Thursday, May 31, 2012

What part of "unprecedented" was unclear?

I tried to comment on a piece by Andrew Koppelman on the supposed lies by the opposition to Obamacare. I signed up, linked the account with facebook, but it says only social media-linked accounts can post comments. [shrug] Since it won't publish it there, I'll put it up here.

This is what I wrote, starting with the author's quote in italics:

I have not been able to find even a hint of the constitutional objection before Obama’s election, even though mandates have been proposed, mainly by Republicans, since the early 1990s.

"Such a mandate was, of course, a significant infringement on individual choice and liberty. As the Congressional Budget Office noted, the mandate was "unprecedented," and represented the first time that a state has required that an individual, simply because they live in a state and for no other reason, must purchase a specific government- designated product." Mike Tanner, Cato Institute, January 2008.

Now, this doesn't specifically mention "constitution," but that a federal government body called the mandate "unprecedented" in Romneycare might be a key reason literature challenging its legitimacy isn't bountiful. Indeed, states generally have wider berth in this area thanks to their general police power (as well as the Tenth Amendment.) That some Republicans used to back an unconstitutional measure on the federal level should be no surprise and is hardly an argument that it must have been constitutional then. An abstract concept that becomes policy that is immediately challenged seems the natural order of things. The dearth of law review articles that address a non-existent federal law shouldn't be at all surprising.
Granted, I work at Cato, but it took all of two minutes for me to find that quote. If this is the quality of his research, his book should have all the depth and nuance of a DNC press release.

bellum medicamenti delenda est