What was a controversial law before it was sent to the Supreme Court and has now become even more divisive and confusing as the result of the court ruling on Thursday June 28th. President Obama may be taking a victory lap for now, but it could be a short lap once around the track. Romney has just been given one of the greatest winning plums of the campaign. When the Supreme Court ruled that the mandate was constitutional by way of a tax increase, the president now finds himself taxing the very same people he is counting on to bring him a second term. The president has stated repeatedly that the healthcare law would not increase the taxes on individuals earning less than $250,000 per year. With court ruling that the mandate was constitutional as a tax increase, he will be forced to decide how he can support his landmark legislation and still appeal to a voter base which now faces an increase in taxes.
On the economic front, the increase of taxes on small businesses will not help improve the economy or reduce the unemployment. Businesses that need to hire will be more cautious than ever unable to determine what effect this ruling will have on their cost of operations. If this trend of unemployment with a stumbling economy continues, it will be more bad news for the present administration. The big question over the next few months is just how educated is Obama’s voter base. Will his supporters make an attempt to understand the court ruling regarding on how it will affect them or will they just dismiss the ruling as not having any immediate effect on them for now? This is supported by the fact that some aspects of the law do not take immediate effect until 2014.
The ruling will certainly be discussed and debated over the next few months as the campaign moves forward. Without a doubt, the constitutionality of the ruling will be debated by various scholars. After all, the ruling came from a split decision by the court which leaves the door open for others to express their opinion. If left standing, the law could also led to a precedent of taxing individuals by the government as an enforcement tool for dictating regulations and establishing laws the majority of voters would not support under normal circumstances.
As a campaign issue, the ruling will become a front and center issue for both candidates because of its direct bearing on the economy and unemployment. Romney has already stated that it was a bad law and still is a bad law after the court’s decision and he will work to repeal the law if elected president. This could be a slippery slope for Romney if the Democrats are able to draw a comparison between the Obama healthcare law and healthcare law he endorsed in Massachusetts. President Obama on the other hand will have a difficult problem in trying to defend a healthcare law that mandates a tax increase. For the voters who will have the final say, this could be a much contested race to the White House. I suggest that you fasten your seat belts; this promises to be a wild ride!
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