Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a determined effort for universal health coverage, without abortion, in the run-up to the vote on ObamaCare.  In the end, due to the abortion language in this bill, they condemned it in its entirety.

Now I believe that our bishops had the best intentions of wanting universal health coverage, but this violates the principle of subsidiarity.

The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

In 1891 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical, Rerum Novarum, which said that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently. Functions of government, business, and other secular activities should be as local as possible. If a complex function is carried out at a local level just as effectively as on the national level, the local level should be the one to carry out the specified function.

Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans, with an overwhelming 93% saying they are satisfied with their coverage.

And those that are uninsured, can get readily available treatment for a serious illness.  Including illegal aliens.

So why the bishops haste and aggressive posturing in pushing for something everybody already has and are satisfied with?

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89 Responses to Principle of Subsidiarity Violated by ObamaCare

  • Tito,

    I think you’re absolutely right.

  • I have yet to find a bishop that can explain why they have been pushing for universal health coverage for these many years.

  • I really have to take issue with this. The FACT is that there are people who cannot afford adequate health care.

  • Private insurance agencies cover over 84% of all Americans

    I think the number is more like 68% (you’re forgetting the people covered under government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) In terms of funding it’s more like 50/50 government/nongovernment.

  • RR,

    There will always be people that cannot afford adequate health care.

    It also depends on what you mean by adequate.

    Pope Leo XIII states, “preferential option for the poor”, in Rerum Novarum, but doesn’t say “universal” option for the poor.

    Besides, the poor are covered under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act(EMTALA) and Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act(COBRA).

    The EMTALA states that It requires hospitals and ambulance services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment..

  • BA,

    It depends on what statistics you are looking at.

    The 93% I am quoting shows studies “that most Americans are overwhelmingly happy with their own health care”.

  • Neither did Pope Leo XIII say “preferential option for some of the poor.”

    The poor aren’t “covered.” They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?

    I was planning on writing about this very topic over the weekend. Hopefully, I can get to it tonight. Bottom line is I think you’re wrong and the bishops are right.

  • Why does a massive government takeover of health care have to be the only way to help the poor?

    There were other measures proposed that would have helped lower the cost of health care, which is abysmally high in the US – allowing people to buy insurance across state lines would have been a start.

    And, I have no problem if individual states want to go the Massachusetts way.

    But this federal monster could end up bankrupting dozens of states, causing the loss of millions of more jobs, and further crippling the country with massive debt. How does any of that help the poor? It hurts them.

  • “They’re thrown deeper into poverty because of the hospital bills. That is acceptable to you?”

    There’s no Catholic mandate to create a socialist utopia in which poverty becomes impossible. Sorry.

  • RR,

    Option does not mean absolutely necessary.

    You can’t change the meaning of the word option.

    I was quoting Pope Leo XIII.

    You are making stuff up, like many liberals do. So stop reading into Rerum Novarum what isn’t there, ie, forcing people to pay. This violates the Principle of Subsidiarity, not to mention you can’t force people against their will.

    Maybe you would learn this concept if you lived in the old Soviet Union.

    Over there you’ll learn really fast.

  • Absofreakinlutely right it violates the principle of subsidiarity. If only the USCCB would start talking about this aspect of the matter. But to expect them to do that is wishful thinking I know.

  • Long time reader, first time commenter.

    All EMTALA does is prevent emergency departments from refusing treatment to patients who cannot pay, and keeps EDs from transferring them to other institutions (AKA “dumping”)on the basis of their ability to pay. It does not preclude them from billing the patient for services rendered, which can be considerable. It also does not cover the cost of any prescriptions given as a result of the ED visit, nor does it have anything to do with maintenance care, which can help prevent the need for ED care in the first place.

    I’m not saying I am a proponent of the bill passed yeaterday, nor am I commenting on whether or not the bill passed violates subsidiarity. But EMTALA does not provide for anything more than immedate, acute care- it does not address most of the health care needs of people without insurance.

  • Because subsidiarity does not deny the need for solidarity nor that there are needs for structures to deal with needs which are not met at the local level, this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity. The fact that on the local level, the needs are not met, are not being met, and being left to as they are, people are dying, this demonstrates the need for action beyond the local level. And having an overarching structure also does not deny the local access: indeed, the bill is about _getting insurance_ and making sure insurance _doesn’t act like a ponzi scheme_. Oh well.

  • This post conveys a flawed understanding of subsidiarity. Worse, it violates the principle that all Catholic teaching, including social teaching, must be read as a whole. Subsidiarity does not exist without solidarity, preferential option for the poor, etc.

    Secondly, the post misrepresents the facts. Subsidiarity and solidarity obligate the higher level to step in when the lower order cannot provide. There is plenty of evidence that that situation exists. Also, there is, in some respects, more subsidiarity in the health care bill in that it provides more choices in payers than the present system. In some states, there is no competition in the insurance market and only large, dehumanizing insurers exists – which is itself contrary to the principle of subsidiarity.

