Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Opt-Out Backlash

If, as reported the bill that finds its way to the senate floor includes an opt-out public option, what will that mean for states that actually choose to opt-out? What happens when, hypothetically speaking, once the bill passes there are states that decide not to offer the plan to their residents? While gauging true public support for any public option is unreliable at best—anything cable news outlets say has to be taken with a grain of organic sea salt—imagine what might transpire when residents of a state that has opted out voice anger at not being offered the choice.

There are opponents of any public option in ever state, in ever demographic, and in every corner of the country, but what happens when those who would like to have the option never get it because their state government wants to play politics? I think an opt-out option is a good idea for one reason only; it will show exactly how the majority of Americans feel about having, or not having the option to enlist in a government run program. Just imagine if the program works like a charm. Think of how all the states that chose not to offer the plan to their residents will look. If the plan fails that’s one thing, but imagine the social unrest that will come about when people in Texas are not able to obtain the exact same health care that people in New Jersey are getting, but could if their state decided to offer it?

Will opting out be a purely political move? Will Republican-run states choose not to offer the option just to spite the Democrats? What will happen if their political decision blows up in their face? It will at least be interesting to see which states do in fact opt-out. Could we see residents of one state moving to other states in some sort of mass exodus? Even in states with overwhelming support for one party or the other there will be a segment of the population that cries out at the injustice of not being offered the same plan as other Americans enjoy.

The opt-out concession is at best a weak compromise to hopefully get some sort of public option through the senate. If anything the democrats have shown they are incapable of standing up for what they believe in as soon as people start calling them names and things get difficult. Would President Obama dare reject a bill passed through the senate that didn't have a full public option? It will be quite interesting to see how this all plays out, but I’ll say one thing, the proverbial feces is going to hit the fan the first time a state chooses to opt-out of a public health care plan and some Americans cannot get the same health care their neighbors fifteen minutes away can.

Posted by Michael Falino at October 26, 2009 5:11 PM
Comments
Comment #289790

Mike,

Relocating from state to state will also be affected by this option if it is in fact passed.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #289793

Any talk of a public option is meaningless without knowing:

What the premiums will be
What the benefits are
Who from the employer side will be eligible (size of company)
How much subsidy will be required to reach full insured, and
How easy is it to change any of the above.

Those are not just fine print details, those are major components for consideration. The state opt-out issue would be the least of my concerns.

Posted by: George at October 26, 2009 6:14 PM
Comment #289797

I am on Medicare, can I opt-out of all the draconian cuts currently called for in the Senate plan?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 26, 2009 6:51 PM
Comment #289801

good point Marysdude, will this in effect restrict movement between states because some people will not move to a state that doesn’t offer the plan?

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 26, 2009 7:43 PM
Comment #289814

We should let everybody buy insurance over state lines.

Let individuals opt in or out.

Posted by: Christine at October 26, 2009 9:38 PM
Comment #289816

Christine
I agree, we can get auto, life and every other kind of insurance across state lines, WHY NOT Health Insurance? I know that would have been to easy and less complicated. Everything in D.C. has to be complicated. But seriously that is and should be the smart way to go.

Posted by: KAP at October 26, 2009 10:14 PM
Comment #289818

Insurance across state lines will lead to what happened with the banking industry they will all move to the state with the least requirements and the best for them with no thought of what is good for the patient.
Another problem with the medical industry is what just happened to us with our son. He requires a blood pressure medicine that is only available at one Pharmacy in 30 miles and it is of course out of network, so they don’t pay.

Posted by: timesend at October 26, 2009 11:16 PM
Comment #289820

People cry about states rights, which they should, but how come individual rights never seem to get a mention? Always the rights of the corporation, or the state, but never the individual…

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 26, 2009 11:31 PM
Comment #289823

Individuals only have those rights that are delineated by the Republican Constitution…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 26, 2009 11:49 PM
Comment #289828

No, they are only afforded those rights. They inherently have rights, it’s just a matter of legally recognizing and then defending them.

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 27, 2009 7:27 AM
Comment #289829

Advocates of allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines are simply attempting to de-regulate the health insurance industry. As timesend points out, the regulations of the domicle state of the health insurer will control the policies issued not the domicle of the insured. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that insurers will move to the least regulated state. It will be a race to the bottom. Goodby mandatory coverage requirements, community ratings, etc.

The consequences will be good for the young and healthy. However, older individuals and those with pre-existing conditions will be priced out of the market. The latter consequence is well recognized by advocates of “across state line sales” (Shadegg & Hoekstra policy statement). They advocate development by the states of “high risk” pools to accommodate those individuals. The net result will be that the insurance industry will insure the young and healthy and the state the middle aged and sick.

Further, the advocates of “across state line sales” propose elimination of employer tax exclusions for employer group insurance in order to force workers into the individual health insurance market. Individuals would be provided a tax credit to assist in the purchase of individual coverage.

The conservative proposals for “across state line sales”, when considered in their entirity, would result in a dramatic change in how health insurance is provided in the U.S. It would move health insurance from group employer based coverage to the individual market and state high risk pools. I seriously doubt that the American public would support such changes if they truly understood the implications of the “across state line sales” proposals. It is not simply about creating more competition in the health insurance market.



Posted by: Rich at October 27, 2009 9:02 AM
Comment #289831

The Opt Out approach by Reid is an Opt In Compromise with the House in thinly veiled disguise.

Funny thing is, Republicans tout State’s rights as a principle, but, watch their reaction to the State’s Rights Opt In Conference Compromise. They will be apoplecticly opposed to State’s Rights. The Party of No will even oppose their own principles if the Democrats propose them. In other words, the GOP is allowing the Democrats to define and dictate their actions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 27, 2009 9:41 AM
Comment #289832

Mike, have your individual rights protected under the Bill of Rights been violated lately? Not that individual rights are perfectly upheld these days, they aren’t in a lot of cases, like ticketing Latinos and Latinas for being Latino or Latina.

But, in general, the public’s individual rights are pretty well protected at the federal level now that their chief abridgers have left the federal government in infamy.

First Amendment rights are protected for both Faux News and President Obama, as far as I can see. So, what’s your beef on this controversy?

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 27, 2009 9:46 AM
Comment #289833

Marysdude said: “Individuals only have those rights that are delineated by the Republican Constitution…”

Seems a pretty outrageous comment. There is only one Constitution, and politicians either govern their actions within it, or outside it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 27, 2009 9:48 AM
Comment #289845

DRR,

It was intended to be outrageous…I’ve been reading the different ways the Constitution is forwarded by those on the right who write here. I’m sorry if outrageous is a bad thing, but what I feel IS outrage much of the time. Those on the right seem to have claimed the United States Constitution unto themselves.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 11:16 AM
Comment #289851

Marysdude wrote; “Those on the right seem to have claimed the United States Constitution unto themselves.”

Which Constitution are you talking about Marysdude…the original or the one that has been bastardized by President’s, congress’s and the judiciary?

The original document and subsequent amendments to it are quite easy to understand by most people. What we now have in practice in this country by our government bears little resemblance to the intentions of our founders as we can easily determine by reading their papers. And, the further away from our founders intentions we stray, the more problems we create.

