The mandate has survived. Except now, it's being called what it has always been but was not allowed to be named - a tax. Technically, since no one has been taxed yet, it stands - but that's not to say once the tax kicks in it won't be challeneged in the courts all over again. This is a big win for democrats in the short term, but long term, this decision might well end up favoring Mitt Romney even more.
The House of Representatives have announced a repeal vote for July 11th. A wasted effort that will not get to the floor of the Senate as long as Harry Reid is in charge, but the optics of continuing the fight should rally the base a bit. It will also remind them of the importance of the twenty-four democratic senate seats up for reelection in the fall. Obamacare has now officially become a major campaign issue.
First and foremost, Romney can now spend the next four months running on repealing Obamacare. After all, you can't get rid of Obamacare unless you get rid of Obama, right? Not only will this decision fire up the base enormously but, considering 54% of Americans want the law repealed, it's a good bet that more than the base will be voting on this issue. Obama has to hope the 39% who support the law are far more motivated to get to the ballot box than the 54% who oppose it.
While the ruling is a bit complicated, at least there is some much-needed clarification on one major question. It's finally official - the mandate is a tax, according to the Court. This is pretty big, because for the three years this has been an issue, democrats have been saying that the mandate is most definitely not a tax. After all, who wants to be known as the party that raised taxes in a recession (or depression, if you're talking to VP Biden)? Well, it's official - taxes they are, and up they're going. There are more than twenty new or increased taxes in Obamacare, and eight of them will be hitting those making under $250,000 per year. If Romney's team has their ducks in a row, they will hit this fact hard and often on the campaign trail.
This law raises taxes by more than $400 billion over the next ten years and guts Medicare by $500 billion. Everyone is getting taxed, including, insanely enough, the federal government. It has been now confirmed by the Court that the cost to businesses of hiring employees is going to go up substantially. The question now is, how long before these things start really affecting employment and the economy? Who better to talk about the impact of a 3.8% increase in the capital gains tax rate than a businessman who knows from his many years in the business sector the real effect that one tax alone will have on the economy and jobs?
In fact, making the taxes in Obamacare a centerpiece of his campaign is imperative. After all, hardly anyone has read the damn thing, so the public probably has no idea how many taxes there are or whom they will affect. There should be a page on his website dedicated to the tax increases, and he should be hammering the issue on the stump. .
For those on the right who are angry with Chief Justice John Roberts, here is a little nugget that might take some of the sting away. According to RedState's Erick Erickson, because Roberts has now deemed the mandate to be a tax, democrats will not be able to filibuster its repeal due to the sneaky reconciliation process used to pass it in the first place. Republicans only need to take four Senate seats from democrats to take the majority, and there are more than twenty up for grabs. With President Romney installed in the White House, Obamacare could conceivably be a thing of the past by February. Worst case scenario: even if Obama retains the White House, taxation is solely the purview of the House, and the Republican majority could take a page from Obama's book by just...refusing to enforce it. No revenue means no implimentation. Precedence can be a bitch sometimes, eh liberals?
Speaking of precedence, the main thought that has been running through my mind on this decision is the predecence that has now been set. Even if the law is repealed, the camel's nose is now firmly under the tent and Americans can now be taxed for not just what they consume, but also what they don't. The implications of this decision will be far reaching. What power doesn't Congress have over the people it's supposed to serve?