Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 6:28 am

Since when did it become “unconservative” to support the idea that a political party - even in the minority - cannot fight to make legislation proposed by the majority better?

The Baucus bill hasn’t a chance of surviving a conference committee between the House and Senate. But it might have if the GOP worked to improve it rather than be terrified of their wild eyed base who sees any cooperation with the Democrats in trying to govern the country as tantamount to a betrayal of conservative principles.

Forget health care reform for a moment and concentrate on the idea that by totally eschewing comity and cooperation, the GOP has absolutely no input into legislation that is changing the country. None. Zero. Zilch. In the hyper partisan atmosphere that currently surrounds Congress, it very well may be that the Democrats wouldn’t meet the GOP halfway and incorporate some of their ideas into important legislation. Then again, they just might. Yes, it would be doing them a favor to give them political cover but it would also be doing the country a bigger favor by making any such legislation better, more attuned to conservative principles of governance.

Yes, Disraeli’s advice is very pertinent; “No Government can be long secure without a formidable opposition.” But how formidable is the GOP in Congress if they have absolutely no say in legislation like health care, or any other vital bill that has come down the pike in the last 8 months? Such a party is weak, and without a voice. And we wonder why absolutely no one takes the GOP seriously on the the Hill? We wonder why our own health care proposal is ignored by both Democrats and the media?

Spencer Churchill’s admonition, “The duty of an opposition is to oppose…” doesn’t mean that legislators should abandon their responsibility to help govern the country. That is, unless you believe that our representatives are there for the sole purpose of acquiring political power so that once the Democrats are replaced, we can ignore them as they have ignored us. Is this kind of childish game what the country needs?

I am not insensate. I fully realize that working with Democrats doesn’t always mean that the interests of conservatives are completely served. But that is the essence of compromise - something that one conservative icon knew better than anyone.

Ronald Reagan never had a majority like Barack Obama has in Congress. But he got more done in his first 9 months than Obama will probably get done in 4 years. Reagan also faced an economic crisis of historical proportions. He didn’t brag about the “opportunity” such crisis presented to change America. He simply went out and revolutionized the tax code, cut spending, and began to build our defenses back up after a decade of decline.

And he did it with the help of Democrats - and not just the “Boll Weevils” who agreed with him. Speaker Tip O’Neil, to his eternal credit, could have obstructed Reagan’s agenda with little trouble. But O’Neil - an old fashioned, back of the yards Democrat - actually believed that his Democratic party was a partner in governing the United States. Input from many Democrats into legislation made some of it better, some worse, but the point is, the Democrats were responsible enough (barely enough) in opposition to bring about successes for the Gipper’s agenda.

It is a different time today, a whole different atmosphere. The parties are not only more polarized but are nearly monochromatic ideologically. A partisan media makes politics a zero sum game where one side’s plus is the other side’s minus. The rabid base of both parties spits and tosses feces at one another, and woe betide the luckless Congressman or Senator who gets in the middle of it and tries to work with the opposition.

All of this works against the idea that the opposition should cooperate on some issues, and oppose on others. The entire notion of governance loses meaning as the party in power simply steamrolls legislation using their status as the majority. The GOP did the same thing when they were in power as the Democrats are doing today, with Bush delivering the same kind of lip service to bi-partisanship as Obama.

I ask quite sincerely, where has it gotten us? I can be as partisan as the next fellow but really, isn’t there a time when partisanship should be set aside for the common good? Obama’s health care plans are atrocious. But could they be made palatable with a lot of input from the GOP?

Realistically, no, although Ezra Klein thinks otherwise:

To make this more concrete, consider a guy like Utah’s Bob Bennett. As the lead co-sponsor of Wyden-Bennett, he’s clearly interested in health-care reform, and willing to take risks to achieve it. But despite his best efforts, Wyden-Bennett is not a viable proposal. But he has shown no interesting in bettering, or even involving himself, with Baucus’s legislation.

But why? I’ve read Wyden-Bennett. It is, undoubtedly, a better bill. But its advantage comes because of its radicalism, and its radicalism has denied it support. Baucus’s bill, however, doesn’t include much that should be appalling in principle to a supporter of Wyden-Bennett. In a way, it’s an incremental step towards Wyden-Bennett. Like Wyden-Bennett, it creates insurance exchanges. Unlike Wyden-Bennett, it does not make them the main option. But they could certainly grow, which is, in theory, better than them not existing at all. Like Wyden-Bennett, it relies on an individual mandate, and insurance market reforms, and subsidies, and it eschews a public option. Like Wyden-Bennett, it changes the tax treatment of health-care insurance so that more expensive plans cease being subsidized.

There are certainly elements of the bill that Bennett dislikes, and elements of the bill he’d like to change. But as a potential Republican vote, he’d actually have a real shot at changing them. Wyden has been fighting a lonely battle to include the Free Choice amendment in the bill, which would make the legislation a lot closer to Wyden-Bennett. It looks like he’s going to lose that battle, but if he’d been able to leverage Bennett’s vote, he might well have won it.

It’s not just Bennett, though. No Republican save Olympia Snowe has actually come forward with a concrete set of proposals that could permit them to sign onto the final legislation. Which is a shame, as there are actually places where conservative ideas and Republican cover could have bettered the bill.

In this case, if most Republicans could be convinced that the bulk of what’s in the Baucus bill would end up in the final package, Klein may have seen a few Republicans actually take him up on his challenge to better the bill. With a few alterations, I myself may have ended up supporting the Finance Committee bill - if I believed there was a ghost of a chance that the liberals in the House wouldn’t fight like hell to make sure that whatever comes back to the Senate for a final vote doesn’t look anything like what the Finance Committee is reporting out.

These are the wages of excessive ideology and excessive partisanship; a horrible bill that will screw up our health insurance, our health care, eventually bankrupt us, while moving the nation to a single payer system.

Could it have been avoided? In another time, perhaps; another era. But not now. And certainly not with this crew of Democrats and Republicans who play childish “tit for tat” games, call each other schoolyard names, and go on TV to scream at one another at how destructive their tactics are.

As long as Republicans are in the minority and accept their role as being only obstructionists, giving no thought to becoming a “formidable opposition” by placing their mark on important legislation so that when they do stand up and oppose something, they are taken seriously, the Democrats will have their way with them. It may not be possible for this kind of change to come about - which means that when the GOP rides back into power, the same tactics they are visiting on the Democrats will be turned around and employed against them.

Meanwhile, no matter who is in power, the country is ill-served.

You may think it slightly (or incredibly) ridiculous to make this argument. But somebody has to make it because I can’t believe that deep down, anyone who reads this doesn’t know that I’m right. The fact that it isn’t possible at the moment for two parties - majority and opposition - to work together to better the United States doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be argued. For if you really believe that the current situation is the correct manner that the majority/minority should govern, then God help our country because neither party will.


