Obamacare Must Go!

April 5, 2012

Let’s get right to the point:  the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare needs to go away.  Far away.  It doesn’t matter if the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional or if Congress can come to its senses and repeal the legislation.  One way or another, it must go.

The record of our federal government providing services outside of its constitutional jurisdiction is atrocious to say the least.  It includes big wasteful bureaucracy, questionable accounting practices, and massive cost overruns.  Speaking of cost overruns, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare alone face 10s of trillions of dollars in unfunded future liabilities.  So it was no surprise this past week when Republican Senator Jeff Sessions’ office reported that it discovered the long-term funding gap of Obamacare to not be $1 trillion as the President has claimed all along, but a whopping $17 trillion.  Nancy Pelosi was right all along – they had to pass the bill to see what was in it.  And boy we are now beginning to see what a rook job has been pulled over on the American people.

Now, I suppose that costs don’t matter if you think government debt is irrelevant.  After all America could never end up like Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Hungary.  And the Japanese, Chinese, and Arab nations will continue to buy up our debt allowing us to borrow cheaply for everything we no longer make but still need.

Unfortunately government debt is not irrelevant and the day of reckoning is coming.  All Federal Reserve induced financial bubbles (dot.com, housing, etc…) burst eventually.  The Fed’s U.S. debt bubble is no exception.  It is likely that at some point our lenders stop buying our debt.  Interest rates will have to rise dramatically to entice foreign investors to service our debt again.  The Fed will print even more money to cover the shortfall increasing our debt further and devaluing the dollar to the point where exponential price inflation of goods and services will result.  Life savings will be wiped out and Americans’ standard of living destroyed.

I’m not minimizing the problem of 40 million Americans without health insurance, but the consequences of the federal government being all things to all people will eventually destroy the economy for everyone.  In fact, the reason health care costs are so high is precisely because of government involvement in the industry.  In the first place, government limits competition through licensing laws and the drug approval process thereby eliminating an important mechanism in controlling costs.  Secondly, increased government spending on health care bids up the price of care.  If Obamacare is allowed to exist it will quicken our economic downfall.  Insuring 40 million more Americans for a short period of time is little consolation for destroying our way of life.

At the end of the day, it is more likely the Supreme Court will void the law rather than Congress repealing it.  Even if the Republicans were capable of intestinal fortitude, when January 2013 rolls around at the very least the Democrats will be able to prevent a cloture vote in the Senate and at the most a veto wielding Barak Obama will still be occupying the White House.

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Supreme Court will Uphold our Right to Gun Ownership

March 11, 2010

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is one of the most debated portions of that document.  For generations the controversy in question is whether the Founders intended to give the right to keep and bear arms only to militias or also to individual citizens not serving in the military.

The Supreme Court may be on the verge of settling the issue once and for all.  Last week, the High Court heard arguments in its second big gun rights case in the last few years.  In 2008, the Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that Washington, DC’s ban on gun ownership was unconstitutional.  The ruling was a landmark decision for proponents of 2nd Amendment rights, but it only applied to federal enclaves like the District of Columbia.  However, the case opened the door for a challenge to national gun ban laws.  Currently before the Court is McDonald v. Chicago.  At issue is whether Chicago’s gun ban is constitutional under the 2nd Amendment.  The Court’s decision in this case will determine whether 2nd Amendment rights go beyond federal property and can be applied to the states and local governments.

Things look promising for gun rights advocates in McDonald based on a quote from the majority opinion penned by Justice Scalia in Heller.  In Heller, Scalia stated, “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms.”  He supported the majority’s position by stating the fact that gun possession was a right of Americans “…prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense…”  Now, we have all heard the stories of the rugged frontiersmen with their guns they used for securing dinner and protecting the homestead.  Thus, Scalia’s argument makes perfect sense.  How could the authors of the Bill of Rights not guarantee a right early individual Americans already had and one so vital to their survival?  The idea that the right was not protected through the 2nd Amendment is preposterous.

But there is more from the majority opinion that supports 2nd Amendment rights for individuals.  The Court saw the individual’s right to keep arms as an important preservation of the citizen militia.  According to Scalia, “The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty.”  At the time of the 2nd Amendment’s drafting, a militia was “the body of all citizens capable of military service”.  Thus, whether young, middle aged, or old the country may call upon you in an instant to serve in a militia to put down an insurrection or defend against foreign invasion.  Denying you the initial right to own a gun that could be needed to defend the country in a time of emergency would have been counterproductive.  The Court’s reasoning in support of individual gun rights is compelling to say the least.

Getting back to the current case before the Court, if the justices are consistent and overturn Chicago’s gun ban they will have to justify their applying the 2nd Amendment to states and local governments.  Remember that Heller only applied to firearm possession on federal property.  But, the means to apply the 2nd Amendment to states and localities is simple.  Over time, the Court has used the 14th Amendment to bind states and localities to recognizing the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendment rights of their citizens.  In part it reads, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”  If the Court grants individual Americans the right to keep and bear arms under the 2nd Amendment it will apply the right to the states under the 14th Amendment.

The current Supreme Court has a golden opportunity to set the record straight with regards to individual guns rights under the 2nd Amendment.  The debate over the years has been very contentious with both sides misquoting the Founders’ statements about gun rights to suit their purposes.  The Founders made a lot of statements about gun rights and how they apply to citizen militias.  Understanding that at that time citizen militias meant “all citizens capable of military service” it is easy to come to the conclusion that the 2nd Amendment bestows a right to gun ownership to all individual Americans.  Fortunately for America, it appears the Supreme Court will come to the same conclusion later this year.