In the insurance industry there is a term used called “twisting” which refers to the forbidden practice of misrepresentation of our own product or the product of a competitor.

This same practice of twisting has been used down the years to misrepresent the intentions of our constitution. Our founders went to great length to spell out the limitations of the federal government and the rights of individuals and the powers to reside in the individual states.

The federal government has touched every aspect of our lives with its heavy hand. New collective rights are being “found” where none exist. New powers of invasion into private lives and industry are being “found” where none exist. No matter how well intentioned, there is no provision in the constitution establishing the welfare state we have become.

Many have read into our founding documents a guarantee of “equal results” where in fact the guarantee is of “equal treatment” under the law. Where the constitution prohibits the establishment of a national religion it has been misconstrued to mean a wall between church and state. That was never the intention of our founders.

We grant many of the rights of citizenship to those here illegally while denying the most basic right to life to the unborn. We have loonies demanding “animal rights” while we prohibit the right of property owners to use their own property. We have lobbyists in Washington with a voice greater than those who elect the very ones being lobbied.

We have congress declaring some crimes to be designated as “hate crimes” as though anyone is murdered or abused out of love. My friends, the inmates now control the insane asylum.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 12:19 PM
Comment #289852

David, How’s this for stupid?

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/DN-citations_23met.ART.State.Edition2.4bac015.html

No whar but Texas.

Posted by: gergle at October 27, 2009 12:21 PM
Comment #289853


The state governments have always been a major source of individual inequality.

Posted by: jlw at October 27, 2009 12:23 PM
Comment #289858

>Which Constitution are you talking about Marysdude…the original or the one that has been bastardized by President’s, congress’s and the judiciary?
The original document and subsequent amendments to it are quite easy to understand by most people.
Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 12:19 PM

Royal Flush,

Okay, I’ll bite:

There is nothing simple about the first, because Republicans think it means they have the right to shout down others who are in a discussion of serious subjects. The first comes under fire as to whether the freedom of religion also gives us freedom from religion. It comes under fire again when the question of government funded prayer is used in government funded institutions like our government funded schools, government funded parks, and at government funded courthouses, etc.

There is nothing clear about the second, because you think it has to do with your right to carry a gun, and I think it has to do with the right to form an armed militia.

How many of these do you need to reacquaint yourself with to under stand that clarity is not there?

The founders knew that, and they understood it long before the document was even begun to be written, else why would they have included the third branch in the balance of powers?

The reason the Constitution seems so simple to you is because you read it the way you want it to be, not the way it is…hence, the Republican Constitution was born, and continues to raise its ugly head.

It is impossible for you to believe that a document that is so conservative to you can be so liberal to me, and you have lost trust in the Supreme Court to settle our differences.

Are you proposing a revolution to end this bastardization of our Constitution? If so who would rewrite it, and who would be left out in the future America under your Constitutional concepts? Blacks again? Gays? Liberals? Stand-up Comics? Welfare Recipients? Union Workers?

Take your pick…if your revolution is successful, it will be your choice.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 2:24 PM
Comment #289860

PS:

There will soon be a ‘Conservative Bible’ to go along with your ‘Conservative Constitution’…in it will be missing all that silly sissy stuff of Jesus, which will be replaced by more of the Wrath of God stuff. Since there is a question in your mind about where religion belongs in our current Constitution, perhaps, after your revolution, you should rewrite it to coincide with this more conservative Bible translation/interpretation? That way you can leave out atheists for sure.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #289863

While I think this “opt out” is a bad idea and the public option gives individuals their own right to “opt out” I can kind of see why Reid is pushing for it. Ed Schultz pointed out that it is likely a political maneuver. By putting the public option in place for a year then allowing states to take away this option is pretty much sticking it to GOP governors and state legislators to actually be in the position of taking away someones’ health insurance. Then there will be the bombardment of ads about how this candidate took away people’s health care. And while it may be the best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party in red states, it still means that some of these people will have health care for a year only to have it snatched away by the likes of Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, or Rick Perry. Probably by that point, we can include Bob McDonnell, who will likely be my next governor, taking away my health insurance - because I would be first in line for a public option when and if we get such an option. I don’t think that using this as a political bludgeon is appropriate for such a serious issue even if it may be politically brilliant to do so.

Posted by: tcsned at October 27, 2009 3:00 PM
Comment #289865

Marysdude wrote; “It is impossible for you to believe that a document that is so conservative to you can be so liberal to me, and you have lost trust in the Supreme Court to settle our differences.”

Ah…there’s the rub. The document is conservative and has been bastardized to its present interpretation. Please direct me to the writings of our founders that support the liberalism you claim you find in our constitution.

And, the courts have aided in this misdirection so why should I trust them for my liberty?

Your error is very common marysdude. To believe the government we have today is consistent with our founders is a huge mistake.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 3:18 PM
Comment #289866
Funny thing is, Republicans tout State’s rights as a principle, but, watch their reaction to the State’s Rights Opt In Conference Compromise. They will be apoplecticly opposed to State’s Rights. The Party of No will even oppose their own principles if the Democrats propose them. In other words, the GOP is allowing the Democrats to define and dictate their actions.

David, there are no longer any State’s Rights. For all practical purposes the 10th Amendment was declared dead by Mellon back in 1923 and the Republicans just haven’t gotten the memo.

The way I understand this is going to work is that the public option will be fully funded based on premiums, and the subsidy to those who can’t afford it will come in the way of State grants as with Medicaid. States will have the option, as they do now with any grant, to accept or reject the federal funds, but they have long since become addicted to the money. Federal grants and cooperative agreements make up 36% of my state’s (South Carolina) total spending. Lover boy Sanford got great press when he said he wasn’t going to take the stimulus, but the reality is no State can say no when the drug pusher comes to call.

From the 1923 case back when Mass tried it:

First. The State of Massachusetts in its own behalf, in effect complains that the act in question invades the local concerns of the State, and is a usurpation of power, viz: the power of local self-government reserved to the States.

Probably it would be sufficient to point out that the powers of the State are not invaded, since the statute imposes no obligation, but simply extends an option which the State is free to accept or reject.

So who is at fault, the pusher or the user? Either way any State’s right that previously existed under the 10th has long since been pawned.

Posted by: George at October 27, 2009 3:20 PM
Comment #289867

What tcsned calls a brilliant move by Reid is merely an effort by him to hold his seat.

George wrote; “but the reality is no State can say no when the drug pusher comes to call.”

You are absolutely correct. This is certainly true in education, infrastructure, business regulation and much more. We give the federal government our tax dollars and they use it to bribe the states to do their bidding. Our founders never planned or imagined this state of affairs. Once again, it goes to prove that our Constitution has been bastardized.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 3:43 PM
Comment #289876

Royal Flush,

Are you ignoring my questions about how YOU would handle things after your revolution?

Since you know in your heart of hearts that we no longer live under the founder’s Constitution, and you are unwilling to live with that result, your recourse would then be to commit to revolution. Hence, my follow-up questions, that you fail to approach.

