Supreme irony? Top court poised to throw out Obamacare in echo of case Obama made against Hillary Clinton
It is a tad unfortunate that just days after the White House embraced the term “Obamacare” – previously regarded on the Left as a pejorative label – a majority of the nine Supreme Court justices have given strong indications they will rule it unconstitutional.
Even more ironic is that the justices, or five of them at least, look like they might force President Barack Obama back to the drawing board partly on the basis of the argument one Senator Obama made against then Senator Hillary Clinton in 2008.
At issue today was the so-called ‘individual mandate” – the federal government’s act of compelling Americans to buy health insurance. It is the centrepiece of the Affordable Health Care Act – aka Obamacare – which is the signature achievement of Obama’s presidency thus far.
But back during the 2008 campaign, Obama argued strenuously against the individual mandate. In a debate in South Carolina, he said: “A mandate means that in some fashion, everybody will be forced to buy health insurance. … But I believe the problem is not that folks are trying to avoid getting health care. The problem is they can’t afford it. And that’s why my plan emphasises lowering costs.”
In February 2008, he said that you could no more solve the issue of the uninsured with an individual mandate than you could cure homelessness by ordering people to buy a home:
This was one of the policies that allowed him to differentiate himself from Clinton and John Edwards, the serial sleazeball who (believe it or not given what we now know he was up to) had a pretty good shot at winning the Democratic nomination.
Obama felt so strongly about the issue that he even cut an ad attacking Clinton for her support of the individual mandate. “Hillary Clinton’s attacking, but what’s she not telling you about her health care plan?” the April 2008 ad asked. “It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”
Once in office, Obama changed his mind, telling CBS in July 2009: “During the campaign I was opposed to this idea because my general attitude was the reason people don’t have health insurance is not because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it. And if you make it affordable, then they’ll come. I am now in favour of some sort of individual mandate as long as there’s a hardship exemption.” This volte face merited a “full flop” rating from Politifact.
Fast forward to today and there were five justices who appeared to be dead set against the idea of an individual mandate. Justice Clarence Thomas hasn’t asked a question in the court for six years but as the most conservative lawyer on the court is a safe “no”. You can find a transcript of the oral arguments here and audio can be downloaded here.
Justice Antonin Scalia asked the flailing Solicitor General Donald Verrillii: “Could you define the market? Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”
Chief Justice John Roberts queried: “So can the government require you to buy a cell phone because that would facilitate responding when you need emergency services?”
Justice Samuel Alito jabbed: “All right, suppose that you and I walked around downtown Washington at lunch hour and we found a couple of healthy young people and we stopped them and we said, ‘You know what you’re doing? You are financing your burial services right now because eventually you’re going to die, and somebody is going to have to pay for it, and if you don’t have burial insurance and you haven’t saved money for it, you’re going to shift the cost to somebody else’. Isn’t that a very artificial way of talking about what somebody is doing?”
Worst of all for Obamacare supporters, Justice Anthony Kennedy, always viewed as the swing vote on the court, sounded like one of the most sceptical of all. “The reason this is concerning, is because it requires the individual to do an affirmative act,” he said at one point. “In the law of torts our tradition, our law, has been that you don’t have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger.
At other junctures he asked “Can you create commerce in order to regulate it?” and “So the Federal government says everybody has to join an exercise club?”
Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor seemed on the side of upholding the mandate – though in the case of Sotomayor there was, surprisingly, some doubt. The only hope for liberals appears to be that Roberts, who is known to be leery of the court being seen as overly political, comes down on their side after some of his questions gave them a modicum of encouragement.
If Obamacare is thrown out it is likely to be a political disaster for Obama, and could very well be a nail in the coffin of his re-election hopes. Some Democrats believe such an outcome could allow Obama to run against a right-wing Supreme Court as well as a right-win, do-nothing Congress.
But it would be difficult to portray Justice Kennedy is an obstructionist Republican, just as it will be hard to run against a Congress that is controlled in one chamber by the Democrats. And running as an outsider while living at 1600 Pennsylvania? Good luck with that.
Given Obama’s open mic gaffe – “After my election, I have more flexibility” – yesterday, the potential for creating a narrative that the President is a slippery, disingenuous campaigner is very real. American Crossroads, the Republican super PAC, has already been quick off the mark with this web ad on Obama as a health care flip flopper:
But the most fundamental problem for the President is that if the heart of Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional then he will be left empty-handed after spending two years and virtually all his political capital on jamming through the bill without a single Republican vote.
