Previously I have written on Taxation As a Tool for Nannie Statism where I show in my state that tobacco products are taxed between 70 to 100% of the wholesale price of the product and that is just the state. The Federal government as part of SCHIP raised taxes on some products as high as 2200%.
“I’ll say this plainly, I’ve said it before – Taxation is theft. It presumes the government has a higher claim on our property than we do,” says Judge Andrew Napolitano
“And with apologies to Sinclair Lewis, if fascism comes to America, it will not be waving a flag or a cross, it will be waving a medical chart,” said Colorado state Sen. Shawn Mitchell
There have been many who laughed at those of us who talked about the slippery slope of “Nanny Statism” Well we have been proven correct and we are not laughing. This from The New England Journal of Medicine.
Many observers feared that the Supreme Court decision on the challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)1 would endorse a breathtaking expansion of the role of the federal government in regulating health matters. And it did — but not in the anticipated way. While enunciating limits on the commerce and spending powers, the Court opened the door for Congress to use its taxing power to achieve myriad policy objectives. The federal government may now increasingly join state and local governments in making creative use of taxes to pursue public health goals, though political obstacles may block immediate action.
They go on to say.
The federal government has long used taxes to achieve public health goals, but in fairly limited ways. Taxes and tax penalties for individuals have generally been confined to products that cause health harms and associated social costs, such as tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and pollutants. Taxing of activities is rarer and confined to economic transactions; most recently, the ACA imposed a 10% tax on tanning-salon services. Broader use has been made of tax penalties and incentives to influence corporations to refrain from activities that threaten health, such as environmental contamination, or to engage in health-promoting activities such as subsidizing health insurance and wellness programs.
Roberts’s opinion appears to invite more targeted, assertive interventions to promote public health. For example, instead of merely taxing tobacco sales, the federal government could require individuals to pay a tax penalty unless they declare that they haven’t used tobacco products during the year. It could give a tax credit to people who submit documentation that their body-mass index is in the normal range or has decreased during the year or to diabetic persons who document that their glycated hemoglobin levels are controlled. It could tax individuals who fail to purchase gym memberships. It could require taxpayers to complete an annual health improvement plan with their physician in order to obtain a tax credit, though that might be challenged under other parts of the Constitution. These strategies depart from traditional uses of taxes by targeting omissions and noncommercial activities that are important drivers of chronic disease.
State and local governments, too, can pursue such strategies. Levying taxes to achieve regulatory aims — even taxes resembling mandates with penalties — is well within their police-power authority. They’ve wielded this power to impose various “sin” taxes on unhealthful products, as well as in more innovative ways, such as the insurance mandate with an SRP that Massachusetts pioneered. The Court ruling makes clear that the federal government can enter territory historically dominated by the states.
Freedom is on the line, individual rights are on the line!