Ready, set, cringe

by Walter Olson on August 25, 2010

“US admits human rights shortcomings in UN report” [AP] Not to get too far ahead of the game, but the enthusiasm of legal academia for the international human rights movement is one of the major themes of my forthcoming Schools for Misrule, and the fruits of that movement — including the United Nations’ new “periodic review” procedure, by which it scrutinizes ours and other nations’ human rights records — figure prominently in the narrative.

More: Michael Cannon at Cato notes that the Obama administration cited, as evidence of the nation’s human rights progress, its enactment of “legislation that threatens U.S. residents with prison if they fail to purchase health insurance.”

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Interesting including comments « Off the Cuff
08.27.10 at 6:57 am

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1 Aaron Worthing 08.25.10 at 8:31 am

and remember, of the nations on the human rights committee are themselves serial abusers of human rights.

Why any free person wants to submit us to the control of internationalism is beyond me.

2 Doug 08.25.10 at 10:06 am

Its about control and power. They now whats best and want acceptance from the countries of the world. You only get acceptance through changing the other govt’s or just try to be like them. Our nannies are trying to be like them.

3 Aaron Worthing 08.25.10 at 12:01 pm

not to defend obamacare, but its my understanding that you cannot go to prison for refusing to buy the health insurance.

Mind you the mandate is STILL unconstitutional, but there you go.

btw, in other news Sen. Baucus says he wrote obamacare, but didn’t actually read it. Yes, really:

http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/2010/08/sen-max-baucus-i-wrote-health-care-law.html

The mind boggles.

4 Mark Biggar 08.25.10 at 12:21 pm

>>not to defend obamacare, but its my understanding that you cannot go >>to prison for refusing to buy the health insurance.

No, but you can go to prison for refusing to pay the fine for not buying insurance, which is basically the same thing given that at least some of it goes into the insurance pool thus forcibly buying you a policy.

5 Aaron Worthing 08.25.10 at 2:07 pm

biggar

actually, i don’t believe they can do that either.

i mean i hate the bill, protested against it, was called a racist by lying congressmen (or is lying congressmen technically a redundant term?). But its actually pretty toothless in practice.

Which means that if the public gets wind of it, NO ONE WILL DO IT. and guess what happens next? the insurance companies go out of business. And to be blunt, i suspect that is really the goal. destroy the insurance industry, and then replace it with the government plan.

6 Aaron Worthing 08.25.10 at 2:39 pm

Btw, here is a nice palate cleanser of a quote from Fred Thompson:

“This country has shed more blood for the freedom of other people than all the other nations in the history of the world combined, and I’m tired of people feeling like they’ve got to apologize for America.”

Awesome and true. and ironically made long before Obama began his apology and boot licking tours.

7 Jack Wilson 08.25.10 at 3:28 pm

Obama may end up agreeing that you can’t be forced to buy health insurance. His compassionate and generous solution: give everybody a free policy.

8 Alan Gunn 08.25.10 at 7:23 pm

Aaron Worthing is right. Although the penalties for not buying the right sort of health insurance are treated as taxes for some purposes, the only enforcement mechanism is reduction of the refund you would otherwise be entitled to by the amount of the penalty. Not only can you not be sent to jail, the government can’t even make you pay the penalty if you are not due a refund.

As most people can adjust their withholding or estimated-tax payments to make sure that they will not get a refund, this means in practice that the supposed mandate is fairly easy to avoid. This, in turn, probably means that the whole system will collapse, because many of the required features of health insurance under the new law, such as no coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, will make that insurance extremely expensive unless healthy people can be forced to buy it. Whether this result was intended is unclear. So far as I can tell, the provisions of the new law limiting the enforceability of the penalties was never discussed in public until after the act had passed.

9 MF 08.27.10 at 11:06 am

Aaron W. and Alan G., you’re right but you’re wrong. You are correct that one can’t go to jail for lack of payment of the health care, but the amount charged for the premium is included in your tax bill. When you go to pay your taxes, you must pay the tax amount and the health care amount. When the IRS receives payment, they will apply the amount you’re paying toward the health care premium first, and then take whatever is left to apply to your tax bill. So then you go to jail for underpayment of your taxes. You don’t get to choose how to allocate the funds.