  • For Catholic supporters of this bill, make your argument. I do not question your motives. But neither should those, such as myself, that hoped this bill would go down in flames have their motives questioned.

    I admire and adhere to (from the abstract plain of my disicpline, public affairs/political philosophy) the Catholic notion of subsidiarity. This bill is a violation, in my view, of both that of solidarity. I don’t particularly care to argue this point, but the Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking is much better: private catastrophic insurance for young and old, some public subsidies but no government control, and finally a more controlled spending curve.

    Our entitlements are about to eat us alive (and yes that includes Wilsonian adventures). Our “culture wars” are about to get a lot worse (“why should I subsidize that sort of lifestyle”?)

    This bill deserved to fail. Now we live with consequences. I hope that its supporters in the Catholic blogosphere respond charitably, and keep their moral preening and motive questioning in check.

  • It’s disingenuous to claim that needs were not being met at the local level when options that might have addressed local problems were never given a chance.

    This was nothing but a power grab, plain and simple.

    The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity? They’ll make their voices heard in the months to come, that’s to be sure, as this bill is nullified by state legislatures and voters, or possibly overturned by the courts.

  • Henry K & Charles,

    this is another poor argument by someone who does not understand subsidiarity.

    Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    Typical liberal strategies.

  • Tito, as others have pointed out, we aren’t making anything up. You are simply misunderstanding the principle of subsidiarity.

    jonathonjones, I would love to have seen what you call the “Paul Ryan/Ross Douthat line of thinking.” But some here are arguing that even that would violate subsidiarity. They mistakenly believe that any federal meddling is unCatholic.

  • Ever More Out-of-Balance

    The correct balance between subsidiarity and solidarity would, of course, fall somewhere in the middle between “every man for himself” and “universal nationally-regulated health insurance system.” And prudential concerns would indicate the need for incremental adjustments.

    But Democrats opted to start from scratch and envision a plan which would transform the existing system into their ideal vision. That was unattainable, so they instead moved as sharply in the direction of that centralized, uniform, and mandatory system as they could possibly go given the political climate.

    Thus we have moved from somewhere in the middle between the extremes, to a spot hugely in the direction of one extreme. It requires only a cursory examination to realize that we’ve both neglected prudence and moved farther away from the balance-point between subsidiarity and solidarity than we started out.

    That’s reason enough to pray for repeal.

    Upheaval In Pursuit Of The Anointed Vision

    But if Democrats, in typical progressive fashion, decided to throw caution to the winds and envision their ideal system, how I do wish they’d have envisioned something compatible with not only the narrow “social justice” concerns of the Church, but more broadly with reality in general as the Church, pillar and bulwark of truth, recognizes it.

    For just as she is not ignorant of science, and so does not ask for impossible physics and medicine merely because social justice champions are prone to wishful thinking; so too she is not ignorant of the frictions which make human social systems imperfect, and so she does not ask for impossible economics and bass-ackward systems of incentives when social justice champions put more stress on the noble motives of their “reforms” than the outcomes likely to occur.

    Thomas Sowell correctly dissects this progressive habit of mind in his classic The Vision Of The Annointed. The plans Obama and Company originally pursued showed all the usual hubris of this group; the plan enacted was less so only because it wasn’t all they originally wanted.

    If they couldn’t resist the unwise urge for grandiosity, why oh why couldn’t it have been something wisely designed around the correct priorities and the need for helpful, rather than perverse, incentives?

    The Right Kind of Incentives

    In envisioning a health care system, we should always have had in mind the system of incentives we wished to create.

    First and foremost, human dignity obligates us to incentivize whatever self-provision the bulk of responsible adults can manage: Thus the Medical Savings Account should be the chief electronic wallet from which health care is purchased. This also puts the major emphasis where subsidiarity suggests it should go, at the individual level.

    Second, we want to get the most out of the pricing system generated by the free market: Thus medical care should be purchased directly by the consumer, directly from the provider, without middlemen (governments, HMOs) serving as pre-paid arbitrageurs who both distort prices by preventing consumer decisions from being transmitted as price-signals.

    Third, we want to provide an escape valve for those who encounter surprise catastrophic health care costs for which it was impossible that they could adequately save, even over a lifetime. Thus catastrophic care insurance — not pre-pay, but “if it happens” insurance — should be a part of the plan. The threshold for “catastrophic,” however, should be sufficiently high as to disincentivize risk-taking lifestyles from promiscuous sex to drunk driving to chain-smoking to radical obesity: It is a feature, not a bug, when a health care system makes such behaviors progressively impoverishing.

    Fourth, we want the poor to have assistance in building up their Health Savings. Vouchers and government-matching inversely proportional to income should keep them saving into their accounts and thus building up a “rainy day” fund.

