The U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Constitution

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold, primarily, the constitutionality of the “Affordable Care Act,” also known as “Obamacare,” it has become abundantly clear that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are no longer the guiding lights of America.

How anyone can possibly conceive that a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance is governed by the “Commerce Clause” is, quite franly, beyond belief.

The “constitutionality” of being “taxed,” as Chief Justice Roberts wrote it, for not purchasing insurance is ludicrous.

This is one giant step toward taking away more rights of the individual, and of the states,  under the guise of our government safeguarding our “civil” or “individual” rights.

This action by the U.S. Supreme Court is not upholding the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  This decision is helping to tear them apart.

What is next?  Getting taxed for not exercising the right to vote? 

This decision fully opens the taxation door to Congress for just about anythihng.

And, don’t forget to ask your duly-elected representative why, if the Affordable Care Act is such a good thing, they are excluded from taking part in what all US citizens must now do, but, instead, get to keep their own government-issued taxpayer-paid insurance benefits.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

The Tax Man Cometh – From Every Direction

Instead of cutting expenses to balance public budgets, politicians at all levels quite simply increase existing, or add new, taxes in hopes of staving off their impending financial doom.

This is probably not a full list of the various federal, state and local taxes (also known by other names) levied on US citizens, through direct taxation or through companies either collecting the tax or passing on these expenses via the purchase price of products, but is fairly lengthy nonetheless.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Air Ticket Tax
Airline Takeoff Segment Tax
Building Permit Tax
Business and Occupation Tax
Candy Tax (not all states)
Capital Gains Tax
Carbon Tax
Cigarette Tax
Coal Severance Tax
Commercial Driver’s License Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Development Impact Tax
Dog License Tax
Electricity Energy Producers Tax
Excise Taxes (Many)
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Franchise Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (approx $0.46/gal)
Generation-skipping Transfer Tax
Gross Receipts Tax
Hospital Facility Utilization Fee Tax
Hotel Occupancy Tax
Hunting License Tax
Individual Mandate Tax (not yet enacted)
Indoor Tanning Salon Tax
Inheritance Tax
International Arrival/Departure Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties
Jock Tax (pro athletes)
Liquor License Tax
Liquor Tax

Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medical Equipment Excise Tax (not yet enacted)
Medicare Tax
Metal Mines License Tax
Mineral Severance Tax
Natural Gas Severance Tax
Nursing Facility Bed Tax (not all states)
Oil Severance Tax
Parking Meters
Payroll Surcharge Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Proxy Tax
Rain Water Tax
Real Estate Tax
Rental Car Tax
Road Usage tax
Self-employment Tax
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Tax
Ship Passenger Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
Soda Tax (not yet enacted)
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Surtax Tax
Telecommunications TDD Service Fee
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Toll Bridge Tax
Toll Road Tax
Toll Tunnel Tax
Tonnage Tax
Traffic Fines
Trailer Registration Fees
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Vendor Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Wholesale Energy Transaction Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Quite a list, to be sure, yet the White House and Congress, year after year, continue to enlarge the public sector (wages, benefits and expenses paid for by citizen’s taxes and fees, etc.), instead of scaling back the size of Big Government.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Earmarks Are Corrupt

Two-hundred, thirty-four years ago, our Founding Fathers signed a document declaring that a people are free to determine their government and that, in fact, government is only allowed by the will of the people.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

One very key ingredient in the quest for freedom was to break away from an oppressive government in order to establish one which derives its power from the people.

To wit: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

The word consent was fittingly and justly utilized by these astute men.

Though not a perfect foundation, as women were not afforded these same rights and all men (people) were not treated as equals as some were still enslaved.

However, their perception of government was remarkable.

These very learned men knew, through study of history, what a government must and must not do and should and should not do in order to survive.

And so, these 13 individual states united together to establish and form a democracy giving only certain powers to the federal government while keeping anything not specifically granted it to the states and to the people.

As the decades progressed, however, the federal government has grown to the point that individual liberty and the rights of states and citizens have been eroded and become limited.

That is exactly what the Founding Fathers did not want and, in fact, warned against.

America is still a truly great nation.

