Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unprecedented ruling, declaring the individual mandate in President Obama’s healthcare law a constitutional “tax.” This raises the question, “The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Is this the end of the healthcare debate?” I say it is not.
It’s fitting, as we approach the Fourth of July, that we discuss taxation and a proper role of government. Our nation was founded in part because of gross infringements from an overbearing ruler. King George III and his government levied taxes on and issued laws governing colonial Americans without their consent, and ignored their consultation and the peaceful envoys they sent to England.
At the center of that debate, in essence, was the question of whether the fact that the government could do something meant that the government should do something. Did the fact that the King could tax colonial Americans without their consent mean that it was morally acceptable for him to do so? The answer from our Founders was a resounding “No.”
Today our Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government may construe its individual healthcare mandate as a tax. The court’s ruling deliberately does not weigh in on whether or not that tax is wise, fair, or moral.
The fact that the Supreme Court rules something permissible under the Constitution does not make it good policy. The threats posed by government-run healthcare are just as present today as they were yesterday. Our federal government would do well to remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.