Because people are stupid -- and inconsistent -- Matt Drudge can post propaganda like "Obamacare: Buy insurance or go to jail!" and get away with it.
It is also because American conservatives have lost their intellect as well as their minds that rank combox hysteria was the reaction to Politico's matter-of-fact reporting that, under the Senate health-care bill, not paying a $1,900 penalty for failing to buy insurance could result in jail time:
Put me in jail because the government isn't going to dictate the terms of my existence.AND THEN there was this:
This admin is out of control. To FORCE ME to buy health insurance in their program, when I don't want it, and if I refuse, they will put me in JAIL?!?!?! What country is this, Iran? Russia? China? What happened to freedom of choice, I thought that was the liberal battle cry!
YOU'D THINK the Red Army had just captured Washington.
Oh, wait. Right-wing paranoiacs already think the Red Army has captured Washington.
But there's this little deal folks overlook -- a little deal that is pretty much universal in these United States . . . a little deal that also infringes on one's "freedom of choice," and a little deal that could land some in jail.
Here's the little deal: What do you think happens to people who fail to purchase auto insurance?
Well, at a minimum, you can't register or license your car. And if you're caught driving without proof of insurance, at a minimum, your license usually is suspended.
In Nebraska, for example, the penalty for not having auto insurance is a fine of up to $500 and suspension of your driver's license and car registration.
In New York, your vehicle registration is suspended, and your driver's license can be suspended. If your your uninsured vehicle is in an accident, your license and registration is revoked for at least a year. In traffic court, fines go up to $1,500 for driving without insurance or allowing another to drive your uninsured vehicle, and the Department of Motor Vehicles collects a $750 civil penalty upon reinstating a revoked license.
In Texas, a first conviction for violating the state's "financial-responsibility law" will earn you a fine from $175 to $350. And subsequent convictions bring fines of $350 to $1,000, suspension of your license and registration, as well as impounding of your ride. The state considers driving without insurance a misdemeanor.
If personal-responsibility laws are communist plots worthy of the worst China and the Soviet Union could dish out, then Americans already have plenty of reason to take up arms above and beyond anything poor Barack Obama or congressional Democrats can cook up.
Conservatives need to get a grip. Their hysterical Barney Fife act has grown plenty old.