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News Link • Healthcare

President Obama vs. the Individual Mandate

• Reason magazine

President Obama wasn't always a defender of the requirement. On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama opposed a mandate, and used his opposition to differentiate himself from his chief opponent, Hillary Clinton.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Dennis Treybil
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 No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

Obviously, this is not the commerce clause.  However, this clause was "inspired" or brought about by a very real situation that developed between 1783 (official cessation of hostilities) and 1787 (the year of the constitutional convention).

It seems that Maryland and Delaware were charging ships bound from Pennsylvania to the sea fees for passing through "their" waters.  These fees threatened to weaken Pennsylvania.  If Pennsylvania was weakened, the entire fledgling union was weakened.  This increased the likelihood of re-invasion by Europe.

Worse, if combat erupted over this, a distinct possibility, that would almost assure re-invasion by Europe.

This situation demonstrated how conflicts in commerce could lead to convulsion within inviting invasion from without.  (Italicized phrases borrowed from the Declaration of Independence).  The clause cited above directly addresses THAT situation.

Article I Section 8:  The Congress shall have power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

This language gives Congress the power to regulate commerce in a more general sense.

So there's the word "regulate".  And the word "regulate" helps clarify the intended meaning.

Consider the second amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

"Well regulated" means "effective" - effective in quelling convulsion within or repelling invasion from without.  Both of these events are seen as being contrary to promotion of the general welfare.

A government that governs best governs least.  But a government that governs least still governs.  Except that commercial conflicts might lead to riots or invasion, a government that governs least can leave commerce alone.

Prohibition (misguided regulation of commerce) CAUSED violence.  CAUSED convulsion within.  (If I were feeling really zany, I could go on to argue Post hoc ergo procter hoc. - came after caused by - that WWII was caused by prohibition. - not exactly invasion of the homeland, but if things had gone differently, that was next.)

(I am listening to Imus in the Morning as I write this.  Dagen MacDowell is arguing that the States - not the feds - should have the power to mandate.  Look at the 10th amendment again, Ms. MacDowell. reserved to THE [WE] PEOPLE.  It's a PERSONAL decision, not a government decision at any level, thank you very much!)

If various articles I've read correctly describe what the justices will consider, note that they are looking at court precedents - not the constitution itself.

Again, the constitution itself, legislation and treaties are supreme law in this land of ours.  Court rulings, including Supreme court rulings, ain't on that list.

In a previous post, I sort of dismissed the No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: clause regarding this case.  The "individual mandate" provision of this bill is a preference given to certain providers.  Otherwise, it does not fit this language.  Still, here in Louisiana mandatory auto insurance was promoted with the promise "If everybody buys, rates will go down".  Was that promise made in your state?  Did it happen?  Not here it didn't.  You have to buy, there goes the incentive to perform effectively to the benefit of the customer to attract business.  Price went up.  Surprise surprise surprise!  (Think Gomer Pyle here, all you old-timers)

This "preference" is not far-removed from a "title of nobility" in my view.  Not in a formal legal sense, but again, it elevates certain business interests above the law of the marketplace.

(The tv is still on in the background.  Varney just opened his show with a teaser about "the court disregarding the will of the people" - ask me about Federalist Paper 78 and Natleson's "The Original Constitution" if you're interested.)

Among the objectives stated in the preamble - ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and promotion of the general welfare.  A "well regulated militia" is directed toward these ends.  So should application of the power to regulate commerce.

Viewed in this light, the individual mandate is outside original intent.

I doubt seriously that any of this will be considered in the decision produced by this (or any other) court.


Completely apart from the constitutionality of the mandate, I sit in utter amazement at my own short memory.  I forgot this.  I forgot what Obama said in 2008.  Thanks Powell for this article. 

I am reminded of John McCain.  I can't believe he ever called himself a Libertarian; however, he WAS a war hero.  His actions in VietNam - no matter how you view his judgement for not accepting the offer of release - showed considerable grit.  What happened when he went in office.  "THEY" (them those - that whole T-cubed crowd) GOT McCain dirty.  First thing.  Got him on-camera with ol' what's his face, of Abscam notoriety. 

I'm no fan of Obama.  His soaring oratory only renders me more wary.  In view of that, I almost wish for Gerald Ford, or even Jimmy Carter, both of whom appeared too bumbling and inept to pull anything of the scale of the individual mandate off.  Say what you will about Obama or the policies he currently supports - he's smoooooov.  very smoooov (yep with a "v")

This reversal in position compromises Obama.  I say this just to remind myself and others who already know how crooked "the system" is that it really is THAT crooked.  The guy you might love gets compromised as soon as he gets in office.  The guy you might hate gets compromised as soon as he gets in office.

For anyone here not-as-yet aware of the crookedness of "the system", consider yourself notified.

DC Treybil

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