Liberal in the Constitution? Our collective freedom FROM religion. Our rights to assemble and to form armed militia. The abolishment of SLAVERY…oh, I’m sorry, that is one of those bastardizations of which you spoke…I’ll get it right sooer or later…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 4:40 PM
Comment #289877

PS:

Oh, and almost the entire Preamble.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 4:44 PM
Comment #289881

The constitution was written as, and intended to be a living document, along with the ability to amend it to compensate for social progress and unforeseen situations. To say it is and should strictly, word for word interpreted shows a complete lack of understanding of who wrote the document and what it was written for.

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 27, 2009 5:05 PM
Comment #289882

Marysdude…I don’t respond to nonsense.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 5:07 PM
Comment #289883

Mike…the constitution died years ago…stabbed in the heart by good intentions. And please, don’t lecture me about our founders intentions. If you believe they were liberal…please show me the writing by them which would indicate that position.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 5:21 PM
Comment #289886

The Federalist papers. The fact that they were enlightenment thinkers. Oh, and the fact that they were founding a country by overthrowing a traditional monarchy in favor of a democratic society…

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 27, 2009 5:39 PM
Comment #289887

OH please Mike…you can do better than that. Trying to hang a liberal label, with what it means today, on our revolution against GB is just juvenile. And yes…our founders were enlightened, they renounced the tyranny existing in Europe and created a Republic based upon government justifying its existence by protecting individual rights.

Our founders rejected collective rights as existed in many places as being in direct opposition of individual rights. Since our founding and over the decades our government has become the means of denying individual rights. It has become the tool of those who lust for and covet the property of others. Government as liberals would have it is a means to guarantee results, not a guarantee of individual freedom.

When government is encouraged to confiscate private property by whatever means, it no longer is in sync with, and is in direct opposition to, our founders intentions.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 6:19 PM
Comment #289890

> You know what is juvenile? Telling someone who throws up a challenge that might cause someone to have to rethink their position, that he is nonsensicle, and calling someone who makes some valid points juvenile. If you can’t argue the merits of your position, why are you here? Some call it trolling???

Posted by: Marysdude at October 27, 2009 7:04 PM
Comment #289891

I would challenge any liberal to show that our founders had the same (or remotely similar) liberal philosophy as we are witnessing today. And I believe juvenile is a perfectly acceptable word to use to describe such views.

For some to say our founders envisioned the liberal nanny state we have today is indeed nonsense.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 27, 2009 7:24 PM
Comment #289893
I don’t know if this has been brought out, but Jimmy Carter signed a 55 mph by executive order durng his reign and gave states the right to opt out. But, those who tried to opt out, had their fedral highway funds cut. Guess what happened?

Great Story, except it was Nixon, not Carter, who signed the 55 speed limit into law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/55_mph

The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a bill in the legislature of the United States federal government that enacted the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Law. States had to agree to the limit if they desired to receive federal funding for highway repair. The uniform speed limit was signed into law by President Nixon on January 2, 1974 and became effective 60 days later, by requiring the limit as a condition of each state receiving highway funds, a use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution

And before you try to push the blame to a Democratic congress, it was Nixon who recommended the limit…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 7:41 PM
Comment #289896

RF

The founding fathers were indeed liberal, or as is called now Classical Liberalism. Or, Libertarianism to be precise…

It was after progressive ideals injected themselves into what those who called themselves liberals believed that the distinction had to be made. It refers to the belief that societal needs outweight the individal rights that a person holds by virtue of being a human being. The difference has been labelled as ‘positive rights’ compared to ‘negative rights’. It basically says that someone’s right to self determination are not absolute.

The founding fathers would never have accepted that view, but the liberals of today refuse that argument because ‘we are a different type of country now’ as if that matters somehow.

The greatest comment I’ve seen so far is something along the lines of ‘rights are conferred by the constitution’ when those who wrote the constitution decidedly did not believe that in any way, shape or form. Which can be displayed by simply showing what they wrote about it at the time. Again, this evidence is just scoffed at because it doesn’t fit their world view and for some reason to feel better about their world view they have to change history to fit around it…

It seems that if they were that confident in that view they wouldn’t have to pretend that the country always saw the constitution that way.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 7:50 PM
Comment #289897

I thought this whole article was about people not having choices. When I mention that we should increase both choice and competition, I thought we would all be happy. When Dems talk about the government option, they claim they want to increase both. Not telling the truth, maybe.

Posted by: Christine at October 27, 2009 7:55 PM
Comment #289898

Christine,

The Dems only care about choice when it comes to the bedroom. The Reps only care about choice when it comes to money.

People who really care about choice, not just choice in what THEY want, care about it at all times, even when it doesn’t affect them at all…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 7:59 PM
Comment #289900

Royal Flush, although parts of the Constitution were severely weakened during the Bush administration (esp the 4th amendment), it is still very strong.

There are plenty of quotations from our founders advocating liberalism, that is the liberty to enjoy self-government, the liberty to have equal protection under the law, the liberty to worship freely, etc… There are also quotes warning of the dangers of an aristocracy and of allowing to much power to build up in the hands of a few private individuals.

Here are a few:


From Benjamin Franklin:
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
“All Wars are Follies, very expensive, and very mischievous ones.”
“There never was a good war or a bad peace.”

From Thomas Jefferson:


“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”


“I like the power given the Legislature to levy taxes, and for that reason solely approve of the greater house being chosen by the people directly. For though I think a house chosen by them will be very illy qualified to legislate for the Union, for foreign nations, etc., yet this evil does not weigh against the good of preserving inviolate the fundamental principle that the people are not to be taxed but by representatives chosen immediately by themselves.” —Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:387


“Many of the opposition [to the new Federal Constitution] wish to take from Congress the power of internal taxation. Calculation has convinced me that this would be very mischievous.” —Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788. ME 7:248

“I approved from the first moment of… the power of taxation [in the new Constitution]. I thought at first that [it] might have been limited. A little reflection soon convinced me it ought not to be.” —Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson, 1789. ME 7:300
“Aristocrats… fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society.” —Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1825. ME 16:96
“The banks… have the regulation of the safety-valves of our fortunes, and… condense and explode them at their will.” —Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1819. ME 15:224
“I sincerely believe… that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1816. ME 15:23

“The monopoly of a single bank is certainly an evil. The multiplication of them was intended to cure it; but it multiplied an influence of the same character with the first, and completed the supplanting the precious metals by a paper circulation. Between such parties the less we meddle the better.” —Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1802. ME 10:323


“Encouragement of agriculture and of commerce as its handmaid I deem [one of the] essential principles of our government, and consequently [one of] those which ought to shape its administration.” —Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:322


“I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” —Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816. FE 10:69

The only people I have seen “bastardize” the Constitution are the people on the right. This includes people who advocate government endorsement of Christian dogma. It also includes people who toss the 4th Amendment aside for national security reasons. They also want to intrude into a woman’s right to control her own body, who I may marry. Conservatives also seem to imagine that there is a right to be free from taxes in the Constitution, when in fact the opposite is the case. The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the ability to levy taxes and then spend those monies as prescribed by the will of the people. Posted by: Warped Reality at October 27, 2009 8:22 PM
Comment #289902

Warped,

You again make the mistake between classical liberalism and what passes for liberal thought (progressive / statism) today.

