Free Markets, Free People

Clueless in California

You have to watch this 3 minute video if you want a clue as to why we’re in the shape we are now as a nation. And Pete Stark obviously isn’t the only one who thinks the “federal government can do most anything.” Also notice he never addresses the questions directly. He hems and haws around, clearly clueless as to how to answer the very specific and pointed questions. Lastly, watch his pathetic little slam at the questioner at the end.

Is it any wonder we have legislation that many consider to be a Constitutional travesty? Is it any wonder that Congress now “enjoys” the worst approval numbers in its history (since polls have been taken)?

~McQ

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30 Responses to Clueless in California

  • This video highlights that the disconnect between the Federal Government and the people is effectually complete. It’s “up front” now that we no longer have a constitutionally constrained representative government.

  • I feel bad for Stark.  He’s right.  As the constitution is currently interpreted, the federal government can do just about anything.  All they have to do is wave their hands toward the commerce clause, even when it’s in issues like health care where the existing programs are specifically structured so that the commerce clause doesn’t apply.

  • You ask me ’bout a revolution…well…
    This is the nexus of the revolution.  Is there a Constitution any longer?  Are any of the predicates of our charter operative, or has this just become a limitless hegemony?

  • I am reminded, yet again, of the old Dilbert cartoon where the pointy-haired boss comes to the conclusion that if he simply eliminates all of his costs, his profit margin will be 100%.  That is the impression I get from so many congressmen– since government collects and spends other peoples’ money, they have an unlimited source from which to draw funds for any project they set their minds to.

  • Well, is he not saying exactly what so many Americans have ASKED?  If you want the federal government to do things that aren’t enumerated powers, then you pretty much have to admit that there ARE no constraints on the federal government.

    The sad thing is that the bozos in his district will keep sending him back to DC to be a plague on the rest of us until he’s in his grave, and maybe even after that.

  • Is it any wonder that Congress now “enjoys” the worst approval numbers in its history (since polls have been taken)?

    Um, yes…but Stark was re-elected how many times? By how wide a margin?
    The problem isn’t politicians, but VOTERS.
     

  • Although I’m very sympathetic to this woman’s views, I don’t think that relating the “right” to health care as violating the 13th amendment to be a winning argument.
    The argument that wealth redistribution beyond the duties of the government being akin to slavery was lost long ago.
    I’m constantly reminded of this every time I think about paying my property taxes.  I am a “slave” whenever they take my property and give it to others for the benefit of their education.  How is this any different?  Even if you account for vouchers, the system of taking my money and giving it to others remains.  This philosophy is espoused by both parties.
    When addressing this, I am confronted with the notion that an educated society benefits me indirectly if not directly.  A valid point – one that is being made from proponents of public health care.    In short, that an educated, healthy society benefits me rather than an uneducated, sickly society.
     
    Therefore, I do not see arguing slavery to be potent.  Much better to argue that the government would not be efficient at spending tax dollars for health care.
     
    Cheers.

    • Therefore, I do not see arguing slavery to be potent. 

      I tend to agree with you Pogue but maybe a more convincing argument can be made from the 4th amendment:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      If you, as a healthcare provider, do not believe ObamaCare is legal but is forced to provide health services.  In effect your expertise or you ability to service another’s needs can be coerced of you.  What is the difference if a Doctor is forced to provide his services to someone, even when that doctor knows his reimbursement will not meet the basic needs of the service to be provided.  I.e. the federal goverment has, in effect, forced this man to ply his trade for a loss.  In effect, an illegal seizure.

      I am not a constitutional lawyer, or a lawyer of any kind for that matter, but I find the matter to have some merit.  Can anyone out there provide some context to the discussion – besides Erb?

      • Therefore, I do not see arguing slavery to be potent.
        The Thirteenth Amendment also covers “involuntary servitude,” which is defined as “a condition of compulsory service or labor performed by one person, against his will, for the benefit of another person due to force, threats, intimidation or other similar means of coercion and compulsion directed against him.”
        18 USC 1589 covers this as well:  (  http://www.justice.gov/crt/crim/1581fin.php )
        Summary: Section 1589 of Title 18, which was passed as part of the TVPA, makes it unlawful to provide or obtain the labor or services of a person through one of three prohibited means. Congress enacted § 1589 in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931 (1988), which interpreted § 1584 to require the use or threatened use of physical or legal coercion. Section 1589 broadens the definition of the kinds of coercion that might result in forced labor.

