While most Blogs are nothing but a vent for the frustration of right thinking Amiricans, this is not my cause. I am building a link to help gather resources and take a proactive stance against the tide of socialism. My posts are meant to inform you and, when possible, help you better explain and defend our principles. We are all leaders, we are all FREEDOM FIGHTERS!

Our goal is to help coordinate as many local political groups as possible in order to create a strong and organized local movement. We would suggest that you either start a meetup group or join one that's already in place. For help go to http://www.meetup.com/ or 912 Project USA.com / For The Sake of Liberty! . With your effort and support we can become a strong force against the socialization of our great nation. If you have a suggestion or want information, please e-mail me at flounders70@aol.com .

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Health Care has NOTHING to do with "General Welfare"

In today’s political arena there is one hotly contested proposal which has garnered the attention of the entire world. The debate over "Health care reform" has consumed the nation and forced many who have had little previous interest in politics into the battle. Clearly there are flaws in the current system and something should be done to fix it but is there a solid, logical and Constitutionally acceptable solution to our problem? As we all know, there are people from every side coming up with ideas which they think are fair and reasonable and, for the most part, they have some pretty good plans. The details and conclusions within these plans are a bit more debatable and have brought forth a flood of information and facts which has made the final decision much more difficult to reach. I have a much more unique perspective of how to resolve the issue and who is actually responsible for that solution. I contend that the widely accepted premise that the federal government needs to get involved on an operational level is seriously flawed. The United states Constitution does not give our federal government the liberty to control health care, rather, it reserves that power to the state or local levels.

To better understand my thesis we must first understand its merits. For this we will go back to the birth of our nation and the founding documents that bind our government to its responsibilities. The one phrase within the founding documents that has been the vessel for the federal involvement in social matters over the last hundred years or so is the "general welfare" clause. This phrase appears twice within the Constitution but is never clearly defined. The ambiguous phrase is found first in the preamble where it is written as "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America ". It is found again in Article I section 8 where it states that "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". For some, this is an open door for the federal government to step in and make changes, on a national level, in order to prevent or repair anything that could be construed as a national crises. For others, it was put in place as a binder between the states for the expressed purpose of keeping the union whole and functioning as one single nation.

The debate over this matter goes back to the founders themselves at the very conception of this great nation. The argument of the time was over the use of federal funding to aid in the growth of manufacturing and was most bitterly contested between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Mr Hamilton believed that the country had a far better chance for success if the manufacturing sector was propped up through funding provided by the taxpayers and that its success would translate to prosperity to all citizens. Mr Jefferson, on the other hand, felt that it would be an encroachment on the rights of others to take the fruits of their labor in another mans interest. As in any debate, others involved in politics at the time were quick to choose sides but the vast majority of notable figures fell on the side of Mr. Jefferson. Only Benjamin Franklin was willing to speak on the side of Hamilton and even he was hesitant to accept the long term ramifications of that kind of federal power.

The premise of governing on behalf of the common good was the basis for an ideology known as Res Publica (public matter) which was the Latin origin of the word Republic.Thomas Jefferson along with the majority of our founding fathers were strict Republicans, in that, they believed that America should be governed as a Republic. .The fundamental premise of a Republic originated in Rome during the time of Gaius Julius Caesar. It was created in opposition to the empirical power structure and was designed to spread power evenly across the nation to help promote the "common good" of the people. According to The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral sciences, The Roman Republican Constitution of 509-49 bc was created to balance power between the government and the governed in order to promote the " common good, and never to the private will or domination ( dominatio ) of any private master". Jefferson wanted to create the same balance of power but where the Romans failed by not creating a defined separation between the powers, he was determined to make that separation a legal imperative. It was the desire to create a governing body which provided for the common good but favored no individual or group of individuals that led to the basic principles of our own Republic.

