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Insight

Doing the math on overseas tax havens and tax avoidance

Insight

According to the latest Tax Justice Network estimate, the total funds held by a limited number of multimillionaires and billionaires in such foreign tax havens as the Caymans, the Bahamas, Monaco and Switzerland amount to $31 trillion.

Obamacare dissenting opinion deserves dissection

In order to move forward with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” we have to go with the 5 to 4 majority opinion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (2012). This is so even if we realize that the U.S. Supreme Court reached the right result for the wrong reason (see The Lakeville Journal, July 5). The majority held in effect that an act of Congress is necessarily constitutional if it includes a “tax” provision. Questionable, but at least Obamacare was held constitutional.

Obamacare: The right result for the wrong reason

In the recent case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sibelius (2012) the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated the Constitutionality of “Obamacare.” The Court reached the right result, but for the wrong reason.

Move to amend: to curb corporate spending on campaigns

Insight

The “Move to Amend,” that is, the People’s Movement to Amend the U.S. Constitution, specifically to overturn Citizens United, is spreading like a grassland wildfire across the United States. Hundreds of grassroots initiatives have been launched, and the movement is gaining momentum and ascending through municipal, county and state legislatures, aiming ultimately for the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, the Montana State Supreme Court has gone ahead and upheld Montana’s 100-years-old ban on corporate contributions to state election campaigns.

Obamacare and general welfare in the Constitution

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Part 3 of 3

The administration’s argument in defense of “Obamacare” is clear: The failure by some to obtain health coverage does adversely affect everyone else. It’s a common danger and creates greater costs for others. Uninsured persons place a burden on the ER and other medical services paid for by others. Like the risk of polio, the lack of insurance for some places everyone else at risk.

Obamacare and general welfare in the Constitution

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Part 1 of 2

Obamacare: why it is constitutional

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Part 2 of 3

A particularly unfortunate victim of constitutional misinterpretation is Section 8.1. This clause states that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, ... to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare.” At first sight, this clause would seem, after all, to enumerate both defense and general welfare as legitimate powers under Section 8. But this layman’s interpretation has not been universally accepted. There are two diametrically opposed ways of interpreting Section 8.1.

Obamacare and general welfare in the Constitution

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Part 1 of 2

The union rights of American workers

Insight

Under U.S. and international law, the right of workers to unionize and the right to bargain collectively are recognized as fundamental human rights. This includes the right to strike, even in public service, except in certain defined security situations or occupations, such as policemen, firefighters, ambulance drivers, the military or, as conservative President Ronald Reagan acted on, air traffic controllers.

Politics and the law of defamation

Insight

Anecdotal studies of campaign financing and advertising practices across America suggest the reality of what we have long suspected: In many campaigns, more money is spent, not on promoting the qualities and positions of particular candidates, but rather on attacking and defaming their opponents. Hate and fear are great motivators at the polls, and 2012 promises to be a record year — in dollar volume and in defamation.