No freedom in being forced to engage in commerce and being punished if you don't

Published: July 6, 2012
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It appears the U.S. Supreme Court's majority ruling on health care legislation has disregarded the generally accepted view that coercion invalidates a contract. It's a contorted rationalization for Chief Justice John Roberts to suggest that there's freedom of choice regarding the individual purchase of health insurance, when the alternative is punitive financial action enforced through the power of the federal government. There's no freedom in being forced to choose between engaging in undesired commerce and being punished if you don't.

Indeed, Roberts' tortuous logic suggests that Congress can mandate anything it chooses by simply penalizing, through discriminatory taxation, individual consumption of products or services, or lack of said consumption. The result is still that Congress has been given the power to regulate our individual decisions to engage, or not engage, in a particular form of commerce. It's merely a semantic obfuscation to cloak this as a simple tax being fairly and evenly assessed on the public.

John Dyer, Norman



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