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One of the hot topics in today’s presidential campaigns is health care. Our nation faces many problems, some more immediate than others, and health care is one such problem attracting the attention of voters.
However, the prominence given to this issue compared to others of significant import (the “war on terror”, our declining dollar, illegal immigration, civil liberties, abuse of the Constitution, habeas corpus, etc.) is somewhat intriguing. Why are politicians promoting this issue over others?
The reason behind such a push on health care “reform” shows the rampant socialism everywhere present in government, as well as the depth and reach of the increasingly invasive state. Where government once stayed away, they now seek to regulate and “reform”.
Commenting on this trend, Frederic Bastiat wisely noted:
Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.
This is the seductive lure of socialism. (Frederic Bastiat, via Quoty)
Disguised to appear philanthropic, the state intrudes into areas in which it has no Constitutional authority. Sadly, few politicians understand the rule of law as it pertains to this country’s founding documents, and thus believe that they are empowered to enact change. This week presented such a backwards spectacle of Constitutional ignorance, when Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich held a forum during the GOP debate, during which he was asked about health care. The New York Times summarizes his response:
One member of the audience of about 200 asked him why health care isn’t mandated by the Constitution.
"Well, I just happen to have my copy of the Constitution with me," Mr. Kucinich replied. He pulled it out from his pocket and read aloud the Preamble — emphasizing the line "promote the general welfare." Health and welfare are almost synonymous, he said before detailing his plan to make the health care system not for profit. Every American would receive free medical and dental care under his plan.
Wrapped in the cloak of the Constitution, Kucinich aims to show voters how he is somehow authorized by the document he carries everywhere (as if this means he’s actually read it and understands it…) to somehow provide free health care for all.
The largest problem, however, is the complete misunderstanding of the general welfare clause that has been used by so many to expand the welfare state and steal from the rich to give to the poor. Kucinich here cites the preamble of the Constitution, which in no way grants authority or delegates power to enforce or promote such welfare. His ignorance in this matter is astounding.
But so it goes, with many politicians (on both sides of the aisle, but more so in the Democratic party) pushing health care reform, new legislation and price controls, additional funding, state-enforced programs, and the like.
Few (if any) of these politicians would make an attempt to state from whence comes their authority to enact such reform and provide free health care for all. No such authority exists, therefore they appeal to the socialist mentality everywhere prevalent, promising voters a piece of the pie if they are voted into office.
And thus is the lure of socialism, as Bastiat noted. The rule of law is cast aside and ignored as presidential hopefuls appeal to the masses, extending hollow promises of health care.
Health care is indeed a problem—one of many in our country today. But any solution promoted and executed by our elected officials must be done within the framework of Constitutional law.