Liberals Seek Power For Government To Dictate Every Decision Of Our Lives – And They’ve Almost Got It

From Reason Magazine:

Looking for Limits
The power to mandate health insurance is the power to mandate almost anything.
Jacob Sullum | August 17, 2011

Opponents of the federal law requiring Americans to buy government-approved medical coverage face a daunting challenge. Because the U.S. Supreme Court has treatedthe power to “regulate commerce…among the several states” like Silly Putty since the New Deal, explaining why it cannot be stretched to cover the health insurance mandate is harder than you might think.

But as last Friday’s decisionby the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit illustrated, the law’s defenders have a corresponding problem. Because a limitless Commerce Clause contradicts a fundamental constitutional principle, they have to justify the mandate in a way that does not also justify every other conceivable congressional dictate regarding how we spend our money. So far they have been unable to do so, which is the main reason the appeals court rejectedthis “wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of Congressional authority.”

Under our system of government, the 11th Circuit noted, Congress has only those powers that are explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, with the rest “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people” (as the 10th Amendment puts it). An all-encompassing Commerce Clause that authorizes any mandate, restriction, or prohibition aimed at behavior that might affect interstate commerce (subject to specific limits such as those imposed by the Bill of Rights) is plainly inconsistent with this federal system.

The Obama administration therefore needs to explain why its constitutional rationale for the health insurance mandate—that the failure to obtain medical coverage, in the aggregate, has a “substantial effect” on interstate commerce—does not amount to such an open-ended license. Toward that end, it argues that health care is unique because it is expensive, everyone needs it at some point yet cannot confidently predict when, and federal law requires hospitals to treat people regardless of their ability to pay, which shifts costs to others.

As the 11th Circuit noted, however, “virtually all forms of insurance entail decisions about timing and planning for unpredictable events with high associated costs.” Based on the administration’s criteria, “there is no reason why Congress could not similarly compel Americans to insure against any number of unforeseeable but serious risks,” including natural disasters, accidental death, theft, business interruption, disability, long-term nursing care, and burial costs.

More important, the distinguishing characteristics cited by the government have no basis in the Constitution or in the Supreme Court’s Commerce Clause precedents. “They are not limiting principles,” the appeals court said. “Rather, they are ad hoc factors that—fortuitously—happen to apply to the health insurance and health care industries.”

These factors may help explain why Congress wants to make people buy health insurance, but they do not explain why it has the authority to do so. And if the Supreme Court ultimately upholds the unprecedented policy of mandating purchases in the name of regulating interstate commerce, future Congresses could decide there are sound reasons to make people buy other forms of insurance (to prevent cost shifting), exercise equipment (to reduce health care costs), double-pane windows (to conserve energy), or American cars (to stimulate the economy and support domestic manufacturers).

“Every day,” the 11th Circuit observed, “Americans decide what products to buy, where to invest or save, and how to pay for future contingencies such as their retirement, their children’s education, and their health care. The government contends that embedded in the Commerce Clause is the power to override these ordinary decisions and redirect those funds to other purposes.”

Given the potential for wide-ranging controls over heretofore private decisions, you can see why this debate is not simply about arcane legal doctrines or arbitrary distinctions between state and federal powers. “While these structural limitations are often discussed in terms of federalism,” the appeals court noted, “their ultimate goal is the protection of individual liberty.”

By increasing the federal government’s role in medicine, President Obama’s health care reforms directly limit freedom. But the legal arguments he is using to defend them may turn out to be a much bigger threat.

After all the Democrats’ constant attacks on the Bush “power-grabs” over such areas as civil liberties and personal freedoms, the very few liberals that actually have at least some consistency and integrity are pointing out that Obama is actually WORSE than Obama.

A Daily Kos piece begins thus:

On July 2nd, I attended a session given by Glenn Greenwald at the Socialism 2011 conference in Chicago.   He began the speech by discussing the fact that even a year ago if he had attempted to give a speech observing that Obama has not only continued but in some cases enhanced the Bush/Cheney attacks on civil liberties he would have had to spend all of his time attempting to convince his audience that this was true. 
People just instinctively found it repellent—the idea that this wonderfully, sophisticated, educated, progressive, constitutional lawyer, who ran on a platform of denouncing these policies and vowing to unroot them and reverse them, would actually be continuing and in many cases actually worsening them. It was just something that despite the abundance of evidence proving it was true was something that people intuitively reacted to in a negative way. You had to spend a great deal of time persuading them that it was actually the case by assembling all the evidence to prove it.

Democrats have viewed the Constitution as un unpleasant nuisance that needs to be ignored.

Lest we ever forget, “it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people,” according to Democrats.  But have no fear, those of you who want nothing more than to wear the yoke of big government around your necks, we’ve almost got that complete dictatorial control over us now.

Obama just suspended the deportation of 300,000 illegal immigrants who were already in the system and ready to go.  Before taking this incredible – and completely politically motivated – move, Obama actually said that what he would ultimately do was both unconstitutional and undemocratic:

“The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you, not just on immigration reform. But that’s not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

That he would say he was tempted to do something that violates the American system of government, that fundamentally violates a democracy and that treats the U.S. Constitution with disregard is bad enough; to actually do it is treason.

In the situation of oil drilling, even a liberal a judge whom Obama had appointed himself recently ruled that the administration lied, broke the law and violated the rights of drilling companies as Obama labored to destroy 20,000 Louisiana jobs.

Obama doesn’t care about the Constitution. ObamaCare was declared unconstitutional, and it will be up to the Supreme Court to rescue the American people from him and from his tyranny. The Appeals Court just said in its opinion:

“What Congress cannot do under the Commerce Clause is mandate that individuals enter into contracts with private insurance companies for the purchase of an expensive product from the time they are born until the time they die.”

But hey, at least überconservatives are soon going to be able to use this same power to mandate that every single American purchase a Bible, go to a Christian church, tithe to that church and put homosexuals into re-education camps (you know, after psychological counseling becomes part of ObamaCare). After all, the Commerce Clause let’s you do anything these days, doesn’t it?

Here’s the last inch of the slippery slope described:

Over the years the courts have gutted constitutional doctrines intended to limit state power and justified almost any government action unless barred by the Bill of Rights. Indeed, the Commerce Clause, which authorizes federal regulation of commerce “among the several states,” has been interpreted to largely swallow up Article 1, Section 8, which enumerates Congress’s authority. The ocean became one of government power, with but a few islands of personal freedom.

However, Obamacare went further than any previous federal intrusion. In the name of regulating commerce, the law ordered people who had not entered any market to purchase a private product. If upheld, the measure would establish the principle that Americans could be forced to buy American cars to bail out the auto industry, Lehman securities to save Wall Street, and homes to revive the housing market. Whether or not the insurance mandate is good policy — and there are lots of reasons to argue that it is not — it effectively dismantles any meaningful limits on the national government.

… Indeed, District Court Judge Gladys Kessler stated in her opinion that the government could regulate “mental activity” — under a constitutional provision involving “commerce.”

And what’s good for the überliberal goose is good for the ultra-conservative gander.

Justice Antonin Scalia tried to warn ACLU president Nadine Strossen of that fact when he said:

“Someday, Nadine, you’re going to get a very conservative Supreme Court … And you’re going to regret what you’ve done.”

Barack Obama has declared open warfare on the Constitution, upon democracy and upon the American way – as he himself admitted.  If he is allowed to win now, conservatives will have no other choice but to retaliate in this total war he started by fighting back on Obama’s own terms.

What Obama is doing right now – and what he’s trying to do – should frighten everyone.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: