Legally can the federal government now force you to buy a Chevrolet?

My gist on the SCOTUS Obamacare ruling is, the federal government can make us do anything it wants now just by calling it a tax.

Please refute this if you can.
In other words, if the feds pass a law saying one has to buy a General Motors brand car every 5 years or one has to pay a set amount, how is this any different from the health care law?

If Congress did pass such a law, how could SCOTUS strike it down without reversing their decision on Obamacare?

Simply replace the mandate to buy health insurance with any other mandate and tell me why it’s not an outrageous abuse of government authority?

It can’t force you to buy a car, but it can tax you for not buying one.

Just like it can tax you for not having children, or not having a mortgage, or any of the thousands of other ways you pay more in taxes by not buying or doing something.

If they had made it a tax deduction or credit instead of a fine, it would have fit perfectly with the current tax system. They didn’t because many people would have been paying less in taxes than the fine already, so a deduction or credit wouldn’t do much.

If you decide not to buy a car, but later find out that you absolutely need one or you’ll die, you can’t get a car provided to you for free paid for out of tax funds.

Theoretical questions like this are, IMHO, silly. The government COULD do a lot of things. They could, for instance, reinstitute the draft. The trouble is, I can’t see any way it would happen in any sort of realistic scenario. Could the government force people to buy Chevy using the same provisions as ‘Obamacare’? No idea, to be honest, but even if they COULD, in theory, it would be pretty much impossible to do in practice, so it’s kind of a mute point.

(I’d say that they couldn’t force you to purchase from only a single vendor, and that the SCOTUS ruling on ‘Obamacare’ wouldn’t work in even a theoretical attempt to do so, since the ruling doesn’t specify a single vendor…merely that you have to have insurance of some kind or pay a penalty. I suppose, if we are being all silly and such, the government COULD mandate that you have to purchase a vehicle of some kind, but I don’t think they could select which vendor you bought it from. At any rate, it’s pretty much a moot point, since it’s not likely to happen)

Your opinion appears to me to grossly oversimplify the SC’s decision. Do us all a favor, read the opinion, and tell us where its “gist” says what you say it does. Here’s the opinion: Link.


BTW, there should have been a ‘:p’ after ‘mute point’. sigh


Yes, but it was always thus…no change due to recent court ruling. Congress can make laws as they see fit, and they can be removed at the next election if a majority of the people don’t care for such laws. Ridiculous hypotheticals about Chevys or Broccoli are just right wing hyperbole.

As for constitutionality, The healthcare mandate is justifiable in that congress is promoting the general welfare by encouraging (not forcing) everyone to take measures to pay for their own health care needs.

Note that promotion of the general welfare is given status in the same sentence as the common defense, and securing the blessings of Liberty.

I wasn’t going to say anything.

As for the OP, there’s something I’m planning on doing in a couple of months. It’s called “voting,” and it’s the main way I deal with government officials who do things I consider foolish. My government officials are well aware that I vote, and that if they do something extra-stupid, they’ll lose their jobs.

Assuming you were unaware of voting prior to my post, does learning about voting change your mind about the OP? Can you see how it is a highly effective prophylactic against politicians demanding that I buy a Chevy?

That’s different. That’s just forcibly taking me from my home, and shipping me off to a foreign country to get my ass blown off.

We’re discussing something unprecedented, the government forcing you to spend your hard earned money on something you can use, but perhaps don’t particularly want right now. Should they really have that kind of power over us?

This. If you don’t have insurance and you can afford it, you’re one of the people fucking up the system and making it more expensive for the responsible people. No one gives a shit if you own a car.

Yes, using the logic of the recent SCOTUS ruling the federal government can compel via taxation that which they cannot compel directly. They cannot make you buy a GM car directly but can tax you for not doing so. Just add some language to the bill that the automotive industry is important to the economy, and the federal government wishes to look out for the general welfare of the citizenry by supporting this important part of the economy, and thus regulate it so.

However, the Medicaid portion of the ruling might set a limit on this. The court essentially ruled that the federal government could not compel the states to expand medicaid under a threat that was likened to holding a proverbial gun to the head.

So, perhaps, SCOTUS would let stand a $10 per year failure-to-buy-a-GM-car-tax but strike down a $1,000,000 failure-to-buy-a-GM-car-tax as too onerous. The threat of pulling federal funding of about 10% of a state’s total annual budget was deemed too onerous. That might be a limit to work from, say 10% of yearly income.

But part of the SCOTUS medicaid expansion ruling was couched in terms of the dual sovereignty nature of the state and federal systems. Leaving the sovereign-individual nutjobs aside, the federal government could argue that individuals lacking sovereignty must comply with any such coercion via taxation imposed by the federal government.

Here’s some precedence from that socialist George Washington: link

Note that you could not be more wrong if you tried.[sup]*[/sup]

The preamble to the Constitution is aspirational in effect, and does not contain substantive law.

As the Supreme Court observed in Jacobson v. Massachusetts:

The mention of “general welfare” in the preamble gives no powers whatsoever to Congress. Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act from its taxing powers, as defined in Article I, Section 8, Clause 1.

  • I suppose, actually, you could have been more wrong. If you had said that Congress enacted the ACA by authority of Beppo, Lord High General of Jupiter and Her Moons, that would have been slightly more wrong.

Sure we give a shit. And Obamacare is like charging gasoline taxes on people who don’t own cars, because they aren’t paying their fair share towards keeping up the roads.

All that would be needed was to swear up and down that it was not a gasoline tax, until after it passes and turns out it was a gasoline tax all along.


But if you decide not to buy a car, you’ll pay a tax the same year, and every year until you buy one (the analogy to the healthcare act).

Except everyone owns a body, and everyone is going to need health care. You can’t opt out like you can opt out of driving on the roads.

It’s the alternative to simply taxing you for it and running it (a single-payer system). In that case, you’d be forced to pay for it anyway.

I don’t know if the constitution gives the government the power to make you buy something beyond simply taxing you for its own services. But when it comes to an efficient and effective health care system, it makes sense. Everyone should pay into the system because everyone has a claim to taking something out of it. No freeloaders.

The other alternative, of course, is to just let people without insurance die in the streets or beg for charity. Which a few people might actually prefer.

Of course you can opt out, or at least you could before Obamacare. That’s why Obama put in the tax-that-wasn’t-a-tax, so that nobody could opt out.

IOW it isn’t any different from the “buy GM or pay a tax” in the OP. Everyone is going to buy a GM car, or pay a tax so others can buy GM.


The ruling noted the almost unique nature of the healthcare market several times. It would be a mistake to take the court’s reasoning and apply it to any random consumer transaction.

That’s a pretty awful analogy. People with no cars still use buses, taxis and sidewalks.