Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Worse for Whom?
Instapundit notes the frenzy to observe and protest at the upcoming Supreme Court session when the Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Obamacare, and asks whether it is worse for the Court to strike down the law or uphold it. A decision is expected in June, before the election. Worse for Obama? Striking down the law. His signature legislative accomplishment is gone and he can't blame Congress or the Republicans (which of course will not stop him from blaming Congress or the Republicans). Worse for Democrats in general? Upholding the law. I predict a Democratic rout in both houses of Congress if the law is upheld. I wonder if I am the first to make that prediction. It probably doesn't matter. My prediction is likely the result of being trapped in a Kausian cocoon. Would upholding the law affect the Presidential contest? Yes, in favor of any Republican promising to repeal it. Since they are all promising to repeal it (and some actually mean it) upholding the law will not benefit any one Republican presidential candidate in particular. But, since I think the Republicans will take the White House this year anyway, I don't think a decision upholding the law will change the election outcome. Worse for the nation? Upholding it. Regardless of your opinion on whether the healthcare law is good or bad, whether or not you think the federal government should be fixing the health insurance issues faced by the country, the theory on which Obamacare's individual mandate is founded (that economic inactivity can be regulated by the federal government because it affects interstate commerce) has no boundaries. Longer ago than I care to think about, I read a science fiction short story about a society in which all of the production was automated. As a result, very few people actually had jobs and consumer goods were overproduced. The government therefore required each family on "welfare" to overconsume for the purpose of keeping the economy going. "Welfare" recipients were required to have a new car each year, have expensive weddings for their children, live in large homes, etc. The people with jobs lived austerely. What stuck with me over the years was the author's conclusion that the overconsuming "welfare" recipients would envy the austerity of the working class and the working class would pity the overconsumers. If Obamacare is upheld, we may get the chance to see if that author was right.