  1. We’ve argued about hte Patient’s Choice Bill before — its not the Dems and the MSM that are disrespecting it, but the Republicans as well.

    CAN the Minority impact the steering of the ship? Somewhat, yes. SHOULD they try? Of Course! WILL they? Well, clearly not so far.

    How effective could Repubs be? I see it like this: The Democratic Party has a Filibuster-proof, Damn-Near-Massive-Enough-To-Amend-The-Constitution, popular Majority in the House, the Senate, and runs the White House. They STILL can’t get legislation passed or job nominees approved.

    Repubs could pretty much just backseat drive, and probably whatever you wanted would for the most part happen. The Republican Party may currently be acting like bullies, but the Democrats are currently acting like wimps. Should the bully take the wimp’s lunch money? No, that’s not fair. Is it going to happen? Probably, yes. Bullies usually beat up wimps. That’s almost a physical law.

    I think you hit on why when you talked about Reagan. O’Neill may have been a constructive voice at the time, but when people (the public) look back they don’t think of Tip — they think of The Gipper. Carrying that analogy to today, you can’t allow future publics to look back at good things during Obama’s Administration. You can’t let him be The Gipper. Pointing out “well, actually the Republican Minority assisted in fruitful ways . . .” isn’t going to be worth a plugged nickel. It may be cold, but its coldly practical.

    SHOULD Republicans be thinking about this from such a Machiavellian perspective? Well, that depends on what the goal is. Playing the game? It may be morally inhibited but it does work. Being morally “good”, what ever that means — Mom and Pop, Apple Pie, Family Dinner, etc. Well, no. Being manipulative sons-a-bitches is usually not considered “nice” or “good”. Effective, yes . . . but not “nice”.

    As you said, anybody that reads your post will have to concede at least implicity that there is no “good” for America in just being “Teh PartI Of No”. That’s Civics 101 mixed with Common Sense For Dummies. That ain’t rocket science (no disrespect to your abilities to be that shining becon of unique thought that you are). But it seems to be embraced, even reveled in.

    Maybe the base would rather have an Alamo moment rather than negotiate for the safe passege of women and children.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/10/2009 @ 7:42 am

  2. “Since when did it become “unconservative” to support the idea that a political party - even in the minority - cannot fight to make legislation proposed by the majority better?”

    If you had just spotted an iceberg you would think that advising Captain Edward Smith about how much wax to put on the shuffleboard court was a waste of time.

    Comment by Person of Choler — 10/10/2009 @ 8:58 am

  3. President Obama has given the Republican eight months to come up with an answer besides no. Or shouting “you lie” at him.

    In fact the president is in trouble with people in his own party because we have believed for months the only thing the GOP wants to do is delay and reject any proposal the president makes on any subject. Their goal is to ensure that no Democrat can run in 2010 be able to point to health care as an achievement.


    Obama’s outreach was sincere and more than patient, to the point of hurting his own agenda. I think the White House has finally wised up and will move forward without waiting for votes from the “death panel” Republicans that will never come no matter what he does.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 10/10/2009 @ 11:51 am

  4. The Baucus bill hasn’t a chance of surviving a conference committee between the House and Senate. But it might have if the GOP worked to improve it rather than be terrified of their wild eyed base who sees any cooperation with the Democrats in trying to govern the country as tantamount to a betrayal of conservative principles.

    The fact of the matter is, that under these conditions any bill that becomes law is going to be a direct betrayal of the ideals of minimalist government. On that basis, who was going to take them seriously when they start preaching that ideal? Nobody, and rightly so.

    Comment by Eric Florack — 10/10/2009 @ 11:57 am

  5. [...] afraid I have to take a chunk out of the backside of Rick Moran: The Baucus bill hasn’t a chance of surviving a conference committee between the House and [...]

    Pingback by Cooperation with who, again? | BitsBlog — 10/10/2009 @ 12:42 pm

  6. After trying the loyal opposition approach for a few bills, it became quite clear to the GOP that, to the Dems, bipartisanship meant going along with them, and not changing anything. The Dems continued to plead for bipartisanship as a cover while ensuring that virtually no contributions from the GOP were included, and every amendment offered by the GOP was voted down. Such is the tyranny of supermajorities.

    Comment by mannning — 10/10/2009 @ 2:46 pm

  7. While growing up in a Irish-Catholic family my father worked every Democrat caucus, as a volunteer for Democrat presidential candidates, and even served as a delegate to the state convention. When old enough to vote there was not even a thought of registering as a Republican. Thirty years after that first voter registration I cannot believe how I could have been a Democrat. You use Tip O’Neil’s party to make the case for Republicans cooperating with the party of Obama and Pelosi, these two institutions are the same in name only. Men like Tip O’Neil have no place in the Democrat party of today. They are either marginalized in semi-opposition (Blue Dogs) or are no longer members of the Democrat party ( my Father). The party you want to cooperate with has not existed for 10 or 15 years.

    Comment by dmirishman — 10/10/2009 @ 3:42 pm

  8. I fail to see any reason to “cooperate” with the Democrats on this bill. The whole premise of it should be anethema to conservatives. The federal government will be dictating 100% of the rules to all private insurers, with or without a “public option”. Insurers will be told they must insure anyone in any condition at any time an individual decides to get coverage. Great business model for an insurer…Hey folks, don’t buy any insurance until you discover that you get cancer. Don’t buy insurance until you break your leg. Once your treatment is over…cancel your insurance. Brilliant concept.

    I know, I know, everyone in the nation will be required to purchase insurance. Well, that totally eliminates liberty. I fail to see an Article 1 Section 8 authorization for Congress to mandate this on the masses. If the basic premise of the bill goes against liberty and the Constitution, why support it in the slightest?

    Anyway, all Republican suggestions have been shut down or would be doomed to rejection. I don’t see the Democrats putting in any meaningful tort reform or using their true Constitutional powers to open interstate commerce for insurers. You know, actual measures that might really lead to lower costs. Those types of things are DOA.

    This is a pure takeover by the socialists in Congress. Period. Any amount of lipstick put on that pig, still makes it a pig. All conservatives should soundly reject the proposed bills in Congress. It matters not how “civil” or “bipartisan” conservatives try to be. No amount of “making the bill better” will truly “make the bill better.”

    Comment by John Galt — 10/10/2009 @ 7:52 pm

  9. @EricFlorak:

    “The fact of the matter is, that under these conditions any bill that becomes law is going to be a direct betrayal of the ideals of minimalist government.”

    What are the conditions? Given the way I was reading the thread that sounds like “as long as Republicans are a minority”, and that doesn’t make any sense.

    Is the condition that a “new” government agency will be established and/or an existing agency gets expanded? If that’s the case it at least makes literal sense (a government getting bigger is pretty much the definition of “not minimalist government”) but you can’t simply refuse to ever add another government employee regardless of the issue. “Minimalist government” is a height to which we aspire, not a floor beneath we cannot fall. You can’t fairly say “The government of NASA, the NSA, Nuclear Regulatory agencies, the FAA, all these good things that were expansions of government . . . they’re all cool. ANYTHING ELSE from this moment forward, however, is an abomination upon your soul.” That’s a bit arbitrary, isn’t it?


