Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Of Course Government Can Put a Gun to Your Head and Force You to Buy Stuff!

Liberal Arguments for the individual mandate are the greatest argument against it.

Big Government statists in the press are firing back at the charge that the Obamacare individual mandate is unconstitutional.  They take aim specifically at the charge that making everyone buy insurance is an abuse of the commerce clause.  Here's a typical line of attack:
Of course this distinction proves essentially meaningless once you realize that not buying health insurance now means paying out of pocket later. Combined with the fact that states generally require hospitals to treat the uninsured in the case of emergency, to say that the uninsured are making a "free choice" is highly misleading. It's government regulation that makes these choices possible in the first place. (Prospect)
See how this works? Government causes a problem by “requiring hospitals to treat the uninsured,” creating an opening for further regulation, leading us finally to the individual mandate.

To correctly restate the author’s last sentence...

It’s government regulation that makes these problems possible in the first place.

Back in the old days, people without money or insurance were treated, but they signed a contract with the hospital and paid the bill off in monthly installments.

As Thomas Sowell points out, the cries of “Do something!” have started more government-sponsored calamities…

The verbal gymnastics that statists employ to support the federal government forcing you to purchase insurance is amazing:
Widespread problems with access to health care and skyrocketing costs are certainly big enough to plausibly require a federal solution. . (Prospect)
No, the health care “problem” does not “require” a federal solution. That is an unfounded assertion.
Generally, the problem being addressed plausibly requires a federal solution, and the proposed regulation -- even if it does not itself regulate interstate commerce -- is part of a larger regulatory scheme. (Prospect)
This is absurd pedantry. The author is saying that the individual mandate, standing on its own, would be unconstitutional. But because it is “part of a larger regulatory scheme,” it’s OK. The dangling tendentia is reminiscent of Homer Simpson’s thinking:
Homer: "No! Homer Simpson never lies twice on the same form. He never has and he never will."
Marge: "You lied dozens of times on our mortgage application."
Homer: "Yes, but they were all part of a single ball of lies."
Mr. Lemieux’s argument hinges on whether a specific government action is part of a larger “regulatory scheme.” He helpfully cites cases where such an action that was not part of a larger scheme was struck down by the supreme court as not authorized under the commerce clause, thereby drawing his ominous distinction between constitutional and unconstitutional.
“The fact that the mandate is an essential part of a federal regulatory scheme just underscores why the federal government has not exceeded its authority under existing law.”
The Road to Statism

Obamacare’s progressive defenders concede that stand-alone laws that claw freedom from the individual are unconstitutional. However, this is a false concession. They proclaim that government does have such a right if done under the umbrella of a larger regulatory scheme.

The logical result? Create a tentacular, hydra-headed bureaucratic monster, call it a regulatory scheme, and now the federal government can do whatever it wants.

I recommend you go read the entire article. It is a frightening peek into the mind of a progressive statist.


Divine Theatre said...

I cannot read that gibberish, Silverfiddle. I would rather poke myself in the eye with a dull pencil. I commend you for being able to do so!
I have read enough liberal claptrap to fill volumes. Different day, same claptrap.
Excellent post, as usual!

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks Divine. I believe in digging into the arguments of the other side, no matter how painful.

The statists' arguments on this particular topic are especially weak, starting with unfounded assertions and ending with tottering illogic worthy of a second grader's explanation of why she put the cat in the dryer.

They should be ashamed of themselves for peddling such flim flam.

WomanHonorThyself said...

It’s government regulation that makes these problems possible in the first place...amen Silver..that sums it all up.

Jersey McJones said...

A little history lesson for you - hospitals did NOT treat everyone before that mandate. People were routinely denied care, based on their race, their class, their religion, their income, etc. It wasn't until the government stepped in demanded they treat everyone did that come to an end. And remember, that rule does not apply to competely private hospitals and clinics. And the stick came with a carrot - the government would subsidize the care. But to get that subsidy, the hospitals still haad to try to get the money back just as they always did. Also, PUBLIC hospitals have ALWAYS received PUBLIC money, so they should damned well treat everyone if the states denands it. So, much of your premise, heck, really all of it, simply isn't true.