So, you are for those quotes? Let’s just start with the first one, shall we?

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Does the Health Care legislation come into play here in your mind?

As for this laughable quote “The Constitution explicitly gives Congress the ability to levy taxes and then spend those monies as prescribed by the will of the people.”

Err no. The Congress is limited to the expressly detailed limits that are in the constitution, not to stray beyond. You like Jefferson so much, how do you deal with these?

“Among the purposes to which the Constitution permits [Congress] to apply money, the granting premiums or bounties is not enumerated, and there has never been a single instance of their doing it, although there has been a multiplicity of applications. The Constitution has left these encouragements to the separate States.” —Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Maese, 1809. ME 12:231

“The construction applied… to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof,” goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to [the General Government’s] power by the Constitution… Words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.” —Thomas Jefferson: Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798. ME 17:385

“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.” —Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on National Bank, 1791. ME 3:147

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.” —Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on National Bank, 1791. ME 3:148

“Our tenet ever was… that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.” —Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1817. ME 15:133

“I hope our courts will never countenance the sweeping pretensions which have been set up under the words ‘general defence and public welfare.’ These words only express the motives which induced the Convention to give to the ordinary legislature certain specified powers which they enumerate, and which they thought might be trusted to the ordinary legislature, and not to give them the unspecified also; or why any specification? They could not be so awkward in language as to mean, as we say, ‘all and some.’ And should this construction prevail, all limits to the federal government are done away.” —Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1815. ME 14:350

“While we pursue, then, the construction of the Legislature, that the repairing and erecting lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and piers, is authorized as belonging to the regulation of commerce, we must take care not to go ahead of them and strain the meaning of the terms still further to the clearing out the channels of all the rivers, etc., of the United States. The removing a sunken vessel is not the repairing of a pier.” —Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1803. ME 10:379

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 8:53 PM
Comment #289903

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE59M4PB20091028?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

Don’t expect to see it happen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 9:00 PM
Comment #289904

The problem here is that people like to use the word “liberal” for the wrong reason. Liberalism is what founded this country, there’s no denying that. Well, you could try but you’d be wrong. Today’s “liberals” are just so named in contrast to “conservatives” who are just as “liberal” when it comes to the denial of rights. “liberal” is being used to describe extreme change, when that is not what the world really means or was understood at the time of this country’s founding.

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 27, 2009 9:07 PM
Comment #289905

Another trick “conservatives” love to try and pull is the idea that the constitution itself, the actual physical document, is all that matters. They completely ignore the vast library of commentary by the founding fathers fully and completely describing how they felt about many situations, as demonstrated above by the so thoughtfully provided quotes. In brushing off the federalist papers, along with the personal correspondences and essays by our founding fathers, conservatives try and paint a picture of the constitution as a static, unyielding document that “never said gays, blacks, women, etc., have any rights”.

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 27, 2009 9:11 PM
Comment #289906
the idea that the constitution itself, the actual physical document, is all that matters.

Well, when it comes to the final law of the land, it is…

When the Justices are ‘stuck’ on what the constitution means, they should go back to the original writer’s words for additional meaning, like the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. But on for that purpose, debated ideas and memos are not the rule of the land.

And it is static, to a point. It can be amended through the amendment process and thankfully has been done several times. But other than the amendment process it cannot be simply ‘ignored’ when it gets in the way.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 27, 2009 9:41 PM
Comment #289913

Rhinehold,

I don’t consider myself a statist. I used to consider myself a liberal, and I still do on social issues, which were the biggest issues when I voted for President for the first time in 2008. I thought Obama was the best choice for ending DADT, warrant-less wiretaps, torture at GITMO, etc… So far I am disappointed, but perhaps things will be different in 2012 I vote to reelect (or not reelect) him. Nevertheless, I have an opportunity to send him a message now in the upcoming special election to fill the Senate Seat left by Ted Kennedy (I’m registered to vote in Massachusetts).

Regarding taxes in the Constitution, I erred. I was only referencing the sixteenth amendment, which gives broad taxation powers. Of course spending is limited by Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

I don’t think those Jefferson quotes imply the narrow view of general welfare that you adhere to.

They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.
They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.
This quote warns against attempts to use means other than taxation to pursue the general welfare. One example of such an unconstitutional endeavor would be conscription of doctors in order to administer a universal health-care plan they did not support. Perhaps I am missing somewhere where Jefferson in effect says “Congress cannot spend money on projects at the whim of the people”

What’s your definition of “General Welfare”?


Regarding Healthcare, I do not see what liberty I am sacrificing by supporting universal healthcare. Could my taxes go up? Sure. I’m only 19 years old right now, so I’ll be living with any debt this thing creates for perhaps half a century. However, I fail to see any right not to be taxed in the Constitution. The sixteenth amendment gives Congress the ability to levy an income tax at any rate they choose. If I am unhappy, I vote to replace Congress with new people who will lower my taxes.

One last thing I want to say is that when people on the left speak of a “right” to education or a “right” to health-care, they are committing an error. There is no such thing as a group right, only individuals can have those. However, groups can have privileges, which are subject to the rights of individuals. For example, as a citizen of the United States I have the privilege of being protected by the military from foreign threats. However, the voters may choose to severely limit the military’s budget so that it is unable to adequately protect me. Thus, this privilege of security exists only as far as the government and the electorate are willing to support it. This is also true for all the other “universal services” that the government provides such as a transportation system (highways+trains+boats), a postal system, utilities such as water, gas sewage. Same goes for health-care and education.
That said, there are limits to these “privileges” when it comes to our “General Welfare” as prescribed by the Constitution. One may think it would improve the “General Welfare” of the country if the government borrowed three trillion dollars and then gave every citizen a check for ten thousand dollars. However this goes against the spirit of what the founders meant. They desired an equalization of opportunities, not an equalization of outcomes. That’s why I oppose some federal welfare programs that merely hand out food stamps or cash to able-bodied adults with little to no regard to helping these people find decent paying jobs.

One other last thing, Rhinehold. I’ve seen you write in the past in support for a publicly funded public education system (albeit with vouchers). What’s the difference when it comes to healthcare? I know you support HSA’s and eliminating the prohibition of interstate insurance companies, but from what I read from you writing, it seems that HSA’s would require the beneficiary to fund them, which is not how you phrase your proposals for a voucher based education system, which would be payed by the government(and ultimately the taxpayer). Perhaps I am misreading you and really do support the idea of taxpayer funded health-care vouchers that would roll over and everything else.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 28, 2009 1:22 AM
Comment #289914

Platforms change in politics. It would be very difficult indeed to compare Abe’s party, or even Ike’s party (Ike saw the need for a Federal Highway System and acted on that perceived need. Current Republicans see the need for universal health care and hide their heads in the sand)to the Republican Party of today. There are differences between HST’s Democrats and Clinton’s Democrats. For you to say that liberalism of the eighteenth century was different than liberalism today is disingenuous. That difference is an even better reason to assume the fluidity of our Constitution. But, the basis for liberalism remains the one of progress and change, while conservatism remains a position of status quo, and strict adherence.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 28, 2009 2:46 AM
Comment #289915

My apologies…number 289914 hould have included a ‘to Rhinehold’ tag.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 28, 2009 2:49 AM
Comment #289917

Royal Flush made the illogical comment: “Which Constitution are you talking about Marysdude…the original or the one that has been bastardized by President’s, congress’s and the judiciary?”

