Another amazing clip from CNS. There are two answers typically given by Democrats when asked about the constitutionality of a mandate. The dumb, lazy one is that it’s covered by the part of the preamble that refers to “general Welfare,” which, if taken seriously, would swallow the idea of limited powers by granting Congress the authority to do anything its well-intentioned heart might desire. The better answer is that it’s covered by the Commerce Clause, which, ever since the New Deal, has in practice granted Congress that same authority — provided that the legislation touches on interstate commerce in some bare, glancing manner. Akaka doesn’t offer either of those. His take, essentially, is that Democrats are trying to help people, which makes the constitutional question more or less beside the point. If you can find a more candid, succinct statement of the left’s approach to this issue than that, let me know in the comments.
After you watch, read Ace’s post about the crazy wingnut alarmism over people possibly being sent to prison for defying the mandate. This part cuts to the heart of it:
Back to this leftist insistence that we’re all paranoid to even think this way, to even define “freedom” in an antique, right-wing fashion, meaning “stuff you are permitted to do or not do without penalty and coercion from the state:” It is especially risible to me, in gallows-humor way, that the left continues to call us lunatics for fretting about increasing state control and increasing state coercion and increasing state outlawing of previously-legal behavior and freedoms even as, in their very first bill out of the socialist box, they propose jailing Americans for engaging in unobjectionable behavior which no one ever before dreamt of being a crime.
Think about this.
The left says: You are crazy to claim your so-called freedoms are being taken away, and you are a lunatic to scream about an overly powerful state which will use violent coercion (no one goes to jail without the threat of violence if he doesn’t, after all) to enforce its notions of the “economic good.”
And with the next breath the left says: By the way, you shall either buy health care insurance or we will throw you in prison for two or three years.
Prison time for not buying insurance is authorized by the Good Intentions clause of the Just Looking Out For You amendment, if I’m not mistaken.