Deep into his concurrence in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming the constitutionality of Obamacare, Justice Jeffrey Sutton riffs on the fundamentally economic nature of any decision involving health insurance. To make his point he drags in none other than billionaireWarren Buffett, who once said his company makes “more money when snoring than when active.”
Sutton invoked the Sage of Omaha to demonstrate that “inaction is action, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, when it comes to financial risk.”
To the fatalistic view that Congress will always prevail and courts should step back and let the people, if offended, speak through their political representatives, I say that “courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority.”
Indeed, the majority’s reasoning raises an interesting question. To justify the individual mandate, they cite the huge costs the uninsured impose on the insured — $43 billion in 2008, adding $1,000 a year to a family health policy. It was to correct these flaws in the national insurance market that Congress acted, they said...
When Warren Buffett tells shareholders …“[i]nactivity strikes us as intelligent behavior,” …he is not urging the Board of Directors to place him in a Rip Van Winkle-like stupor for the next year. He is saying that, of the many buy and sell recommendations that came across his desk that year, the best thing he could have done is the informed, even masterful, inaction of saying no to all of them.
Whether the Commerce Clause regulates inaction, Sutton said, is besides the point. And ultimately, the voters will decide whether Obamacare is a good idea. The U.S. Supreme Court approved a national bank back in 1819 in the absence of any specific constitutional authorization and it was up to the political process to determine whether that was a good idea. In the end, Sutton wrote, “there was no third national bank.”
Facebook’s Zuckerberg Is Now Richer Than The Google Guys
Paragraphs five and six updated.
In news reportedearlier this week by my colleague Tomio Geron, publicly-traded closed-end mutual fund GSV Capital bought 225,000 shares of the social networking giant Facebook at an average price of $29.28 per share or a valuation of about $70 billion. Its stock is up about 40% since the news.
The $70 billion valuation is also a 40% premium to the $50 billion we used to measure the fortunes of the six Facebook billionaires back in February when we were putting together our list of World’s Richest People. Its shares have traded even higher on secondary markets.
At the time we valued Facebook’s chieftain Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth at $13.5 billion. Today, based on the new numbers/new investment, Zuckerberg’s mostly paper fortune (we figure he has quietly sold about $1 billion worth of shares) jumps past $18 billion. The other Facebook billionaires including Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Sean Parker, Peter Thiel and Yuri Milner are all richer too. Continue to read at this link.
The conviction of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich represents a courtroom victory for United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald after a series of defeats, but to get this win, Fitzgerald had to convince a jury that sharp-elbowed politics is something for which a man should spend time in prison.
The most controversial charge Blagojevich faced was that he planned to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. But Fitzgerald decided to come out swinging, terminated the wiretaps on Blagojevich’s home and office, arrested the then-sitting governor, held a sensational press conference, and called it a wrap before this alleged sale would have even taken place. Fitzgerald was obviously unwilling to wait out the unfolding situation to see if the governor was really serious about “selling” the seat to the highest bidder.
Had Blagojevich actually followed through with the sale of a Senate seat, Fitzgerald’s heavy-handed prosecutorial approach might have been justified. But in light of the fact that no seat was sold, and that these appointments are regularly used to for political benefit, the reasonable doubt that a crime was actually committed would appear to be overwhelming. For a US Attorney who is known for “crossing his T’s and dotting his I’s,” you have to wonder why Fitzgerald didn’t spring into action after the sale of the seat, once the dirty deal was done. Blagojevich’s own writing may give us a clue. Blagojevich claims in his memoir, “The Governor,” that the goal of the Senate appointment was to get a political opponent out of the way, not to sell the seat for cash. If this scenario is to be believed, then Fitzgerald went forward with the case when he did because, had he waited until after the seat was filled, there would not have been a case since the seat would have been awarded not for cash, but for quite traditional political advantage.