    Fifth, we want children to be assisted outright. Health care costs for children could be reimbursed by the government at very high percentage rates for very young children, gradually tapering down to 0% by the time the child turns eighteen. Here, incentives are a lesser matter because children are not responsible for paying their own way.

    Sixth, we want voluntary almsgiving at the individual, community, state, and national levels to be incentivized, not displaced (as is usually the case in welfare state systems). A system which reports health care needs similar to the “Modest Needs” website could serve this function.

    The Right Balance of Subsidiarity and Solidarity

    In addition to envisioning the right kinds of incentives, we should also have had a vision in mind for how a system which recognized the complimentary (not always competing) claims of subsidiarity and solidarity would look.

    It’s primary mode of provision would be based on private purchase; its secondary mode of provision would be based on voluntary charity; its tertiary mode of provision would be through government compulsion via taxation.

    Its primary decision-making and governance would be on the level of individuals as they made purchase choices in the health care market; secondary on the level of communities, tertiary on the level of states, and last of all on the federal level.

    Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

    That’s what we ought to have gone for, once we decided to do something grandiose.

    Instead, we have this dog’s breakfast — or will have, for as long as it takes to shove it back inside the dog, God willing.

  • RR,

    You’ve made no points yet you use Henry’s and Charle’s infantile attacks on me as a “reason”.

    Don’t be a slacker and do your own thinking for once instead of getting your marching orders from the Democratic Party.

  • R.C.,

    Well thought out points on balancing solidarity and subsidiarity.

    Sadly Henry K. and Charles weren’t arguing that, they were only mudslinging to smear me. Not debate the substance.

  • Can’t argue with my post so you attack the poster.

    You are the one who attacked the poster with the typical liberal comment. Because I pointed out the problem of your use of subsidiarity. In ecclesiology, it would mean the Pope shouldn’t be able do anything with any canon laws, if one followed your lead.

  • Now you’re offended for being a liberal?

    😉

  • Federal “meddling” may or may not violate subsidiarity – I won’t say that it does in every single case.

    But we also have a Constitution. Why don’t we just get rid of that, so that Obama can single-handedly legislate us into a utopia. And we can print another 50 trillion dollars without any economic consequences to pay for it. Or we can shift all of the burden onto the states, almost all of which are facing severe budget crises. Or we can beg the Chinese and Japanese to keep buying our securities. The US is the greatest debtor nation in the world, but hey, lets not let that stop us from establishing programs with a price tag only a little short of the entire GDP.

    Catholic social teaching isn’t magic, and the Papacy has never insisted on this Fantasia style of government, where the executive waves a magic wand and creates resources ex nihilo for unlimited consumption. To suggest that solidarity or subsidiarity are bankruptcy pacts, or that they allow any politician at any time to ride roughshod over the laws of a particular nation, is a falsification of Catholic social thought, as immoral as it is absurd.

  • I agree with Joe that there is a role for the Federal government, with respect to Restrained Radical, Henry K., and Charles, but like Mr. Hargrave says, not in every single case.

    Where is the line drawn?

  • I have always said, Tito, I am not a liberal. It is wrong to claim I am. It is also an ad homimen.

  • You still don’t know what an ad hominem is. It isn’t a synonym for insult. If Tito were to argue, “because (I think) you are a liberal, your argument is wrong”, THAT would be an ad hominem.

    Identifying an argument one doesn’t like with a label one doesn’t like isn’t the same as rejecting an argument simply because of a label attached to the person making it. I’ll let Tito decide which one of these he’s doing.

  • Henry K.,

    Must have escaped me when you said it in the past.

    I won’t do it again buddy.

    And I was being cute, not nasty.

    (Thanks Joe)

  • The voters of Massachusetts were able to make the decision in their state – why weren’t voters in other states allowed the same opportunity?

    They were. Nobody was stopping them. That’s why Massachusetts was able to do it. Without this federal bill, a handful of other states would’ve followed suit. But too many states would not have. The federal government had to step in.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion of the issues here. I agree with jonathan, Henry, Charles, and RC. We are all saying that the federal government CAN bypass the state and impose health care reform. Tito believes that violates subsidiarity.

  • RR,

    When you say bypass, are speaking in the context of a Catholic or as a U.S. citizen.

    As a Catholic the federal government can step in, if local governments and/or non-governmental organizations are unable to fill that gap.

    And only if it is done in solidarity (since that wasn’t my argument, but I’m throwing it in there to avoid getting this thread hijacked

    From the perspective of a U.S. citizen, I’m all for representative republic, but not at the expense of the minorities, ie, such as the minority party in congress, the GOP. But that’s for another thread, not this thread.

  • Joe

    I very much know what an ad homimen is. You are right, it is not to insult. But it is to use some aspect of the person making the message (claiming they are liberal) to dismiss their argument. He didn’t respond to the argument. He just said “liberals” as if that answered it all. Classical ad homimen. But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.