In short, it will make him look like a loser – not a quality Americans value in their presidents. And the fact that the Republican nominee will be able to quote Obama’s own criticisms of the individual mandate against him will be the icing on the cake
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. 10th Amendment
BY MICHAEL BIESECKER – Staff Writer
RALEIGH — Cautioning that the federal dollars in your wallet could soon be little more than green paper backed by broken promises, state Rep. Glen Bradley wants North Carolina to issue its own legal tender backed by silver and gold.
The Republican from Youngsville has introduced a bill that would establish a legislative commission to study his plan for a state currency. He is also drafting a second bill that would require state government to accept gold and silver coins as payment for taxes and fees.
If the state treasurer starts accepting precious metals as payment, Bradley said that could prod the private sector to follow suit – potentially allowing residents to trade gold for groceries.
“I think we’re in the process of inflating a dollar bubble that could be very devastating,” said Bradley, a freshman legislator elected in November’s GOP tide. “The idea is once the study commission finishes its work, then we could build on top of the hard-money currency with an actual State Tender Act that will basically [issue currency] in correspondence to precious metals stored in the state treasury.”
Bradley’s bill has yet to attract any co-sponsors among his fellow Republicans.
Mike Walden, an economics professor at N.C. State University, said the notion of North Carolina reverting to having its own currency is outlandish.
“We dealt with this issue about 100 years ago when the Federal Reserve was established,” Walden said. “If North Carolina were to have its own currency, that would put us at an extreme competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis other parts of the country and other parts of the world.”
State Treasurer Janet Cowell joked that Bradley’s precious metals proposal could increase efficiency in state government by providing a good use for her department’s old basement vault, which is currently used for storage.
“I look forward to engaging in an important public policy debate about whose face should be on the gold coin,” quipped Cowell, a Democrat.
But Bradley predicts that world events could soon prove him prescient.
“I don’t necessarily believe [the Federal Reserve] is about to collapse right now,” said Bradley, 37. “There are still a few things they can do with qualitative easing to sort of extend their survival. It’s just a question of how long. Right know we have a lot of sovereign debt going to China and Japan. When that debt stops being purchased by foreign countries, that currency is going to flood back onto American shores, potentially creating hyperinflation and bursting the currency bubble we have coming in Federal Reserve notes today.”
The Austrian School
Bradley, a self-employed computer technician and former Marine, attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest until he could no longer afford tuition, he said. While he has not taken any in-depth classes in economics, Bradley described himself as a devotee of the Austrian School, a branch of economic thought that originated in Vienna and was influential before World War I.
Back then the value of most of the world’s currencies were tied to the amount of the gold amassed in their national treasuries. The United States abandoned the gold standard in 1933, after it was blamed for worsening the Great Depression.
Though the ideas of the Austrian School have been rejected by mainstream economists for much of the last century, they are in vogue with Libertarians and some supporters of the tea party movement.
The language of Bradley’s House Bill 301 predicts a dire future for the U.S. economy.
“Many widely recognized experts predict the inevitable destruction of the Federal Reserve System’s currency through hyperinflation in the foreseeable future,” the bill declares. “In the event of hyperinflation, depression, or other economic calamity related to the breakdown of the Federal Reserve System, for which the State is not prepared, the State’s governmental finances and private economy will be thrown into chaos. …”
Asked who are the “widely recognized experts” to which his bill refers, Bradley cited U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Peter Schiff, a precious-metals dealer and investor who regularly appears as a commentator on Fox News.
Walden, the economics professor, said the views espoused by adherents of the Austrian School are well outside the mainstream of modern economic thought.
Bradley’s ideas for taking the state back to the Gilded Age don’t end at economics.
About Commerce Clause
A strict Constitutionalist, he has also introduced bills to exempt North Carolina agricultural products and firearms manufactured in the state from federal regulation as long as they are not sold or exported across state lines, measures that fly in the face of more than a century of U.S. Supreme Court rulings interpreting the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“They’re wrong,” Bradley said confidently of generations of justices. “The 10th Amendment is quite clear that those powers not reserved in the Constitution for the federal government are reserved to the states. It’s doesn’t take a high-priced lawyer to interpret the Constitution.”