Remember too - there's no gun to the head. That's just silly. There is a tax penalty for those who can afford insurance but irresponsibly do not have it, and that penalty has almost no teeth to it. The penalty is rated separate from the rest of your taxes, and you can not be prosecuted for not paying it.

I think if conservatives understood the issues a little better, they'd have slightly different opinions.


Randy said...

JMJ, the issues I do understand are that you are completely comfortable ensuring I am held somewhat of a slave to your opinions of what happens to what I work for.

The federal government has no right telling you what you must purchase; actually, no institution or person has that right. And if there is a penalty for not buying something, and it's a penalty on the federal books, it's a gun to the head. Almost no teeth? That means there are teeth.

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey, you just completely validated my premise! You spouted the party line!

Government put a regulatory tangle of red tape in place, therefore they can use the coercive power of the state to force everyone to purchase a product.

Congratulations! You get your Obama Brigade gold star for the day.

And barring people based upon ethnicity or skin color is a separate and distinct issue. Hospitals did indeed have payment plans for the uninsured. Go do your damned research before you spread disinformation here.

Disagreement is encouraged, lying and/or bald-faced and willful ignorance is not.

Jersey McJones said...

Randy and Silver, let me make something very, very clear:

I also think the insurance mandate is unconstitutional. I was never convinced of its constitutionality and always questioned it.

But on these specific grounds:

Taxes are on transactions. Not transacting should not be taxed. We can not tax people on what they don't do, because from there it's a slippery slope to an infinity of sin-taxes on everything "bad."

The only answer is the public option. A non-profit, universal plan, priced as low as it feasibly can and providing as much coverage as it feasibly can. I NEVER understood the rationale of conservatives who opposed this. It's smart, cheap (much cheaper than what we're doing now), and is completely optional.

Why was that a bad thing???


Jersey McJones said...

Oh - and let be clearer about it's unconstitutionality (got side-tracked): When you look at federal tax law, from the four-legged constitutional construct to the many interpretations thereafter, their seems no constitutional way to tax people for not doing something. It seems to me as simple as that when it comes to this "insurance mandate."


Jersey McJones said...

Oh - (I know, I'm getting old now, but...)

I think the Obama administration tried to skirt the constitutionality by taking any teeth out of the new tax, but it still would be a very, very bad precedent to allow this "mandate." It should be struck down for good. I'm curious to see if it will, however.

Remember - the "mandate" means big bucks for private insurance. Theoretically, all they have to do is come up with a cheaper plan, and they get a large, young, forced market. This was never some "socialist" scheme. This was a gimme for the insurance industry. With the public option, none of this had to be. I guess big insurance bought the votes from the "moderate dems" they needed to accomplish that little piece of scumbaggery.


Leticia said...

Not much more that I can add, you summed it up nicely.

Silverfiddle said...

OK Jersey, now we're tracking. I agree with you that the right way to do this would have been a government controlled public option.

I oppose that as well, but on free market grounds, not constitutionality. I do think it is is unconstitutional by a strict reading, but we're already halfway down that slippery slope.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

It is impossible to understand the mind of liberals no matter how hard they try to explain it either in writing or verbally.

Finntann said...

Jersey, where have you been? There is a long history of charity hospitals in the United States.

A six-bed ward founded in 1736 in the New York City Almshouse became, over the course of a century and more, Bellevue Hospital.

For God's Sakes man...GOOGLE!

Hospital: Its historical meaning, until relatively recent times, was "a place of hospitality"

Historically, however, hospitals were often founded and funded by religious orders or charitable individuals and leaders.

It wasn't until government mandates, medicare, and medicaid that the profession of the Hippocratic Oath turned into the monetary feeding frenzy that it is today.

Charity hospitals were just that, charity, they did not turn away people for the inability to pay. Turn aways based on race had nothing to do with medicine, Catholic Charity hospitals did not turn people away based on religion, class, or income.

If anything, historically, lack of medical access was due to rural population distribution and hospital concentration in the cities. It had little to do with the ability to pay.

You liberals have such a dark view of history... you think you are the end-all to progress.

So tell me, if America was historically such a dark and loathesome place...WHY THE HELL WAS EVERYONE TRYING TO COME HERE?


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