I find myself disturbed, puzzled, and a little angry at the media these days, and at a lot of my fellow citizens - and legislators. I see a lot of argument online, on TV, and in papers about what should be in the "health care reform" bill. What I do not see is any discussion of whether or not the federal government even has the right to do anything at all as far as health care. I've read over the United States Constitution pretty carefully, several times, and cannot find anything in there that says the federal government is allowed to be in the business of providing health care to anyone. All I can find is a very vague mention in Article 8, Section 1 where the congress should "provide for the common defense and general welfare." Since a number of other very specific powers of congress are enumerated in that article, I do not take that opening phrase to be a wide open permission for congress to do essentially anything that any congressperson thinks might vaguely be construed as somehow contributing to the "general welfare." In fact, when you take the 9th and 10th amendments into consideration, it very much seems as though the intent of that entire article was to limit what congress could do, not simply make a few suggestions to get them started. Indeed, in the words of James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution" in a letter to James Robertson:
"With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
I find that this entire enterprise is of questionable constitutionality. In fact, the same argument could be applied to Medicare and Social Security.
President Franklin Pierce's 1854 veto of a measure to help the mentally ill:
"I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. [To approve the measure] would be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."
Isn't taking money away from one taxpayer to pay for insurance for another really charity? And isn't this especially onerous when the large majority of citizens already have insurance? There's a term for taking money from one group of people and giving it to another group:
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!" - Which many will no doubt recognize as a Socialist slogan popularized by Karl Marx.
And one last point: when did it become acceptable for our elected representatives to pass into law bills which they have, by their own admission, not even read? And who would ever have suspected that such a thing could ever happen? I will give you another quote from James Madison: "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood. "
It is well past the time when the news media and the people of this country should demand that our elected representatives stop violating the Constitution that defines our nation.