Prior to the ratification of our Constitution, there was another document which defined the governance of The United States known as the Articles of Confederation. This is not considered a "founding document" since it was actually replaced by the Constitution but it did serve as the base for its replacement and it was our first legislative federal document to contain the phrase "general welfare". The text of article III of the Articles of Confederacy reads as "The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever". Clearly the spirit of this text offers no support to the Hamiltonian perspective of the phrase, rather, it serves as a binder to the states in the name of national unity. After taking time to himself to truly consider the words of the Articles of Confederation, James Madison wrote in his notes that "The Idea of voluntery complience with the law was sheer fancy since no state would willing submit to the laws of a federal congress" "sacrifice for the general welfare was wishful thinking" .."every general act of the union must necessarily bear unequally hard on some particular member of the union" . Mr. Madison goes on to explain that compliance between the states in the name of general welfare must be a legal obligation and defined as such in the Constitution. The transfer of this phrase into article I, section 8 of the Constitution was unanimously approved by the Constitutional Convention with no debate over its meaning what so ever and was rewritten as "general welfare of the United States". This subtle difference in phrasing was the justification for Mr. Hamilton’s dispute but was not taken seriously by most of those who were involved at the time.

I would be remised if I were to leave out the single most compelling argument for my thesis. On Saturday, January 19,1788, James Madison published "The Federalist #41". This would be the definitive explanation of the "powers conferred by the constitution", authored by the very man who had been recognized as the actual author of the Constitution itself. After hearing and reading about his detractors who feared that article I, section 8 could be misused, Mr. Madison wrote that "It has been urged and echoed, that the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States, amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction". He goes on to state that "Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it". He makes a clear point that all of the powers conferred by the Constitution are clearly detailed, including the powers allowed for the promotion of the "general welfare" of the states.

The first real test involving the powers granted by the "general welfare" clause came about during the debate over Roosevelt’s "New Deal" programs. During the early twentieth century immigration was at its peak and the jobs were not keeping up with the population. We saw a sudden influx of uneducated workers with little understanding of the fundamental design of our political system. This massive shift in the populous opened the door for self proclaimed "socialist progressives" to gain popularity and led to the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932. Regardless of his popularity, his federally funded social programs were continually being struck down by the Supreme Court as "unconstitutional" under the
"reserve clause". Mr. Roosevelt reacted by attempting to restructure the Supreme Court by adding enough new members to "stack" it in his favor. While he failed in this effort he did garner enough support through his "fire side chat" to turn the Supreme Court’s decision on Social Security and a few other programs. On May 24th, 1937, the supreme court upheld the decision to give the federal government power to collect taxes to provide payments of "Old age benefits" . In the opinion of the court, delivered by Justice Cordozo, it was noted that " When money is spent to promote the general welfare, the concept of welfare or the opposite is shaped by congress, not the states".This suggested that the power granted by the constitution through the Supreme Court decision would leave the highest level of government with a great deal of "moral authority" for the first time in American history. Despite the courts discomfort with this power, they felt that the responsibility must lay on the national government because any one state who would implement this system would become "bait to the needy and dependent elsewhere". What bothers me about this decision is that they recognized that the system would be harmful on a local or state level but ignored that it would have the same effect on a national level. Now, instead of the needy migrating from state to state in search of "haven of repose", they are migrating from other nations and placing the predicted burden on our entire country.

The fact that the Supreme Court chose to grant the federal government a level of power that is not granted by the Constitution does not make it Constitutional. It simply means that the topic needs to be revisited and clarified. I believe that a Supreme Court who would act on behalf of supporting the Constitution, as it was defined by its authors, rather than acting on the perception of moral imperative, would find that the proposed health care reform does not comply with the Constitutional requirements. I also believe that a statewide version of this bill would be Constitutional but would create the scenario defined by Justice Cordozo where those who are needy will flock while those who provide will flee. As an alternative solution to the health care problem, I would consider creating a federal medical loan system. A pot from which people in need of care could draw a low interest loan that can be repaid through their own taxes. This creates an incentive for those who use the system to research their options and make decisions based on the balance of quality and cost of services rather than just taking what they can get and leaving others with the bill. Because my system is a "user pay" system, the costs will be merit based and controlled by market forces which would keep those costs substantially lower. The federal government would be operating a bank instead of an entire national medical system which would free up a good amount of bureaucratic costs and lessen the tax burden on American businesses. As we know from past evidence, when Americans get to keep more of their own money they are much more charitable. In short time there would be charities created to help those who cannot repay their medical debt due to their medical condition. My proposed system stands up to Constitutional scrutiny because its usage is not obligatory and its costs are distributed only among its users. Beyond that, the universal access to this program would force insurance companies to offer a much more competitive alternative than they do now.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Very nicely done, sir. A logical and convincing argument.


flounder said...

Thank you, I'm just tired of hearing people try to claim that our founding fathers would have supported anything that the dems (and half of the republicans) in congress are doing. I felt it was important to explain the real meaning of general welfare to those who are atill interested in what the constitution says and means.

