Government says it has right to force citizens to buy anything it wants
US Solicitor General Neal Kaytal
by Jack Minor
The government has absolute power to force private citizens to purchase anything according to the acting solicitor general for the United States.
One of the key provisions of “Obamacare” is the individual mandate requiring every individual to possess health insurance. Critics have argued the provision is unconstitutional and if is upheld there is nothing Congress could not force us to buy.
Judges have issued conflicting rulings with some calling it constitutional while others have said it is not. Arguments over the case were made last week before a three judge panel, all three judges were appointed by Democratic presidents, including two by Obama.
The judges heard arguments on two different cases, one of which was brought by Liberty Counsel, representing Liberty University. The other was brought by the state of Virginia Each case challenged the individual mandate.
Neal Kaytal, from the federal government, said, “Could they possibly require the purchase of wheat? The answer is yes.” The statement came in reference to a question from the court.
Opponents of the mandate have said that by requiring consumers to purchase a product they would rather not buy, the government is penalizing a person for not participating in interstate commerce.
Kaytal told the court he rejected that argument. “I would reject the characterization that what Congress is doing is regulating an inactivity. I know that my friend’s argument has some rhetorical force and maybe even some legal force.”
His explanation was that Congress was simply regulating a product, in this case health insurance, that people would buy anyway.
Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, took issue with the government’s penalizing consumers who do not purchase insurance. In a statement following arguments, Cuccinelli said, “The government cannot start calling the penalty a tax to try to make it legal under Congress’s taxing authority. Congress and the President passed it as a penalty, not a tax; it works as a penalty, not as a tax.”
Cuccinelli went on to criticize the government’s contention it could force consumers to buy any product it wants, “If we cross this constitutional line with health care now – where the government can force us to buy a private product and say it is for our own good – then we will have given the government the power to force us to buy other private products such as cars, gym memberships, or even asparagus. The government’s power to intrude on our lives for our own good will be virtually unlimited.”
The question of the mandates is expected by both sides to end up in the US Supreme Court.