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I’ve been looking more closely at H.R.3200 – “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” now that it’s heading to President Obama’s desk today for signature, as well as the possible reconciliation that may or may not follow.

My bottom line:

The Fed Giveth, and the Fed Taketh Away, Messed be the Name of the Fed.

The new law is such a patchwork quilt of new or revised taxes, subsidies, mandates to states, benefits and penalties to and from businesses and individuals of varying income, age, and other status that it’s far too complex for anyone to predict the unintended consequences with any accuracy.

Will it enrich the giant health-insurance companies or bankrupt them, triggering a government takeover like we saw last year with General Motors? I’m not sure anyone can say for sure — not even the health-insurance actuaries or the politicians they lobby.

Will tax subsidies and new premiums from millions of younger and healthier people being mandated by federal law to purchase health insurance policies act to counter the increased costs to insurers from being required to pay the medical costs of already seriously sick people — not being able to drop their policies, no yearly or lifetime caps, and federal price-controls on health-insurance premiums?

For someone like me — too young for Medicare, but obese and Type-II Diabetic, classic “pre-existing conditions” — will I be able to buy affordable health-insurance? Or will the few insurers available to me in Nevada stop selling health-insurance entirely in a state where casino-subsidized all-you-can-eat buffets are the most popular eateries?

I can’t figure that out; there are too many imponderables. But my first thought was to outline a new movie script in which health-insurance executives are behind a new miracle weight-loss drug that — like Fen Phen, but even more deadly — ends up killing off millions of fat Diabetics like me, saving the health-insurance companies billions.

Anyone who thinks the argument that a federal mandate on individuals to purchase private health-insurance policies will be struck down as unconstitutional because refusing to buy something isn’t an act of interstate commerce doesn’t understand how small a legalistic change this is when compared to tax policies that have been in effects for generations.

If the IRS tax code can tax you at a higher rate if you’re single rather than married, or at a different rate if you have “passive” sources of income rather than “earned” income, why would anyone think the Supreme Court is going to find unconstitutional a provision in the IRS code taxing you at a higher rate if you don’t purchase a health-insurance policy?

Don’t count on the high-court conservatives. In Scalia’s and Roberts’ McDonald v. Chicago grilling of plaintiff’s attorney Alan Gura about the “privileges and immunities” clause in the 14th amendment, it was apparent how little they want to rock the boat. You think they’re going to put the first serious dent in the Federal Income Tax?

The problem goes deeper than most conservatives think.

It’s taken from the onset of the federal income tax in 1913 to 2010 — 97 years — for the American people to get a clue that the federal government’s ability to reward or punish individual behavior by taxing you at higher and lower rates has totalitarian consequences.

Make no mistake. Any revolt against the new federal mandate to purchase health insurance — a policy enforced by the IRS — will in the end be a revolt against the power of the federal government to control your behavior through income-tax rates and exemptions. If you’re not ready for that eventuality, don’t even start.

What else aside from taxing you more if you don’t buy government-mandated health insurance can the tax code make you do? And when will the American people say, “That’s enough”?

The original Boston Tea Party was a tax protest. Guess what? The new federal mandate to purchase health insurance is an income tax penalty if you don’t buy it — and will be enforced by the IRS.

For most of my lifetime any opposition to the federal income tax has been a fringe movement — sometimes on the left, as a war protest, sometimes on the right, by objectors like Irwin Schiff who make various constitutional arguments against the income tax that federal courts have regularly dismissed as not only frivolous, but a trial on the court’s patience. But I can’t remember a time when opposition to the federal income tax has been widespread enough to constitute a popular movement.

The Tea Party won’t prove anything by supporting Republican candidates who would raise your taxes in a heartbeat if it gave them power to punish abortions — or keep out illegal Mexicans, or put more cops on the street.

The proof would be protests and resistance against the tyrannical power of the federal government to control your behavior through its power to tax you.

Tea Party Tax Protest in Washington DC 2009 The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor

September 12, 2009 Taxpayer March on Washington, D.C. / Nathaniel Currier 1846 Lithograph “The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor”

Only if this actually develops will we know whether the new “Tea Party” movement has anything in common with those who conspired to stage the multiple-felony — and not entirely non-violent — anti-tax action of December 16, 1773, in which anti-government extremists painted themselves like native warriors and destroyed three ships’ entire cargos of tea.


My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon.com Video On Demand. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!

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