Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where We Stand II

This article is another look at the current state of affairs, and why anyone with any sense at all needs to be more involved politically and reject progressive/liberal/Democrat ideology.


Vinny said...

When Reagan took office, the United States was the largest creditor nation in the world. It is now the largest debtor. America's manufacturing base has been destroyed. Median incomes have stagnated and wealth has been concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. After forty years of stability, Reagan's anti-regulation philosophy has led to a series of system threatening financial crises including the S&L crisis, the 1987 stock market crash, LTCM, and now the biggest of them all with the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

We are in this situation because of Republicans and conservatives, not Democrats and progressives.

Mark said...

I don't know much about financial matters, which probably explains why I'm always broke.

But this much I do know:

Obama's ambitious socialist health care plan will bankrupt industry in this country.

It's a slam dunk.

The bill requires Health insurance companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions. Many people are born with pre-existing conditions and live well into their 60's and 70's. Paying for expensive medical treatment and procedures for 6 or 7 decades will necessarily cause premiums to skyrocket. No one, except the very wealthy, will be able to afford them, and they don't need insurance. If no one can pay the premiums, the insurance companies will lose so much money they will be forced to declare bankruptcy.

That will open the door for Obama to step in and takeover the health care industry. Next, the small businesses will be affected because they are going to be forced to supply health care to their employees, also even those with pre-existing conditions. Because of this, small business will also go bankrupt, and Obama probably plans to step in and take them over as well.

And the next thing you know, we no longer live in the United States of America, but in the United Socialist States of Obama.

Bubba said...

Vinny, I believe Reagan was right that the reason for our debt isn't that we tax too little, but that we spend too much.

About our manufacturing base, we've seen new auto plants in the South -- Mercedes and Hyundai in Alabama, and most recently Kia in Georgia -- all while Detroit is quite seriously pushing for a project that would de-urbanize much of the city.

(They're requesting federal funds for the project, naturally.)

The new manufacturing boom in the South is the result of policies that differ dramatically from those in the rust belt. Ask which sets of policies (and governing parties) more closely resemble Reagan and his policies, and the question answers itself.

About the sub-prime crisis specifically, I believe Thomas Sowell has argued quite persuasively that the root cause wasn't the workings of a truly free market, but the interference of the government to achieve greater home ownership by inducing risky loans that banks wouldn't have offered on their own. Don't blame Reagan: blame Barney Frank.

Jim said...

Mark, I believe I explained this here before, but I'll try again.

You know those mandates you don't like? The reason they're needed is so that people who are very inexpensive to insure are paying into the premium pool along with people who are very expensive to insure. See? That way insurance companies don't go broke. Obama's gift to the health insurance industry.

Mark said...

Jim, what gives anyone, especially Obama, the right to force young healthy people to pay more so that drug addicts and smokers and all other irresponsible people can have health insurance?


Look it up in the Constitution, Jim. There is nothing in the Constitution that says health care is a right. And it says noth9ing about government having the right to force you to pay for anything you don't want.

Vinny said...

"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;"

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Health care currently constitutes approximately 1/6 of the American economy. I think that the Supreme Court will hold that regulating health care is "necessary and proper" to regulating interstate commerce.

Nothing in the Constitution forbids the elected representatives of the people from socializing certain risks.

Jim said...


Funny, Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassly didn't seem to think so when they proposed health care mandates in the 90s. And Mitt Romney didn't seem to think so when he pushed through the health care system in Massachucetts which included mandated coverage.

We all know this is not about what's unconstitutional. It's about not allowing the Kenyan Muslim to succeed at anything.

Bubba said...

Jim, you're absolutely right that our opposition to Obama is because the color of his skin. If only there were an instance, in recent political history, of socialized medicine being supported by a white good-ol-boy Southern-governer-turned-President, then we could see whether the pundits and rank-of-file of the conservative movement were consistent in opposing him as well.

Hatch's explanation for his prior support of mandates was to offer a LESS statist alternative to Clinton's health care proposal: it was pragmatic rather than ideological, and conservatives weren't thrilled over mandates, then, either.

And Romney's health care bill is one of several good reasons why conservatives never warmed to him and probably will never warm to him, but if you think the U.S. Constitution provides the same leeway to the federal government as it does the individual states, you need to brush up on basic civics.

As do you, Vinny: if the Commerce Clause allows the federal government to REQUIRE individuals to purchase goods or services -- or to punish them with heavy taxes for not doing so -- then the federal government has few, if any, real constitutional limits.

You write, "Nothing in the Constitution forbids the elected representatives of the people from socializing certain risks."

That sentence is proof positive that you don't understand the structure of the document: it doesn't list what Congress is forbidden to do, it lists those powers that Congress **CAN** exercise.

That the Founding Fathers intended to limit the federal government to its enumerated powers is easily demonstrated.

Marshall Art said...

That's quite a link, Bubba. Thanks. It covers far more than just what is being refuted here. One statement in particular gives the reason why the 2nd Amendment does indeed protect our rights as individuals to bear arms. Those who seek to restrict concealed carry are the very governmental animals the 2nd was meant to hold in check.

Bubba said...

Yeah, Dr. Williams has compiled several pages of great quotes: it looks like you're finding the rest, but those who haven't can find more here.