Sadly, most liberals these days are convinced that the Constitution is an "outdated document" and that our founders were evil men. These poor souls think that it is patriotic to be Un-American so they refuse to simply move to some European socialist nation rather than trying to "change" us. This is our battle! In the words of Ronald Reagan.. " once we give up our liberty for security, there will be nowhere left for the oppressed to turn". That is the worst thought imaginable.

Silence DoGood said...

McCarthyism, Bush's Homeland Security, trying to establish State Religion, etc.

Conservatives in the extreme have been the leaders in giving up liberty for security.

The founders of this country would be shocked at how conservatives have created this mythological link between themselves and the founders.

flounder said...

Please, silence, understand that there is a distinct difference between todays "republican" politicians and a "conservative". A conservative is, by definition, linked to the founding fathers... in that they want to maintain the core principles forwarded by those founders. This is how I define myself.

Yes, Bush had the whole patriot act all screwed up, and I have scorned him for that and many other "accomplishments" of his. I have not seen any attempt to establish a state religion but maybe I missed that one. I think that McCain would have been the worst possible president for us for a host of reasons and nearly everyone else in congress is just as jacked up.

The fact is that most Republicans are idiots and all Democrats are unAmerican by nature. We need to start calling these people out and searching for an alternative to these scumbags. I would truly be more inclined to vote for you then most of these party liners, at least you have logical arguments.

The point is.. Conservatives are trying to measure all things against the constitution while Obama and most "progressives" are calling the constitution a "flawed document" and consider it "outdated". Which do you think our founders would really support?

Silence Dogood said...

I don't really know who the founders would have liked better. You have summed up the progessives untold times in this blog.

But the conservatives in this coutry are really not in line with the founders either. Most conservatives would support things that the founders absolutely abhored. Like state religion, static government (with conservatives in charge first), and a return to limited voting rights.

The founders themselves never thought the constitution was finished. That is why they made sure there could be changes made, and that the three branches of government would always be in-fighting.

If the founding fathers held the constitution to be immutable as you infer, they would have prevented changes and installed a king to execute it and be done!

But they had just come from Europe with religious governments with unchanging, uncaring, unrepresentative rule. And they wanted something different.

The American experiment as it has been called. I think they did a good job setting it up.

But conservatives and progressives both could use a good history lesson.

flounder said...

First of all, the Constitution was never meant to be changed.. only added to. The ten ammendments first provided by the founders were dubbed "The Bill Of Rights" as an almost Biblical foundation for our way of life.

And as for the quote "Most conservatives would support things that the founders absolutely abhored. Like state religion, static government (with conservatives in charge first), and a return to limited voting rights", I have never, in my 39 years, seen any attempt to establish a state religion. Nor have I ever heard of any conservative trying to create a static government and most of all, it was the democrats who fought so hard against equal voting rights.

Please sexplain and clarify your assessment on those topics.

Silence GoodDo said...

I stand corrected - the founders intended the constitution to be ammended.


"I have never, in my 39 years, seen any attempt to establish a state religion."

You need new glasses then. I think if the 10 commandments and other Christian icons were replaced with Muslim or Hindu icons in government buildings, you might see more clearly.

Conservatives either actively encourage or say nothing about the radical right wing religions that make it very clear they wish to have this become Christian country.

flounder said...

To evoke God in a speech (as all of our founders did) or to have religious symbols on public property in no way constitutes an establishment of a state religion. You are really reaching if you think that I'd be forcing my kids to join the army and to have no other options, simply because I have Army stuff on the walls in my house. The same logic applies here.

An establishment of relegion requires legislative action. Much like the left wing establishment of anti-religion which is taking place through legislation.

We are indeed a Cristian nation, however, it is by choice. At least 75% of us chose to be Christians but the small number of athiests are forcing their religion on us by making us hide our faith in public. This is the real establishment of religion.

The wish for others to become religious is exactly the same as the educated who wish others to become educated. There is nothing wrong with that. I have not seen any legislation, nor court decision that forces god on anyone... but, I've seen many which force him from us.

I've made my point several ways to help you understand, please show me where I'm wrong.

Silence DoGood said...

"small number of athiests are forcing their religion on us by making us hide our faith in public. This is the real establishment of religion."

Name me some laws that forbids you to show your faith in public - not on government property.