There is only one Constitution which originally and still delineates the mechanisms by which it may be modified, amended, done away with, and interpreted for posterity. To call the changes in the Constitution and the laws which emanated from it, bastardizations, appears to be a condemnation of the original intent to allow it to be changed and interpreted as historical changes unfolded.

Are you really longing for a return to the original Constitution which, allowed slavery and discounted the humanity of African Americans, State Legislatures to elect our Senators and President, denial of the vote for women, or limiting government capacity to that which can be paid for by foreign tariffs and protectionist exports and imports?

Please, say it isn’t so.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 28, 2009 5:44 AM
Comment #289918

Warped Reality, your argument to Rhinehold will fall on deaf ears. Rhinehold has asserted many times his belief that UNenumerated individual rights, (those which Rhinehold defines for himself since they are not defined in the Constitution) have priority and should have protection from the democratic process of the Congress as public representatives. Which directly leads to the conclusion that Rhinehold believes he knows what should and should not be allowed as Constitutional, and his authority on this matter is irrefutable. In other words, by the logic of his own debates with me in the past on this issue, Rhinehold’s view is authoritarian which, presumes his own values and priorities as those to be sustained if he were the Authoritarian in charge. He asserts unenumerated rights as a priority for public policy, but, being unenumerated, he argues still that he knows what those rights are. Doesn’t get more authoritarian than that, as far as I can see.

Your arguments will succeed as well with Rhinehold as they would have with Mao Tse Tung, Benito Mussolini, or the Imperialist British Empire of the 18th and 19th centuries, or any other authoritarians who presume the law is whatever they say it is, whenever they say it, and subject to change whenever they change what they say. GW Bush was an authoritarian in this regard with his use of Signing Memos which rewrote the provisions of law passed by Congress in accordance with what Bush decided would be best for enforcement and ignoring.

I commend you however, for continuing the good debate to keep authoritarian based rhetoric and argument at bay and challenged in our American public forums.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 28, 2009 5:59 AM
Comment #289919

MF
If the opt out clause reaches the floor and passes,and I do not think it will,the same low wage,low benefit states that suffer from the so called”right to work” anti union loopholes provided in the Taft-Hartly Amendments will fall in line to screw working class people.So of course,once again, the poorest states will continue to provide the poorest health care,the poorest education etc. while the rest of us pick up the tab. Some people will move to other states. They do already to get better wages and benefits. Health care would be just one more reason.
It is interesting politically. The Rep reps from the states ,mostly Southern, that would jump at the chance to opt out to keep their masters happy would be risking a future backlash that could actually destroy for them the last remaining holdout region under Rep control.They are scum, but they are smart scum and it is not likely they will step into that particular trap. A more likely scenario is the Snowe proposal that brings in a public option only in states where there is not enough competition of carriers. Of course that would allow them to declare that there was just oodles of competition and they could opt out through the back door,a much more agreeable option for scoundrels.

Posted by: bills at October 28, 2009 7:24 AM
Comment #289934

Making any argument that the founders would side with this part or that party is engaging in presentism or pastism. They would not recognize the America of today many things with horror and many with pride. I doubt if any southern politician would have sided with the Democrats because of race issues and they would all be horrified at the size of our standing army and what it is being used for by the Republicans. These men wrote a couple of the greatest political documents in human history despite their flaws but no one has a clue of how they would feel about today’s politics.

Posted by: tcsned at October 28, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #289936

David R. Remer,
Until Rhinehold responds, I don’t think it is prudent to comment on what he “probably will say” until he actually says it.

I’ve been reading Watchblog for five years now and I have read many of the discussions you’ve had with Rhinehold and I don’t get the impression that he is authoritarian to the extent that you imply. The ninth and tenth amendments say there are rights not enumerated by the Constitution that are still held by the people. For example, it is commonly believed that there is a “right to privacy” yet this is not explicitly stated. Same goes for the implied right to not have the govt endorse any religious doctrine, even if said religion is not declared by a state religion by Congress. I think I’ve seen Rhinehold in the past state that he believes along the lines of, “I have the right to do anything I want as long as it does not negatively impact anyone else”, but I’d like him to reiterate that just so I can make sure I have the correct idea of his beliefs. If what I think I’ve seen is true, then there is one important difference between Rhinehold and the totalitarians you cite. Mao would never have contemplated that there was a limit on what he could do to the Chinese, Rhinehold recognizes that each and every person has certain unalienable rights that cannot be infringed upon. Unfortunately, Rhinehold fails to see how some of the “rights” he claims actually conflict with his doctrine of, “I have the right to do anything I want as long as it does not negatively impact anyone else”.

I would really like to hear his definition of “general welfare”, especially considering that he will be creating this definition in a 21st century context rather than an eighteenth century context. With our increased technology and increased population densities, there is a much larger need for government to play a role in ensuring the general welfare than there was in the 1790s. While it is very helpful to read what the founders thought regarding how the general welfare clause should be used, we must learn how to adapt the static words of the Constitution to the dramatically different context we find ourselves today. Once upon a time it was not considered cruel or unusual to execute someone for a non-homicidal crime, today the courts only approve of capital punishment for cases involving murder. (However I think treason may still technically be a capital crime, but I do not think anyone has been prosecuted for treason recently.)

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 28, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #289941

I wrote a response to Mr. Remer’s comment to me which read;

“Royal Flush made the illogical comment: “Which Constitution are you talking about Marysdude…the original or the one that has been bastardized by President’s, congress’s and the judiciary?”

For reasons unknown to me my comments were not accepted by the editors of the site. Sorry folks…another brilliant composition by me is lost.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 28, 2009 12:59 PM
Comment #289946

Warped Reality, read carefully my comment. I responded to what Rhinehold HAS ALREADY SAID in a host of comments and articles in the archives here. What part of “Rhinehold has asserted many times” do you not understand as past tense and evidenciary?

I am not predicting what Rhinehold will say. I am summarizing what Rhinehold has already said, many more times than once. I know, I was the person he made those statements to.

As for your comment: “I don’t get the impression that he is authoritarian to the extent that you imply.” I can only ask you to reread my previous comment for comprehension this time. For it is in my previous comment that make the logical argument that Rhinehold’s past position on unenumerated rights leads directly to his assertion that 1) they exist even if not defined for the rest of us, trust his authority on this, and 2) that these undefined rights are abridged by our current govenrnment, which asserts again that he knows what undefined rights are under assault, even though those rights lack any definition except his own. That Warped Reality, is authoritarian. Anyone who makes claims about unenumerated rights in the Constitution as having any legal standing or definition, is authoring their own definition as to what those rights are. Hence, by definition, their authoring is author-itarian.