    As I said above . . . Democrats are a disgrace to the name. Maybe I was just young and stupid and actually believed that the government were our sharpest and best, and despite the different philosophoical outlooks everybody put the welfare of the Nation first and foremost, just like it said in my textbooks.

    Those Democrats may be gone (if theyt ever existed in the first place), but a the same time their counterpoints, the GOP, are now as extinct as the Dodo. There are still Republicans . . . but the old-school Reds would beat the current GOP to within an inch of its life if they could. As far as I’m concerned, these names are now meaningless except in History class. I call them Clueless and Crazy (guess which is which), but “Democratic” and “Republican” just mean something different to me than to a 20-year old, I guess.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/10/2009 @ 8:50 pm

  10. I think you speak of something that doesn’t really exist. The Republicans in the Sentate HAVE tried to make the bill better by proposing amendments and by trying to work with Baucus to better the bill, but the Liberals are stopping them. I personally think that the individual mandate for health care is a poison pill that Republicans should oppose at all costs.

    On another note, if voters (who reject the Health Care reforms by a fairly large margin) see Republicans as being complicit in passing this bad legislation, how will voters differentiate them from the Democrats in 2010?

    What is better in this case? Helping to pass a more palitable, less bad bill but still a bad bill nonetheless, or to work to try to pass no bill at all? In this particular case, I think no bill is better all around. There’s still a chance that health care will not happen because of Democrat infighting, and that would frankly be the best bet for the nation.

    On the practical side, the Republicans simply don’t have any room to negotiate. Their margins are so small, that they don’t have any bargaining power.

    Comment by Sal — 10/11/2009 @ 7:38 am

  11. Can’t the government just GTF out of our lives already?

    Does contributing to a bad idea make it a not-do-bad idea?

    Republicans have the correct strategy: Give them enough rope to hang themselves.

    Comment by CZ — 10/11/2009 @ 8:00 am

  12. I have to agree with manning on this. For a democrat, “bipartisanship” means they get what they want.

    The only reason they even care about republican support is as “cover” for their members from conservative districts.

    Comment by mark — 10/11/2009 @ 10:45 am

  13. And for Republicans governing means “no”. Except for handing out tax breaks to the rich.

    Can’t the government just GTF out of our lives already?

    Give me back my share of DARPA (the internet), NASA (microelectronics), the Tennesse Valley Authority (cheap electricity), the Interstate System (access to everywhere), University & College System (Pell Grants, cheap student loans, bio-medical research), the CDC (pandemic protection), the FDA (non-poisonous meat & vegetables, medicines that work), OSHA (workplaces that don’t kill you), FDIC (baking protection) and promise not to ask for a dime after the next earthquake/flood/tornado/hurricane/epidemic and you can go govern yourself.

    Comment by Richard bottoms — 10/11/2009 @ 11:43 am

  14. What are the conditions? Given the way I was reading the thread that sounds like “as long as Republicans are a minority”, and that doesn’t make any sense.

    “these conditions” includes a tota;l lack of cooperation form the Democrats… which is invariably an issue the last 40 years or so. As Sal suggests…

    … the Republicans simply don’t have any room to negotiate. Their margins are so small, that they don’t have any bargaining power

    Of course they wouldn’t even if the margin were much smaller. The issue isn’t really the number of Republicans and Democrats but the number of liberals vs real conservatives.

    Is the condition that a “new” government agency will be established and/or an existing agency gets expanded? If that’s the case it at least makes literal sense (a government getting bigger is pretty much the definition of “not minimalist government”) but you can’t simply refuse to ever add another government employee regardless of the issue. “Minimalist government” is a height to which we aspire, not a floor beneath we cannot fall. You can’t fairly say “The government of NASA, the NSA, Nuclear Regulatory agencies, the FAA, all these good things that were expansions of government . . . they’re all cool. ANYTHING ELSE from this moment forward, however, is an abomination upon your soul.” That’s a bit arbitrary, isn’t it?

    Straw man arguments, now?

    Comment by Eric Florack — 10/11/2009 @ 11:52 am

  15. absolutely that example was a straw man — I was pretty sure you wern’t saying that, that’s why I asked.

    But I have toadmit I’m even more confused now. What do “minimalist government” and “Republicans can’t get co-operation for Democrats” have to do with each other?

    You tell me you see Democrats refusing to budge an inch, and apparently its something you’ve seen for the last 4 decades. I don’t, but fine. I think this particular issue is a “Red Sox vs. Yankees” debate — you’ll give examples of Dems fighting Repubs, I’ll give examples of Repubs fighting Dems, and we’ll both blame the other side for any problems percieved in “our” side.

    So lets set “who’s at fault” to the side, and for the moment assume that 100% of all obstructonism is entirely the Democrats fault, and the Republicans are blameless. What you are implying is that if the Dems just went along with Repubs we’d get “minimalist government . . . and that’s demonstrably not true.

    Don’t have to go too far back to prove this. Reds had all the power 00-06. Did the government expand or contract? SCHIP, the PATRIOT Act, a Border fence . . . those wern’t Dem initiatives. That’s not “minimalist government” in action.

    You are rooting for the mythical “small government and fiscal restraint” Republicans. Those don’t actually exist in reality. The Democrats are irrevelant to that point.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/11/2009 @ 2:42 pm

  16. So lets set “who’s at fault” to the side, and for the moment assume that 100% of all obstructonism is entirely the Democrats fault, and the Republicans are blameless. What you are implying is that if the Dems just went along with Repubs we’d get “minimalist government . . . and that’s demonstrably not true.

    Not what I said at all. RINOS are also an issue, of course. Consider; Republicans are far less unified in their objections to big government than Democrats are in their objection to the lack of it.

    Comment by Eric Florack — 10/11/2009 @ 4:25 pm

  17. You’re losing me again.

    What are the conditions that make voting for healthcare reform a betrayal of minimalist government? The bill itself?

    You said the conditions were a lack of cooperation from the Democrats — I read that as the Democrats not doing what the Republicans wanted. Now we’re adding in RINOS (or the “not-Red-enuff” label) to the problem. Again, it sounds like the problem is that the Reds don’t get to do what they want.