        18 U.S.C. § 1589

        Whoever knowingly provides or obtains the labor or services of a person–

        (1) by threats of serious harm to, or physical restraint against, that person or another person;

        (2) by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if the person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or

        (3) by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process,






        Notice that the section was passed in response to a SCOTUS decision outlawing forcing people to work against their will.


        “Slavery” might not be a good argument, but “indentured servitude” is.

        • Six to one, half dozen to the other.
          It is still not a good argument for the redistribution of wealth.  Taxation of any kind is at its very core a redistribution of wealth.  The matter at hand is by what means the government possesses to tax and for what cause.  It is an evolving scenario if you like it or not.  And we’ve lost the “slavery” or “servitude” argument long, long time ago.
           
          That trench has been filled.  There’s no place to advance.
           
          Cheers.

          • So, Dred Scot ended that whole issue…
            And Jim Crow was settled law…
            I could go on, but you get the idea.  Ideas and ideals are not trenches.  They are not visited once, and then forever laid to rest.
            Taxation is NOT redistribution, unless you want to make the case that purchases at your grocery store are redistribution.  Taxation is a form of transaction in a government within bounds.  We, as citizens, are paying for government (in the civic sense).

          • Taxation is NOT redistribution, unless you want to make the case that purchases at your grocery store are redistribution.  Taxation is a form of transaction in a government within bounds.  We, as citizens, are paying for government (in the civic sense).

            The grocery store can’t compel me to shop there.  Nor can they compel me to pay for beets, even if the manager thinks people need to eat more beets.  Nor can they compel me to pay for items that other shoppers get to take home.
            Redistribution is the use of force to take from those who produce values, so that those wielding the aggressive force can then use it for themselves or give it to others to buy popularity.  In a zero-sum scenario, where everyone worked just as hard, paid just as much money in taxes, and received the same amount of benefits, you wouldn’t need to use force.  You only need to use force when you take from those who produce for the benefit of those who don’t.
            Do that on a personal basis, without the imprimatur of government, and you’re putting yourself at great risk.

          • So, Dred Scot ended that whole issue…
            And Jim Crow was settled law…

             
            Exactly.  Those are prime examples of ideas that have been lost.  Trenches that have been filled in and are now lost forever as I doubt very seriously that they could be re-excavated.  Same goes with the idea that taxes=slavery.  Obviously not all ideas are lost forever, but those have been.
             
            Taxation is NOT redistribution, unless you want to make the case that purchases at your grocery store are redistribution.  Taxation is a form of transaction in a government within bounds.  We, as citizens, are paying for government (in the civic sense).
             
            At its very core, taxation is redistribution.
            Taxpayers as a whole very rarely receive a return from civil services of government of the same monetary value that they put in.  Somewhere along the line of exchange, the taxpayer loses money and someone who doesn’t pay taxes or at least doesn’t pay the equivalent in taxes receives that money.
            What is not lost in corruption and inefficiency is inevitably redistributed.  And at the end of the day, it is a net loss for taxpayers.

          • Please, gents…  Don’t be dense.
            Taxation is not inherently redistributive.  It CAN be, by design.
            But, take the case where our central government was operating Constitutionally, and doing very little spending outside of defense and a few areas of infrastructure.  That is simply not “redistributive” in the sense that I am using that term (i.e., taking from…then giving to…classes of citizen).
            Elliot: Please don’t talk down to me.  I know the difference between compulsion and volition as well as anyone here.
            My point is…as it was…that a government taxing for the support of necessary activities is more an example of a transaction.  We do pay those levies without compulsion (fuel taxes are an example).  We COULD resist paying them, but there is no motive.
            On the other hand, a government taxing for redistributive ends WILL be resisted…legally and not legally.  That resistance will increase as the burden increases until the people simply say no!.

