I read the other day a commentary regarding Justice Roberts divining what was overtly intended to be a “penalty,” to actually be a tax. As a result, he found an interpretation for the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s not a mandate, only the tax to pay for it is. So, you’re free to buy private health insurance but you are required to pay for the government plan regardless. Sounds a bit like selecting a non-government school for your children. Which brings up the idea of a universal health care tax credit, but I digress. In the context of the aforementioned commentary, one person vomited up the bromides that all one needs to do in this whole matter is to “follow the money” to find out who “they” are. Ostensibly, a very small cabal of characters responsible for all of our ills (including ACA); if we follow this nondescript long trail of money we will eventually discover who the cabal actually is, and find it was a group of greedy, money hungry, cats who stood to make fortunes.
Well, I for one have followed the money! I have performed my intellectual due diligence and discovered who “they” are, and it ought not be surprising! Bromide that it is, it is still a question worthy of asking – more importantly worth fully understanding the answer. All too often, however, this notion of following the money to find out who “they” are carries with it an implied connotation that money is evil (or somehow immoral) to accumulate. Clearly, to be objective, one needs to ask some salient questions in this regard. First, what-fundamentally-IS money, and is it evil at its core? Secondly, having internalized a rational understanding of the first, we then ask is our present form of money legitimate and sound. Moreover, where does it come from? And, if it isn’t legitimate and sound, is this actually the root of all the evil to which the bromide alludes?
The answer to the first was brilliantly explained in a speech by Francisco d’Anconia in Ayn Rand’s famous novel, Atlas Shrugged. I’ve read Atlas thoroughly, as well as studied both Ms Rand’s fiction and non-fiction for many years, and concluded she was simply brilliant and prescient (despite her errors and idiosyncrasies (we all have them)). Moreover, I have spent many long hours with Reisman’s Capitalism, Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Hayek, Hazlitt, Mises, Patterson, a touch of Aristotle, some Voltaire and Bastiat, et al. All of whom, taken together (and honestly analyzed), form a systematic validation of her core ideas. Just as Newton stood on the shoulders of Aristotle, Galileo, and Kepler (and others) in mathematics and physics, Ms Rand stood on not just theirs, but others such as Locke, Smith, Voltaire, Bastiat, and more in the realms of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics to provide for the first time a defensible philosophical basis for laissez faire capitalism and the premises of our founding. She did what no one else had been able to accomplish and for the first time provided a philosophical defense of individual rights, expressed so eloquently in the brilliant political proclamations found in our Declaration of Independence.
The discussion of money in her novel clearly answers the first question. The answer to the second is, quite simply in my view, government. Government in the form of a combination of the Federal Reserve and Treasury. So, this admonition to “follow the money,” if taken to its logical conclusion, results in the arrival at the steps of the United States Central Bank; an organization which operates essentially in secrecy, and is fundamentally responsible (since 1913) for the boom-bust economic cycles we experience, not to mention generations of Americans (and foreigners) procreated and implicitly dependent upon an ever-increasing government debt-financed interventionist government controlled economy, and resultant standards of living. This backdrop, or hidden reality, is further complicated by what can only be described as an insane tax and redistribution scheme forced upon the citizenry and premised upon seizing the wealth of arbitrarily defined financially successful individuals and entities to sustain an appearance of “fairness” through “progressivity,” while providing the ongoing partial financing for debt instrument issuance – not to mention a means of force and control. All of this explicitly and purposefully designed credit expansion through the use of Federal Reserve Notes and additional credit instruments and devices, for near on 100 years now, has allowed America to spend way beyond its means. We set a grand example, emulated around the world. Our current financial pickle is plain evidence, and for further proof look no further than the Eurozone. This indisputable fact that neither we, nor most industrialized nations, have sound money renders senior d’Anconia’s speech, while philosophically true on multiple levels, sadly inapplicable other than to point out the obvious.
So, in coming full circle here, when we consider the issue of the constitutionality of a piece of legislation the scope and complexity of the ACA we can only, as it were, shrug.. It’s merely the logical result of the ability to expand the debt base and control individuals behavior by force through taxation. The real questions, in my humble view, needed to be asked in this whole matter and discussed as a nation include: Is this idea moral? Is it the proper role of government in an ostensibly free society? Do individuals in such a premised society have a legitimate moral obligation to pay for the health care insurance of others? And if it is suggested that they do, then under what moral theory is this so? And if that is true and rationally defendable, what other obligations then follow logically from it? It may very well be that the ACA is interpretably constitutional as Justice Roberts has divined, but that doesn’t imply in any sense to me that it is right and proper in view of individual rights.
But yet, we need to understand how it is that we can arrive at this point in our national saga. What forces impelled this in the first place? Well, this goes to the heart of the matter, and the answer is that because our 100 year experiment in central banking has now shown rather conclusively to be seriously flawed, it is precisely due to the fact that the lack of a sound and legitimate form of money has been missing from the equation. As Ms Rand pointed out in Atlas, money is the most moral of things. However, that assumes the money is sound and legitimate. When it is not, all bets are off. Moreover, the results of this experiment and the conclusion did not surface in a day, a week, a month, or even several decades. Because of the nature of how fiat currency flows, and how that manifests in society, it has simply taken roughly 100 years to conclusively demonstrate that no matter what techniques are employed by central bankers, fiat money based central banking is fundamentally flawed. The best they can do is, to use another bromide, kick the can down the road. But the can has arrived on the edge of a cliff, one more kick and it’s off into the abyss. And the constitutionality of the ACA is simply a reflection of the system we have allowed to operate here in America for 100 years. It was enabled not by neo-socialists such as Barack Obama, but rather enabled by legislation in 1913.