The American voters, by putting Democrats into Congress and the White House, broke the American system. They now own that broken system and it’s up to them to fix it. In this case, if the voters are smart enough, they’ll elect Republicans by a large majority. If they’re not smart enough, we’re in for a lot more breakage.
Viewed this way, Roberts did the right thing. He protected the Supreme Court’s integrity and he made the American people responsible for their own stupidity.Even so, like me, Bookworm worries about the principle that, even if Congress must not regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause, it can still tax inactivity to its heart's content. I would prefer to see taxes returned to their revenue-raising function. We should stop using them as a coercive tool to implement one utopian scheme after another, generally involving a redistribution of wealth from "them" to "us."
Nevertheless, the honest truth is that my strongest objection to Obamatax is not a Constitutional one. If I believed that single-payer healthcare made sense, in the same way that I believe a unified and coherent national defense makes sense, I'd have no problem financing the system with a tax that fell most heavily on free-riders who weren't already bearing their share of the tab. How is that much different from making people pay for a police and fire department? The problem is that I think a single-payer health system is a good way to destroy what's left of the rational part of our healthcare system. Competition and other private-sector tools are the only way to fix the mess we've already gotten ourselves into by flirting with top-down solutions. So naturally I don't want to fund the healthcare system with a tax, or to see Congress take any other action that tends to get the government even more deeply involved by any means it can dream up, Constitutional or otherwise.
But that is a political choice reflecting values and opinions about what works. So get to the polls this November. There are lots of issues we can't and shouldn't expect the Supreme Court to resolve for us -- either because that's not its proper role or, if you don't believe that, then because it's too likely to disappoint us.
And in the meantime, if you are inspired to attend some spirited town hall meetings, go for it.