You even allude to a potential authoritarian view by Rhinehold on the definition of “general welfare” when you say:

I would really like to hear his definition of “general welfare”, especially considering that he will be creating this definition in a 21st century context rather than an eighteenth century context.

To author the definitions of government as an individual is, without any equivocation, an authoritarian approach. Fortunately for Americans, we don’t let any one individual author their own definitions of what unenumerated rights are or what general welfare means. In America, we allocate that responsibility to our representatives as groups whether they be the justices of the Supreme Court or the Congress. Not even the President decides what is in the general welfare, within the constraints of the Constitution, without the consent of the Congress and review of the Supreme Court. That is how we keep authoritarians from taking over, though GW Bush et. al. gamed the molasses pace of such checks and balances, pretty effectively.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 28, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #289947

Royal Flush,

Aaah, the one that got away….:-)

Posted by: gergle at October 28, 2009 1:53 PM
Comment #289952

As Democrats of the Democratic Party, we are joining together in seeking reform within the Democratic Party.

Many of our elected representatives within the Democratic Party are no longer following in the time-honored footsteps laid down by the founding fathers of our great Nation. More importantly, we as democrats see our elected representatives within the Democratic Party abandoning the values and principles as set forth within the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Nonetheless, this is only the beginning of our problems as Democrats, for the current Democratic Party leadership is tainted by corruption and being taken over by Socialists. These Socialists are clearly a threat to everything we hold sacred in America, and they are gaining evermore control over our Democratic Party, our Nation, and the American people.

Despite this, we as Democrats can restore control of the Democratic Party back to the party members. All we need to do is cut off donations to the local, state, and national headquarters of the Democratic Party, and to make sure the donations are made directly to patriotic and honorable Democratic Party candidates that are not corrupt and/or Socialist.

So please help spread the message to everyone of our fellow Democrats. Also, don’t forget to contact and request the Unions and other outside contributors to follow our lead as patriotic Americans.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Website: http://www.democraticreformparty.com

Posted by: Eric Pearson at October 28, 2009 4:03 PM
Comment #289955


Eric Pearson, do you have a hit list of the Democratic Socialist politicians? It would be helpful to know who not to vote for. Without a list, I guess it would only be safe to vote for Baucus and Lieberman.

I look forward to the time when we can rid the Democratic Party of Socialists. Then we can get rid of their Socialist agenda like Social Security, Medicare and my favorate, those Socialist workplace rules that protect workers.

Posted by: jlw at October 28, 2009 4:51 PM
Comment #289968

David, you said

Warped Reality, your argument to Rhinehold will fall on deaf ears.

That is future tense and therefore a prediction. Rhinehold may have exhibited certain behaviors in the past, but there is no way to say with absolute certainty that he will not do something different.

Regarding authoritarianism, I see now that I misread your statement. Rhinehold does not advocate an authoritarian government in the likes of Mao and Mussolini. Instead, he advocates an absolutist regime with the limitations he dictates. He incorrectly assumes that that the limitations of Government as stated by the Constitution are objective, but they are not. This is especially true of unenumerated rights, which must be recognized by one of the three branches of government in order to have any chance of existing. Perhaps this is an enlightened despotism of sorts, but a despotism nevertheless.

Posted by: Warped Reality at October 28, 2009 6:57 PM
Comment #289977

If it walks like a duck…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 28, 2009 8:49 PM
Comment #289978

Individual right. It should be for the person to decide not the state or fed’s, to opt out or not.

Oh your rights are whatever the Messiah Obama gives you.

KT

Posted by: KT at October 28, 2009 9:03 PM
Comment #289981

seriously, enough with the messiah thing. time to grow up.

Posted by: Mike Falino at October 28, 2009 9:58 PM
Comment #289984
good point Marysdude, will this in effect restrict movement between states because some people will not move to a state that doesn’t offer the plan?

Hi Mike, doesn’t this answer one of your concerns in the article? If TX opts out and people in TX want what their neighbors have, they can move to that state. So whatever restrictions (on people who are only restricted because of an adherence to government entitlements) exist because of limited access to the public option would be supplanted by those who would move to get the public option.

My problem with a state that would opt out is that they can’t also opt out of paying in. States should not only be able to opt out of participation but also opt out of funding it for everyone else. I would be fine living in a state that didn’t force me to contribute my money into this disgusting government-expansion-reform.

We have states for a reason. Americans should have every right to live in a state that tries to avoid sinking on the SS OBAMA.

Posted by: OttO at October 29, 2009 12:30 AM
Comment #289989

OttO,

My musings were thrown out there to generate some thought on the subject. Apparently it flew by you. Those moving to another state to take advantage of the ‘option’ would, by their very nature, be the marginals in society (the ones who could afford to move, hence worker bees), and those staying would be the ones who get all their medical care in emergency rooms now. I assume you think Texas as an opt outer might refuse emergency medical treatments to indigents? If they did, would it lead to contagion in Texas? Thinking is gooood! You should try it sometime.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 29, 2009 7:00 AM
Comment #290006

Eric pearson,
If you’re trying to disguise yourself as a democrat for your own nefarious reasons, don’t use the word socialism. You gave your already obvious disguise away. Nice try though, well not really.

Posted by: Schwamp at October 29, 2009 1:04 PM
Comment #290026

Schwamp,

EPearson would not know a socialist if it jumped up and bit him. His rant (ramble?) was merely a hate-filled Glenn Beck tirade minus the tears. But, with all the empty logic that Beck spews.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 29, 2009 7:46 PM
Comment #290037

The HBO/BHO Hollywoodland conspiracy will be revealed in By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, Tuesday, November 3 at 9pm only on HBO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf4QEjBLGSE&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpCo4sqLwfg

Posted by: ohrealy at October 29, 2009 10:46 PM
Comment #290058

I was listening to two US Senators; John Barraso and Tom Coburn, both MD’s discussing the health care bills on their bi-weekly internet show called, “Senate Doctors Show” which I find interesting and perhaps you will also. Go to: http://republican.senate.gov/doctors/ if interested.

I did not know, but was informed by these Senator/Doctors, that nearly 11 million Americans are eligible for Medicaid but have not applied and that nearly 5 American children are eligible for SCHIP but are not enrolled. That’s nearly 16 million uninsured Americans who already qualify for care under existing programs.

I read this morning in the NY Times that about $500 billion of the cost of the bills being considered is assumed to be recovered from Medicare savings. These savings will come from reduced benefits. As a Medicare recipient I have already seen first hand a reduction of benefits in the 5 years I have been a recipient of Medicare.

Now…does anyone believe that a $500 billion reduction in Medicare benefits will not be noticed by our seniors? Seniors make up a huge voting block and it won’t take long before all the proposed reductions will be eliminated…and with it the so-called savings of $500 billion.

How will that $500 billion be replaced to pay for the health care plan? Take a guess. I think you already know the answer.

In addition, the health care bills now being considered call for $400 billion in new taxes. Since nearly 50% of Americans pay no tax does anyone really believe that only the hated rich will be paying them. Of course not, and…when more money is needed it will come in the form of additional taxes.

