Rep. Ryan Rips Roberts' Obamacare Ruling
July 3, 2012
Violating the late President Ronald Reagan’s famous credo—thou shall not attack fellow Republicans—42-year-old House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) slammed Chief Justice John G. Roberts’ Jr. for his June 28 ruling upholding President Barack Obama’s national health care bill. Insisting Roberts had to “contort logic and reason,” Ryan pandered to GOP presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Speaking Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week,” Ryan told host George Stephanopolous he couldn’t fathom Roberts’ calling the individual mandate constitutional. “I’m very disappointed in the ruling." I think the chief justice had to contort logic and reason to come up with the ruling. Had Ryan read Roberts’ ruling, he’d know that Roberts did not see Obamacare falling into the Commerce Clause, instead finding Article, 1, Section 8, Clause 1, giving Congress the power to collect taxes for the “Welfare of the United States.”
Ryan, a six-term Congressman from Wisconsin’s first district, who’s vying for Romney’s VP pick, can’t see that it’s his “contorted logic and reason” that insists without any Constitutional proof that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Twenty-six GOP-dominated states filed suit with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming Obamacare violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. Roberts and four other associates justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elana Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, all agreed that it’s constitutional for Congress to pass welfare legislation, requiring all citizens to pay taxes. Since 1934 with Social Security and 1965 with Medicare, Congress imposes taxes to fund these popular welfare programs. Ryan and his GOP friends don’t see parallels to Social Security and Medicare. Ryan only sees a whopping tax increase, not realizing that consumers already pay a punitive tax in the way of exorbitant health insurance premiums
Subscribing to GOP Party boss Grover Norquist’s “no tax pledge,” Ryan finds no justification for raising taxes, not even on the super-rich. Ryan’s answer to dealing with deficits involves slashing government programs, especially federal jobs. “So, one man decided against the dissenting opinion, against what, I, you know, thought were his—his principles and judicial jurisprudence, he decided to leave this up to the American people. So now the stakes of this election could not be higher,” Ryan told Stephanoupolos. Ryan often lambasts liberal judges for judicial activism, exposing egregious GOP hypocrisy: When rulings go against them, it’s labeled judicial activism. Roberts’ decision wasn’t judicial activism: It was his reasoned Constitutional judgment applied to the Affordable Care Act. Because Ryan didn’t get his wish, it doesn’t mean that Roberts operated with flawed logic or reasoning, only that he saw things differently.
Before the ruling, Ryan and his GOP friends praised Roberts as a brilliant jurist, giving steady leadership to the Supreme Court. Now that he’s upheld Obamacare suddenly Roberts showed flawed reasoning and logic. Ryan’s public remarks on national TV play well to the GOP base but show contempt for the independence of the Supreme Court. Ryan knows that Roberts’ “principles and jurisprudence” aren’t ruled by the Republican Party but by his sworn allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. It’s OK for Ryan to show liberals extreme prejudice. It’s not OK for Roberts to play GOP cheerleader, only demonstrate his loyalty to the rule of law. Ryan claims that Obama told him in 2009 on “This Week that ‘to say that ‘you’ve got to take responsibility to get health insurance’ is absolutely not a tax increase,” acting as if taxing is an unpardonable crime. To Ryan and his no-tax friends, any tax increase violates the GOP’s “no tax pledge.”
Ryan’s own Congressional Budget Office said that the Affordable Care Act would pay for itself and decrease U.S. budget deficits. All indications point toward the biggest expansion in the health industry in U.S. history, causing thousands, if not millions, of new jobs as the system ramps up to manage 30-40 million new enrollees. Expanding the health care and pharmaceutical industry should pay rich dividends to the economy, despite initial expenditures to pay for premiums for the uninsured. Opponents to Obamacare, largely from the insurance industry, worry that covering more sick people will hurt the industry’s bottom line. While Obamacare ends the distinction between group and individuals plans, namely, qualifies all for insurance, the industry has always insured so-called “sick” people on group plans without any loss to industry profits. As more people get insurance, they’ll utilize the insurance less, adding to industry profits.
Slamming U.S. Chief Justice Roberts shows how low Ryan and other GOP politicians sink to advance their cause. Instead of crying over spilt milk, the GOP should take a new look at Obamacare and help propose more efficient ways to rolling out the program by its 2014 start date. When the public catches up to the plan’s benefits, public opinion should start improving. Just after Roberts’ June 28 ruling, Obamacare’s approval ratings gained about eight-points. “Let’s make clear that we understand what the court did and did not do. What the court did today was to say that “Obamacare does not violate the Constitution,” said Ryan, insisting that Obamacare was bad policy. If Obamacare increases jobs and lowers federal budget deficits, would the House Budget Committee chairman still think it's “bad policy?” Ryan supports the upcoming symbolic July 9 House vote to repeal Obamacare. More sour grapes on Obamacare can only hurt the GOP.
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