyway.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby fuzzygeek » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:51 am

Health care for all is well and good. That's not really the point, all handwaving and hysteronics aside. What's really interesting is the power of the federal government and how it utilizes (abuses the fuck out of) the commerce clause, and what challenges this ruling opens up.

Everyone agrees the system is a mess. The way they went about "fixing" it is even worse ("We have to pass the bill so we can find out what's in it"). The effect of this 5-4 ruling is going to be even more interesting, especially in an election year.

The more I think about this, the more I think Roberts is a sly bastard. I just hope his flip is the result of a calculated strategy, instead of a spineless capitulation. And honestly it may not even matter.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Thalia » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:25 am

A lot of people are pointing out that Scalia's decent was actually written as the majority, it constantly referred to Ruth Ginsberg's Opinion calling it "the decent", seeming to indicated that Robert's vote seemed to have flipped at some point, and if that recently. Wondered what happened? Robert's had to pull the "Taxing" power out of his #$#% since it was not written as a Tax, President Obama is on record many times saying it was not a tax, and before they took up the case they had a hired lawyer come argue why it wasn't a tax so that they could take it up as a Commerce Clause issue..., which it was found unconstitutional on.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:29 am

Actually Fuzzy, the commerce clause argument was struck down 5-4 and I think that's now legal precedent.  However, there's little satisifaction in that when rolling anything into a tax seems to be a viable bypass to judicial scrutiny.

The conventional wisdom on Roberts being sly, is that by calling it a tax, a political solution can be found.  Arguably, the notion of health care being a political argument is a good one, but this wasn't about health care it was about mechanics in this plan's implementation.  Further as a budgetary motion, there's no filibuster concern when dealing with it, another tick in Roberts cap. 

However, even assuming that Roberts believes it to be bad legislation (and it's possible to infer that from his comments, but it's still just inference) I still highly doubt that this was a sly master plan.  First, too much was given up for it.  Secondly, there is no way in hell Mitt Romney wins the election so it's moot.  Third, having the plan revisited now would actually make it a political process, which one could argue that the way it was passed before was a back door around that process.

I think that opinion was Roberts' of his own free will, for better or for worse.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:58 pm

As speaking from an overseas prospective:
You guys really need to hang a few heads, more than we do.
And ban legal lobbying, that's just ridicolous.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Sagara » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:47 am

To be honest, the European parlement is looking to be headed the same way. Was it last month that we had that whole debacle on lobby group informations law?

The only reason it's not as visible here is because the parlement doesn't hold as much power.

But, yeah, lobbyism sucks.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:50 am

If there ever was a USSC decision for which "The Constitution died today" hyperbole was justified, it was Citizens United.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:10 am

That might be the first time I've heard that hyperbole used with a decision that actually restrained government.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:11 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:08 am

I really hate it when people assume it's the government's responsibility to do things like this:

"Creating jobs so that finding meaningful employment can stop feeling like pursuing an all-but-unattainable luxury."

It's not. I don't want to pay for John Q Public's minimum wage job. Beyond the obvious direct employment, the government cannot "create jobs". For instance, take the welfare-to-work program - it's funded by taxpayers, and the program pays half of the employees salary during their probationary/training period, pays 6 months to a year of transportation costs to/from work, and pays for childcare during that same period, along with still providing welfare benefits to the recipient, plus a year of health insurance (if they had medicaid already).

"A fair solution to health care, that compassionate people along every station of the right/left continuum can live with and be proud of."

There is no such thing. It's like trying to find a place where fire can coexist peacefully with water. The best we can hope for is that we manage to get a party with enough votes in congress to pass it as a piece of partisan legislation that implements strict requirements on getting this insurance - such as yearly physicals, and if something goes wrong that's preventable by Not Being Stupid™, the person loses their insurance. Smoke? Sure - but if you get a legitimate smoking related illness, you're pooched. Addicted to McDonalds? Guess what, if your fat ass has a stroke or heartattack or something due to your craptastic diet, you're up shit creek without a paddle; etc...

People outside the US like to look at us like we're stupid for not being able to pass it, but the US government is a beast on an entirely different scale than anywhere else. Or perhaps it's a beast on the same exact scale, but we have different hot button issues. For instance, Canadians have the Quebecois constantly threatening secession if I'm not mistaken? The UK constantly has to deal with bitchslaps from Ireland (and vice versa) - every country has something that they can't fix. Healthcare just happens to be our monster-in-the-closet.

"Fixing the fallout from the big-bank machinations and the mortgage crisis that have cost so many people their homes."

The government meddling is a HUGE part of what's responsible for the mortgage crisis. They had to go and regulate banks, "encouraging" them to provide subprime mortgages to high risk borrowers, then when the economy tanked, all of those insanely high risk borrowers defaulted on their loans. What a shocking and unexpected development that was! I'm all for providing housing for the needy, but that's what rental subsidy programs (such as Section 8, among others) are for. If people don't want to live in "The Projects" then they should get the hell out of there on their own, without government interference.

Besides, our government's knee-jerk reaction to pretty much any problem that arises is to throw more money at it in the hopes that it will go away. The last bailout cost every single man, woman and child in the US a little over $1000. And for what? So that banks wouldn't go bankrupt? Well guess what, banks - that's the risk you take when you loan people money!

I wouldn't have minded that nearly as much as I did, except that the bailout money went directly to the banks to be used basically at their discretion. I favored a much "neater" solution - that is, use the bailout money to pay off the mortgages that the banks had outstanding. The banks would have gotten the money in the end, and a lot fewer people would've lost their homes. Instead, the banks spent it on more bad investments, leaving them in nearly the same position they were in pre-bailout, along with a lot of empty foreclosed homes that lost over half (on average) of their pre-crash value.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:42 pm

Fridmarr wrote:That might be the first time I've heard that hyperbole used with a decision that actually restrained government.


Unelected branch of government upholds the ability of elected branch of government to make laws.
Conservatives declare the death of the Republic.

p.s. Upon re-reading your statement, how did Citizens United RESTRAIN government? It UN-restrained the powerful, and gave them totally free reign over the governing process of the entire country.

This year, the Koch family alone has spent more than all the campaign contributions by individuals during the last Presidential election combined, for both candidates. A single family with more power than the entire people of the United States. And you call that restraining government?
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