Today, Ruth Marcus wrote an article in which she somehow reasons that Congress has the authority to mandate individuals to buy insurance. She advocates two “Constitutional” modes of doing so: the always “reliable,” Commerce Clause and the power of Congress to tax. She goes on to say:
If you arrive uninsured at an emergency room, that has ripple effects through the national economy — driving up costs and premiums for everyone. If you choose to go without insurance, that limits the size of the pool of insured individuals and — assuming you are young and healthy — drives up premium costs.
Taken to its logical extreme, Ms. Marcus’ logic implies that Congress has the power to control everything Americans do with their money.
For example, let’s say that American car manufacturers continue on their decline to the verge of complete collapse. Many Americans would then refuse to buy their cars because of their poor quality or high cost. The decision to not purchase American cars does in fact have a huge effect on interstate commerce. Therefore, Congress can force Americans to buy these poorly made, highly priced cars rather than more appealing foreign models in order to keep American carmakers afloat (Or they can take the old fashioned route and just bail them out).
The implications of this legal precedent on a “capitalist,” society already hanging by a thread are clear: Congress would have the power to dictate which businesses get customers and which don’t (American car companies would be sent customers while foreign car companies would be sent none). In other words, Congress will run the American economy. Considering the fact that they’ve already gotten the country $12 trillion in the red, I’m not so sure that most Americans would be thrilled with that.Published in