Rep. Becky Carney, a Charlotte Democrat, said she found Bradley’s currency bill “perplexing.”
“There has absolutely been no indication of the collapse of the Federal Reserve system,” said Carney, who serves on the House banking committee. “It sounds like the Chicken Little story about ‘the sky is falling.'”
The office of House Speaker Thom Tillis declined to say whether the GOP leadership supports Bradley’s proposal to create a state currency. His bill has been referred to the House rules committee, where legislation is sometimes sent to die.
“There are a lot of diverse opinions and diverse views in our caucus,” said Jordan Shaw, Tillis’ spokesman. “I don’t think we’re going to forecast what will happen.” [email protected] or 919-829-4698
If you’re not convinced the threat of inflation in the U.S. is real, there’s a handful of Utah senators (17 to be exact) who respectfully disagree. The Utah Senate passed HB317 yesterday, 17-7, moving the state a few steps closer to a gold and silver standard. The bill allows businesses and individuals to exchange federally issued gold and silver coins instead of paper dollars in financial transactions.
The gold and silver would be valued at their current market price, meaning cashiers would probably need a calculator and a running Kitco ticker beside the register when processing transactions.
A state committee will now look at whether Utah should recognize an official alternate form of legal tender. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who has not taken an official stance on the bill according to the Washington Times, will have the final say to veto or sign it into law.
If the bill ultimately becomes law, the implications would be interesting. On one level, it’s a symbolic move designed to send a message to Washington. On another, actually using gold and silver as legal tender would be difficult as users would have to file federally required transaction reports, according to the Deseret News.
If inflation becomes a reality, though, the appeal of such a system might be worth the headaches. Just last month, J.P. Morgan announced it would take gold as collateral for loans. It’s a sign that more sophisticated gold and silver transactions could be on the way.
Here’s a hypothetical: what if employers could pay employees in gold and silver? That amount could be electronically deposited into employee accounts not in USD but in XAU (the currency symbol for gold) or XAG (the currency symbol for silver). Banks could then issue special debit cards so that purchases could also be made in XAU and XAG.
If a business didn’t directly accept gold or silver as tender, credit card companies could apply an exchange rate for the gold or silver in the account, charge a fee to the purchaser and convert the purchase amount to USD at prevailing prices.
If the dollar were in the midst of a free fall, the consumer who’s holding gold or silver in the bank rather than dollars, would win. It’s almost enough to make me want to move to Utah.
Not enough gold in the world to return to a gold standard, Bernanke says
Rumblings that the U.S. should return to a gold standard have started trickling into the media as the public grows wary of a ballooning budgetary deficit. In an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was asked directly about the possibility of the U.S. returning to a gold standard.
“It did deliver price stability over very long periods of time, but over shorter periods of time it caused wide swings in prices related to changes in demand or supply of gold. So I don’t think it’s a panacea,” Bernanke said.
The soft response to questioning from Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) – a long-time Bernanke detractor – leaves a tiny window of hope that a gold standard might be something the Fed’s actually considering. “It’s not a cure-all, but it could be helpful,” Bernanke seems to be saying.
It’s difficult to imagine Bernanke would endorse a gold standard. He’s long maintained that the Federal Reserve kept too tight of a grip on the money supply by raising interest rates during the Great Depression. Once the public began losing faith in the dollar, they were all too eager to trade greenbacks for gold, which further contracted the money supply and ultimately led to deflation.
Linking the dollar to a fixed amount of gold would constrict the Fed’s ability to prop up the money supply. Bernanke himself pointed to another flaw he sees in a gold-backed currency: namely, that there’s not enough gold in the world to go around.
“I don’t think that a full-fledged gold standard would be practical at this point,” Bernanke said.
He could be implying a watered-down gold standard of sorts is possible in the future, but I’m not convinced Bernanke believes that. Inflation is one of the few tools the Fed has to spur growth (or at least the perception of growth). Giving power up is always more difficult than accepting it, and – so long as the public retains faith in the dollar – it would serve little purpose.