    As I said before, I don’t know what this has to minimalist government, since that IS NOT what the Reds want. I’m naot saying it as a moral condemnation — they just have demonstrated they aren’t too driven on shrinking the government or making it minimalist.
    Should they? Fine. But they don’t, so I don’t see how the failure to achieve minimalist government rests anywhere other than with the Reds. Its got nothing to do with the current debate about healthcare — they fail in this matter about all topics related to government. They’re not minimalist. If you judge them by the yardstick of “is vote ‘X’ pro-minimalist government or not?”, then

    Maybe I’m using a different definition of “minimalist government” than you are. My “straw man” example before was an inelegant fear of what using this as the only justification for action is. If you voted against something because it expanded government and wasn’t absolutely necessary (that’s my definition of “minimalist government”), then you’d vote against pretty much everything. The healthcare debate -just- on the issue of “minimalist governent” is certainly no different than voting for the PATRIOT Act, Defense budgets, Internet Porn legislation . . . honestly, anything. If “minimalist government” is your only standard, what DO you vote for?

    Like I said, that’s my definition of “minimalist government”, and because of that I’m just confused now. If I’m reading that phrase incorrectly, put me back on track. You’re making a point, one that sound like it has validity . . . but I’m just not understanding exactly what it is.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/11/2009 @ 8:32 pm

  18. “Can’t the government just GTF out of our lives already?”

    NO. For the simple reason that most people in DC do NOT have that attitude, and those few that do are tormented and have their political careers destroyed by the Permanent Iron Triangle of pro-Government careerist-elitists in the Left-liberal-Media, the Bureaucracy and political branches of Government.

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 10/11/2009 @ 8:33 pm

  19. “I fail to see any reason to “cooperate” with the Democrats on this bill. The whole premise of it should be anethema to conservatives.”

    I agree. The key issue is not whether to compromise, but WHAT constitutes a ‘compromise’ and what constitutes the folly of caving in principles to adopt a dreadful bill.
    Simple rule: Mandates, higher taxes, huge spending/cost additions, and new bureaucracies is NOT compromise.

    The Baucus bill is clearly the latter, and I blogged on Travis Monitor to that effect when the Baucus bill ‘co-ops’ were bandied about as a ‘compromise’. They are not.


    It’s [Baucus bill] not a compromise. A real compromise would address the ‘pre-existing conditions’ issue with some sort of assitance and regulatory changes and stop there - no mandates, no higher taxes, no huge new bureaucracies. The Baucus Plan is the all-pain no-gain version of ObamaCare.

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 10/11/2009 @ 8:40 pm

  20. “The only reason they even care about republican support is as “cover” for their members from conservative districts.”

    As if on cue to prove this point, they wheeled out Bob Dole as a prop in support of this. Never mind that he’s a lobbyist at a firm that’s been paid off to support ObamaCare, and never mind that he’s been out of office for 12 years.

    … all to project the phony and false image of ‘bi-partisan support’ for an egregious act of destroying the nation’s fiscal solvency, harming the healthcare of most Americans, and destroying innovation, choice and freedom in 1/6th of the economy.

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 10/11/2009 @ 8:44 pm

  21. TM: :)

    Comment by CZ — 10/11/2009 @ 8:47 pm

  22. “Obama’s outreach was sincere and more than patient, to the point of hurting his own agenda. ”

    Dick Bottoms, You Lie!

    Your name and your shilling are about as insane and ludicrous as the decision those five Norwegian fools made last Friday.

    Serious GOP alternatives have been ignored, shunned, and turned down. Serious issues like tort reform and buying insurance across state lines - tossed aside. Legitimate issues and concerns - like taxpayer funding of abortions, have been DISHONESLTY dismissed by Obama, and then in House/Senate action REBUFFED (viz the Hatch Amendment was voted down).

    Basic GOOD GOVERNANCE RULES WERE ALSO TOSSED ASIDE. Like the Bunning Amendment to just let the bill be written and made available for 72-hours… The mad rush of Democrats can’t even wait 2 days.

    Most Gop Amendments in the Senate committee, to protect Medicare Advantage, ensure granny wont get killed, stop giving benefits to illegal aliens, reduce the mandates - turned down. The minor Amendment tweaks the Republicans *did* manage to get in the Senate Finance markets WERE ALL GUTTED SECRETLY BY THE DEMOCRATS on the committee in a final “manager’s amendment” submitted by Jay Rockefeller.

    Dick Bottoms: You are not fooling anyone with your shilling. The Senate and House Democrats and Obama have done zero listening to Republicans and feel zero compunction about smashing the GOP over the head with partisan leftist garbage legislation. Maybe the Dems feel entitled to that attitude with their large majorities, but dont go around lying to us about what is really going on.

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 10/11/2009 @ 8:57 pm

  23. Busboy33 said…
    “Like I said, that’s my definition of “minimalist government”, and because of that I’m just confused now. If I’m reading that phrase incorrectly, put me back on track.”

    A minimalist government is NOT simply voting against anything that expands the size and scope of government. The US Constitution is supposed to be the guiding light on what the purpose of the federal gov’t is and what it is allowed to do. If the enumerated powers within Article I Section 8 of the Constitution (or any Amendments) do not give the federal gov’t the authority for something, it is then left to the states to decide on it per the 10th Amendment. I know the federal gov’t has abandoned the Constitution for decades, but that does not make it right to continue to do so. Control of health care is not an enumerated power by any stretch of the imagination, therefore, the States should be “experimenting” with it if they choose to do so. How ’bout taking a look at how a few states experiments in state-run health care have worked out. I hear Massachussetts and Tennessee have had just wonderful results (sarcasm). Does anyone truly believe the Federal Gov’t would do any better. HELL NO!! The costs will be absolutely staggering due to the outright corruption and incompetence at the federal level. It was far worse than any state gov’t.

    No bill should be coming out of this Congress. Our nation cannot survive it.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/11/2009 @ 9:01 pm

  24. “I think you speak of something that doesn’t really exist. The Republicans in the Sentate HAVE tried to make the bill better by proposing amendments and by trying to work with Baucus to better the bill, but the Liberals are stopping them. I personally think that the individual mandate for health care is a poison pill that Republicans should oppose at all costs.”

    100% Agree.

    Comment by Travis Monitor — 10/11/2009 @ 9:04 pm

  25. I don’t get it. Being “obstructionist” isn’t necessarily a negative thing: if the GOP can show America how bad ALL of the current Dem health plans are, and prevent any them from being passed, that’s great — kind of like standing in the way of a criminal, obstructing his aims to hurt somebody or rob their house.

    So many Republicans just meekly accept the labels Democrats and the dying MSM try to slap on us, and it’s mind-boggling to me. We’re obstructionist, we’re the party of No, and these are awful things to be, and blah blah blah. No, I don’t think so. We’re obstructing *bad* policy, we’re saying No to legislation that will *hurt* our country. We are doing the right thing, and we can explain to voters why we are.

    “Helping” the Democrats “govern” means helping them advance their far-left plans for America — and that’s the last thing we should be doing. We should be standing in their way, doing all we can to block them at every turn. Doing so, we will indicate to the electorate how we *will* govern, if they forgive our past betrayal of our own stated principles.

    Comment by JR Dogman — 10/12/2009 @ 6:30 am

  26. @JohnGault:

    Yes, the enumerated powers are in Art.1, sec.8. The amendments, at least the first 10, don’t give authority but rather restrict the Art1Sec8 powers.

