"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, March 30, 2012

Obamacare and the Underlying Premises of the Constitution

The past week the Supreme Court heard argument essentially on two questions:  (1) is the individual mandate of Obamacare constitutional, i.e., can the federal government require a private citizen to enter into a contract with a private company to buy a particular service simply because the federal government thinks that it's a good thing for society as a whole?   And, (2), if it isn't constitutional, can the rest of Obamacare be salvaged under the rubric of severability?   Readers of this blog know that I think the answers are "no," and "no."

But there are two other reasons that were never before the Court why the Regular Guy thinks Obamacare is unconstitutional.  

Everyone admits that they haven't read the bill.   Democratic Congressmen who voted on Obamacare have admitted repeatedly that they didn't read it.   It's too complex, it's too long, no one has the time, even if you did read it cover-to-cover you wouldn't understand it, etc.   In my view, if a bill is so complex that the legislators who enact it can't understand it, then it was not the product of a rational legislative process as envisioned by the Founders.   Either we have a representative government, or we have a rubber-stamp for nameless bureaucrats, lobbyists and staffers.   If the latter, that's not what the Constitution requires, period.

No one knows what it will cost.   The touted cost of Obamacare was something on the order of $900 billion.   The most recent estimate from the CBO says it's something closer to $1.8 trillion over ten years.   Medicare estimates were famously off by tenfold or more.   In short, no one knows what Obamacare will cost.   That being the case, what exactly was enacted.   Every Act of Congress to appropriate our tax dollars for spending tacitly prioritizes -- we will spend X on this program rather than X on some other public good.    But here, no one knows what we're spending, so no one who voted on it knew what the tradeoffs were.   Again, the Constitution created Congress to be a deliberative body to make rational decisions about spending our public monies.   If the Obamacare majority literally did not know what they were voting on, then they can't have been acting deliberatively, and instead were acting irrationally.   In my view, that makes Obamacare null and void ab initio.  

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