  • Henry,

    It wasn’t an ad hominem.

    Though it’s quite telling that you take it as such.

  • “But you know, Joe, your response here is quite typical.”

    By your standards, THAT’S an ad hominem. Run along now, you’ve failed to make any impression or change anyone’s mind for the 50th time here.

  • As a Scalian, I think the bill is unconstitutional, as is the federal partial birth abortion ban. But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds. I’m speaking as a Catholic.

    Most of us here seem to believe that the federal government could impose some form of universal health care without violating subsidiarity, even though we may disagree with this particular bill.

  • RR,

    We agree in theory.

    I think most, if not all of us here, agree with your statement.

    What’s a “Scalian”?

    As in Antonin Scalia and skepticism in the 6th Amendment?

    As for…

    But I’m neither a judge nor a Constitution worshiper so you won’t ever hear me arguing for or against a policy on constitutional grounds.

    We aren’t Ba’al worshipers if that is your point.

  • The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government.

    You are free to think that “Obamacare” violates the principle of subsidiarity. That is a matter of debate. But this definition of subsidiarity is simply incorrect. Subsidiarity means the handling of affairs at the lowest appropriate level. Consider, for example, why putting “national defense” at the level of city government might be a problem. Something tells me that you would not be in favor of that. I point this out as someone who definitely agrees with the impulse to keep things as local as possible.

  • I used “Scalian” as an admittedly imprecise shorthand for a Meaning Originalist (as opposed to an Intent Originalist).

    I think there are too many Americans who think man should serve the Constitution, not the other way around.

  • Tito,

    “Universal” is not a synonym for “socialized” or “federally managed.” There is no contradiction between a goal of universal health coverage and a goal of subsidiarity.

    R.C.’s description is one approach to universal health care. It’s probably not the only one, but it does show that subsidiarity and solidarity work together to promote the common (which can be taken to mean “universal” among other things) good.

    I would only add that subsidiarity is not simply The Principle of Subsidiarity is the handling of affairs by small-scale, bottommost, or minutest government, as you put it. Subsidiarity is the ordering of appropriate functions to appropriate aspects of society. For example, some decisions appear to affect only an individual, but are best made by a family.

  • To clarify, the health care bill may indeed violate subsidiarity, but it does not do so simply because it seeks universal availability of health care. (I don’t know the details of the bill well enough to critique it on that basis; but most federal legislation seems to violate subsidiarity in at least minor ways.)

    Nor are the bishops hypocrites for seeking universal access to health care. That’s all.

  • Most of the time, I find that those who say that the principle of subsidiarity is not violated by the recent health care bill have simply defined the object as “universal health care.” Therefore, since no state can provide universal health care for the United States, or even for all the poor in the United States, subsidiarity is not violated by federal action.

    However, aside from my guess as to how the proponents of such a massive bill excuse its existence, there are the following points from Rerum to consider:

    “The limits must be determined by the nature of the occasion which calls for the law’s interference – the principle being that the law must not undertake more, nor proceed further, than is required for the remedy of the evil or the removal of the mischief.”

    This indicates that reform of the costliness plus programs to remedy the state of the poor who cannot otherwise afford it are to be desired here. The “Obamacare” bill then violates subsidiarity insofar as it goes beyond these measures. And indeed, though in a different context, we find in RN the statement, “But every precaution should be taken not to violate the rights of individuals and not to impose unreasonable regulations under pretense of public benefit.”

    But, then, I think it is also worthwhile to turn to Quadragesimo Anno, which states that although “[w]hen we speak of the reform of institutions, the State comes chiefly to mind,” still:

    “Just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them.”

    Mutual health organizations, currently heavily regulated, could do such things, and indeed have been proposed. Under this legislation, they are absorbed. Moreover, “Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them: directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands.” Necessity did not demand that the government replace the present system with something much different – it likely demanded reform of the present system and care of the most poor – which was clearly violated.

    Turning also to Mater et Magistra, we see that although “[t]he present advance in scientific knowledge and productive technology clearly puts it within the power of the public authority to a much greater degree than ever before to reduce imbalances which may exist between different branches of the economy,” still and yet, “it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man’s right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family.”

    I do not think that “Obamacare” leaves the latter to the man. I think it, in fact, does far more than is necessary, and eradicates part of the primary responsibility of the man. Part of the problem of this is that “experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order—those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.”

    And indeed, the importance and role of the state is reiterated as reinforcing groups and associations, not in replacing them: “As these mutual ties binding the men of our age one to the other grow and develop, governments will the more easily achieve a right order the more they succeed in striking a balance between the autonomous and active collaboration of individuals and groups, and the timely coordination and encouragement by the State of these private undertakings.”

    In many other places in Magister, the Pope discusses the dangers and the need of safeguards against the concentration of power in too few people. Those who see in Obamacare a great good for many people will also find support in that encyclical (as in others), but if they do not find a heavy warning and desire for temperance of state power (which does not exist in Obamacare), then they do not read carefully.