One more quick thing about our supposed prejudice against Obama is that I think it's obvious that we would have been just as passionate opposing similar legislation from other Democratic contenders, whose proposed health care reform was quite similar to Obama's proposal during the campaign (a proposal, I might add, that was more moderate than what passed).

We would have been just as vocal opposing a similar bill from Hillary, or John Edwards. Where George W. Bush deviated from conservatism -- especially with the proposed amnesty for illegal aliens -- the conservative base was livid.

We're told that we oppose Obama because he's black, and that's a slanderous lie from people who like to use the issue of race as a bludgeon against their opponents -- people who really don't care about racism from inconvenient quarters.

(It's worth remembering that McCain didn't spend twenty years of his adult life at a church whose pastor is a race-essentialist conspiracy theorist, a man who promotes the lunacy of a supposed theologian -- James Cone -- who argues that one race is a manifestation of God’s presence on earth.)

What's next? To be told that we oppose Nancy Pelosi because she's a woman? Can conservatives only oppose the policies and behavior of white male politicians without being smeared as bigots?

Admittedly, many of us are critical against Harry Reid because of a cultural prejudice against the undead, but it's wrong to play the race card so reflexively.

Vinny said...


I was looking through those quotes and I did not see anything about transcontinental railroads, interstate highways, telecommunications, multi-national corporations, or information technology. It doesn’t really matter though because the framers didn’t enact their personal platitudes. They enacted a constitution that ensured that the government would have power and flexibility to deal with circumstances that were not foreseeable to the framers. It was recognized at the time that the “necessary and proper” clause would eventually lead to a stronger federal government and weaker states and the anti-federalists opposed ratification for precisely that reason. The anti-federalists lost, however, and the constitution became the law of the land.

Bubba said...

Vinny, you're right that the Constitution was designed to be flexible: that flexibility is reflected in Article V, which describes the process for ratifying amendments.

Amendments are the only constitutional avenue for changing the Constitution: those who believe that we should impose upon the document new interpretations that the text does not reasonably support, are trading the fundamental principle of the rule of law for short-term political expediency.

Vinny said...

The "necessary and proper" clause was intended to grant broad flexibility to the government to deal with issues that should arise in the future which the framers knew they could not foresee. That fact was debated during the ratification process. No amendment is necessary for the government to exercise that power.

Bubba said...

No, Vinny, the clause wasn't intended to give Congress "broad flexibility" in dealing with unforeseen issues: it was intended to give Congress **LIMITED** flexibility in exercising its enumerated powers.

From Article I, Section 8:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

"To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

"To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

It's a pretext for the tyrannical micromangement of a nanny state that is the antithesis of the Founders' vision, to suppose that either the commerce clause (quoted above) or this clause gives the federal government the constitutional power to compel individuals to buy goods or services from private companies.

Sorry, Vinny, but such acts are such an obvious violation of the Constitution that it is an act of violence against the English language to argue that the document permits it.

You would be more honest if you went Wilson's route and argued that the Constitution is a contemptible document that outlived its usefulness.

Vinny said...

I notice that your list doesn't include any quotations from Hamilton. He is one of the framers who pushed for inclusion of the "necessary and proper" clause and argued for a broad interpretation. You seem to labor under the misconception that the Founders' vision was a single unified conception. There were a variety of visions.

Jefferson was opposed to Hamilton's interpretation, but his vision of American citizen was the yeoman farmer. I don't see much relevance in that today.

Bubba said...

I'm certainly well aware of the disagreements among the Founding Fathers, but their disagreements weren't so significant as to justify your bizarre interpretations.

You noted a deficiency in the list of quotations to which I linked, but I notice you haven't produced one word of Hamilton's to suggest that he thought that clause gave the federal govenment the power EVEN to coerce individuals to purchase goods and services from private companies.

Was Hamilton's intention with that clause broader than others' interpretations? Possibly, but was it so broad that it justifies your position? The burden of proof is yours to demonstrate that.

Vinny said...

The framers thought that the constitution allowed the government to force human beings to provide slave labor for other human beings. I hardly think that forcing one to buy something from another would be an affront to their sensibilities.

Hamilton interpreted "necessary" in "necessary and proper" to mean "convenient" to the ends being pursued whereas Jefferson argued that it meant "essential" to the ends being pursued. In McCullogh v. Maryland (1819), the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hamilton's interpretation and allowed congress to establish a national bank.

I can't find anything that tells me that Hamilton would have approved of mandated health insurance. On the other hand, I can't find anything that tells me that he would have approved of the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system, the Panama Canal, or a host of other projects that have contributed to making this country what it is. In every case, however, it is Hamilton' interpretation of "necessary" that provides the justification.

I'm sure that Jefferson would not have approved of many of the projects that have been undertaken under the broad interpretation of the "necessary and proper" clause. On the other hand, he didn't let a little thing like the lack of constitutional authority deter him when he saw the chance to make the Louisiana Purchase.

Bubba said...

From the Louisiana Purchase to the Panama Canal to the transcontinental railroad, hardly any of the projects you listed compare in terms of scope, cost, and the sheer intrusiveness of this health care bill.

About the implicit comparison to chattel slavery, well, you said it first.

Marshall Art said...

And regarding that slavery, we've discussed before just what those framers were doing in not outlawing slavery at the start. It was hardly a unanimous sentiment to retain the practice, but merely a desire to see the Constitution ratified and a new nation begun.