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Is the current state of politics in the U.S. due to the race of our president?

Many conservatives who held certain positions before Obama was elected had taken the opposite view when he took those same positions. For example, the Affordable Care Act was modelled after Romney's health care law when he was governor. Currently they have tried to repeal it 37 times. In recent times this much acrimony has not been seen, and never before have we had a president with African ancestry. Is there a connection? I am especially interested in answers based on documented facts.


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    Jun 21 2013: The "state of politics in the U.S." is a very broad area with tens of thousands of actors - politicians and their sugar daddies. Overall it has very little to do with Mr. Obama, and even less with his ethnic background. It has much more to do with the "win at all costs" attitude of the political parties, accompanied by the unconscionable millions of $$ of special interest money to which our politicians have become addicted. This situation won't change when Mr. Obama leaves office, unless certain changes are made in the U.S. Constitution.

    I'm not a conservative, but the example you give of conservatives taking "the opposite view" is misleading. The main issue in the federal vs the Massachusetts health care laws was the extent of federal authority. One could reasonably oppose the federal government assuming the power to require individuals to buy insurance, while supporting the idea that a state of the union has that power. That was, in fact, the chief legal point that Chief Justice Roberts eventually decided in favor of the feds and that allowed the law to stand.

    Drawing a causal connection between two observations ("acrimony" and "African ancestry") that may, in the observer's mind, seem to occur together but that may just as well be completely unrelated is a logical flaw, unfortunately too common. Much misery and tragic decision-making has resulted from this kind of illogic.
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      Jun 22 2013: Paul,
      Just a quick note on Justice Roberts..
      He spoke for the majority on the findings in the suit of the tax to be levied on people who failed to buy health insurance under the new law. The suit was based on that the Federal Government could not impose a penalty for not purchasing a commercial product, to wit: health insurance. SCOTUS ruled that the penalty was in fact a tax. An in accordance with the 16th Amendment, the congress can impose any tax for any amount. In simple terms, the 16th was an open license to steal. the congress can tax at their pleasure and there was no constitutional limits on this power.
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        Jun 22 2013: Yes, Chief Justice Roberts did write the majority opinion, though oddly he didn't really have a majority with him on his chief legal point. The four "conservative" justices (incl. Kennedy but not Roberts) held that what the Obama administration called a "fee," to be levied on those who failed to purchase health insurance, was in fact a tax on a non-action, which in their judgement Congress had no power to impose. The four "liberal" justices agreed with the administration that this was a fee, not a tax, and that Congress could impose this. Enter Roberts, who agreed with the conservatives that it was a tax, but then (many pages later in his opinion) surprisingly concluded that Congress did have the power to apply such a tax. So he was the only justice who held that Congress could tax a non-purchase.

        I personally found his argument tortuous and reaching. It appears that following this ruling Congress could - in order to promote a desirable social outcome such as better health - levy a tax on everyone who does not buy a bicycle. Roberts' principle has opened a new way for Congress to direct the behavior of U.S. citizens. I've discussed this in an essay at Blue Ridge Journal:
        • Jun 22 2013: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

          Whether it is a tax or a fee is, indeed, a legal argument. However the preamble to the constitution says it is the federal government's job to promote the general welfare. Is not universal health care promoting the general welfare?
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          Jun 22 2013: Sorry, Paul
          I didn't know that you had gone into this depth on the ruling. My fearful take was that Robert's was trying to point out was the the 16th was a gun in the mugger's hand and the people are to be mugged. My perception is that he really wanted to go there and the other justices were not. So, he weaved that web to put it out there.
          My read is that if government produces a product that is sold or a service that is presented for a fee... Federal Dams that sell electricity, or collects a fee for using services while visiting a national park... I'm ok,
          but when money is collected from the public because of some action the public under takes or not... it's a tax. When the government takes money not in the direct exchange for goods or services... it's a tax. I have no other name for it and neither did Justice Roberts.
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        Jun 22 2013: Jeffrey J:
        "... the preamble to the constitution says it is the federal government's job to promote the general welfare. Is not universal health care promoting the general welfare?"

        I suppose it is, but the preamble is merely a hopeful set of general aims, it has no legal force. The body of the Constitution sets limits on what the federal government may do, and those limits are interpreted by the Supreme Court. If you look again at the preamble, I'm pretty sure you would not argue that the federal government may do whatever it sees fit in order to "insure domestic tranquility", or to "provide for the common defence." That would permit all kinds of abuse of power.

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