          • That is simply not “redistributive” in the sense that I am using that term…

            It wasn’t clear from what you wrote that you were using the term to mean something non-standard.  I wish you’d explained that part at the outset.

            I know the difference between compulsion and volition as well as anyone here.
            My point is…as it was…that a government taxing for the support of necessary activities is more an example of a transaction.  We do pay those levies without compulsion (fuel taxes are an example).  We COULD resist paying them, but there is no motive.

            Who decides what is “necessary”?  A better question is: “Necessary for whom?”  Once you realize such evaluations are different for each individual and each particular context, you’ll learn why you shouldn’t use ambiguous collective references like that.
            Yes, people have tried to resist fuel taxes, and they would definitely disagree with you whether they have a motive to do so.

          • Gosh, Elliot…  Thanks for citing to the exception that proves the rule!  A fuel tax protest is Great Britain???  Please…!!!
            I do apologize for assuming you and I used the term “redistribution” in like manner.
            Mine, I think, is the more normative usage, but, hey, why quibble?
            Which is why I found your “who decides” blather a bit bizarre.  The people decide.  Sure, I can find folks who will protest any tax at all, whatsoever.  There are nuts and outliers we can always find.  But there is also a solid popular “citizen”, representative of the vast population, who we can also find and poll.  One way to conduct that poll is to see the level of compliance with a given tax system, as opposed to NON-COMPLIANCE.

          • Thanks for citing to the exception that proves the rule!  A fuel tax protest is Great Britain?

            Look, you made a false statement that there was no motive to resist certain classes of taxes.  Tossing out an impertinent aphorism doesn’t erase that.

            Which is why I found your “who decides” blather a bit bizarre.  The people decide.

            “The people” isn’t an entity that can make a decision, like an individual can.  You’re just repeating the Ambiguous Collective Fallacy with, you guessed it, the Ambiguous Collective Fallacy.  It’s a vicious cycle of anti-thought.

            I can find folks who will protest any tax at all, whatsoever.  There are nuts and outliers we can always find.  But there is also a solid popular “citizen”, representative of the vast population, who we can also find and poll.

            Note how you slide from “I can find” to “we can … find” as though they were interchangeable.  There’s no “we” in any of this political morass and I don’t care what kind of poll you take.  The individual is a majority of one, when it comes to his or her rights.

          • But based on a limited government, it’s easier to show that taxes are intended to fund services available to the citizens – post roads, post office, permits, etc.
             
            That’s before the history of  funded school systems and so on – but you can have taxes that are services, not strictly redistributions.

          • Sorry – for permits I was thinking ‘customs’ as in importation of goods or permits to anchor in a harbor, not a permit from the town to repair your own hot water tank (for example).

          • But based on a limited government, it’s easier to show that taxes are intended to fund services available to the citizens – post roads, post office, permits, etc.

            That’s before the history of  funded school systems and so on – but you can have taxes that are services, not strictly redistributions.

            I understand the argument.  Road construction is not the same as welfare checks.  But they have similarities, which you miss if you make the false assumption that building roads benefits everyone in proportion to the taxes they pay for them.  They don’t.  Big rig truck drivers get far more usage than the little old lady who drives her Honda a couple times a week.  Construction companies and material suppliers can benefit from government contracts, so those who have an in with the politicians and bureaucrats can gain unfair advantage.
            At the extreme end of unfairness, the government invoking eminent domain often deprives people of their property against their consent (and has become something far worse than just claiming right of way for roads).
            It’s all down to the problem of one subset of the population deciding for others what’s best for them, deciding what another person’s “fair share” is.  The problem is, when you’re allowed to play with other people’s money, and you’re backed up by a monopoly on the use of force to protect you from accountability, that’s a perfect recipe for misusing your power, which is how values are forcibly redistributed (values being effort, money, property, time, benefits, etc.).

    • You are only responsible to pay property taxes if you own property.
      Further, you’re not required to pay property taxes as a condition of citizenship.
      Nor are you required to engage in the commerce of obtaining property so that you can pay property taxes.