I say you are wrong and I can stand out in my private yard with a big crucifix and I will not be arrested.

On the other hand this is not what conservatives are interested in. Instead of moving Christian displays onto a private yard, they would rather fight for in it in a less visible place on government property because that reveals the real desire.

Keep in mind that (look it up) prayer in school, "god" in the pledge of allegiance, "in god we trust" on money was NOT around in 1776! These were added over time by the state religion Christian conservatives.

Check out some of the conservative religious web sites - if you are really as uniformed as you claim - and I doubt that - you should be shocked at what they propose to do with this country.

"We have enough votes to run the country. And when the people say, "We've had enough," we are going to take over."
-- Pat Robertson

flounder said...

Again, you are assuming that conservatives and evangelists are one and the same. While many of one are the other they are two different definitions. As a former resident of Va Beach (home of Pat Robertson) I know what it is to be oppressed by religious government. So much so that the last time I saw him eating dinner at a local resturaunt I droped my pants and plastered my lilly white arss against the window where he sat. I was young then but I know what you feel.

It is not the conservative movement that has brought on that kind of nonsense. We reject it.

As for God on money, in schools and in other places, I see global warming being tought as fact in schools and being forced down our throats everywhere I look but that does not mean I believe in it. It is as much a religion as any other and has guided our government far more than any other religion. I have yet to see any legislation that mandates any religion.

We have children being punished for talking about God in school. By the way, government property is public property and thus, any law that disallows the display of religious material on public property is, by definition, a state establishment of religion.

Our founders did believe in public displays of religion, they spoke of God in their speeches and placed religious articles on most government property. There is not one federal document that suggests a seperation of church and state, only that the church not control nor be controlled by the state.

Silence DoGood said...

"Our founders did believe in public displays of religion, they spoke of God in their speeches and placed religious articles on most government property. There is not one federal document that suggests a seperation of church and state, only that the church not control nor be controlled by the state."

Actually it was quite the opposite. "in god we trust" on money, in the pledge of allegiance, etc. DID NOT exist in 1776. Really - a simple quick search of history will clear this up for you. Changing our national motto from "one out of many" to "in God we trust", sneaking that onto money, adding God to the pledge in schools all happened during specific conservative/religious movements and initialtives.

I beleive in God but like the founding fathers, I will not submit to a federally sponsored version.

Silence DoGood said...

I also see you cannot give me the examples of how I am prohibited from erecting a cross on my private front yard in plain view of the world.

This myth of Christian oppression is laughable. and very transparent.

flounder said...

Jefferson actually commissioned the Bible as the first officially sanctioned school book. Each of our first 5 presidents spoke of God in their speeches. Having grown up in the area where this all took place and many of our first presidents grew up, I have seen first hand all of the Biblical symbols and references on public property dating back to the origins of the republic. This kind of public display is not new nor would our fathers confuse said displays for theocracy.

Silence DoGood said...

You are slipping back and forth between mention of God and Biblical referecnes.

In a funny turn of events in my area, Conservatives pushed for displays of Christianity in government places. Instead of fighting it, liberal groups added all of their own religious symbols including atheist statements. As expected the Conservatives had a cow. This revealed once again that most conservatives have no interest in real freedom of religious expression.

As a mental exercise, imagine that your local court house used only a nature worship or Masonic or Universalist symbol (all beliefs of some of the founders) much the way some court houses deisplay only the 10 commandments for example. Would you be as thrilled or patriotic in defense of those?

I am all in support of mentioing God the way our forefathers did. They had a background of Christian, Masonic, Deism and Theism.

I too have inspected early symbols and references. Most notably on the important documents like the Declaration of Independence where "God" is intentionally broadened (crossed out - re: Library of Congress in DC) to "divine providence".

I have no problem with mention of God or a personal statement of belief.

But our founders avoided any official reference to a specific religion. As I had mentioned - they just cmae from Europe and wanted to take a new direction.

SDG said...

just one of many many examples of God but NOT Christianity in government documents:

Declaration of Ind.
.... "the separate and equal station to which the Laws and Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, "

A specific reference to Deism wich saw a God creating the Earth and not interferring much afterwards, having set physical laws into motion.

Modern day Evangelists would probably call this a cult.

In fact there are many more pagan and nature referrences and symbols on official governmnet diplays in the 1700's and also no christian specific ones.

Personal refernences and "speeches" as you say but they were very careful as to where private expression stopped and government endorsement started.

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