28 June 2012

Angry Conservatives Threaten to Move to Canada

I knew that the Affordable Healthcare Act ruling was going to result in some amazingly ignorant rage from the uninformed, but its already going beyond my wildest dreams.

From Buzzfeed: People Who Say They're Moving To Canada Because Of ObamaCare

Some of my favorites:
@wallyweldon: I'm moving to Canada, the United States is entirely too socialist.

@VanSummers: #SCOTUS holds up free healthcare for everyone?! Screw this commie country, I'm moving to #Canada #whoswithme
Nobody tell these people that Canada has socialized medicine.  Or, you know, police, fire departments, public works, a military, public schools...

In all seriousness though, when I'm faced with folks like this, I always ask one question: "Define socialism."  Words mean things, and the wingnuts in the United States have done such a good job applying it to literally everything that sounds evil and scary that they've essentially kept themselves and a huge amount of the public ignorant as to what that word really means.

Affordable Healthcare Act is Constitutional

This morning, in a moment of sanity, the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Healthcare Act largely constitutional.  I have a couple of major thoughts on the matter.

1)  The shrieking about the government "forcing" people to do something is a little absurd.  One would have thought that people would have stopped that argument once somebody pointed out that the federal government does this on a regular basis.  The thing that really amuses me is that most conservatives have no problem with the Selective Service Administration, which is the government making you enroll in a program on penalty of fine or jail time and can enlist you in the military and compel you to go overseas and fight.  If that's perfectly acceptable, how then is the AHA not?

Now, I understand that the AHA without a public option is basically mandating people buy a service off the economy, but I think some of the basic concepts remain the same.  If the state can do something as invasive as draft every able-bodied male into military service to ensure the general welfare of the nation during wartime and peacetime, I hardly see how taking steps that ultimately are designed to improve the overall fitness of the public is any different.  By that logic, we've done such things before, most specifically with Physical Education requirements in the post World War I-era United States (where 1 in 3 draftees were considered to be of insufficient physical fitness, a statistic that has only gotten worse).

2)  My main concern in this ruling is that the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as a "tax" rather than a penalty.  I'm curious to see how such a ruling could open up other Commerce Clause claims to new scrutiny.  Just a basic examination of what laws have been upheld using this clause alone should demonstrate the potential danger that goes along with such scrutiny.

Only time will tell.  In the meantime, expect a massive amount of hyperbole and vitriol from the radical right that's going to be absolutely amazing to watch.  We're talking schadenfreude overload, so make sure to stretch your humor muscles before turning on the news.