ObamaCare: The Latest and Greatest Bastardization of the Constitution

One of the great illusions progressives cling to is the notion that the majority of Americans do not really oppose ObamaCare.  Interspersed among the majority of Americans against ObamaCare is that minority of Americans who advocate a strict single-payer system and therefore don't think the bill goes "far enough."  Once you account for them, it's not really a majority of Americans against the bill -- just a bit of finagled data that conservatives use as political fodder.


Let's first state the obvious.  If you are for single-payer healthcare, you probably support ObamaCare.  President Obama is on record advocating single-payer, and this health care bill is the "foot in the door" to single-payer that Democrats have sought for so long.


In reality, there are three types of people who actually do support ObamaCare: those who support single-payer, those who ignorantly deny that it is an effort to institute single-payer, and those who are oblivious to the implications of single-payer altogether, but stand to benefit from its implementation.  That's it.


But the obvious popular opposition to ObamaCare is a thorn in the progressives' side.  Ever the devotees to democracy, they believe that if they can just somehow convey that the majority of the people really want ObamaCare, it somehow justifies its implementation and overrules those loud voices of dissent.


But ObamaCare is wrong not because the majority of Americans oppose it, and to think otherwise is to miss the point entirely.  It's wrong because of something much more fundamental.


The legislation is a disgusting and tyrannical seizure of liberty from private business and the American individual.  There is no other way to describe it.  It is the coerced extraction of wealth from one to be bestowed upon another.  ObamaCare is, by design, to be financed by private insurance companies, government subsidies, and more generally, the young, the healthy, and the "well-off" so that the old, the unhealthy, and the less well-off can have it so much cheaper, or in some cases, for free. 


Advocates of ObamaCare, of course, have no problem with this.  Take Alex Ruthrauf over at Wonkette, who argues that, sure, facts definitively show that there will be "roughly $621 billion" spent in the next ten years on ObamaCare, but it won't be "you, me, and the two other members of our typical family" paying for it "out of pocket."  Greedy insurance companies will.  Oh, and government subsidies will pay for a bunch, too.  And yeah, yeah, it'll be paid for by people who are young, healthy, and well-off "for now," but you've got to remember that one day they may be on the receiving end of all these great benefits that they are forced to finance today. 


Such a marvelous disconnect from reality might be charmingly naïve, if not for the fact that it represents a mindset that is so disturbingly widespread.  This bears repeating: those greedy insurance companies get their money from American individuals and families, and alas, there is no government subsidy tree sprouting billions in the White House backyard.  Chris Conover at Forbes writes:


[W]e can be pretty certain that insurance companies (especially if they are greedy!) are unlikely to be paying any tab without turning around and passing the cost along to (gasp!) American families.  Similarly, Uncle Sam has nowhere else but American families to keep replenishing the coffers.  In short, American families manifestly WILL be absorbing every single penny of the $621B in added health spending created by ObamaCare and it is intellectually disingenuous (and certainly no contribution to informed debate) to suggest otherwise.


So here are the facts: you and I, and the two other members of your typical family, will be financing a new entitlement -- health care -- for millions of Americans.  We have earned our money, which is our property, and we are being forced to surrender it, contributing to a slush fund which will finance others' welfare. 


This conclusion will raise eyebrows for some.  One might ask, "Well, what's the difference between that and Social Security?" 


Well, nothing.  Social Security's enactment was an affront to our constitutional rights as well.  FDR, being sick of the Supreme Court striking down much of his New Deal legislation, threatened to pack the Court with six judges of his choosing to ensure that his vision was fulfilled.  In fear of FDR's scheme, the Court had an apparent shift in position to uphold Social Security -- the "switch in time that saved nine."


What has always fascinated me is the difference between the majority and dissenting opinions in the rulings on Social Security, particularly Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, which ruled on the unemployment insurance component of the Social Security Act.  In this case, it was the dissenting opinion that broadly invoked the Constitution and the distribution of power, leased upward from the citizen to the state, then to the federal government.  Justice McReynolds writes:


Can it be controverted that the great mass of the business of Government -- that involved in social relations, the internal arrangements of the body politic, the mental and moral culture of men, the development of local resources of wealth, the punishment of crimes in general, the preservation of order, the relief of the needy or otherwise unfortunate members of society -- did in practice remain with the States; that none of these objects of local concern are by the Constitution expressly or impliedly prohibited to the States, and that none of them are by any express language of the Constitution transferred to the United States?  Can it be claimed that any of these functions of local administration and legislation are vested in the Federal Government by any implication?  I have never found anything in the Constitution which is susceptible of such a construction.


On the other hand, what was Justice Cardozo's majority argument for the legality of upholding the unemployment insurance mandate?  Little more than an appeal to the gods of progress.  Seriously.  The majority opinion is essentially a long diatribe about how regulatory taxes don't have to be used for explicit purposes -- that they can also be used for...well, any secondary purpose.  Furthermore, he writes that "it is now settled by decision. The conception of spending power advocated by Hamilton ... has prevailed over that of Madison."  Yes, that would be James Madison, widely known as the "Father of the Constitution," and the man most associated with its composition.  This conclusion was, of course, reached not solely based on interpretation of the Constitution, but based on more recent judicial precedent and government practices.  Cardozo goes on by saying that it is "too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of moneys of the nation is a use for any purpose [other] than a promotion of the general welfare."


Sound familiar?  Of course it does


There is little we can do about Social Security now, beyond minor reforms.  Most Americans have invested if they've ever held a job, some are vested and collecting their expected returns, still others are collecting well beyond what they ever put in, and all the while politicians continually raid the Social Security piggybank.  It's a staple of American life, however unconstitutional its genesis.


But it is because Social Security was passed, because Medicare was later implemented, because the welfare state has been ever-expanding, that progressives today think there is no harm, and that, indeed, it is their moral duty to facilitate the federal government's maintenance of the poor via wealth redistribution.  They actually believe that taking money from those who have more and giving it to those who have less is the proper role of our federal government.  This has been the role of a great many monarchs and dictators and socialist legislatures throughout history, but one thing is beyond dispute: our founders never dreamed that this would be the role of the American government.  For if the federal government has the right to tax for any purpose, what purpose does any other limitation upon the federal government's power in the Constitution have?


Yet generations of progressives have bastardized the Constitution to suit their own ideological agenda, and as such, many Americans have forgotten the very core principles upon which our nation was founded.


What we are seeing today is a late reaction to a century in which progressives thoroughly corrupted our purest ideals of individualism and liberty and transformed government's role -- without amending the Constitution to allow the government to usurp the power it seized.  This power was stolen from the States by executive intimidation, judicial activism, and a blind devotion to wrongful "precedent."  Is it really possible that Barack Obama and Harry Reid are surprised by the vehement opposition to this latest, and perhaps greatest, government-instituted subversion of our liberty? 


Conservatives and libertarians, like our founders, reject the notion that we are subjects of a centralized government.  We are rising up in resentment, and not simply because we know that we are in the majority.  We are rising up in resentment against a central government which disregards our foundational contract.  We are demanding that health care decisions be left to individuals and the states, because the federal government has absolutely no constitutional right to demand that all Americans adhere to the uniform health care regulations and redistributive measures set by the edicts of an obviously corrupt central government in Washington. 


William Sullivan blogs at http://politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com and can be followed on Twitter.  


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