Writing in the Orange County Register,Research Director explains why the penalty for not buying government-approved health plan cannot be a tax. It begins:
Within a year or two, the Supreme Court probably will decide whether the new federal mandate to purchase a particular type of health insurance is authorized by Congress’ constitutional power to “regulate Commerce … among the several States.” If the Obama administration cannot convince the court that the commerce clause allows Congress to force people to engage in commerce, the administration has a backup argument: The mandate is separately authorized by Congress’ constitutional power to tax.
If this argument succeeds, the constitutional system of a federal government of limited, enumerated powers will, for all practical purposes, come to an end.
Read the rest: David Kopel: Why Obamacare mandate penalty can’t be a tax. (Also at Cato.org)