Free Markets, Free People
U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh has ruled that the individual mandate to purchase health insurance is a constitutional exercise of Congress’ power under the commerce clause.
The plaintiffs have not opted out of the health care services market because, as living, breathing beings, who do not oppose medical services on religious grounds, they cannot opt out of this market…
As inseparable and integral members of the health care services market, plaintiffs have made a choice regarding the method of payment for the services they expect to receive. The government makes the apropos analogy of paying by credit card rather than by check. How participants in the health care services market pay for such services has a documented impact on interstate commerce…
Obviously, this market reality forms the rational basis for Congressional action designed to reduce the number of uninsureds.
The Supreme Court has consistently rejected claims that individuals who choose not to engage in commerce thereby place themselves beyond the reach of the Commerce Clause. See, e.g., Raich, 545 U.S. at 30 (rejecting the argument that plaintiffs’ home-grown marijuana was “entirely separated from the market”); Wickard, 317 U.S. at 127, 128 (home-grown wheat “competes with wheat in commerce” and “may forestall resort to the market”); Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) (Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate decisions not to engage in transactions with persons with whom plaintiff did not wish to deal).
The logical extensions of this ruling, if it were to stand, are obvious. For instance, since everyone inevitably dies, Congress can require you to purchase life insurance, or a pre-paid funeral services. Similarly, we all eat, wear clothes, etc.
Essentially, this decision gives power the Congress to regulate practically any area of human necessity.
Here’s something I’ve been re-reading a lot, lately:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
I’m sure today we’ll see a certain amount of crowing from the left. Such is life. You ram an unpopular bill through by trickery, lies, bribes and BS and I’m sure for some it’s a reason for celebration. Principles, ethics and decorum never were big on that side of the spectrum. However, “by any means necessary” is. Unfortunately, like most major legislation, those who put us in this hole will likely not be around to shovel in the dirt when the fiscal lies bury us.
Today the right -and independents who don’t support this travesty- learn that elections do indeed have consequences. In November, one hopes, the Democrats learn bad legislation that opposes the will of the majority of Americans has consequences as well.
There’s more too it than that, though. I think Megan McArdle best sums up my thoughts on what has transpired in the last months and weeks, culminating in last night’s vote:
One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi’s skill as a legislator. But it’s also pretty worrying. Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority? Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn’t want this bill. And that mattered basically not at all. If you don’t find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances. Farewell, social security! Au revoir, Medicare! The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected. If they didn’t–if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission–then the legislative lock-in you’re counting on wouldn’t exist.
Oh, wait–suddenly it doesn’t seem quite fair that Republicans could just ignore the will of their constituents that way, does it? Yet I guarantee you that there are a lot of GOP members out there tonight who think that they should get at least one free “Screw You” vote to balance out what the Democrats just did.
If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don’t complain that it’s not fair. Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard.
But I hope they don’t. What I hope is that the Democrats take a beating at the ballot box and rethink their contempt for those mouth-breathing illiterates in the electorate. I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care. Not because I think I will like his opponent–I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama’s opponent says. But because politicians shouldn’t feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them.
Please do everyone a favor, Democrats, and avoid talking about “polarization” and the “poisonous political atmosphere”. You created them (and if you didn’t you’ve taken them to a new and higher level) and any attempt on your part to shift the blame on others will be seen for exactly what it is – projection. Remember, it wasn’t the right calling those who earnestly turned out to oppose this monstrosity “fascists”, “brownshirts” and “astroturf”.
And please avoid whining about “bi-partisanship” and “transparency” as well. There was no attempt or desire to make this bi-partisan. The opposition was excluded from the beginning and then you acted surprised when they wouldn’t support this awful legislation. The process was about as opaque as one could make it. Backroom deals, political theater, bribes and legislation no one could read until it was up for a vote.
Yes, Democrats have set an new low for a standard in Congress – and that’s a pretty tough thing to do. Like McArdle, I hope they pay for it this November and November of ’12 and I intend to work toward that. My job? Keep reminding the electorate of what happened here. Keep the fire stoked and burning. Keep the anger bubbling. Keep reminding them that they were lied to and ignored. Keep pointing out that this bill wasn’t about how much the Democrats thought of the American people but instead how much they hold them in contempt. This was strictly about power, party and politics.