    They restrict the powers in the body because those powers are broadly written. Congress has authority for “general welfare” (Art.1, Sec.8, Cl.1) — making sure citizens have healthcare isn’t part of a duty to maintain general welfare?

    Maybe it is . . . maybe it isn’t. This strain of the debate isn’t “does universal healthcare for citizens fall under that eunermated power?” but rather “it is a concrete fact that universal healthcare is NOT part of ‘promoting the general welfare’ . . . now lets debate of Congress should do it”.

    I’m more than willing to listen to anybody that can explain how health care isn’t a subset of “general welfare”. So far, the only explanation I’ve heard, in this or any other thread, is either “it isn’t you hippie” or some version of “it never was before”. Neither are pursuasive.

    To the first, I pithily respond with a devistating “Yes it is”. Blanket declaratory statements don’t really establish anything except what the parties believe.

    To the second, we’re back to my questions to Eric above. The evolving nature of human society requires constant refinement to how our government works . . . and yes, sometimes it requires adding to it. As I said before, the FAA isn’t enumerated in the constitution — surely you aren’t for getting rid of it?

    “Promote the general welfare” doesn’t mean the Government micromanages every aspect of your life — that’s too broad, and the Framers didn’t mean that. In the same vein though, it also doesn’t mean government runs elections, the postal service, the navy, and the Militias . . . but not one damned thing more. That’s too restrictive, and again the Framers didn’t mean that either. Somewhere in between is the “sweet spot”. That’s what we as a people are constantly striving for. And that means that when we are faced with “expanding” the role of government, we should first debate whether the issue is an enumerated power or not. I haven’t seen any debate on this . . . and that’s the problem.

    Like I said before, if you or anybody can explain to me how healthcare shouldn’t be considered “promoting the general welfare”, I’m all ears (well, eyes). It seems like an obvious definition, but words are slippery critters, so I could be wrong. But I need some kind of explanation as to why what appears (to me, at least) to be an obvious idea in reality isn’t.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/12/2009 @ 2:38 pm

  27. @busboy33

    It matters not if healthcare should be considered “promoting the general welfare”. “Promoting the general welfare” IS NOT one of the enumerated powers. Yes, those words are there, but not in the listing of powers that Congress has. The “general welfare” clause is part of the header to the enumerated powers. It is meant to say that congress is to pass legislation in the following enumerated list that will promote the general welfare (instead of, say, hindering the general welfare). The framers envisioned this to include such things like defense. General Welfare itself is NOT meant to be a catchall that lets Congress do whatever the hell it pleases. I point you to the Federalist Papers to look at what the framers intended. The powers of Congress were to be few and defined.

    You say that the framers didn’t intend for the Congress to be “too restricted”. Actually, that’s exactly what the Framers intended. They specifically gave certain powers and left everything else to the States. Many of the Framers didn’t even think the Bill of Rights were necessary because all those things in the Bill of Rights were not mentioned in the text of the Constitution itself and therefore meant that Congress could not legislate on those matters.

    You may think I wordsmith the “general welfare” statement in Article I Section 8. I do not. I simply paraphrase the framers own statements. I don’t give a shit what the Supreme Court has ever said on the “general welfare” clause. The SCOTUS is not the final authority on what is Constitutional. The SCOTUS gave themselves that power during the Marbury v Madison case in the early 1800s, but that case’s decision is not based on the Constitution itself. All branches of gov’t, the states, AND THE PEOPLE decide on what is Constitutional or not, nothing in the Constitution grants the final decision to SCOTUS. Yes, I might be dreaming on that, but it is what was envisioned at the founding.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/12/2009 @ 5:00 pm

  28. @busboy33

    One more thing…

    If “promoting the general welfare” was meant to be an actual enumerated power, then, no other power needed to be listed in the Constitution itself. That one statement would have covered everything that proceeded it and nothing else would need to have been written to “define” the powers of congress. If that is true, Congress would have been no different than King George III, who famously said…

    “I only desire what is good, therefore, anyone who disagrees with me is a traitor.”

    Comment by John Galt — 10/12/2009 @ 5:08 pm

  29. @JohnGault:

    “The SCOTUS is not the final authority on what is Constitutional.”

    Actually, yes. Yes they are. You may not like it — but I assure you they are absolutely the final decider. To quote my old Con Law Professor Sultan; “If the Supreme Court calls and apple a banana . . . then its a banana”. The reality is that they ARE the ultimate judge. That’s a fact that you may not like but surely you don’t deny its existence?

    The disagreement with the exact intended complete meaning of the language has been debated for hundreds of years. I respect that you believe you are right. I believe that I am right. We can both point to history. To the Federalist Papers. To the debates. Neither of us will “win” this argument, if “win” is defined as being unquestionably 100% correct without dispute.

    Fortunately, we don’t have to try and be “winners”. As you pointed out, the Supreme Court is the final word because of Marbury v. Madison. Notice I said it “is” the final word. Should it be? Shouldn’t it be? It IS. Disagree all you want, but you and I don’t get to make the call. They do, and that is an undisputed fact.

    You don’t like it? Fair enough. You want to go to a government that hasn’t existed for over 200 years? No problem. But it’s not a feasible plan, however intellectually pure it might be.

    You argue that Clause 1 isn’t an enumeration of power, but rather merely window dressing. I disagree . . . and so do the Supreme Court. Do you think the Air Force should be abolished? nothing in the other Clauses of Art. 1 Sec. 8 mentions an Air Force. It doesn’t fall under “Army”, “Navy”, or “Militia”. It’s only Constitutional authority is under the common defense . . . and that term is never mentioned but in the same sentence as general welfare. If they meant one, they must have meant the other.

    Yes, “general welfare” theoretically could mean anything. Honestly so could “common defense”. That’s one of the reasons for the Bill of Rights — you CANNOT define General Welfare to include shutting up dissenters, for example. They made to limit it precisely because it WAS something that could be broadly interpreted. Because it was INTENDED to be broadly interpreted. If something comes up that we didn’t cover, is it a good idea? Debate it. If the government should do it . . . then they should. If they shouldn’t, then they shouldn’t.

    They didn’t think that the Constitution was unadaptable. They intended for it to adapt to changing times. That’s why it has the “general welfare” language, as well as “common defense”. The details are for the people to work out.

    They KNEW their document was not going to cover all contingencies, all issues. It’s supposed to have flexibility. Again, consider the Bill of Rights. They immediately went back and said “General Welfare does NOT cover muting dissenters”, but they very specifically didn’t say what “general welfare” DOES cover. It doesn’t mean A, B, C, or D . . . but we’re very delibrately NOT going to tell you what it does mean. The citizens and elected officials are supposed to wonder if healthcare is “general welfare”. They are not supposed to wonder if it means anything atall.

