What is wrong with Constitutional government?

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by P@triot, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. P@triot
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    P@triot Gold Member

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    Serious question for my liberal friends: why do you oppose Constitutional government. For instance, the Obamacare issue.

    Governor Romney successfully and legally implemented Obamacare at the state level in Massachusetts. There were no challenges to the Supreme Court, no law suits, etc. If liberals want Obamacare, why don't they just do it at the state level?

    Furthermore, if for some reason it's imperative this be done at the federal level (and I'd love to understand why), then why not properly amend the Constitution to reflect the new federal responsibility?

    Either way would result in your ultimate goal, but it would be done legally and thus would avoid the monumental additional costs to this nightmare. Because of the way it was implemented, it's going to be repealed when Romney takes office and the whole thing will have been for not anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  2. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    The far left wants what they want and will stop at nothing to achieve it. If they can get what they want by constitutional means, super - but if not then any kind of skullduggery is perfectly okay cuz they know what's best for us even if we don't, and the ends justifies the means. IOW, they're so much smarter than us, we should just shut up and give them all the power to make all our decisions for us.
     
  3. P@triot
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    P@triot Gold Member

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    So basically Nazi, Germany? Adolf Hitler also thought he was so much smarter than everyone else and knew what was best. Liberals just amaze me (and not in a good way)...
     
  4. oldfart
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    oldfart Older than dirt

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    OK, before the flame wars start, I'll try to give you a straight answer to a straight question.

    Most folks, liberal or conservative, use a double standard. They first pick out the desired result they want and then find a constitutional theory to support it. For example, lots of conservatives think taqt the Constitution and Bill of Rights provide broad rights against government intrusion into private lifes, until there is an issue where they want the contrary result. "Social conservatives" want to regulate marriage by outlawing same-sex marriage at the federal level and to restrict or outlaw abortion at the federal level; positions a strict constructionist could only conclude were state matters. Similarly "law-and-order" conservtives seem to recognize no constitutional limits if the target is branded a terrorist, or drug dealer, or has the wrong ethnic background ("Papers please"). Some prosecutors never met a search they didn't like.

    So my first point is that constitutional construction is basically not a liberal--conservative issue. If you want to take a particular constitutional view and apply it consistently, I applaud you. Just get used to being lonely and know that your friends on one issue will attack you on another, where your allies will be your former opponents!

    It could be done state by state. This was the pattern in early twentieth century with child labor laws and other progressive measures. In those cases conservatives on the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were a restraint of trade under the Commerce Clause and were therefore unconstitutional! Assuming that conservatives would not find some broad constitutional grounds for declaring state action unconstitutional (think of the current ame-sex marriage issue), there is a fundamental issue of what rights states can decide and what rights all Americans have. Suppose Vermont were to pass an amendment to the Vermont constitution prohibiting all private ownership of guns. Would not conservatives argue that no state has the capacity to deny any American of a right clearly expressed in the Constitution? Many liberals argue that universal basic health care in the 21st century is a basic right (after all we are the only major economically developed society to notexplicitly recognize it as such) and as such is at least as deserving of protection as the right to arm bears.

    Easy one. If amending the constitution were easy enough to be a viable process for issues such as this, we would have thousands of amendments. Take all the legislation that a strict constructionist would label unconstitutional nnd add all the court cases dealing with constitution rights and you get a picture of how unrealistic the process would be. I would prefer to let the legislative branch legislate and reserve constitutional amendments to the most pressing of issues.

    I have stated what I believe are the standard thoughtful responses to your questions from a liberal viewpoint. I personally believe that constitutional principals are important (some of them sacred) and that they should be applied consistently. I am zealous in defense of personal liberties regardless of advances in the technologies of surrveliance or the perceived risks of crime or terrorism. I believe the Constitution contains an implied right of privacy. So I generally come down on the side of the individual in matters of search and seizure, gun rights, electronic surveillance, and detention, as well as issues of abortion or sexual preferences.

    I take the Establishment clause seriously and oppose "wink ad nod" approaches to separation of church and state. We may be a spiritual nation but we are not a Christian nation.

