What else can be mandated?
With the ruling on the Affordable Care Act, I’ve been wondering: What else can be mandated? It was truly unprecedented to require citizens to purchase a product that they otherwise hadn’t decided to purchase. So whats next?
If Congress can constitutionally create a mandate for individuals to purchase healthcare, then Congress can create a mandate for individuals to purchase financial securities. Which — given the fiscal cliff that we are about to run off, and the reality that more and more sovereigns are dumping dollars and treasuries — could well be a useful weapon in keeping the Treasury’s borrowing costs low and the bread and circuses flowing.
There doesn’t seem to be any limits on government power now; whoever is in charge at any given moment gets to call the shots, regardless of what our own Constitution says. Executive orders get used frequently now, making the President much closer to King than what the office previously was. Congress seems complicit in the whole show, and now apparently we can’t rely on the Supreme Court either (although, admittedly, they have a terrible history of upholding the Constitution).
So what will be mandated next? It seems that, at least legally speaking, anything is fair game. I doubt that Congress will actually put through a mandate to buy financial securities, at least directly. I could see them incorporating it into Social Security somehow under the guise of “saving” Social Security for future generations. But, the precedent is set. Now that our government can not only punish certain actions, but also inaction, nearly anything is possible. It opens a whole new avenue towards centralized behavior modification.
Could they put through a bill requiring everybody in the US to do a year of community service before entering the workforce? What about requiring higher education? Both of these things, on the surface, would seem to have positive effects, but would completely ignore the unintended consequences, the ripple effect into other areas of life that perhaps wasn’t immediately expected.
As more power gets centralized over the populace, the more autonomy each individual loses, while creating a more and more unstable structure. As government increasingly flexes its muscles over its citizens, more people are going to have their values trampled upon and be less likely to obey rule of law in general. It will sow discord into society and eventually break it apart.
Government should be limited to protecting life, liberty, and property. Government should not be confused with society; the two are different ideas and entities entirely, and when government attempts to enforce the values of society, it usurps its proper role, inhibits society from growth, and ultimately harms everyone.