Presently in America, nearly half of all households receive either a salary or substantial benefits from the government. Presently in America, nearly half of all adults pay no federal income taxes. Presently in America, the half that pay no income taxes receive the bulk of their income courtesy of the government, but ultimately from the half that do. This money is extracted involuntarily from the paying half by a permanent bureaucracy that extracts and gives away more each year no matter who is running the government. The recipients of these transfer payments rely upon them for subsistence, so they have a vested financial interest in sending to Washington those who will continue to take your money and give it to them.
It is no wonder that we are now saddled with the micromanagement of health care by the same bureaucratic mindset that mismanages the Post Office and everything else the federal government runs. It should not be surprising to know that presently in America, half of the people actually want the government to take care of their needs. The same was the case under Communist regimes, but here those folks vote.
Hence, we have laws that force us to be charitable to those whom the government designates as worthy of our charity, that limit the amount of salt that restaurants can put into our food, that permit the government to watch us on street corners and subways and in the lobbies of buildings, that let the president fight wars of opportunity, that permit the Federal Reserve to print money with no value and inflate prices and destroy savings, that allow the government to listen to us on our cellphones and use those phones to follow us wherever we go, and, according to CIA Director David Petraeus, that let the government anticipate our movements inside our homes.
And as of the last week in June, the government has a vast new power that was brought to us by the Supreme Court's latest attack on personal freedom. Congress can now lawfully command any behavior of individuals that it pleases -- whether or not the subject of the behavior is a power granted to Congress by the Constitution -- and it may punish noncompliance with that command, so long as the punishment is called a tax.
Justice Antonin Scalia's whimsical query during the Supreme Court oral argument on the health care law about whether Congress could make him eat broccoli suddenly isn't as funny as it was when he asked it, because the answer is: It can fine him for not eating broccoli, so long as it calls that fine a tax.
Quick: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Answer: Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make a tail a leg.
How did we get here?