    Finally, turning to Centesimus Annus, we again find the same idea of subsidiarity as a limitation on state power:

    “The State must contribute to the achievement of these goals both directly and indirectly. Indirectly and according to the principle of subsidiarity, by creating favorable conditions for the free exercise of economic activity, which will lead to abundant opportunities for employment and sources of wealth. Directly and according to the principle of solidarity, by defending the weakest, by placing certain limits on the autonomy of the parties who determine working conditions, and by ensuring in every case the necessary minimum support for the unemployed worker.”

    The phrase “necessary minimum support for the unemployed worked” aligns very nicely with the idea of a minimum provision bill combined with a careful reform of existing institutions. It does not align with Obamacare.

    And again:

    “Malfunctions and defects in the Social Assistance State are the result of an inadequate understanding of the tasks proper to the State. Here again the principle of subsidiarity must be respected: a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

    And in fact, “One thinks of the condition of refugees, immigrants, the elderly, the sick, and all those in circumstances which call for assistance, such as drug abusers: all these people can be helped effectively only by those who offer them genuine fraternal support, in addition to the necessary care.”

    Obamacare may indeed appear to assist, or even actually assist, with some overarching goals of Catholic social justice. But it is well to remember that the Church is concerned not only with ends, but with means, and with motivations. Making common cause with those who would uphold this sort of legisation as supportable in a Catholic sense would be as dangerous as allying with those who would deny any state actor any role at all in regulation of health care.

  • Michael I,

    You’ve finally made a post around here that I don’t find objectionable in the slightest.

    If I had champagne on hand, I’d drink a toast.

  • 10th amendment period.

  • I think someone misunderstood me, if they interpreted my words to mean that I think this Federal bill, or even one which implemented my perfect plan purely through Federal authority, would be Constitutional.

    The Tenth Amendment clearly states the relevant principles:

    1. The Federal government has just authority only because it is a group of employees hired by (a.) the states, to exercise partially a specific subset of state authority (which the states only have because it was delegated to them by the people); and, (b.) the people, to exercise partially a specific subset of the just authority of individuals (which the people only have because it is delegated to them by God, or to say the same thing another way, because it is intrinsic to their God-given dignity as human beings);

    2. Any authority not delegated to the Federal government by its employers (the states and the people), it does not have;

    3. The Constitution is a sort of employment contract or job description for the Federal government, inasmuch as it is the sole vehicle for specifying the particular enumerated powers delegated to the Federal government by the states and/or the people.

    I’m more prone to verbosity than the Founding Fathers, so their text sums up the above quite succinctly: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    Now as a matter of fact, the Federal government has no just authority to enact this health insurance bill. I can say this with utter confidence, because the relevant authority was never delegated to them. In fact, in many (perhaps most? I haven’t read enough of their constitutions to say) states, the relevant authority does not even reside in the states, from a textual standpoint. And there’s some question whether, as a matter of Natural Law, parts of the relevant authority resides in individuals at all.

    If individuals lack the relevant authority, they cannot delegate it to their employees, the states; even if they have the authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it unless they actually did so by mutual consent in their adopted constitutions; if the states and the people happen to have the relevant authority, they cannot be said to have delegated it to the federal government unless they actually did so by mutual consent in the Constitution adopted and ratified by the several states; and the relevant authority is, in absolute fact, not listed. It is not among the enumerated powers of the Federal government.

    And this all goes without saying for anyone who has studied the text and the opinions of the Founding Fathers about the meaning of what they wrote. Someone who argues that a national health insurance bill of this type, adopted through procedures of this type, fell within the intended authority granted to Congress by the Constitution as the framers intended, is utterly ignorant of the topic. It is a ridiculous anachronism easily refuted by all commentary on the Constitution, from the Federalist papers to the personal correspondence of the Founding Fathers. It is like saying that, when the Apostle John referred to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” in his gospel, he intended to convey that he and Our Lord were gay lovers. It is jackassery of the first degree.

    BUT…

    The plain fact is that from the court-packing scheme of FDR onward, where the path of Supreme Court jurisprudence was, through outright extortion, ripped away from anything approaching respect for the text, our Constitutional jurisprudence is chock-full of first-degree jackassery.

    It is also plain fact that Congress doesn’t much give a frog’s fat fanny any more whether they have just authority under the Constitution or not to do, well, much of anything. Since the Senators became directly elected by the people, the state legislatures lost their voice in national governance and the states no longer have any obvious voice by which to prevent federal usurpation of their powers.

    And the people? They watch American Idol, or Jerry Springer, or whatever; it’s hard to keep up.

    So it is in the context of our execrable situation, which is unlikely to change soon, that I am willing to countenance Federal legislation which I hope will be helpful, even though I believe it utterly unconstitutional and would gladly see the constitutional (and subsidiarist) balance restored in the U.S. if it could be.

