All three branches of government are making things worse
So what was sown by these U.S. Supreme Court decisions that we may as a nation harvest? The one thing we know is that there will be more lawsuits and more uncertainty.
It was not just me; many people were unhappy when the U.S. Supreme Court last week made things worse in our country rather than better. The thing we wanted about health care and the Arizona law regarding people in our country without legal status was clarity. They did not provide it.
Instead, they made the situation worse. The laws are less understandable with their rulings that satisfied no one and only stirred the political pot.
In health care, the decision was that Congress called the law a mandate, which would invalidate the law but that it is not a mandate at all, it is a tax, and therefore, the law stands. The rub is Congress and the president said it was not a tax when the law was passed. So we have Congress and the president saying it is not a tax and the Supreme Court saying it is. Two branches of government say it is not, one says it is. No clarity there.
It would appear from the ruling that the Supreme Court is saying the citizens were fools to believe it was a mandate when it was so obviously a tax as the opponents of the law had maintained. Then the Supreme Court roiled things by saying it is not the role of the court to delve into lying or to protect citizen from lies by Congress and the president.
Rather than clear up the health-care issue, the Supreme Count invited more lawsuits so the health-care law can spend longer in court. Just what we need, eh? What about the exclusions the president has granted to the mandate, er, the tax? Can the president give exclusions from taxes? We know less now than before.
More lawsuits and more uncertainty
Likewise, the Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s attempt to deal with people in our country without legal status was equally flawed. Arizona wanted to question people that law enforcement suspected might be in the country without legal status and then expel them. The court said it was fine to question them but Arizona could not take action upon receiving the answers from the questioning. Then why question them?
So what was sown by these decisions that we may as a nation harvest? The one thing we know is that there will be more lawsuits and more uncertainty. The economy is suffering and has been suffering for several years. Unemployment is up at a time when interest rates are very low. Businesses could expand but do not.
In short, the business climate is very bad and in need of a change. To make a change would require new initiatives by private business. Government can spend money but it will not rescue the economy because it takes money from private business to use as the stimulant. The overall effect does not lift up all boats, so to speak.
The government sets the landscape and businesses either increase or decrease. Example: businesses could go borrow money and increase employment, which would help our economy, but there is this uncertainty hanging over the heads of business owners such that they are reluctant to invest in this economic climate. The fastest way to the poor house is investing in things that the government relegates to the unprofitable heap. So businesses are sitting on their wallets.
No predicting the policies of our nation
What is government doing to send a clear signal? First, Congress has not passed a budget in three years. No budget means that there is no real way of knowing what Congress intends to do when they finally decide to do a budget. Without a budget the government lurches from one crisis to another. What does that signal?
Then the Supreme Court does not give any real guidance on the law. Normally the role of the courts is to clarify laws. But we are not experiencing clarity now.
Finally we find the president saying one thing and doing another, as he has with energy issues. “I am for oil drilling but not for the Keystone pipeline.” With all of that, businesses are thinking that there is no predicting the policies of our nation. Lacking a sense of what policies are coming, businesses sit on their money. Who has the nerve to look surprised?
Swickard is co-host of the radio talk show News New Mexico, which airs from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
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