The Supreme Court & the Individual Mandate

As has been widely reported, and is now being analyzed at length, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (otherwise dubbed Obamacare) this morning. The administration had claimed that it was Constitutional with three separate arguments: the Commerce Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Taxation Power (“lay and collect Taxes”.) Chief Justice Roberts, in delivering the opinion of the court, wrote that the law wasn’t supported by either of the first two, but was, in fact, Constitutional under the Taxation Power of Congress in the Constitution.

Although the Congress stated that it wasn’t a tax in writing the law, the Court sensibly saw past this language as a political decision to get the law passed. The expansion of Medicaid was struck down by the Court. Expect considerable discussion about overturning Obamacare from the right, and expanding it to Medicare from the left from here to the election this fall, and beyond. Let the games begin!

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Managing Expectations

Today Apple rolled out a raft of hardware and software at their World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco (WWDC.) The company showed new Macbook Pros, a new Macbook Air, released a new Mac Pro, and demoed their next OS, Mountain Lion, as well as the next iteration of their mobile OS, iOS 6. Some computer commentators have said that the retina display Macbook Pro is a year to 2 years ahead of any PC laptop.

In the OS department, Apple showed their new Maps feature and updated Siri personal assistant software with increased capabilities. One figure was dropped on the crowd which is stunning when you compare it to the 901 million active Facebook users (as of April 2012)….Apple has 400 million CREDIT CARDS of users! Contemplate that for a moment!

Despite this large rollout of products, both soft and hard, Wall Street was ‘disappointed.’ Being a financial whiz is crucial to success on Wall Street, let there be no doubt of that. With that in mind, though, it might serve analysts in good stead to have some real world experience in companies that provide ACTUAL goods and services to our vaunted free market. Even better, if some of these folks had the experience of managing a company on pure, positive cash flow, they would REALLY understand American business. Main Street must be doing a collective face palm right now!