    In the economic sphere I believe in a free market system, properly regulated by government. Markets do not perform well in conditions of anarchy. I support both Friedman's listing of the roles of government in the economy that define and enable markets to function (set commercial laws, define property rights, and control money supply) and broader economic concerns (promote economic growth, adjust for externalities, etc.). I think that thse issues are just as basic (being covered by interstate commerce and general welfare claes) as such specifc enumerated powers as to define the currency, establish post roads, regulate patents and bankruptcy laws, and collect tariffs.

    No reasonable person could believe that applying these principles consistently would be an easy job. Rights conflict with other rights and some argue that rights can conflict with "necessity" (although I think that in mst cases this is not true, it is cover for a power grab). Citizens of good will can and will differ on these issues.

    I hope this starts to answer your question. I'll prepare myself for the inevitable pot shots!
     
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  5. oldfart
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    oldfart Older than dirt

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    Well therre is hubris and extremism on both the left and right, and the Constitution was developed to limit both. If people can get out of the habit of simply demonizing the other side, we might have a better exchange of ideas and get something done in this country.
     
  6. Greenbeard
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    Greenbeard Gold Member

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    Obamacare is constitutional. That's precisely why Romney can still run on repealing it--er, some of it.

    Regulating insurance markets is constitutional. Paying for health care through Medicare and Medicaid is constitutional. Investing in the nation's public health and prevention infrastructure is constitutional. Using financial incentives to educate more doctors and build up the health care workforce is constitutional. Even using carrots and sticks in the tax code (like the dreaded mandate!) to influence behavior is constitutional.

    If you don't like it, the mechanism for expressing that is political, there's no constitutional remedy for your concerns.

    You ask why do it at the federal level and not at the state level. Our problems are national in scope but local in character. Insurance markets are broken and anticompetitive all around the country. Our public health infrastructure and our workforce are struggling to keep pace with the demands of the 21st century all around the country. Our health care delivery systems are underperforming on efficiency, quality, safety, you name it all around the country. People are strapped by medical bills and rising insurance costs all around the country. That means we need to band together as a nation to address these problems in a concerted way.

    But all health care is local. That means beyond providing leadership and some direction, the federal government can't actually do most of the things that need to be done. Local and state governments are in the driver's seat to work with local employers and insurers and citizens to tailor solutions to their own particular markets and circumstances. All those groups, public and private, and all of those levels need to work and learn how to not step on each other in the process. That's what's happening right now all around the country.

    Nothing is going to work if only one group or just one sector (public or private) or one state or one level of government pitches is in to fix this. Our problems are too big for that. It's all hands on deck.

    Recognizing that has nothing to do with "opposing constitutional government."
     
  7. P@triot
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    P@triot Gold Member

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    Of course they would, because that is a Constitutional right. So that point doesn't apply to the over all point you are trying to make. It would be like saying if a state wanted to prohibit your freedom of religion or your freedom of speech. They CAN'T do that, because the state does not have that power.
     
  8. P@triot
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    P@triot Gold Member

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    It is 100% unconstitutional, and even you know that. The federal government does NOT have the authority to force citizens to purchase a good or service. That's just an undeniable fact, and you know it.
     
  9. P@triot
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    P@triot Gold Member

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    First of all, what problem? Just because you or Obama deem something is a problem in your eyes, doesn't make it an actual problem.

    However, much more importantly, where exactly is it written in the U.S. Constitution that you can usurp said Constitution if and when you deem a problem to be (and I quote) "at the federal level and not at the state level"? Sorry, but there is no clause for usurping the Constitution based on that criteria. It just doesn't exist. We are a nation of laws, and this is the ultimate law of the land. It cannot be ignored and/or disregarded in the name of "do gooding".

    "The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." -Daniel Webster
     
  10. Greenbeard
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    Greenbeard Gold Member

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    It's been almost four months since this question was definitively settled.

    The federal government can do all sorts of things with the tax code. They can't force anyone to get insurance, which is part of the reason there will still be some voluntarily uninsured people after this law is fully implemented (you just complained in your other thread that "even after all that additional health spending, 30 million Americans will be uninsured"). But they can levy a tax penalty on those who can afford insurance but choose to go without.
     

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