As the two Senator/Doctors point out, we have the best quality of care in the world…the problem is not the care, but the cost. And, there are many ways to address cost without adding a huge new government bureaucracy containing 82 new departments to effect savings in our present health care system.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 1:43 PM
Comment #290060

An independent source to back up the $400 billion in new taxes contained in my post above.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, wrote;

“These costs will be passed on to consumers by either directly raising insurance premiums, or by fueling higher health-care costs that inevitably lead to higher premiums,”

“Most astounding of all, is what this Congress is willing to do to struggling middle-class families. The bill would impose nearly $400 billion in new taxes and fees. Nearly 90 percent of that burden will be shouldered by those making $200,000 or less.”

Hmmm, what was that promise Mr. Obama made not long ago about not raising taxes on the middle class? Will he veto this bill if it contains such tax increases?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 2:18 PM
Comment #290063

Just because a couple of republican bozos say it doin’t make it true. Both are proven liars.

Posted by: Jeff at October 30, 2009 4:40 PM
Comment #290064

And the proof that they are liars can be found where?

As usual…attack the messenger and don’t even address the message. So thoughtful.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 6:07 PM
Comment #290066

It’s thoughtful if the message is based on lies and exaggerations.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 30, 2009 6:57 PM
Comment #290068

Flush - your source is hardly an unbiased fountain of information. He was John McCain’s economic adviser in his failed presidential run. Anything this man says should be treated as coming from a GOP partisan source. He was also appointed by Mitch McConnell to a financial crisis panel and also claimed, during McCain’s campaign that McCain helped “create” the Blackberry device. We have seen what the GOP has in the way of credibility on this issue - death panels, communism & fascism accusations, and basically being shills for their insurance company campaign donors. If you want your arguments to be taken seriously you need some sources that aren’t partisan hacks, blogs, or Faux News. There has been a tendency lately to not look too closely at sources of information with a critical eye. This guy is a hack.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2009 7:10 PM
Comment #290069

Brilliant response marysdude. Perhaps you can help Jeff out and provide some evidence of lying. Oh, wait…that would require going to the link I provided and listen. But, that would involve some effort so I guess not. It’s just easier to call anyone who disagrees with the party line a liar.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 7:16 PM
Comment #290078

It sure would be great if someone would actually respond to what was said rather than attack a persons character. When all else fails…attack the messenger. Not surprising. Liberals can’t win an argument with knowledge and logic.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 30, 2009 8:15 PM
Comment #290083

Royal Flush,
I don’t think you understand what it means “to attack the messenger not the message.” You claimed that Eakin was an independent source when I pointed out that he is not. Not even close. That is not attacking the messenger that is assessing the credibility of the source. That is what historians do, at least that’s how I was taught. That is what journalists are supposed to do. It would have been fine to say that this is what Eakin, a former economic adviser to the McCain campaign said … or even just Eakin said ” …” but you said independent source, something that seems central to your argument. I am just pointing out that he was far from “independent” about as independent as I am.

“Attacking the messenger” is attacking the person for something unrelated or personal, not the facts or evidence that person is presenting. If I said Eakin has no credibility because he cheated on his wife, then that would be attacking the messenger. [note: that is just an example I am not asserting anything about Mr. Eakin other than that he is not “independent”]

I did address what was said - I said that this information is from a politically affiliated source and as it is a GOP source, it was probably written by an insurance industry lobbyist and is thus, suspect.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2009 10:10 PM
Comment #290087

Royal Flush,

And, I didn’t attack anybody, I merely observed that your little tail, ‘So Thoughtful’, was indeed thoughtful because the source was likely lying. Heat — kitchen.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 31, 2009 4:45 AM
Comment #290110

Did anyone notice that “opt-out” coverage would not begin until 2017 or 19 (don’t remember which) and would only be used by about 2% of the people. This talk of a government takeover is greatly dis-proven by fact again and again. Yet the “Right” fails to look at those pesky thing. Your religion must be so comforting.

Posted by: timesend at November 1, 2009 9:12 AM
Comment #290222

First, I want to apologize for being gone so long, it has been a very eventful few weeks…

I used to consider myself a liberal

As do I

and I still do on social issues

As do I

which were the biggest issues when I voted for President for the first time in 2008. I thought Obama was the best choice for ending DADT, warrant-less wiretaps, torture at GITMO, etc… So far I am disappointed, but perhaps things will be different in 2012 I vote to reelect (or not reelect) him.

I didn’t have any illusions about what Obama was really about, I predicted the situation he is in atm and for those reasons didn’t vote for him or McCain. Neither one deserved my vote and therefore did not get it. I guard my vote very jealously.

I don’t think those Jefferson quotes imply the narrow view of general welfare that you adhere to.

I disagree, obviously. That view is not based on just those quotes but on many more. I own the complete writings of Thomas Jefferson, a book that I would recommend anyone intersted in freedom to own, as well as the entire Federalist AND Anti-Federalist Papers. I have many of the writings of John Adams, George Washington and James Madison. I have done a lot of research over the past 30 years on the subject.

What’s your definition of “General Welfare”?

As for my definition of “general welfare” in the context of the Constitution, I again go back to Thomas Jefferson who stated:

“[If] it [were] assumed that the general government has a right to exercise all powers which may be for the ‘general welfare,’ that [would include] all the legitimate powers of government, since no government has a legitimate right to do what is not for the welfare of the governed.”

In this case, the only action that a government can take is action that will not directly harm the welfare of the country. The country as a whole, not individuals, since that would be an impossiblity…

This quote warns against attempts to use means other than taxation to pursue the general welfare.

Mmm, no it doesn’t. At least, that is not what Jefferson meant by it. This is backed up by other quotes of Jefferson on the topic and further context around the quote.

One example of such an unconstitutional endeavor would be conscription of doctors in order to administer a universal health-care plan they did not support.

Except that once you determine healthcare as a right, that is what would be required. But that’s for another topic…

Perhaps I am missing somewhere where Jefferson in effect says “Congress cannot spend money on projects at the whim of the people”

How about these quotes for such examples?

“The construction applied… to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof,” goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to [the General Government’s] power by the Constitution… Words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers ought not to be construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument.”

“Our tenet ever was… that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.”

“I hope our courts will never countenance the sweeping pretensions which have been set up under the words ‘general defence and public welfare.’ These words only express the motives which induced the Convention to give to the ordinary legislature certain specified powers which they enumerate, and which they thought might be trusted to the ordinary legislature, and not to give them the unspecified also; or why any specification? They could not be so awkward in language as to mean, as we say, ‘all and some.’ And should this construction prevail, all limits to the federal government are done away.”

Regarding Healthcare, I do not see what liberty I am sacrificing by supporting universal healthcare.

First, since the federal government does not have the power to enact universal healthcare, it is a violation of the constitution. If we are to allow anything we want to be implemented against the specified limits of the constitution, how can we get upset when someone else does the same thing that we disagree with? The Patriot Act? It was for our protection, who cares of it was constitutional or not, if I’m not doing anything wrong how does it affect my liberty?

Do you see how that same argument can be used by those who you disagree with? If we really want the federal government to have this power, why not support an amendment to the constitution to explicitly give it to them? That is why the amendment process was put into our constitution for those very things that may present themselves.

