Sunday, August 16, 2009

Town Hall Protests Causing Dem's To "Cut N Run" on Public Option?

WASHINGTONBowing to Republican pressure and an uneasy public, President Barack Obama's administration signaled Sunday it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance as part of a new health care system.

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.



Blogger Man of the West said...

Any "compromise" will, of course, have to be scrutinized with a jaundiced eye.

What I want to know is, how, given the Tenth Amendment, anyone thinks the federal government should have any involvement with insurance at all. I suppose you might be able to make a case for it having some business regulating insurance coverage being sold in one state by a company based in another state, on the grounds that that would be "commerce between the states," but there can be absolutely no constitutional grounds for federal involvement in intrastate insurance transactions, or for the federal government operating its own insurance programs.

If you're wondering whether I think this means that Medicare is unconstitutional, that would be a "yes."

7:04 AM  
Blogger Otter said...

Unfortunately, the public option is not the only problem with that bill.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

I completely agree with both of you!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Otter said...

I agree MOTW, I think Medicare is unconstitutional as well. In fact, I think I am going to do a blog post soon regarding what promote the general welfare means because I don't think it means what most liberal politicians think it means.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Man of the West said...

That will be an excellent post, Otter. The "general welfare" part is at the beginning of the Constitution, and explains why the Constitution is being implemented; it is not itself a rule or a procedure and grants permission to the federal government to do nothing. It is only an explanation.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Otter said...

Actually, the term 'general welfare' is not mentioned only in the preamble.

It is also in Section 8 of Article 1:

"The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defence and GENERAL WELFARE of the United States...."

6:02 PM  
Blogger Red S Tater said...

I don't think that means to include the general health and welfare of the citizens... merely the general welfare of the country as in the basic running of the government itself... but apparently according to our current administration I would be wrong.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Man of the West said...

But with the same function and meaning, Otter, that is, it tells you why, and is actually a restriction rather than a permission.
That is--especially when you read what follows your quote but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States--Congress' taxing power may only be used for the general benefit of the country, not the benefit of any one specific part. It is not permissible to tax the citizens of California for the sole benefit of the residents of Rhode Island, for example, or to punish one part of the country with taxes not levied on all the other parts. That is the meaning of general welfare; general, not individual. Not only is it not a license for Congress to do whatever it thinks will lead to the welfare of the country, it actually is a restriction on them, prohibiting them from taxing some states (some, including me, would argue states or individual) to benefit others.

Ironic, then, that "welfare" (and Medicare-type) programs, being exactly a means of taxing some citizens to benefit others, are actually a clear violation of the "general welfare" clause you cite, especially if you consider its protection to reach right down to the level of the individual.

And Red, you are right; section 8, having given the reason why Congress may lay taxes--that is, again, for the benefit of the entire country, not for any individual state or any individual, for that matter--goes on to outline specifically what Congress may do, an exercise that would be utterly pointless if Congress did in fact have the power to do just whatever it felt like would benefit the country as a whole.

Read Federalist 84; it is instructive. In it, Hamilton specifically argues that a Bill of Rights is not needed to guarantee certain rights, because the Constitution does not grant the federal government the power to infringe those rights. It is therefore a certainty that the general welfare clause was never meant to be, so to speak, a license to kill. Congress's powers are limited to those enumerated, and "general welfare" means "the country as a whole", not "whatever we think would be cool for some citizens of the country to have at other citizen's expense."

6:43 AM  

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