- - Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a devastating decision for our nation, especially its small businesses, the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law amounts to one of - if not the - largest tax increases in our nation’s history. But this day will go down in history as the day when Americans lost their freedom - the freedom to choose what to buy with their own money.

In particular, small businesses have been hit with the double whammy of higher health care and health insurance costs plus the added blow of being forced to purchase a product they don’t want or aren’t able to afford - which the court construed as a tax. There is little chance for a small business to grow and thrive under Obamacare.

Small businesses create the majority of our nation’s jobs and poll after poll in recent months has shown that the health care law is a major impediment to their hiring. In fact, the top concerns of small businesses in many recent surveys are the health care law and taxes. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision, small businesses will be crushed by higher taxes and a health care law that should never have been passed in the first place.

The decision essentially allows Congress to pull a “bait and switch” every time they want to get something passed that may be unpopular. It paves the way for Congress to pass laws and only then, learn what they contain, as then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare.

All throughout the health care debate, President Obama and the bill’s proponents adamantly said the health care bill was not a tax. Over and over again, they promised it was not a tax. However, the government argued in front of the Supreme Court and in lower courts that indeed it was a tax and therefore constitutional.

Now that the Supreme Court agreed with the government that the mandate is constitutional under Congress‘ taxing power, the government can do whatever it wants under that power and tax businesses and individuals to their hearts’ content.

Small businesses are already burdened with enough taxes, red tape and unnecessary regulations. They need the government out of their lives, not meddling in their businesses and forcing them to use their own money to purchase a particular product. Small businesses are resilient, innovative and creative. They have overcome an enormous amount of government interference in their lives and their businesses, but this blow may be one too many.

Like all Americans, they now face a new reality - one our nation’s founders worked so hard to avoid - in which there are no constitutional limits to what Congress can tell each of us to do.

Small businesses are our nation’s job creators. If they are not able to create jobs, who will?

When the health care law was signed, the National Federation of Independent Business heard from its members. They told us loud and clear that they were angry about the law and wanted it gone. That’s why NFIB joined the 26 states in filing the lawsuit against the government and argued that the entire law be thrown out.

It is disheartening and disappointing for small businessmen, who work hard every day to support their families and help their employees to make a living. NFIB fought for its members and will continue to fight for health care solutions that will truly lower costs.

Karen Harned is executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center.