However, it is a nation where the will of the people is not followed. It is one where special interest groups wield unusual power over decisions affecting every person living in Main Street USA. It is one where back room deals in the hallowed halls of Capitol Hill decide the most crucial of actions and where billions upon billions of dollars are added to legislation to capture votes.

If pork and earmarks are needed to garner the necessary number of votes in order to pass then must not the legislation be flawed? Is that not really embezelling from taxpayers? Is that not really corruption?

It must be, because it is not “the art of compromise” to use “other people’s money” to buy votes.

The taxpaying citizens of these United States of America desire a “more perfect union,” not a larger federal government where their voice is no longer heard.

In order to achieve this end our elected public servants (not public rulers as some have tried to become) would be wise to re-study the very documents that were written and are the foundation for this nation and to then act as statesmen, not as politicos whose main objective is to become re-elected.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Frivolous Lawsuits (ie Tort Reform)

The more I ponder President Obama’s words at yesterday’s Health Care Summit regarding frivolous lawsuit legislation being handed over to the states, the more it makes less sense to me.

Truth be told, zero sense.

Especially if one of the driving forces behind effective national healthcare reform is to lower costs to Main Street USA.

The insurance business is one of the riskiest businesses around.

Think about it. A company takes what is, in reality, a small amount of money from each of many people and ends up paying out money to cover whatever is insured.

In the health field, that particular cost is incredibly compounded by frivolous lawsuits and tort awards that are way out of line.

In order to protect themselves, and stay in business, insurance companies charge higher premiums.

There are major flaws with trying to pawn this area off to the states.

In the first place, consider the fact that not every state may enact any legislation at all. And, because it is being left up to the states, the laws themselves will vary (probably greatly) and provide different levels of protection.

Unless, of course, it is mandated that all states enact legislation. And, if that ends up being the case, why not do it at the national level?

Possibly the biggest factor, however, is that if a plaintiff does not like the award received in their judgment, even if it was at the uppermost limit a state allowed, it would be appealed. First to the Appellate Court, the the State Supreme Court and, ultimately, to the US Supreme Court, where a decision would be made.

And that decision would affect all states.

Thus, all that would be accomplished by pushing this particular area of responsibility and legislation to the states is clogging the courts with appeals that eventually end up in our highest court in the land for a decision.

As a note, that would, of course, be after each state spent countless hours, days, weeks – i.e., taxpayer dollars – in order to craft and pass legislation. Yet, another cost for Main Street USA to carry.

Therefore, all of this means, in the end, that there would be more burdensome costs for the good ole middle class. (And this is a hidden cost, not covered in either the House or Senate healthcare reform legislation.)

Another item to consider is that many elected (and appointed) representatives on Capitol Hill totally vilify the insurance companies as greedy, making too much money off of the middle class, etc., etc.

Think about this for a minute…how much money does an attorney make who wins a frivolous lawsuit or a suit that awards monetary damages in the hundreds of millions to someone?

A bundle, to be sure.

As an example, perhaps the attorney is working on a 30 or 40 percent retainer and the award comes in at $100 million. The plaintiff gets $60 or $70 million and the attorney walks away with a cool $30 or $40 million.

The lawyer will defend this and speak of all the time and costs involved that he/she must pay out of their portion of the settlement. But how many of those attorneys have to worry about health insurance, making their mortgage payment, putting food on the table? How many of them live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars that the vast majority of Main Street USA can only dream about?

It is still this Main Streeter’s opinion that this issue is being relegated to the states because attorneys and law firms are some of the biggest contributors to campaigns and spend millions of dollars lobbying.

Thus, by not tackling Tort Reform at the Federal level our elected public servants are being incredibly irresponsible in this area.

America does not need bigger, expanding government. America needs fair and equitable government representing the best interests of the People.

For Healthcare Reform, that starts with Tort Reform – putting an end to frivolous lawsuits and outlandish settlements – at the Federal, not State, level. And not attempting to rid the country of insurance companies so that we end up with socialized medicine.

If that happens, what is next? Uncle Sam’s Gas Stations?

Over For Now.

Main Street One