Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our Real Problem

Reading the Constitution like Talmudic scholars read the Scriptures has always plagued conservatives much more than it has liberals.  After all conservatives take the words seriously, either to empower or to constrain, while for liberals, understanding the Consitution as a  "living, breathing document", its words mean everything or nothing as they prefer personally.  Nevertheless, both parties are too often guilty thereby (liberals always so) of missing or ignoring its plain sense and meaning.

In the wake of today's ruling, Andrew McCarthy reminds of this:
But, at the risk of being a broken record, we remain focused on the wrong issue because conservatives and Republicans do not want any part of the right issue. Congress would not be able to tax anyone a penny if the subject matter on which lawmakers sought to spend the money raised was not within Congress’s constitutional authority to address. Health care and health insurance are precisely such issues. So why does Congress get to raise taxes for and spend money on them? Because the country — very much including Republican leaders and many conservatives — has bought on to the wayward progressive premise that the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to spend on anything it wants to spend on as long as their is some fig-leaf that ties the spending to the betterment of society. That, and not an inflated understanding of the Commerce Clause, has always been the problem. Republicans are afraid to touch this because, if you follow the logic, you’d have to conclude that Congress has no constitutional authority to set up a Social Security system, a Medicare or Medicaid program, or most of the innumerable Big Government enterprises that Republicans support while, of course, decrying Big Government. Republicans occasionally want to limit what government spends, but they don’t want to acknowledge any constitutional limits on what government could spend — that’s what has gotten us to this point. (my italics)

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