However, I fail to see any right not to be taxed in the Constitution. The sixteenth amendment gives Congress the ability to levy an income tax at any rate they choose. If I am unhappy, I vote to replace Congress with new people who will lower my taxes.

The taxation is not the issue, I’ve never said that the federal government didn’t have the power to tax. It just doesn’t have the power to implement a health insurance plan. It does have the power to ‘regulate’ interstate commerce, but because of their own laws health insurance is not interstate commerce. If they were to lift the state limitations that they have placed on health insurance, then I say that they can regulate health insurance. But that is not the same thing as implementing health insurance itself. There are lots of things that the federal government COULD do, but nothing that has been presented falls within those areas.

One other last thing, Rhinehold. I’ve seen you write in the past in support for a publicly funded public education system (albeit with vouchers). What’s the difference when it comes to healthcare? I know you support HSA’s and eliminating the prohibition of interstate insurance companies, but from what I read from you writing, it seems that HSA’s would require the beneficiary to fund them, which is not how you phrase your proposals for a voucher based education system, which would be payed by the government(and ultimately the taxpayer). Perhaps I am misreading you and really do support the idea of taxpayer funded health-care vouchers that would roll over and everything else.

I would much rather see the income tax amendment repealed, not because I don’t think that the federal government shouldn’t be funded, but because I find the implementation of an income tax immoral. Taxing someone for the single action of working to better their lives is despicible IMO. I support alternative taxation methods that target the people using the services for which they are being taxed for. For example, the gasoline tax to pay for a highway system is a good use of taxation powers. Taxing phone usage, both landline and cellular, to help pay for the regulation and projects regarding our communication systems is appropriate. But to be taxed just for working… That just isn’t right to me.

But, I also understand that an overnight change to that view is far too chaotic to be enacted so quickly. So supporting vouchers and, as a replacement for vouchers, eventually tax credits. This allows us to move to a better method of funding and directing our educational programs but incent those in the system to achieve more, etc. Obviously what we are doing now is NOT working.

Unfortunately, this is not a move toward better methods but worse. If they had left the plans to be ‘insurance companies cannot turn anyone away for pre-existing conditions, they can operate across state lines to allow for competition, and provided incentives for living a healthy life and shopping for lower cost healthcare when they are able’ then I would have supported such regulations. But that is definately not the intent of the plans being offered…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 4, 2009 12:58 AM
Comment #290223
Instead, he advocates an absolutist regime with the limitations he dictates.

That *I* dictate? LOL, not hardly. What the constitution dictates? Absolutely.

The US Constitution is different than most documents of its kind. It was written with the idea that the our rights were not granted to us by our government but existed because we were sentient beings. This is not MY interpretation, those are the words of those who wrote the document. Changing the document to insinuate that our rights are only granted when the government recognizes them is not what the founders intended at all.

If the document is written with limits, as I explained, and the government can only work within those limits, then there is no way to violate those rights that we have by being human beings. There is no need for the government to protect those rights because it is against the government that those rights exist. Since the government is the only entity that can use force against another, then they are the only ones who can legally violate those rights.

Now, I’ll ask you the same question that I’ve asked David without getting an answer to. Did we have a right to privacy before the Supreme Court ‘found’ it miraculously in the 10th amendment or did it always exist but there was no need to address it because no one was violating it?

He incorrectly assumes that that the limitations of Government as stated by the Constitution are objective, but they are not.

Objective? No, not at all. *I* am not the one trying to change the constitution to fit their political desires, the ones being ‘objective’ with it are the Democrats and Republicans who ignore what was written by the people who wrote the words in order to fit the words around their political aspirations.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 4, 2009 1:45 AM
Comment #290305

Rhinehold

First, I want to apologize for being gone so long, it has been a very eventful few weeks…

Don’t worry, I spent most of the past week away from Watchblog as I had a pair of midterm exams this week that I needed to study for. In fact this comment will be on the short side as I have a class at 5:20 and don’t want to be late. I’ll come back later to address a few more of your points.

The one thing I want address right away is this:

I disagree, obviously. That view is not based on just those quotes but on many more. I own the complete writings of Thomas Jefferson, a book that I would recommend anyone intersted in freedom to own, as well as the entire Federalist AND Anti-Federalist Papers. I have many of the writings of John Adams, George Washington and James Madison. I have done a lot of research over the past 30 years on the subject.

Right now, most people have not had the experience you’ve had becoming familiar with the writings of our founders in the first decades of our nation’s history. Therefore, we must rely people such as you to provide for us and to interpret our founder’s writings. In that sense, you have “absolute” control over interpretation of the Constitution. It’s similar to Orwell’s Animal Farm when the pigs control access to Old Major’s philosophy.

This brings me to my question,

What are the ISBN’s of your copies of our founder’s writings? I am very interested in checking them out of the library and giving them a good read. So far I’ve only seen scraps and fragments on the internet, but never the whole works in their full contexts.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 5, 2009 5:15 PM
Comment #290306

Warped, I will get you those numbers when I get back home, right now I am about 1500 miles away from those books. :)

I did a quick look and found http://www.constitution.org/tj/jeff.zip as being advertised as being the complete works of TJ, but I haven’t been able to compare it to my book yet, obviously. It does appear to have a large number of them from a quick glance.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2009 5:49 PM
Comment #290307

BTW, the fact that our students are not steeped in this information and you are suggesting that I, because of my research, am an expert is very sad to me…

It also explains a lot.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2009 5:50 PM
Comment #290308

BTW, while this download I pointed to appears to be one large txt file (arg) it does appear to be pretty copmlete. It includes Lincoln’s tribute to Jefferson that I am going to post here, it is very good.

GENTLEMEN: Your kind note inviting me to attend a festival in Boston, on the 28th instant, in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot come.

Bearing m mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country, that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat and empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere.

Remembering, too, that the Jefferson party formed upon the supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only and greatly inferior, and assuming that the so called Democracy of to-day are the Jefferson, and their opponents the anti-Jefferson party, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed hands as to the principle upon which theywere originally supposed to be divided. The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man’s right of property; Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.

I remember being very much amused at seeing two partially intoxicated men engaged in a fight with their great-coats on, which fight, after a long and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself out of his own coat and into that of the other. If the two leading parties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson and Adams they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men.

But soberly, it is now no child’s play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation. One would state with great confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are true, but nevertheless he would fail, utterly, with one who should deny the definitions and axioms.

The principles. of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society and yet they are denied and evaded, with no small show of success. One dashingly calls them “glittering generalities.” Another bluntly calls them ” self-evident lies ” and others insidiously argue that they apply to ” superior races.” These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object and effect-the supplanting the principles of free government, and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting against the people. They are the vanguard, the miners and sappers of returning despotism. We must repulse them, or they will subjugate us. This is a world of compensation ; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it. All honor to Jefferson-to the man, who in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecaste, and sagacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so embalm it there that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

Your obedient servant,

A. LlNCOLN.

Great men are such for reasons. Two of them become obvious from this address by one concerning another.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 5, 2009 6:00 PM
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