    I could stick to my principles and say nothing but “Hell, no” to any bill which I thought unconstitutional according to Framer’s Intent; and I would do just that were I in Congress. But as a voter, I know that this message, once uttered, is drowned almost instantaneously in the far louder debate about the merits of the bill, legality be damned.

    And so I wrote the post above, dealing with the lack of merit of the bill, and envisioning what would be the attributes of a truly meritorious bill, if one were ever to be introduced…and if it were wise to jump to a radically revamped system in one fell swoop, which it absolutely isn’t…and if the Federal government had just authority to enact it all by it’s lonesome, which I think it doesn’t and shouldn’t.

    I hope that clarifies my position.

  • To Michael Iafrate (and Joe Hargrave):

    You can count me in with Joe, Michael, about agreeing with what you said in defining subsidiarity. It was precisely correct: an apple of gold in a silver setting.

    So, champagne all around. (Since it’s not like we’re likely to have anything else to celebrate in the near future…!)

  • Bookmarking this page for Jonathan’s comment. It raises a question about when it’s acceptable to support an imperfect bill. Is overreach a nonnegotiable evil? What if ObamaCare also outlawed abortion (ignore the constitutionality for argument’s sake)?

  • R.C. nice post. All except the BUT.

    I posted, “10th amendment, period.”

    Compromise, despite how far we may have fallen is unacceptable.

    When you commit a venial sin do you have an excuse to commit a mortal sin, or an obligation to resist the downward pull and repent?

    If we are to truly live the Catholic faith, we are to be uncompromising. The 10th amendment is right and just and despite the fact that it has been trodden under foot, it it still law.

  • RC,

    It clarifies it, I suppose, but I don’t understand the point.

    We can say “hell no” — we can try and nullify this thing. Legal challenges are already being issued, invoking the interstate commerce clause.

    Here’s the issue for me, at least with regard to this discussion: the Constitution is the law of the land in the US. Now I happen to think that the Constitution, faithfully interpreted, is a subsidiarist document.

    But lets say this healthcare bill was truly subsidiarist – I don’t think it is but for the sake of argument. In that case I still don’t think we have any moral obligation to support it, as some left Catholics appear to be insisting.

    As I said before – fidelity to subsidiarity was never intended by the Papacy to be a bankruptcy pact. I am not going to argue that deficit spending is always and inherently immoral; but I do believe it can become so given the circumstances and the consequences.

    In these circumstances and with the likely economic consequences, not only do I think opposing this bill is NOT immoral or somehow out of step with Catholic teaching; I think promoting it with the full knowledge that it will cost nearly 1 trillion dollars that we don’t have, after Obama bailed out Wall Street, passed a stimulus bill that has failed to create jobs, and expanded the American empire – and with the knowledge that it will place a crushing financial burden on states that are teetering on the edge of fiscal meltdown – could very well be morally questionable.

    There is no mandate in CST to spend money you don’t have, whether you are an individual or a government. You can’t ram the concept of “solidarity” as an abstract ideal down the throat of a real society and body politic that can’t digest it.

    I do believe in solidarity. But I believe in real local solutions – distributism, worker and community ownership of businesses, common good banking, and other means of raising capital to fund the projects and programs that will embody our values as Christians and Catholics.

    This federal program is a nightmare. In my opinion, as a student of Catholic social teaching and the many Papal encyclicals on these questions, I say no Catholic is obliged to support it.

  • Deficit spending of money borrowed from one single entity that makes the money out of thin air at usurious rates is always and everywhere immoral, wrong, stupid and dangerous.

    I agree that no Catholic is obliged to support this debacle; however, we are obligated to oppose it. I am not condemning any one’s soul because some people are ignorant – ignorance may reduce murder to man slaughter, but an innocent is still dead and you did it – I know you didn’t mean to, but they are still dead and you are still guilty, only slightly less so.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    I am still paying bills, still have poor credit, and am now a janitor working full time, but forced to live with my in-laws and forgo health care for my young son and wife.

    God will judge this nation, I promise you.

  • No doubt Nate, and I think He will find immense good as well as bad. Sounds like you are a bit sour about your present situation. The remedy is in your hands as it is with all able bodied people with no mental handicap. As the father of an autistic young man who will never have the opportunity to make his way in the world unaided, assistance his mother and I happily give him, I have limited patience for people who have sound minds and bodies and then gripe about lack of opportunity. Opportunities for honest employment and advancement are endless in this society for those willing to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

  • Nate,

    I’m not exactly driving around in a Cadillac myself.

    Like I said before: if we didn’t have trillion dollar banker bailouts, failed stimulus packages, and imperial wars, it would be different.

    In fact, I think it would be cheaper for the government to simply pay the tab of anyone with a treatable life-threatening illness than it would be for this monstrosity.