      • You are only responsible to pay property taxes if you own property.
         
        True, but it would be hard to argue that only those who own property pays property taxes.  If you rent, your landlord pays the property tax, and the landlord most definitely works that in the rental price.
         
        Further, you’re not required to pay property taxes as a condition of citizenship.
         
        Nor is anyone required to pay any tax of any kind as a condition of citizenship.
         
        Nor are you required to engage in the commerce of obtaining property so that you can pay property taxes.
         
        Nor are you required to engage in any commerce of any kind so that you can pay any kind of tax.
         
        I fail to see where you’re going with this.
         
        Cheers.

        • Well – if you’re penalized for not having health insurance – using the voluntary penalty law (bwaaahahahahaha) in the tax provision – then you’re voluntarily penalized for failure to have health coverage.  Meaning, your mere existence within the United States or territories or areas under it’s control causes you to be liable.  You don’t have to buy, own, or produce, you just have to exist.
          “The penalty applies to any period the individual does not maintain minimum essential coverage and is determined monthly. The penalty is assessed through the Code and accounted for as an additional amount of Federal tax owed. However, it is not subject to the enforcement provisions of subtitle F of the Code. The use of liens and seizures otherwise authorized for collection of taxes does not apply to the collection of this penalty. Non-compliance with the personal responsibility requirement to have health coverage is not subject to criminal or civil penalties under the Code and interest does not accrue for failure to pay such assessments in a timely manner.
          Footnote from JCT regarding subtitle F: IRS authority to assess and collect taxes is generally provided in subtitle F, “Procedure and Administration” in the Code. That subtitle establishes the rules governing both how taxpayers are required to report information to the IRS and pay their taxes as well as their rights. It also establishes the duties and authority of the IRS to enforce the Code, including civil and criminal penalties.”

    • I agree that the claim of slavery is not very effective.  I also agree and think most reasonable people would agree that an educated and healthy population benefits everyone. 

      But that misses the point.  As far as public policy is concerned, the relevant question should be what will achieve the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.  As we can already see, doctors are limiting thenumber of medicare and medicaid patients they treat and the government is agitating towards making the acceptance of Medicare patients a mandatory pre-requisite to medical licensing for doctors.   Medicare reimbursement rates are far below market rates and many doctors will go out of business if they are forced to accept every Medicare beneficiary that walks through their door.  Blogger, Dr. Wes, has blogged about the number of physicians who are closing their private practices and becoming employees of large hospitals with clinics so that they can benefit from volume and shared overhead.  According to the CBO, Obamacare won’t even lead to universal coverage; it predicted that by 2020 there will be 23 million Americans without health insurance under Obamacare.  Furthermore, ased on empirical evidence provided by government owned health care (Britain’s NHS), federal hmo/single payer systems (Canada’s system), and relatively mixed system with basic government coverage and private insurance to add to that care (France), there is no basis for believing that more government intervention will lead to a great quantity or quality of care than we had before Obamacare.  Finally, you can’t, as Obama cluelessly promised, expand coverage, increase  preventative care and reduce costs.  While each of those may be worthwhile goals, they are antithetical to each other.  Study after study has shown that the only preventative care that reduces health care expenditures are pre-natal care and childhood immunizations.  Other than those two categories of treatment, you end up giving tests to mostly healthy people.  I have always found it laughable that liberals have said on the one hand that our system leads to unnecessary procedures (e.g. Obama’s analogy about unnecessary tonsillectomies) yet, when it is pointed out that socialist/single payer systems all ration care, they claim that we ration care too (apparently they think that market pricing is rationing).   We spend too much in their opinion but evil insurance companies ration care.  

      As far as Constitutional law is concerned, it is legitimate to ask how much power the federal government (or any state government) has.  The federal government clearly has the power to levy taxes under Article I, Section 8(1) and the power to levy a tax on income under the 16th Amendment.  But forcing someone to buy a financial instrument (i.e. an insurance policy) from someone else is unprecedented and forcing someone (a medical professional) to perform services for another (especially at a price set by the government) is unsupported by any provision of the US Constitution.  I am not aware of any state Constitution that authorizes either of these either.   In New York they have already prevented residents from eating trans fats and now they are moving on to salt.  Several suburbs of Los Angeles have banned new fast food outlets from being built. 
           
