Now that Health Care Reform is the law of the land (well, almost), and the law contains neither death panels, nor suicide pills, nor mandatory abortions provided by SEIU thugs, Republican arguments are coalescing around the individual mandate to purchase insurance. Starting in 2014, if you don't have health insurance, you must come up with a $695 tax penalty per household member (up to a limit, depending on the size of your household and your income).
The argument against this mandate goes something like this:
This law forces people to buy something and penalizes them if they don't want to. The Constitution does not permit this sort of federal power.
Our system is rife with wildly popular examples of tax policies to encourage specific behaviors. For example, if you don't want to buy and carry a mortgage on a house, you pay a substantial tax penalty. If you don't want to produce as many children as your body permits, you pay a substantial tax penalty. If you don't want to contribute to a 401(k) plan or health FSA, you pay a substantial tax penalty.
And then there's Medicare. Every paycheck, you buy Medicare insurance. You don't get to opt out.
Of course, you can also make the case that our tax code is a destructive source of friction upon our economy. I couldn't agree more. Now tell that to someone whose house is only affordable because they get to write off their mortgage interest.
In the meantime, let's stop pretending that the Marxocrats invented a new form of state slavery.