The Slippery Slope: We're At The Bottom Already?

by Patrick Appel

Tim Lee continues to reluctantly defend the health care mandate:

I think [those arguing Obamacare is unconstitutional] have something much broader in mind: that Congress shouldn’t be using the tax code to force people to do stuff they wouldn’t otherwise do and buy products they wouldn’t otherwise buy. But if so, then the courts have two options: One is to bite the bullet and invalidate the child tax credit, energy efficiency tax credits, college tuition tax credits, and so forth. Or two, they need a story about why coercing people to buy health insurance is more objectionable than coercing them to have children, pay tuition, take out a mortgage, or install solar panels on their house. Personally, I’d be happy to see the US tax code ruled unconstitutional. But I think it’s safe to say that the courts aren’t going to do that. And I have trouble imagining a principled argument for invalidating tax incentives to buy health insurance without invalidating a bunch of other tax credits that have long been regarded as constitutionally sound.

Adam Serwer argues along the same lines with more vigor.