Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Constitutional Argument For National Health Care

The right wing in the United States likes to think that it alone understands (or even reads) the US Constitution. To "prove" this, whenever Democrats propose some type of legislation, the righties look for some reference to it in the Constitution, and absent a specific reference, they deem it unconstitutional. This method is flawed on many levels. For example, since there are no references to airplanes in the Constitution, does that mean that the federal government has absolutely no right to create and enforce laws pertaining to American air space? Only a dolt would make the argument that it doesn't, regardless of the lack of a mention in the document.

The right is using the same flawed logic in its approach to health care. They site the 10th Amendment, as their "proof." It states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The key phrase that the right latches onto is "powers not delegated to the United States" part. They use that to argue that virtually everything they don't like (Social Security, Medicare) is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court disagrees.

Well, next time you hear a rightie make that argument as it pertains to health care, refer them to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution. It states, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."

Seems to me, based on this clause, that the federal government is well within its authority to not only tax the citizenry, but to use those taxes to provide for the general welfare (i.e. health care). of the American people. Case closed.

The right is wrong again.


T. Paine said...

James Madison must be cringing at how you just twisted the Constitution around there. Of course this comes from the left where they find the Constitutional support for infanticide contained therein too...

Dave Splash said...

Your response more than makes my point about the arrogance of the right in its silly insistence that they alone can understand and interpret the Constitution.

T. Paine said...

Well, I don't know if it is arrogance or not, but evidently the right ARE the only ones that can interpret the Constitution as it was intended by our Founders. Your article and myriads of previous posts make that point very clearly, sir.

Dave Splash said...

Clearly it is arrogance. Your "trust me I am a conservative" argument is severely lacking. And based on the years 2001-2008, trusting conservatives to comprehend what is and is not constitutional and/or legal is laughable.

T. Paine said...

That would be a better argument if conservatives had been in charge between 2001 to 2008. As it was, there were limp-spined Republicans governing as if they were old school Democrats...

Dave Splash said...

This is not the first time that you have tried to pass off the failures of the GOP Congress and Bush as being too much like Democrats. Makes zero sense to me. Maybe I just don't remember, but when exactly did the "real right" actively oppose Bush, Delay, Hastert, Frist, McConnell, etc? When did they shout them down at public meetings and call them socialists? Are you saying the right did not 100% support the failed war in Iraq? The tax cuts for the richest 1%? The virtual elimination of all oversight of the Executive Branch? You guys marched in lockstep with Bush, and you failed. Own up to it.

The only way conservatives will ever get credibility with the American people again is to be honest about your failures during the Bush years, and not saying the problem was that they were too much like Dems. Hell, in 2003, it was practically illegal to be a liberal in this country. How quickly you guys forget.

Snave said...

I think Dave is correct here, that if more lefties had been speaking out as vehemently against Bush and Cheney in late 2001 through around 2003 as conservatives are speaking out against the current administration, those lefties may well have been arrested, taken in for questioning, put on no-fly lists... basically harrassed by the government. As America began to wake up a bit by around 2005 to what Bush and Cheney were up to, people were able to speak more freely without as much fear of relatiation.

I'm not advocating that the current group of protestors/inciters/shouters be harrassed, or that anyone who simply voices their opinions be harrassed. I just think some of them ought to be more careful, like the one outside the meeting in Maryland with the "Death to Obama" sign that also read "Death to Michelle and her stupid children". That kind of behavior is irresponsible. There is not enough negative reaction to that sort of thing.

I was appalled to learn that Obama, according to one author, receives 30 death threats per day, which is 400% more than a president usually gets. It would be nice if more Republicans expressed more outrage over such things, but I'm not holding my breath. They seem to prefer to use such examples as some kind of sick "proof" that "the tide is turning" or some such thing. Well, give 'em enough rope and sooner or later the GOPers will hang themselves. I dread what could happen if they don't practice some restraint.

I view the Constitution like I view the Bible, in that I see both as living rather than fixed documents. Care should be taken in their interpretation lest they end up being used for nefarious purposes. Is it possible for us, this far removed in history from when these documents were contructed, to truly know the minds of those who made them? I don't think so. And I believe that to think we can read the minds of people dead for centuries is folly.

Being an absolutist about either the Bible or the Constitution is something I don't do. I believe too much certainty can, in many cases, be a detriment. A strict interpretation can be good at times, but at other times does not allow breathing room. We need to know moderation and practice it in matters like these. The concept of a strict interpretation might be fine except that someone gets to interpret the Constitution in a strict manner. Who should that be? A group of like-minded right wing individuals?

Sorry, but America's society is punitive enough as it is.

I think Dave's interpretation is just fine.

"A liberal knows that the only certainty in this life is change but believes that the change can be directed toward a constructive end." - Henry A. Wallace

"Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." - Voltaire