Suppose, dear reader, that, while residing legally in the United States, you choose not to purchase a daily newspaper. Perhaps your choice is determined by a concern that all newspapers varnish the truth, perhaps by budgetary constraints. Suppose that you choose not to outlay your monies on an annual vacation, perhaps because you believe that ‘your nest is always best’, perhaps because of budgetary constraints. Suppose that a bigot is elected to the presidency and ‘persuades’ Congress to require you to purchase a newspaper, or to fine you for not so doing ; to require you to take an annual vacation, or to fine you for not so doing. Would you not be alarmed, dear reader, by such an invasion of your liberty to engage or not to engage in specific market activities? Would you not view such an intervention as an act of tyranny much more serious than the eighteenth century interventions by King George III merely to tax certain kinds of consumption while yet leaving his colonists free to purchase or not to purchase the affected items?
If the very idea of such an invasion of your liberty enrages you, as it should enrage any man who values his liberty, then think very carefully about the health care legislation that Congress is now poised to enact and that President Obama is panting to sign into law:
“President Obama’s health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because the provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional….It is one thing…for Congress to regulate economic activity in which individuals choose to engage; it is another to require that individuals engage in such activity. That is not a difference in degree, but instead a difference in kind. It is a line that Congress has never crossed and the courts have never sanctioned. In fact, the Supreme Court in United States v. Lopez (1995) rejected a version of the commerce power so expansive that it would leave virtually no activities by individuals that Congress could not regulate. By requiring Americans to use their own money to purchase a particular good or service, Congress would be doing exactly what the court said that it could not do.” Orrin G. Hatch, Kenneth Blackwell and Kenneth A. Klukowski, ‘Why the Health-Care Bills are Unconstitutional’, Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2010.
The authors are surely too kind to Congress and the President. This intervention is not just unconstitutional. It is a greater act of tyranny than King George III ever envisaged. And he lost his beloved colonies for much lesser transgressions.