Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chicago USA PM Saturday 31 March 2012

Editors, UK Financial Times


The Financial Times' 31 March editorial 'US Health Reform' refers to US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's contention that “compelling individuals to get insurance would be like creating activity in order to regulate it, which is different to regulating existing activity” as being 'abstruse', difficult to comprehend. How does it rate on the abstruseness scale to justifying government managed health insurance as Constitutional under the Commerce clause: “The Congress shall have Power To...regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Any hint of citizens' health care in there?

The US Constitution also has a General Welfare clause, but 221 years ago James Madison anticipated some misunderstandings of that clause when he wrote:

Some have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, 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 18 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.

Too bad the Father of the Constitution did not anticipate future misunderstanding of the Commerce clause.

Arnold H Nelson Chicago 60640 USA

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