By Louis Avallone
Most Americans are just plain dizzy from the “spinning” of the issues that this White House has unashamedly engaged in for almost four years now: Deficit spending is an “investment”; a tax increase is considered “revenue;” and rising gasoline prices are blamed on foreign nations, all while we restrict access and delay permitting for oil and gas exploration right here at home. Policy failures? Well, from illegal immigration to historically high deficit spending, these are blamed on “obstructionist” Republicans, even though this White House had “supermajorities” in the House and Senate for its first two years and was able to pass anything they wanted without the need for a single Republican vote. Historically high unemployment and anemic economic growth even after $1 trillion in stimulus spending? This only persists because this administration “didn’t know how bad it was” when they came into office.
Didn’t you know also that extending unemployment benefits beyond 99 weeks is necessary because it “creates jobs” faster than practically any other program? Or that Congress needed to first pass the 2,700-page “Obamacare” bill affecting one-sixth of our nation’s economy in order to find out what was actually “in the bill” (instead of reading the bill first)? I could go on and on, but I’m pretty sure even Democrats understand the picture by now.
So last week, when the U.S. Supreme Court justices began hearing the administration’s legal arguments defending the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, I was inspired, encouraged, reassured about our nation of laws … and a sense of order. And why not? Article 3 of our glorious U.S. Constitution was engaged, alive and well. The actions of both the president and Congress were being checked for constitutionality, exactly as Article 3 of the Constitution intended and as our founding fathers envisioned. There was Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was inquiring about fundamental matters of liberty, specifically the notion of “changing the relationship of the individual to the government” through a mandate to purchase health insurance.
There was Chief Justice John Roberts, who inquired if Congress could mandate folks to purchase health insurance under its power to regulate interstate commerce and its call to solve national economic problems? Then could Congress also mandate folks to purchase mobile phones under that same power since having a mobile phone would improve your access to 911 emergency medical services?
Then there was Justice Antonin Scalia who wondered aloud if Congress can force you to buy health insurance, could Congress also require individuals to buy vegetables such as broccoli? And even though nearly two-thirds of Americans recently polled could not name even one member of the U.S. Supreme Court, we witnessed last week the miracle of our U.S. Constitution in action, perhaps during the Court’s most publicized hearings in preparation for perhaps one of its most sweeping decisions since it was first organized in 1790. As the arbiter of our nation’s most challenging legal matters, it was just refreshing to hear the audio comments from one of the three branches of our government, where a majority of the members therein were informed, prepared and presented well- reasoned comments and criticisms, thus effectively fulfilling its constitutional duty to provide a check on both the executive and legislative branches.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.” And the facts are plain enough to all of us reading here today: We’re possibly going to cede the health-care industry to the federal government. These are the same folks who are operating a Social Security trust fund that will go broke in 2041, a Medicare program that will be insolvent in 2020 and a bankrupt U.S. Post Office that lost $2 billion last year alone, not to mention the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And why do this? To address about 10 percent of all Americans who need financial assistance for health insurance. A recent poll indicated that 54 percent of uninsured Americans are between the ages of 18 and 34 and many of them voluntarily choose to forgo coverage. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly one-fifth of the uninsured population is able to afford insurance, while one- quarter is eligible for public coverage. Only the remaining 56 percent need financial assistance.
Of course, this administration may likely “win” politically for their intentions to affect health care, regardless of whether the Court decides the individual mandate in Obamacare is constitutional or not. “Perception is reality,” right? Or, in the words of Emerson, “People only see what they are prepared to see.” Still, last week’s hearings were a gloriously refreshing reprieve (however short-lived), from the predictably partisan, uninformed, divisive and misleading national debate that seemingly rewards short- sightedness and sacrifices liberty for the immediate, political gratification of today … even if such means “spinning” completely out of control.