Dont ask court for insurance
Professor Russ Dondero's recent remarks on Obamacare and the Supreme Court are the most confused arguments I've seen anyone make. It's astonishing.
First is the demand that the Supreme Court ignore the Constitution in order to get an outcome that Dondero and the Left like. Constitutional government does not - and should not - operate that way.
A Constitutional America wants the court to opine on the constitutionality of the question at hand - without regard for social impact. Addressing the impact is a legislative task for Congress, not a task for the Supreme Court. The separation of powers doctrine prohibits the court from legislating - and rightly so. It is misleading to confuse a point of law with political opinion.
Next is Dondero's demand that the court establish a new civil right - for health care. (He then labels the justices as 'activists' for not doing so.) The court's majority opinion will be about the constitutionality of Obamacare and not, as Dondero suggests, '...an ideological scheme to deny millions of Americans health care.' Again, he confuses the process of law with ideological political opinion.
Dondero's argument that the 'trajectory' of health care toward the status of a human right and that universal health care is 'the civil rights issue of this generation' is troubling on several levels. First, it cannot be accomplished without a further assault on individual property rights.
Of the 50 million uninsured that Dondero cites, fully 35 to 40 million are projected to be added to state Medicaid programs over the next 10 years - at an unbearable tax burden to each state. This means that these individuals will continue to not be responsible and that the cost to the taxpaying half of the nation will increase exponentially both through the increased cost of (mandated) health insurance premiums and huge increases in other levied taxes.
This is a serious assault on property rights and the prosperity of the nation.
Property rights are well-established under the constitution and as such they demand protection from further intrusion by an out-of-control federal bureaucracy.
Moreover, categorizing health care as a 'right' is a slippery slope. You may well next consider proper nutrition a right. To paraphrase a rights scholar, NYU's Professor Ronald Dworkin, this is 'not taking rights seriously.' When education, health care, nutrition, housing and more, all become rights, we need to consider what the effect on individual liberties, property rights and our real constitutional rights might be.
With the unending array of new 'rights' that the Left wants to create, the essential individual rights upon which our nation was founded get lost and what remains then are no real rights at all, just a string of entitlements that are dependent upon the confiscation of property from productive citizens for distribution by those in power to whomever they choose.
Rights should not be created out of thin air only to be used as political chits by either party.
Also embedded in this issue, but entirely overlooked by Dondero is that the nation's GDP is reduced 35 percent by the current tax revenue stream that is redirected to all governments. The federal government is also spending 40 percent more than it takes in and does this by issuing debt.
This is unsustainable and economically irrational, yet Dondero and the Left are arguing for an unprecedented expansion of debt supported by arguments of creating new 'rights' that must then be funded by productive individuals.
The Left further argues to add another 17.9 percent of the GDP (the cost of health care in 2009) to the tax burden. This would bring the total tax burden to over 52 percent of the GDP! For the Left to continue arguing for a steady stream of increasing taxes, entitlements and rights is, in a word, irrational. It is unsustainable. Think Greece.
The path to quality health care lies along an expanding economy and individual responsibility, not along the creation of new and fiscally unsupportable 'rights.'
Let's not threaten the Supreme Court for doing its job by 'taking the gloves off against rogue justices' and let's not confuse the importance of constitutionality with political opinion.
Massive increases in government spending are impossible and it's time to acknowledge it. The term 'human right' is far too important to be tossed around at every social problem we want to solve. Let's take rights seriously.
Mike Maloney lives in Forest Grove.