    There is no doubt that we live in a broken society worthy of judgment and possibly condemnation. The federal takeover of healthcare is not going to change that – that, I can promise you.

  • This is the boldest claim to this end on the conundrum with our Catholic principle of Subsidiarity and the USCCB supporting the bill save for the absence of the abortion language.

    If this bill had passed with the Stupak Language, it still would have done a lot of damage to the dignity and sanctity of life.

    People wrongly say that Rerum Novarum does not address Health Care, but it does!

    An excerpt-parenthesis are mine:

    “To cure this evil (of injustice), the Socialists, exciting the envy of the poor toward the rich, contend that it is necessary to do away with private possession of goods (my paycheck and yours) and in its place to make the goods of individuals (through redistribution of monies) common to all, and that the men who preside over a municipality or who direct the entire State should act as administrators of these goods. They hold that, by such a transfer of private goods from private individuals to the community, they can cure the present evil through dividing wealth and benefits equally among the citizens. But their program is so unsuited for terminating the conflict that it actually injures the workers themselves. Moreover, it is highly unjust, because it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion.”

  • RN doesn’t condemn taxation. Some people have to think through their condemnations more thoroughly.

  • As someone who has been to an emergency room with no health care (as a live-in volunteer for HIV+ homeless men with substance abuse addictions), I think I can speak from experience about whether this experience was ‘adequate’.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t such a person be eligible for Medicaid already?

  • RN absolutely DOES condemn what Leo called excessive taxation. Summarizing his list of the positive benefits of worker ownership of productive property, Leo concludes:

    “These three important benefits, however, can be reckoned on only provided that a man’s means be not drained and exhausted by excessive taxation. The right to possess private property is derived from nature, not from man; and the State has the right to control its use in the interests of the public good alone, but by no means to absorb it altogether. The State would therefore be unjust and cruel if under the name of taxation it were to deprive the private owner of more than is fair.”

    Now what constitutes “excessive” or “more than [what] is fair” might be open for debate, but Phillipus’ quote is not limited to taxation.

    It has to do with the FUNCTION of government as well.

    “it violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the function of the State, and throws governments into utter confusion”

    Sounds like an accurate description of Obamacare to me.

  • Not entirely OT, from Chicago Breaking News:

    While many Chicago parents took formal routes to land their children in the best schools, the well-connected also sought help through a shadowy appeals system created in recent years under former schools chief Arne Duncan.

    Whispers have long swirled that some children get spots in the city’s premier schools based on whom their parents know. But a list maintained over several years in Duncan’s office and obtained by the Tribune lends further evidence to those charges. Duncan is now secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

    The log is a compilation of politicians and influential business people who interceded on behalf of children during Duncan’s tenure. It includes 25 aldermen, Mayor Richard Daley’s office, House Speaker Michael Madigan, his daughter Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

    But of course, nothing like this could ever happen under the Obama healthcare plan. These liberal pols, who care so much about the poor, would never use their power and influence to jump ahead on government waiting lists for transplants or expensive treatment. Only heartless conservatives would do such things…

  • Well, I don’t condemn taxation; government has legitimate functions that must be funded. How the tax burden should be shared is mostly a question of prudence, though certainly it would be immoral to tax families at the expense of true necessities. I disagree with the proposition that CST somehow endorses low taxes and small government any more than it endorses high taxes and large government. I prefer the former for all manner of prudential reasons, including some grounded in my own life experiences; but many smart good Catholics prefer the latter. It is very difficult to secure confident truths about public policy options because it is so hard to sort out why people do what they do.

    The UCCB is wrong to weigh in in support of this health care bill because it is beyond its charism, which is to speak out against intrinsically immoral things, such as government funding of abortion. They would be wrong to oppose it as well.

    Reminds me of the time the managing partner of my law firm wrote an op-ed piece in favor of gay marriage. He is free to do this of course, but many of us took great umbrage at his being introduced as our managing partner. That office carries with it no special wisdom on the issue, and he should have been more careful to avoid any suggestion that he was speaking on behalf of our firm or that his opinion somehow carries greater weight because of the office we gave him.

  • Donna, isn’t that news report just filthy Chicago political corruption all over? News flash for everyone who doesn’t live in Illinois: this is exactly the political atmosphere in which Obama learned the trade of a politician. Chicago politics have been a sewer forever, as accurately portrayed in this clip from the Untouchables.

    Ness was brought in because Chicago law enforcement was just as corrupt as portrayed in the film.

  • Mike,

    I think the extent to which our Constitution does not conflict with CST is the extent to which we ought to follow it.

    I’m not bringing this up because I think you claimed it, but throwing it out there as relevant to the topic:

    I’ve never seen a Papal document insisting that Americans scrap their Constitution and replace it with the Compendium of the social teaching, or a European-style welfare state. In fact, JP II condemned welfare bureaucracies in Centesimus Annus.

    “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (48)

    I think this is precisely why so many people opposed Obamacare, and why Catholics are well within the boundaries of CST if they oppose it.

