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Individual Mandate

There are 3 major things I hate about the mandate.

1. The pro-choice crowd is always quick to say the government should keep it’s laws off of their bodies. Good idea. I feel the same way, the government should keep it’s laws off of peoples bodies. Yet mandating everyone buy insurance for their bodies seems to run afoul of that idea. If you accept the idea that the government can force people to buy insurance because of the commerce clause, than I have to ask the question of why the government can’t force women to participate in commerce in a similar way, byrequiring some get abortions. On the flip side, if the power of the commerce clause is indeed that extensive, why can the government not prohibit abortion? Either decision made by a pregnant woman does have an effect on commerce.

2. There is also the issue of minimum wage. I think the minimum wage is detrimental because it sets a lower limit on what the cost of buying an hour of someone’s labor is. That means a person willing to work for 6 dollars an hour and the business who places only $6 value on that labor, cannot make a deal. This mandate tosses another huge fixed cost per employee onto employers, therefore further artificially increasing the cost of an hours work. That will almost certainly result in layoffs, the elimination of certain jobs that aren’t worth paying someone to do when that expense is counted, and finally scores of companies are, or will be, dropping coverage they have been voluntarily been including in compensation packages. It’s simply cheaper to pay the fine and says you are on your own.

3. Unlike taxes, there is no way to avoid the mandate as a resident of the US. If I don’t wish to pay income taxes, I don’t have to do so, I just need to stop earning income. Those who would say “sure you can avoid it, you just have to leave!1!!!!111!!” are being intentionally ignorant. I assume the people who make that claim don’t extend it to much else or they would see the stupidity of their argument. Lets say you think firearms should be more tightly controlled, why don’t you just leave? Think there is too much religion seeping into government? Just leave! Think the rich should pay more in taxes? Leave! Like I said, it’s a stupid and lazy argument.

Why not extend this to other things as well. If the government has this power of mandate, why not also require people to buy gym memberships or buy more vegetables? Both of those things would go a little way toward shedding pounds from tubby people. Why not mandate that everyone own a dog or cat? Why not mandate membership in a church or a secular organization that fosters a strong sense of community? There are after all, a huge number of both to choose from.

You see, I’ve seen multiple studies showing all of those things extend life span and quality of life, I’m not even going to bother searching out any of them, they are well known and easy to find (and I’m in a hurry). The argument that the mandate is constitutionally regulating interstate commerce could easily be applied to the other things I mentioned, as could the argument that the mandate benefits the “public good”. You might be thinking I’m making the slippery slope argument, and I can see how you would think that, but it isn’t the case. If we are going to believe the healthcare mandate is within the boundaries of what the government can do, it seems stupid to not also mandate the purchase other things beneficial to life span and the quality thereof. So I’m not making the slippery slope argument, that the mandate will open up a pandora’s box of abuses and/or intrusions into peoples private lives, I’m merely asking the question of why there aren’t mandates on other things as well if this is permissible.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2012/02/25 at 18:49

    1. There is an obvious difference between telling me what I can do with my body and what I can do with my money. One is an issue of privacy, the other an issue of taxation. Or do you think that when you pay a few pennies to buy a candy bar that that is the same thing as the government giving you a prostate exam?

    2. I’m fine with this. Businesses will compensate by becoming more efficient at what they do. Plus poor people won’t be without health insurance.

    3. It’s funny. I hate this type of argument as well, but that’s because I always hear from inbred hicks from Alabama. “You don’t like my freedom to throw empty Bud cans on my front lawn? Then leave! Ga-huck!” At any rate, I’ve used a version of it, but it was in response to someone who was claiming being taxed was like being a slave. It clearly is not since it is possible to leave at any given time. (He soon ran away from the argument, as per an apparent requirement that has been placed on bald men.)

  2. 2012/02/26 at 11:22

    1. Eh. Shades of grey. I think that requiring a sum of money to be spent as a requirement of long term legal residence in the country is more intrusive then the government deciding what medical procedures can and can not be performed here. Not that abortion should be illegal, but if the government can’t tell you what to do with your body, he idea that they can require one to purchase a maintenance plan for that body is ridiculous.

    2. Absolutely right, they must become more efficient. The easiest way to do that is fire someone and do more or the same with less people. Although, that seems counter productive to the whole idea of minimum wage and other such artificial labor costs being overly beneficial to the low paid workers in question.

    3. And no, taxation is not slavery as such, it’s more along the lines of serfdom. Honestly, that isn’t much better, more shades of grey if you ask me.

  3. 2012/02/26 at 14:46

    I think the biggest problem with mandates is the cascade of unintended consequences – a mandate is created requiring an enforcement agency to be created. More agencies cost more money and require more revenue. Once agencies are created and monies are flowing into the agencies coffers, it becomes the focus of lobbyists and the interests of politicians furthering their own agendas.

    As the mandate requirements have the inevitable effect of limiting the means by which a resource can be accessed it becomes scarcer and the government then must subsidize the resource creating more government entanglement, and more dependency by constituents. And as government bureaucracies change very slowly compared to market forces, the ability to change the means by which resources are provided are limited by the speed at which political change occurs.

    And so increasingly the fundamental needs of our lives – education, healthcare, energy production, etc. become trapped in this stultified cycle and we get mired in the vast economic morass we currently find ourselves in with little hope of change. Of course mandates aren’t the only reason for this, but they are a significant part.

  4. 2012/02/26 at 19:22

    I forgot, but I wanted to re-mention that if the government is indeed empowered to regulate any interstate commerce, any way it likes, than it can indeed regulate abortion out of existence. Similar to some current gun control proponents admitting people have a right to firearms, but claiming there is no right to ammunition and it should be super taxed or restricted.

    Completely ignoring the fact that that is an idiotic idea, because people make their own ammo all the time.

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