I have been ill recently and I apologize for not being in the game. Our school just finished Ohio Graduation Tests. The preparation was taxing on the teachers and students alike. Then we spent the last week watching people take tests. That's a little boring for sure. The upside is I got a book read. Try reading Judge Napolitano's book "Lies the Government Told You." I don't agree with the Judge on everything, but most of his rants I do. I subscribe to the theory that libertariansism would be a great theory if it wasn't for kids.
As for the health care debacle, I am interested that several states filed a lawsuit against the legislation the moment it was passed. That makes for an interesting debate in the courts. I don't see how it is constitutional to force Americans to purchase something they don't want. Health care is a good (economically speaking) and I don't feel the constitution will allow us to be compelled to purchase it. It's another one of those enumerated power debates. Commerce clause you say? You cannot be compelled to engage in commerce. Necessary and proper? Is it necessary to compel a citizen to buy something he doesn't want? I think not.
While discussing this in class I had a student bring up the car insurance deal. I patiently explained to her that driving is not a right, but a privilege. The government does not compel you to drive. You can choose not to. If you choose to drive, you must have insurance and a license. Pretty simple stuff. I spend a lot of time with the students on the constitution.
In my other class we listened to FDR's first inaugural address, delivered on March 4, 1933. In it he lays out his plan to take control of the government in light of the crisis presented by the depression. You may want to skip to about 12 minutes into the speech to hear the carrot and stick approach he takes to force congress into to giving up its constitutional power to legislate. Listen to this:
It is to be hoped that the normal balance of Executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure.FDR pioneered the use of a war metaphor for dealing with a domestic crisis, hence the war on the depression. In the speech he asks for far-reaching powers that usurp the legislative branch. Much to their detriment they abdicated their powers to the executive branch rolling over for FDR and the New Deal.
I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken Nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption.
But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.
There are a lot of parallels between these two periods in our history. I guess the saying that you shouldn't let a crisis go to waste applies to both. When the government tries to expand its power and usurp the checks and balances, you have a problem and FDR clearly usurped his power in this speech and in his presidency. Look up the court packing scandal. FDR moved to the edge of dictatorial powers during his presidency. Look up the Blue Eagle and the National Recovery Administration (NRA) that was finally found to be unconstitutional. Isn't it instructive that Huey Long, an avowed redistributionist, was thrilled when it was?
The question then becomes, will the constitution be upheld or will we sink further into the abyss of big government?