To understand the Gold Standard you have to understand money. To understand money you have to understand other things. Permit me to explain:
1. Money is a symbol for something that has a universal value. Most societies have only permitted gold and silver as money. Even our Constitution forbids the States to recognize anything else as legal tender:
Section. 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
If you are looking for a legal way to challenge the Federal Reserve, this is it. It appears that you could file a motion in your home state under this section of the U.S. Constitution to force your state to stick to gold and silver as legal tender. The U.S. Constitution is the highest law of the land. Nothing trumps it. However, there are ways around this provision. One is the so-called “Gold Standard”. In other words, we can use pieces of paper that actually represent gold or silver.
Some of you might even recall “gold and silver” certificates that floated around in past century. These were redeemable in actual gold and silver at your nearest Federal Reserve Bank. So, if you had a $1 certificate, you could redeem it for $1 worth of silver or gold. This is one of the reasons why Kennedy was assassinated, by the way.
MYTH 1: The Gold Standard is the Answer to our Economic Woes.
The fact of the matter is that there is only a limited amount of gold out there. In fact, you could put all the available gold produced in one year in your living room (about 50 million troy ounces.) That would have a market value of about 80 billion dollars. If we estimate all of the gold available to us today from previous mining operations, we are looking at a cube about 1/3 the size of the Washington Monument.
In other words, we would have about 10 billion ounces of gold. We would have about 10 trillion dollars worth of gold if we put the entire amount into circulation. With a global economy of about 60 trillion dollars, we would be about 50 Trillion short. Or, we could contract the global economy by 50 trillion dollars and be right there.
But, here is the problem:
1. People hold onto things of value. That means they pull it out of circulation. Gold is used for much more than just currency, so it would be fair to estimate that half of the 10 trillion would be pulled from circulation in the first year and reallocated for other uses.
2. It would eliminate all third party transactions. Using gold itself as a physical means of exchange would make it impossible for you to buy anything that was further than you could drive.
Which brings us back to the “Gold Standard”.
If every dollar were backed by the equivalent amount of gold than you have eliminated the problem of third party transactions, but you still have the problem of scarcity. There were about 829 billion US dollars in circulation as of December 2007 according to the US Treasury. That means we would need 20% of the available gold to back our currency. Europe would need another 20%. That means the rest of the world would have to fight over the remaining 60%. So, the question remains, what currency would they use to conduct business with the rest of the world and how would it be backed?
Now, if we throw silver in the mix, we have something we can work with.
MYTH 2: The Gold Standard Will Stop the Banksters from Stealing Our Money.
I wish it were true. But, it is not:
1. The Knights Templar were the first bankers of Europe. They would take in deposits of gold and silver and issue “wooden chits” that could be redeemed at any Templar facility in Europe or elsewhere. This was the “gold standard” in action. But, Banksters will be banksters and they figured out that very few people actually redeemed the “chits”. Instead they stayed in circulation.
2. Pretty soon, they started lending money to kings and Popes alike. They handed out wooden “chits” and demanded to be paid back in gold and silver. Thus, they leveraged the “gold standard” by issuing “notes” that actually had nothing behind them. All because they knew that 98% of the wooden chits would remain in circulation and very few would ever be redeemed for the gold and silver they kept on deposit.
3. Inflation is always the result of what we call “fractional lending”. The Banksters end up with the gold and silver, and we end up with a worthless currency that continues to decline in value.
The Real Problem is the Federal Reserve System Folks!
1. The Federal Reserve System is a private corporation controlled by Illuminati Jews and the literal descendants of the Knights Templar. Most of the families that own the Fed are not even American Citizens.
2. The Fed uses the Treasury to print its privately owned currency and then charges us interest just to keep that currency in circulation.
3. The IRS and Federal Income Tax were created for the sole purpose of paying off the Interest owed to these Private Bankers for Using their currency.
Imagine what life would be like without an income tax. The divorce rate would plummet. One spouse could support a family. America would truly be the “Land of the Free”.
John F Kennedy was Murdered for trying to shut down the Illuminati Banksters:
1. He actually created a publicly owned currency that was backed by gold and silver. Some of you might recall the gold and silver certificates of the early 60s.
2. The currency was owned by “We the People” and it was interest free!
3. If he would have lived, and his program would have succeeded none of this current mess would have happened.
But, they killed him. If you remember nothing else, remember this: Anyone that calls for a gold standard without also calling for the abolishment of the Fed and a “Silver Standard” is throwing you a “red herring” and either stupid, or employed as a mouthpiece by the Illuminati Banksters. You need gold, silver and an interest free currency if America is to be truly free.