      Finally, the things that lead to an unhealthy population are separate from our healthcare system.  Health is based on chance, genetics and, to a certain extent, behavior.  If you happen to fly on a plane with someone who has a contagious chest cold, you are likely to contract it.  My mother-in-law’s best friend (who has never smoked and is thin as a rail) just found out that she has lung cancer, a disease that killed her mother 30 years ago.  My college buddy who ran 4 miles a day and was a black belt in Tae Kwan Do had triple bypass surgery when he was 38 years old.  His father has had two heart attacks and his mother died of a heart attack.  Another buddy of mine played football at Texas A&M.  He was an offensive lineman and he never slimmed down below about 240 pounds after he stopped playing and his consumption of alcohol was well above average.  He finally contracted adult onset (Type 2) diabetes at 40.  He has a family history of diabetes so his case was probably a function of both behavioral and genetic factors.   Health is based on lots of things unrelated to health care or health insurance.  I think that the health care system should be concerned with treating the sick and societal concerns about obesity, salt and trans fat intake, exercise, etc. should be outside its purview.  Other than smoking, the government has a bad track record in trying to alter people’s behavior.  It also has a bad track record of efficiently providing quality health care.

      I think the better option is to get the government out of this whole area of our lives.  Claims of slavery are missing the mark but so are claims that we will all have free, quality health care (as Michelle Obama apparently told a gahtering of mothers several weeks ago). 

      • I agree that the claim of slavery is not very effective.

        It is a factual argument, whether or not you can gain traction in convincing people who don’t use reason to sort these things out.  Maybe telling a pig that 2+2 = 4 “is not very effective”, but that’s the fault of the pig, not the equation.

        I also agree and think most reasonable people would agree that an educated and healthy population benefits everyone.

        It’s depressing how much the Ambiguous Collective Fallacy crops up in these comment sections with such regularity.  Whenever you discuss a decision, benefit, or cost, look at it from each individual’s point of view.  Whether or not some kid you never meet learns about Geometry probably will have no impact on your life and it’s nothing but collectivist hand waving or unadulterated mysticism behind anyone claiming that it always does benefit you.  It’s something else entirely to go from that premise to the idea that you should be forced, under threat of death, prison, and/or loss of your home, to pay for that education.  Considering the dismal quality of education these days, I’d say that even people who want to see children educated don’t get what they want for their money.
        An even more dubious idea is that a healthy population helps everyone.  Considering the fact that the government’s bad advice causes people to be less healthy and that the use of advanced medicine to allow people to survive horrible choices (obesity, smoking, addiction) for many more years than they would have a few decades ago, I’d say that the involvement of taxpayer funds in medicine gives people incentives to be less healthy.

        But that misses the point.  As far as public policy is concerned, the relevant question should be what will achieve the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people.

        I reject that utilitarian hogwash.  If my neighbor doesn’t have kids, he shouldn’t have to pay for my child’s education, whether or not it helps lots of people.
        Taking your argument to the extreme, it would help the most people if the disabled, elderly, indigent, and lazy were tossed into furnaces so no one would have to pay for their upkeep.  But anyone with a decent set of ethics recognizes that the rights of the individual trumps such cost-benefit calculations, whether you’re talking about mass murder or a pittance.

  • It is silly to argue the Constitutionality of anything with this government because it simply doesn’t matter what it says. That’s the point the woman was making and the point Stark acknowledged: “The Federal Government, can, yes—do almost anything in this country.”

    The Constitution is a prop and has been for a long time and in my opinion that’s what people are finally waking up to. As far as slavery goes, that’s what it is. Legalese be damned.

    Stark acts like a “Master” in this video and I have no doubt he sees himself as such.

    • Stark was the same yahoo who was mocking people in a town hall meeting for wanting to secure the border.  He was quite flip.