    Whether you or I disagree with what I just said is irrevelant — we aren’t the Supreme Court. They said it is. To change their final word on these issues would literally destroy the United States. The ENTIRE government and legal systems would have to be rebuilt from scratch. That’s not hyperbole. I can’t emphasize how destructive that would be.

    Should we completely destroy the corrupted system and completely remake America from scratch? Maybe we should. But that’s not going to happen. It’s not an option . . . and frankly I wouldn’t support it even if it was.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/12/2009 @ 7:15 pm

  30. @busboy33

    Then point to me where in the Constitution it says that the SCOTUS is the supreme decider on the constitutionality of an act. You can’t. They just assumed it in Marbury v Madison. If the SCOTUS was intended to be the supreme in this, then we are ruled by 9 individuals instead of governed by 535 and an executive. That was not the intent of the Framers. I know reality. I know how things work today. That does not make it right, nor should it be an excuse to allow an unconstitutional power grabs to continue to occur.

    If the SCOTUS is supreme, how do they enforce their rulings? SCOTUS has no arms. None at all. They don’t direct the justice department, the military, or any other arm of the government. All they do is release an opinion. What if the Prez decided not to enforce? Is the Prez wrong? What if Congress decided to continue funding an act deemed unconstitutional by SCOTUS, with the signature of the Prez? Can SCOTUS do anything about it? How do they enforce? I see nothing in Article III that gives any enforcement powers to SCOTUS. Therefore, it is easy to see that all branches of the gov’t are EQUAL in determining constitutionality, regardless of Marbury v Madison or your law professor.

    The States created the Federal Gov’t and gave it defined, limited powers. I would expect that would be obvious to anyone with a remote grasp of history. It is not within the scope of the Fed to simply take more when it deems it must, no matter how “good” the intentions might be. The states, and the people, must give it the power thru amendments. The States were supposed to be experimenting with different forms of governing. This brings out competition between them to, hopefully, find the best way to govern. Wouldn’t it be nice to have 50 different (or 57 if you’re Obama) methods of health care “reform” to see what works best instead of only 1 all encompassing madness imposed by the oligarchy of the Federal Gov’t? Simply saying that its been done a certain way for 100 years or so is meaningless if one believes the Constitution is the basis of nation based in freedom(which it is). The Constitution was written in plain English so that it is easily understood by the common man. It doesn’t take a lawyer or, ahem, a professor to figure it out. Its all there in simple English. That is its beauty. If the wording of the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land, is not followed, how is there any law at all? Any “laws” would be subject to the will of man and change according to man’s whims. That is no longer a nation based in Liberty, but one of Tyranny.

    You bring up the Air Force. That’s a reasonably valid point. OK, I’ll just rename the Air Force to be the Army Air Corps (sounds familiar for some reason). The Constitution, and the Framers, did not intend for there to be a standing Army, that is true and its a reasonable debate to say having our standing army be declared unconstitutional. However, Congress can fund the army for a period of up to 2 years by a single act, and they can repeat that funding every year (or 2 years) if they deem fit per Article 1 Section 8.

    The Framers intended the Constitution to be adaptable. OF COURSE!!! But not just by simply “interpreting” a power. It was adaptable by the Amendment process only. You want to give the Federal Gov’t more power, amend the Constitution. It seems people always forget about that. The Amendment process is there to ensure the support a vast array of people. A simple majority in Congress does not ensure the vast support of the people (as the bailouts, “stimulus”, amnesty, health care, etc make abundantly clear).

    One other point, since you disagree with me on the General Welfare clause, there is another aspect of that clause that says that “all duties…shall be uniform throughout the United States”. Shouldn’t that mean that income taxes should be the same for everybody and that the progressive tax system in unconstitutional, seeing that the 16th Amendment doesn’t alter this clause? Now, don’t just pick and choose the things you want to follow in the Constitution.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/12/2009 @ 8:43 pm

  31. @busboy33

    One other thing on your belief in the supremacy of SCOTUS…

    Congress (and the Prez) determine the jurisdiction of the federal court system. Any issue not directly stated in Article III as being the realm of the Federal Judiciary (Article III is the entire Judiciary, not just SCOTUS), is subject to being deemed out of bounds by ANY Federal Court review and there is nothing SCOTUS can do about it.

    Supreme my ass.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/12/2009 @ 9:01 pm

  32. We aren’t ruled by 9 because as you said — the Supreme Court has absolutely no power. They can’t “do” anythning. They refereee the fight between the Legislative and Executive. Both sides agree to abide by the decisions.

    You asked where in the Constitution were they given authority. It’s in Article 3. I take your point to be that the Constitution does not say something like “The Supreme Court shall be the decider in Constitutional issues”, and you are right that it doesn’t say that. But they ARE the ultimate arbiter of legal disputes . . . and the Constitution (and what it means) are legal issues.
    Did they “sieze” the authority? If not them, who IS supposed to settle disputes just like this? Nobody? Open armed combat?

    Congress can’t write laws beyond their authority — who’s gonna stop them? The Executive can’t act beyond its bounds — same problem. The whole point of having three branches instead of two is that the referee doesn’t stand to gain in any dispute. One decides, another performs and the thrid permits.

    That became manifest in Marbury v. Madison because both sides (Executive and Legislative) agreed that the Court makes the call. Everything we’ve done since then as a society has been predicated on that reality.

    re: the Air Force — touche. A bad example on my part for what I was trying to say. Yes, the Air Force could be re-envisioned within the Army.
    So what about the FAA? Not part of the Army (not “defense” at all), not part of the Constitution, and I submit absolutely something that we need to exist as a society in this day and age. Atomic Regulatory agencies. How does the “if it ain’t literally in the Constitution then its out” analysis not demand that civilian services like these unConstitutional? Assuming that they literally ARE Unconstitutional . . . America falls apart.

    You mentioned the Army. I agree that, literally, the Constitution prohibits a standing Army (although you and I are apparently the only ones that can actually see those words). As you note, there are provisions for 2-yr creations, so you could re-create the Army as only being an eternal series of 2-yr Armies.
    But it also requires that the officers be selected by the State Militias. That’ll be interesting. What about career officers with pensions and benefits? Do they have to cash out every 2 years (since the Army is “over”) and then roll it over into the “new” Army’s benefits? Can the Army refuse to “hire” someone between the two year hitch? If I sign up for a 6-year tour, and the Army “ends” after 2, can I get out of the other 4 years? Who holds my contract — the Federal Government, the State (with Militia control)?
    Can a State force the Federal government to make somebody an officer in the Federal Army (Constitution says yes)? Just play that last one out in your imagination. To me, I can’t see how that will end in anything other than an utterly worthless Army. Patronage, Cronyism, graft, favors, “All the Generals should be from Ney York!” . . . am I paranoid? Could this possibly not end in total disaster for our military? And therefore, a direct threat to our safety?
    What I’m seeing is that the standing Army is “unconstitutional” in the sense you are describing. Or rather the issue is a debatable one — there is a fair and evidence-based argument that it violates the terms of the document. My point is that kind of interpretation simply can’t be applied to the United States Government in a practical manner because it would have to completely dismantle the Government, and thereby dismantle America. Right and wrong are philosophical abstracts at this point.
    I keep coming back to when I talk to people about Anarchy. Sitting in a bar over beers, sure the concept has philosophical resonance. In a post-Industrial society of 330 million people? Absolutely not ever going to work. Its just not practical. The interpretation I’m hearing from you seems to be as impractical. I’m not saying that in a rude way — I misunderstand things all the time. Maybe I’m hearing you wrong. But this is what I’m hearing, and I can’t follow it all the way through.

