Saturday, February 5, 2011

Federal Judge Rules on Constitutionality of Taxation

(Dissociated Press, 2/5/11) A federal judge has ruled that the Affordable Health Care Act is unconstitutional in requiring Americans to pay for private health insurance. In passing, the judge invalidated laws providing tax incentives for child care, fuel efficient vehicles, home ownership, marriage, and having children.

The judge wrote, “If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain.”

He continued, "That the enforcement of the mandate to purchase health insurance is covered by the Internal Revenue Service proves that the tax code is a kind of government coercion that cannot be used to encourage or discourage constitutionally protected commerce or other behaviors."

The health insurance mandate is enforced by a tax increase on those who do not acquire health insurance voluntarily. Since increases in taxation on one group is only an increase relative to taxes paid by other, comparison groups, it follows that decreasing taxes on one individual is the same as increasing the taxes on these comparison groups. The act is indistinguishable from a law that increases everyone's taxes and then offers an incentive to reduce the taxes of anyone who purchases private health insurance.

Vinson continued, "Any use of the tax code to decrease taxes on any individual for purchasing some private good or engaging in some private, constitutionally protected behavior, is effectively increasing the taxes on everyone not engaging in that behavior. If taxing individuals who do not buy private healthcare is coercing them to buy it, then taxing individuals more for not getting child care, for example, than those who do get child care, is effectively coercing individuals to get child care. The situation is worse for marrying or having children since the Supreme Court has found that private behavior of this sort is constitutionally protected. Pairs of cohabiting individuals who do not marry pay more in taxes--a penalty--compared to those who do marry. It follows that every tax incentive that favors one sort of behavior over others is constitutionally untenable."

"Goodbye federal tax code," he concluded.

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