So celebrate on the left. Please. Do. I’d like to say you “earned” it, but I find unprincipled and deceitful grabs for power to be something less than that. It’s a gut feeling but I think you’ll pay heavily in November (I say you lose the House and retain a slim majority in the Senate sans Reid). At that point, you are barred from whining about minority rights, House or Senate rules, reconciliation and transparency. You’ve decided on a new set of rules and we’ll see how well you can live with them, won’t we?
And, since few will consider keeping their kids on their insurance until they’re 27 much of a benefit (and that’s about all that kicks in on this bill besides the taxes), my guess the fight for repeal will be popular, will most likely consume the next 2 years and will cost Obama his presidency in ’12.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer one term president. I’m sure his concession speech, barring a breakdown of TOTUS, will be a doozy.
In the meantime, let the law suits begin.
What we’re on the verge of, at the moment, isn’t yet clear, but after today, this health care reform bill will either be law or be dead.
Unfortunately my sneaking suspicion is it will be law and we’ll all be the less free because of that. The rumor of a Stupak deal (via Executive Order no less – can’t wait to hear how that will actually work) has me to the point of figuring the deal is done.
Debate is now underway on the floor – not that it is really debate (it is more like an announcement of positions) nor will it change any minds.
There have been a number of pronouncements made concerning this bill. One of my favorites is “it will fundamentally change the relationship between the people and the government”.
No it won’t. There’s nothing fundamental about the change this bill will bring. It simply expands on the fundamental change that was introduced in the progressive era, was further expanded under the New Deal and has yet to be successfully rolled back.
Given the nonsense about helping reduce the deficit when it is clear that it will add to it dramatically, the one thing it may do is hasten the demise of the welfare state that’s been cobbled together here, but even that’s still a way off.
What it is doing and has done is awaken at least a portion of the population to what has been happening much more slowly and incrementally over the past decades. And because of what is being taken over, something which is a very personal and important part of people’s lives, it will most likely keep the attention of a good portion of them. That’s especially true as the law of unintended consequences begin to take hold and those doctors people like aren’t available anymore (or retire) and that plan they love isn’t available because their employer cut back to avoid the tax or dumped them into another health care plan altogether.
I keep seeing the claim that Democrats are looking at the long game on this one and are willing to sacrifice short term to bring the largest entitlement in most of our lifetimes to fruition. I don’t believe that for a second. There’s a much easier and majority preserving way of passing health care reform. So you have to believe that this isn’t all about health care or reform. The bill in front of Congress is a pretty radical bill which is not at all liked by many of the rank and file Democrats. No, this is a process and a bill being driven by the Democratic leadership – a leadership as radical and as leftist as any we’ve had in 80 years. This is phase III of an agenda begun in the progressive Wilson administration, expanded in the Roosevelt and Johnson eras and now again gaining legs, even limited ones, in the Obama administration.
Incremental collectivism designed to concentrate more and more power in central government.
The change isn’t fundamental at all, but the effect is cumulative and the only question is whether or not we’ll reach the stage where it collapses under its own weight before they successfully take over everything.
That’s what the Democrats think about the voters of Massachusett(e)s who voted for Scott Brown and against HCR. And that’s why, per their brain trust, they’re going the reconciliation route. Screw-the-proles politics at its finest (via HotAir):
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells National Review Online that House Democrats are planning to use of the budget-reconciliation process in order to pass Obamacare. “They’re meeting with each other this weekend to pursue it,” says Ryan. “I’ve spoken with many Democrats and the message is this: They’re not ready to give up. They’ve waited their entire adult lives for this moment and they aren’t ready to let 100,000 pesky votes in Massachusetts get in the way of fulfilling their destiny. They’ll look at every option and spend the next four or five days figuring it out.”
If the Democrats pass a health-care bill through reconciliation, it means they would need only 51 votes in the Senate for final passage. To start the process, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) would need to bring a new health-care bill to the House budget committee with reconciliation instructions, with the Senate doing the same. “They’d have to go back to the beginning of the process,” says Ryan. “They’d need to affix reconciliation instructions to a new bill.” Doing so, he says, wouldn’t be too hard. “There’s nothing we can do to stop this from a technical standpoint, since all they need is a simple majority vote and our ratio on the committee is terrible. What we can do in the budget committee is pass resolutions for the Rules committee to insist on certain changes in the bill and create a ‘vote-a-rama’ atmosphere.”
Got that? Your votes don’t matter. Your voice has not been heard. You are merely an impediment to Democrats bound for history, who have no interest in what you want. Say it with me: they only care about what they want you to want.
Just remember: this ain’t over, it’s just the beginning.