Did George Washington Set The Precedent For ObamaTax?

It has been widely circulated that George Washington, the father of our country, set the precedent for the mandate that is contained in ObamaTax. I thought about the issue and I realize that some have never even heard of the Militia Act of 1792.

In the Act, signed into law by then President George Washington, it states,

That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack. That the commissioned Officers shall severally be armed with a sword or hanger, and espontoon; and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets from arming the militia as is herein required, shall be of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound; and every citizen so enrolled, and providing himself with the arms, ammunition and accoutrements, required as aforesaid, shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes.

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Liberals argue that this sets the precedent for the health insurance mandate. They claim, “Well Washington knew the Constitution better than us so if guns were ok, I’m sure he would have had no problem with healthcare.” I beg to differ.

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The differences between the two mandates are (1. This provided for the common defense via a militia, which is most definitely a part of the Second Amendment. It was not a standing army as we have today. (2. Once these items were purchased that was the end of it. It was not something that had to be done over and over and over. (3. The enforcement of the Act was never meant to be at the federal level, nor was it enforced.

What makes this somewhat humorous is watching liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid appeal to an act that required the purchase of a firearm to bolster their claim that the health care mandate was Constitutional.

When we compare ObamaTax to the Militia Act of 1792 we find they are built on two different foundations.We were told that ObamaTax would be constitutional under the commerce clause. It seems to me that “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes” says nothing about forcing anyone to purchase anything. This is probably why the Court didn’t uphold ObamaTax under the commerce clause.

Rather, they sought something that promoters of the law didn’t intend it to be known as: a tax. They upheld ObamaTax on the grounds that the Congress has the authority to tax. Now everyone from Pelosi to Obama to every liberal you come in contact with is screaming, “It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty!”

Here’s the real difference, the Militia Act does not depend on either of those things. It depends on the militia clause in the Second Amendment. As stated before, the two laws have two completely different foundations.

As Jeremy Singer-Vine points out:

Separate clauses aside, the Militia Act of 1792 would still be poor precedent for the insurance mandate, because Congress never enforced, or even meant to enforce, the law at the federal level. Lost in the health-care inflected discussion of the bill is its initial purpose: To standardize state militias and to authorize the president to call them into action. The government expected each state to achieve standardization through locally issued regulations, and to handle the gun-toting provision independently. As it happens, the state-level requirements and penalties were onerous, especially for poorer men. The standard-issue musket, which was too heavy and high-caliber to be useful off the battlefield (say, for hunting), cost about $13—several weeks’ wages for the average Joe, who earned less than a dollar a day. Men who did not comply were fined as much as $12 (the penalty in New York), and those who didn’t pay the fine could be imprisoned for debt.

Not long after the Militia Act passed, it came under increasing criticism for being (on the one hand) unfair and (on the other) too weak. Wealthy men could afford to pay the fines, avoiding both militia duty and prison, but poor and working-class men could not. The bill had also been watered down as it crept through Congress; it didn’t create any standards for militia organization, tactics, or training, as its original proponents had wanted. The resulting aggregation of state militias was fairly ineffective. Though federally commanded state militias helped George Washington quell the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, their poor performance in the War of 1812 convinced many politicians that the government needed to rethink its military strategy. Starting in 1840, with Massachusetts, states began repealing their compulsory militias or simply letting those militias decay, favoring volunteer organizations instead.

While there have been laws within the tax code that do favor certain decisions (mortgages, fuel efficient cars, children, marriage, etc.), the regular tax was always in place. The ObamaTax, however, places additional tax on those who choose not to purchase health insurance. It is not a tax that was in place and you were already paying it and then if you did something else it offset it. No. Obamatax taxes you for not purchasing health insurance. It is in its essence a brand new tax.

Interestingly enough the Militia Act did not broad sweep every person into it. It was only for white males “age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted).” No women. No children. No blacks or Indians. This was specific in its scope and for a purpose.

I understand the issue that there were penalties for not purchasing a musket, which was very expensive at the time and could even result in imprisonment. Part of the thinking behind it was that since there was the issue of each one looking out for the other against foreign invaders. As Mr. Singer-Vine points out, the militia’s use was petty at best and the law was rethought in favor of something different.

However, with the militia mandate, each was to pay his own way. The simple fact of the matter is that Obamatax will continue to allow millions of real “free loaders”, including illegal immigrants to continue to “free load.” It provides no insurance or healthcare in and of itself. It definitely is not for the national good, especially in a time of recession.

While one could understand Washington’s thinking at the time, having just won a battle against the greatest army in the world at that time, within a generation states began repealing compulsory militias.

This then goes back to the individual taking responsibility, not being coerced to do something. It’s also why ObamaTax, even though it has been deemed Constitutional, is bad law and bad precedent and why people don’t want it.

The thing is, even those who wrote and signed the Constitution, did some things that were clearly violating the Constitution, just as those who are far removed from it do things today that are unconstitutional, no matter what the Supreme Court says.

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