    You talk about amending the Constitutiojn to give the Fed government powers. Yes — but we’re back to the question “what constitutes a new power”? If “healthcare” is a new power because the word “healthcare” isn’t in the Constitution, then (again) you have to eliminate most of the Federal Government (yay!) which will destroy America (boo!). How do you distinguish between healthcare and the FAA on the basis of “not literally in the Constitution”?
    I absolutely DON’T think that all of the Federal laws, Agencies, Regulations, Statutes and so forth should be Amendments to the Constitution. Absolutely not.

    Let me try to sum up my concern:

    a) Does your understanding of “not in the Constitution” allow for the Federal Government as it exists (FAA, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Education, Social Security, etc.)?

    b) If yes, what’s the difference between them and healthcare?

    c) if no, what do you see as the consequences?

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/12/2009 @ 10:05 pm

  33. By your same logic, if the SCOTUS reaches a decision that is blatantly incorrect, and I can think of many, who is to stop them? It is the system of checks and balances built in to the system. All branches of gov’t a supposed to be following the Constitution and can deem an act unconstitutional by using their own inherent powers to correct the situation. The SCOTUS is only the highest of the federal court system. It is the supreme arbiter of those issues stated in Article III or any other issue deemed in its jurisdiction by Congress. Congress and the Prez did not make a jurisdictional law saying the court is supreme on the Constitution. On “constitutional” issues, again, all 3 branches are equal (by design anyway). It is not within the powers of the 3 branches to simply decide the court can be “supreme” in those matters. That would take an amendment and be decided by the states. As far as Congress and the President overstepping their bounds, they can be easily voted out or are term limited. SCOTUS…not so much. Politics in Congress would prevent attempts at impeaching SCOTUS judges.

    Yes, states were supposed to be creating military officers and the fed was supposed to “raise” the army grunts. It worked for the North during the Civil War. And yes, a Constitutional Amendment should have been put forth for federal military academies creating officers. I’d bet that Amendment would have passed unanimously. The Constitution does not prohibit a standing army (the framers did not invision one tho), it only declares funding for it can only be appropriated for 2 years at a time. Congress simply votes in new money for it each year. No constitutional issue whatsoever. If Congress fails to fund, the army does not get paid, and we therefore have no more army. Oh, and you dont think Patronage, Cronyism, graft, etc occur in the military now? Congress approves promotions of generals after all.

    On your concerns…

    a) The Dept of Energy, Education, Social Security, are unconstitutional. Education has gotten worse and more expensive since the fed got involved (just look at education funding, adjusted for inflation, and test scores since the fed got involved. Graphs do exist.) Dept of Energy was created to end dependence on foreign oil, but they have done nothing since their inception and our dependence has increased. They are simply a black hole sucking in money. Social Security is a bankrupt ponzi scheme. I’d prefer to keep the 12.5% or so of my income put into it myself. I’d get a better return putting it in the bank or stuffing it in my mattress. The FAA is a slightly different issue since that is directly related to interstate commerce and opening trade between the states. The airline industry started its life without the FAA, and I would bet they have a vested interest in making their planes safe, even without an FAA.

    b) my answer isn’t yes.

    c) no SS means more income at retirement for people that work during their lives. For people that don’t work, well, I’m not here to provide them a free ride thru life or to provide for those that are irresponsible. No Education Dept means the states and municipalities do what they did for 200 years and handle it all themselves when we were the world leaders in education, manufacturing, research, well, just about everything. No Energy Dept means lower prices everywhere since the gov isn’t taxing for this Dept that has done absolutely nothing it was founded to do.

    On a general note about various agencies you deem necessary…why not put them into amendments before they were created? It is what was meant to happen. I’d bet 3/4 of the states would agree to many of the functions that exist. Others, they may not tho. That’s the way it should be. We would not devolve into complete anarchy if the fed was stripped of the unconstitutional powers it has usurped. There would be a rough ride for a short time. States still have power and were meant to have more “control” of its citizens then the fed. The fed is there, basically, to protect the union of States. The framers intended the nation to be as close to anarchy as possible, without going into chaos. I don’t believe the health care system is “chaos” since 85% of the folks are completely satisfied with what they get and half of the remaining don’t want insurance. Out of curiousity, slavery was known since the founding of the nation to be wrong. It was not prohibited at first in order to maintain the union during the Revolution. After the Civil War, what did we do? Did Congress simply make slavery, an obvious wrong, illegal??? No, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were enacted to right those wrongs. Congress didn’t simply usurp power in order to ban it. The nation needs to get back on this track or there is no freedom, only Tyranny. Government, by definition, is the polar opposite of Liberty. Gov’t needs to be minimal and defined. It does not get powers unless we, the people, give it to them. And in our framework, that process is by Amendments. Anyone that does not think the Amendment process is needed for extra Federal powers, does not believe in the Constitution and its constraints. We might as well not even have a Constitution.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/13/2009 @ 6:13 am

  34. “By your same logic, if the SCOTUS reaches a decision that is blatantly incorrect, and I can think of many, who is to stop them?”

    The only check on SCOTUS is (depending on the text of their decision) for the Legislative branch to re-write the Federal law or amend the Constitution.

    Example1: Congress passes a law impacting “vehicles”. Is a Segway (those mall-cop scooters) covered by the law? If the law is unclear, the Courts (with SCOTUS at the top) will say what “vehicles” means based on a variety of established rules (stare decisis, precedent, etc.). If Congress doesn’t like their interpreteation of the the word “vehicle” then they can re-write the law to state its meaning explicitly.

    Example2: Congress passes a law saying “you can’t burn flags”. The Courts (with SCOTUS at the top) review the law (if challenged) to make sure Congress has the Constitutional authortity to do that. In this case, burning a flag is a form of protest speech, and the 1st Amendment prohibits the government from legislating it in that manner. Can’t do it in a fireworks factory — fine. Can’t do it at all ever — no. If Congress (or the people) don’t like it, they have to Amend the Constitution to say “The 1st Amendment doesn’t cover flag burning” or some such. Then, it’s constitutional and SCOTUS is going to have to say the document allows the flag-burning law.

