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Andy Pattantyus: Supreme Court Obamacare decision

Posted: July 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 6, 2012 2:00 a.m.

On Thursday, June 28 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision on Obamacare.  Was the decision a win for liberals?  Was it a disaster for conservatives? The pundits, analysts and syndicated columnists are all over the map.

To provide context for analyzing the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, we should ask ourselves: “How can a government exert control over any individual?” I propose these fundamental techniques.

1. Control the food supply. The unholy alliance between the oligopoly of major processed food manufacturers and the revolving door at several federal government agencies assures cheap food, but it also assures that these entities are in control of the majority of the most readily available “cheap” food.
We call this unholy alliance between big business and big government “crony capitalism.”  In pre-WWII Germany, fascism was the word for a similar unholy alliance between big industry and government. Crony capitalism controls and corrupts our food supply, compromising our health.

2. Control access to health care. The Supreme Court decision is a big loss, since much of Obamacare survives.  Death panels and distant administrators will still be making the critical decisions, instead of you and your doctor.

3. Keep the individual in debt. This is why Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac and student loan debt are of such concern. A majority of Americans are indebted to the federal government. Attractive initial terms sucker many individuals into a level of debt impossible to repay. Legions of debtors are now little more than indentured servants to the feds, at the mercy of the handouts from politicians.

4. Control individual access to information.  We can help ourselves only to the extent we can educate ourselves.  For many, especially the sick, freedom of the press and Internet are a matter of life and death.

5. Use personal information against you.  This is a favorite tactic of despotic governments.  Privacy matters. We must limit government collection and aggregation of personal information about us.

6. Everything belongs to everybody.  Liberty is the distinction between equal opportunity and equal benefits. Our country was formed on property rights. Obamacare is a massive redistribution of wealth, trampling on property rights by taking rightful earnings from one party and giving it those who did not earn it. We must fight for property rights.

Obamacare has always been about increasing the domain of the federal government over the individual, under the guise of healthcare for all.  While the Supreme Court decision leaves intact most of 2,700 pages of egregious Obamacare overreach, there are two critical precedents.

The Supreme Court has redefined the Obamacare “penalty” for not buying insurance as a tax, but not a direct tax. Whether you call it a tax or a penalty, this Supreme Court decision paves the way for the federal government to impose financial sanctions on those who are not complying with its wishes. Whatever you call it, the Feds are now more empowered than ever to reach into your wallet.

The Supreme Court decision adds more rules to delineate state and federal powers. This is not necessarily good, as the Constitution already reserves all rights to the states that are not clearly defined as federal rights. Thus, a ruling like this paves the way for more big government shenanigans.

This split Supreme Court decision contains all kinds of legalistic and semantic gymnastics. Rather than being a straightforward reading of the legislation and a straightforward interpretation of the Constitution and legal precedents, this particular decision goes outside of all those boundaries. While many conservatives and liberals alike are applauding Chief Justice John Roberts for exercising restraint and interpreting the legislation in the narrowest possible sense, this decision will have many unintended consequences. The power of government just got bigger, and that of the individual citizen just got smaller.

We must now fight to assure the federal government is not the sole source insurance provider. As long as there is also a private market, we are OK.

Why is this a concern? The federal student loan market, now 100 percent federal, serves as an example.
The Supreme Court has kicked the issue firmly back into the hands of the voters. We must now go to the polls in November and decide what we want. We must remind our representatives that they work for us and not the other way around.

Andy Pattantyus lives and works in Santa Clarita and is the President of Strategic Modularity Inc.  Contact him at


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