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February 17, 2012

Krauthammer: Obama Vs. The Constitution

A "man of action," like Mussolini.

Getting things done. By fiat.

From @rdbrewer4 in the sidebar. Read the whole thing.

First, Krauthammer notes that Obama ordered an accounting lie -- insurance companies are required to lie in their accounting books and say this coverage costs nothing, when in fact we know that they will, of course, simply shift the cost to other accounts. And you can't blame them for this accounting lie; it's been ordered by the president of the United States that they falsify their books.

(What happens when they get sued, as they will? They are after all corporations required by law to keep accurate books. They will have a government-ordered false bookkeeping rap against them. Do they get nailed for cooking the books, or let off because the government demanded they cook the books?)

But Krauthammer goes on to say, Let's pretend that the insurance companies won't simply move costs to other accounts and falsify their books. Let's pretend that Obama is simply ordering them, by fiat, to give away a service for free.

In that case...

First, the assault on the free exercise of religion. Only churches themselves are left alone. Beyond the churchyard gate, religious autonomy disappears. Every other religious institution must bow to the state because, by this administration’s regulatory definition, church schools, hospitals and charities are not “religious” and thus have no right to the free exercise of religion — no protection from being forced into doctrinal violations commanded by the state.

Second, the assault on free enterprise. To solve his own political problem, the president presumes to order a private company to enter into a contract for the provision of certain services — all of which must be without charge. And yet, this breathtaking arrogation of power is simply the logical extension of Washington’s takeover of the private system of medical care — a system Obama farcically pretends to be maintaining.

Under Obamacare, the state treats private insurers the way it does government-regulated monopolies and utilities. It determines everything of importance. Insurers, by definition, set premiums according to risk. Not anymore. The risk ratios (for age, gender, smoking, etc.) are decreed by Washington. This is nationalization in all but name. The insurer is turned into a middleman, subject to state control — and presidential whim.

Third, the assault on individual autonomy. Every citizen without insurance is ordered to buy it, again under penalty of law. This so-called individual mandate is now before the Supreme Court — because never before has the already hypertrophied Commerce Clause been used to compel a citizen to enter into a private contract with a private company by mere fact of his existence.

This constitutional trifecta — the state invading the autonomy of religious institutions, private companies and the individual citizen — should not surprise. It is what happens when the state takes over one-sixth of the economy.

Mild old Orin hosta predicts:

This is not the first, and will not be the last, consequence of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care legislation. It was a bad tree, and it is bearing bad fruit. That law, which we believe is unconstitutional in multiple ways, will continue to spawn conflicts in our country. As we see here, it threatens the fundamental rights of every American.

Our Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Laws and government policies must confirm to it — not the other way around. Presidents and senators take the same oath to support and defend the Constitution — not a particular ideology or political agenda. This mandate is the latest manifestation of the Obama administration preferring its political agenda over the fundamental rights protected by the Constitution.

James Madison’s warning at America’s founding — that the people are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon their liberties — rings no less true today. This is hardly the first advance on our liberties from this administration, but it is perhaps the most obvious. It should be a rallying cry to all Americans.

With this health care mandate, religious liberty is a casualty of the Obama administration’s obedience to the abortion industry’s political demands. We have come a long way from 1790, when George Washington told the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, R.I., that the government of this new republic gave “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

We may have come a long way, but in the wrong direction.

I mentioned on the last Ben Howe podcast that a flawed piece of legislation requiring lots of new legislation (and grants of government power) is the ultimate liberal dream. A law that works on its own terms is the end of their busy day. That might infringe on liberties, but it creates no pretext for additional infringements.

But ah -- a law requiring plenty of fixing, lots of new legislation to get the already-passed parts to work as planned -- that creates the pretext for exciting new assertions of Governmental Prerogative. And, when necessary, flat-out assertions of unlimited power by the Executive.

Like flatly mandating that insurance companies now provide a service for free.

Because We Said So.

It is among the first such New Usurpations, but it will not nearly be the last.

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posted by Ace at 04:45 PM

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