Let’s say you owed $1000 in taxes and $500 for the health care premium. (Totally arbitrary numbers.) You sent in a check to the IRS for $1000, specifically stating that it is to be applied to payment of the tax portion of the bill and is not to be applied to health care premium. The IRS says sorry, takes your $1000 check, applies $500 of it to pay your health care premium, applies the remaining $500 to your tax bill, and you are now delinquint on your tax bill by $500. Failure to pay it when due results in penalties and eventually jail time. You aren’t being jailed for failure to pay health care premium, you’re being jailed for failure to pay taxes.

Suppose instead you are due to get a tax refund of $1000, but owe $500 for health care premium. Your check from the IRS will be $500. End of discussion as far as the IRS is concerned.

This legislation was very carefully crafted to make payment mandatory, without saying it was mandatory. Why do you think the enforcement part went to the IRS?

Remember the Stupak subterfuge where “no taxpayer money would go to funding abortion?” These politicians are truly evil, doing and saying whatever they can to get us to give them what they want. Oh, but they weren’t lying, they just didn’t quite tell us the whole truth.

10 William Nuesslein 08.28.10 at 7:12 am

I wonder why Aaron Worthing says that he hates the health care bill.

The individual insurance market in new York State collapsed because there is no way to socialize the high cost for those seeking such insurance. That socialization is a byproduct of large employer plans but not in small-employer plans or individual coverage. Something had to be done. A Canadian system makes more sense than what was enacted, but the legislation had to accommodate to the stupidity of Americans and to the extremism of the evil right-to-life movement.

I wish that medical malpractice cases be totally eliminated and that birth control, including abortion, be subsidized. But that was not going to happen. So the heath bill is about as good as it could be. Senator Baucus is a hero.

11 Alan Gunn 08.29.10 at 12:39 pm

MF,

Is there something you can cite to support your position that the Service will apply amounts paid toward the health-care penalties first? This is possible, given the way the law is written, but I had understood, perhaps wrongly, that the Service had announced that it would treat payments just the other way (i.e. “real taxes” first), and your comment is the first time I’ve seen a claim to the contrary.

I’m not saying you’re wrong; just that I’d like an authoritative citation.

12 MF 08.30.10 at 2:30 pm

Mr. Gunn, I can’t recall where I read it, but I would guess it is merely the expectation that if they can do it, they will do it. But regardless, it still means that if you want to avoid paying it, you have to make sure that every year you owe money and are not due a refund. Any year you would get a refund, you can kill it goodbye because the HCR tax fees will consume whatever you might have been getting. Oh, but make sure that you don’t owe too much – go over that 10% threshold and you’ll be paying penalties for underpayment of taxes!

The way I see it, the only place Sen. Baucus is a hero is in Bizarro World!

13 Alan Gunn 08.30.10 at 5:11 pm

MF,

Thanks for the response. As it happens, I have an unnatural sort of interest in the “ordering rules” that Congress almost always fails to think of enacting when passing tax legislation. (For instance, if you have $100,000 in losses from a partnership but can deduct only $30,000 of them because that’s all the outside basis you have, and your loss is made up of ordinary losses, capital losses, 1231 losses, etc., etc., how do you decide which losses are limited first?) That leaves the matter to regulations or, perhaps, revenue procedures, which can go all sorts of ways. It gets amusing when an activity is subject to more than one set of ordering rules, and they’re different from each other, creating a need for rules for ordering the ordering rules.

You do occasionally see ordering rules that reflect some drafter’s clear intention to stick it to taxpayers by adopting the rule likely to hurt most people the most, but not often. There really isn’t any overall pattern.

14 MF 08.30.10 at 6:36 pm

Amusing? Mr. Gunn, you have a strange sense of humor! :-) Sorry, but IANAL, and I am also not a small business owner so I have no knowledge or experience in that kind of stuff. I just have an extreme distrust of our current administration, who continually find ways of saying one thing but implementing something completely different, frequently by very devious means. But then again, that could probably be an accurate description for nearly every administration, at least to one extent or another – after all, they are all politicians, and many of them are lawyers, too, a double whammy! :-) :-) :-)

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