Chicago AM Monday 9 May 2011

Editors, The Washington Post


The Washington Post editorial “On Medicare....” of Sunday 8 May says of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget “it doesn’t acknowledge the need for more revenue.”

For the first 6 years of its term the Bush administration, assisted by a Republican Congress, ran an average monthly deficit of $20 billion. In its last two years, assisted by a Democrat Congress the monthly average deficit was increased to $35 billion. For the first 26 months of the Obama administration the average monthly deficit has been $121 billion.

And you claim we just “need more revenue?”

But the largest problem here is the fact that nowhere in the United States Constitution us there any justification for medicare.

If you think the General Welfare clause handles it, read James Madison's clear explanation of what the founders meant by the clause in Federalist Number 41:

Some [Constitution doubters]... have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged... that the power "… to provide for the general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the... general welfare....

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it.... but what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? “

And following that semicolon is a list of 17 Congressional powers, from 'borrow money on the credit of the United States' thru 'make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers' ..... but not a sign of health care, enviromental protection, education housing etc.

Of course, the current fad to get around this is the ever nubile Commerce clause. But if Congress can justify whatever it wants with this manipulation, why do we even have a Constitution?

Arnold H Nelson

5056 North Marine Drive Chicago