Sunday, April 08, 2012

False Equivalence

Three times this last week I have seen the argument raised that if Social Security can be upheld by the Supreme Court then so can the ACA be upheld because both programs are ones which require people to provide for their own well being. The argument overlooks the concept that method of accomplishment matters.

I have the right, for instance, to prevent my neighbor from coming onto my property and cutting down my shade tree. If I do that by building a fence which denies him access, all well and good. If I do that by shooting him dead... Well, obviously the law is going to take a dim view of my method of accomplishing a perfectly legal goal.

In upholding Social Security the Supreme Court ruled that the government can require people to provide for their old age. They did not have to rule on the method of doing that, because it had already been established that the government was able to collect taxes. Now the question is whether or not the government can require people to buy a product from privately owned sellers. I don't pretend to know that answer to that, but I do know that it has nothing whatever to do with Social Security.

1 comment:

bruce said...

And Social Security is a federally administered entity and the ACAis not (or the part in contention is not). Now, if the ACA was a federally administered single payer that provided health care for all comers, then that's a wholly different thing. Of course, that did not pass, so we have the bungle that we do have.

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