    I have never, and will never, claim this is the “best” system in terms of SCOTUS being all-wise and never making bad decisions. Dred Scot is the most obvious example of them being totally, clearly, utterly wrong in thought and deed.
    But wrong as that case was . . . it was the law.
    There are certainly dangers in this type of governmental system. You are correct that under this system SCOTUS has the actual power to declare themselves Gods and legally demand human sacrifices. That’s why they (a) can’t actually do anything and (b) can’t choose what to decide. They choose what questions they are asked they want to answer . . . but they can’t say “we want to decide flag-burning”. If nobody asks them to voice an opinion, then they are impotent.

    That last part is IMO the magic key to making the system work. Judges (and the Judiciary in general) exist to referee disputes between entities in a society. If you and I have a dispute (I think you owe me money, for example) and we can work it out between us, then the Judges sit around playing solitare. If we CAN’T work it out, either we agree to let someone else make the decision . . . or there is going to be a problem. We agree as people to submit voluntarily to the decision of the Judiciary, because otherwise I’m coming by with a baseball bat and getting my money you theiving sumbitch . . . and we are at some unpleasant “Mad Max” situations now.

    Advocating “ignore SCOTUS” is IMO (and I gotta say I’m fairly confident I’m objectively right about this) advocating for Revolution, and not the cool “waving a flag on the barricades” way but in the “people bleeding to death in the street as the city burns” kind of way.

    Without a mechanism like this, all societies throughout history collapse. Give me two months and 30 hours and I’ll document it all out for you, but for brevity’s sake I ‘ll just say I swear to you (for whatever that’s worth) that this is essentially a settled point amongst societial historians, political ideology be damned.

    We CAN ignore the courts. Congress and the Executive CAN tell SCOTUS to go to hell. But that is essentially triggering the self-destruct mechanism to keep America from being corrupted beyond repair. It is the LAST step, because it WILL lead to the disolution of the United States. Its a final solution.

    To me, these are “Defcon 1″ actions — amend the Constitution, radically restructure the American Government, etc. You DON’T do it over a policy dispute. Or you shouldn’t. Over 200 years and we only have 27 Amendments. The 1st 10 were an almost immediate edit of the Constitution, 21 is just to override 19 (illustrating why editing the donstitution is not something to do over policy issues), 14-16 were all at once . . . Americans avoid editing the stone tablet as much as possible, and we should.
    You shouldn’t put all Federal law into Amendments because you shouldn’t Amend the conbstitution if you can possibly avoid it. That’s what the Federal Law IS — Congress is charged with taxation, and so the Federal Tax Code is the detailed embodiment of that Constututional power.
    You need a detailed embodiment of Constitutional power to get things done. But the actual code itself is designed to be changed much easier than changing the Constitution. The Constitution is the simple statement of ideas and principles. It laws down the parameters of the system. But the details of the system are constantly in flux. The Federal Code gets amended, adapted, updated, redacted, all the time.
    The Constitution should always remain as pure and minimalist as possible. You don’t want, purely for practical necessity, a Constitution that spans thousands of pages. The Constitution isn’t the Law, or the Government. It guides how they look, but it isn’t the actual nuts-and-bolts blueprint for how everything works.

    a) You are logically consistent, and I both admire that and salute you for it. I don’t agree, but you’re not making it up as you go along and I’ll never begrudge another’s reasoned opinion no matter how much I disagree.

    c) Social Security — you raise the benefits of eliminating Social Security. What about the problems?
    All the current SS receipents — throw them out on the street? Some people rely on it to live. Cancel the program, and they will die. MILLIONS of Americans could well die because of what you are proposing.
    I’ve been paying in for 2 decades . . . you telling me that I’ve just had all that money disappear? That’s a couple hundred million people you just re-wrote their entire financial existence.

    What about the FAA? Get rid of it? Unconstitutional? Let the States all set their own rules for pilot licensing and procedures? What does that do to air travel? Product shipments? International business? Our economy? What happened for a few days after 9-11? Why did Regan bring in scabs? Because we NEED air travel as a country. How long do you think it will take all 50 States to get their stuff in order?

    I just don’t see following this idea to its logical conclusion as being an option. I acknowledge and admire the intellectual consistency and purity of the idea, and in pure debate I’m waving the red flag right along side of you. But in terms of implementing it into reality — no. Its not a sound plan of action. I respectfully disagree.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/13/2009 @ 11:08 am

  35. I don’t advocate putting “ALL” federal laws into the Constitution. That is not the intent. I only state putting federal “Powers” into it which is the intent of the Constitution. The Constitution is nothing more than an organizing document that describes the relationship between the federal gov’t, the states, and the people. It is the by-laws of the nation. Implementation of those by-laws are contained in the federal codes. New powers are granted only thru Amendments.

    I know you like to bring up the point of Congress not being able to legislate against speech (ref Flag Burning). But why? If the 10th Amendment is meaningless, why is the 1st untouchable? or the 2nd, 4th, 5th, et al. Sooner or later (i’m betting on sooner), someone will come up with the argument that criticism of the gov’t is bad for the country, it will get congressional political support (from the statists), and Congress (and the Prez) will enact a law saying its in the interest of the gov’t to ban this type of criticism. SCOTUS case law (look at O’Connor’s majority opinion in the Michigan university’s affirmative action case it totally disregards the 14th amendment) will show that “if it is in the gov’t interest, then it can be done”. Similar case law exists per the abominable Kelo decision. After all, the 1st Amendment was written over 200 years ago, surely it has no relevance in today’s 330 million pop industrialized society.

    If the Constitutional text is merely a suggestion, there is no Constitution. That’s where the debate in society should be. Should our nation abandon it outright and simply rely on the goodness of our dear leaders to do the right thing? Lets see how well that goes down in society. Instead, our “leaders” simply usurp the power saying it is for the good.

    I stand on the side of preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution in all its glory and faults.

    I don’t see how the FAA was absolutely necessary to ensure safety of aircraft. If air travel isn’t safe, manufactures and airlines wouldn’t make any money, so they have a vested interest in making it safe. But, like I said, the FAA is directly related to interstate commerce, something that Congress has the authority to maintain in order to keep trade flowing between the states. Therefore the FAA is not an unconstitutional usurpation.

    SS is unconstitutional however. Yes, abandoning it would harm those who were FORCED to rely on it. So, abandon it for anyone who wishes to keep the extra 12% of their income and for any future generations. Pay for it out of general funds (as is done anyway). Yeah, it will put some extra cost for a time, but better to head off the inevitable future train wreck as the system becomes more and more unsustainable. Plus the extra 12% income in folks pockets (or for the folks to invest for their retirement as responsible folks should do) will spur on investment in this nation and lead to growth, much like 401k’s did when they started in the 80s. That extra growth (and inevitable tax revenue) will offset much of the lost revenue due to diminished FICA returns.

    Comment by John Galt — 10/13/2009 @ 12:05 pm

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