  • Joe, I agree completely on all counts. Surprisingly (perhaps) I do not at all take issue with those Catholics who support ObamaCare (assuming the abortion issue has been satisfactorily addressed — its own issue of course). I give Catholics a wide berth. That said, I do believe it is arrogant for the bishops to weigh in (as bishops) on something they really don’t know any more than you, me or any other AC commentator.

  • Yeah, I agree Mike… its not “unCatholic” necessarily to support it, though I would remind everyone of those warnings about the welfare state from JP II.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the Catholics who DO support it are insisting that you’re basically an anti-Christ who hates poor people if you don’t support it.

    On a final note, I don’t mind the bishops “weighing in”, in theory: in practice, they only listen to left-leaning researchers. I never hear them talk about fiscal responsibility. Why is that out of the realm of moral teaching? Why is it OK to propose and enact grandiose schemes that could bankrupt a society?

    On a related note:

    People who think this is “consequentialism” are – to put it mildly – incredibly naive (or dishonestly abusing rhetoric, as some people who drop in here from time to time enjoy doing). It is perfectly legitimate and I would argue morally obligatory to consider the consequences of ANY action or policy.

    “Consequentialism” is only when one proposes doing evil to achieve a good end – not taking into account the great evils that could occur from the pursuit of good intentions.

  • Again, Joe, agreed. I pay no mind to those who claim that a Catholic must support ObamaCare for the simple reason that the assertion is stupid and I’m far too busy to deal with such nonsense. I also agree that it is possible for bishops to exercise a prudential opinion as bishops but only if the prudential component is not subject to reasonable debate (one can at least argue that the Iraq War satisfied this standard — though such an argument is not air tight). ObamaCare does not come close. Hence, my accusation of arrogance.

  • Joe:

    Well, of course I want the bill nullified, in the court system or by nearly any other means short of violence.

    You say you don’t understand the point of my second post. I think, from your reaction and “American Knight’s” reaction, that I used the wrong word when I said I would “countenance” a bill despite being opposed to it because it was unconstitutional. A better phrasing would have been to say that, while I would still vote against it and work for its defeat, I was willing to debate its merits, measured against the standards of Catholic teaching, apart from the question of constitutionality.

    Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles. (And, as I indicated, I fear the mere fact of something being unconstitutional often doesn’t prevent it being enacted these days.)

    With Obamacare, obviously the abortion thing made it not a good fit with Catholic principles. But I thought there were other things, as well, which made it not a good fit. It seemed to me that when a correct balance of subsidiarity and solidarity was taken into account, the result would be nothing like this bill.

    So I laid out what I thought were the relevant guidelines for a bill which would follow Catholic principles and showed how Obamacare didn’t fit. In the process of doing so, I gave a hypothetical example of an approach which would match Catholic principles far more closely.

    That was all in my first post.

    Sometime thereafter, RestrainedRadical came in and, referring to my hypothetical example, said that I thought federal programs like this were constitutional.

    Since that wasn’t what I meant at all, I wrote my second post to make it clear that I didn’t. The sole purpose of my hypothetical example was to show by comparison how much more Catholic (and generally wise) a bill could be, compared to the Obamacare bill. I would not want even my hypothetical example to be implemented by the kind of federal overreach used for the Obamacare bill.

    I hope that helps make sense of what I was saying.

    On another, but related, topic: Joe, can you help me out on something?

    In discussing the government-provided health insurance issue in another forum, I recently had occasion to quote St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3, the “if a man refuses to work, he ought not eat” bit.

    I took St. Paul to mean, reasonably enough I think, that Christians are under no moral obligation to subsidize a moocher who is entirely able to pay his own way but chooses to remain dependent on others despite having no disability or hardship to prevent him from gainful employment. I did not apply the verse to folk who’re in need through no fault of their own.

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    I don’t mean to talk behind the fellow’s back; and indeed if he sees this note and chooses to reply, that’s fine.

    But I thought that you, Joe, could perhaps give me insight into this point-of-view. To me it seemed pretty wacky but I’m trying not to dismiss the possibility that there’s some logic to it. Any ideas?

  • RC,

    “Even though its unconstitutionality made me oppose it, I was willing to oppose it on other grounds also; namely, that it wasn’t a good fit with Catholic principles.”

    Same here. I should have read your first post more carefully.

    Now, as for your questions:

    “Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher?”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    This passage is easy, however to misinterpret, if it is meant to apply to public policy. The CCC, 2427, states:

    “Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another.Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.”

    So there is your passage, right there in the Catechism. Work is a duty. However, I would add the following considerations:

    Jesus does say that we are to give freely to all who ask (Matthew 5:42). In my view, this means the following: if a person on the street asks for money, we don’t make a federal case out of it, we don’t attempt to do an impromptu background check and grill them with a bunch of questions, and we don’t assume that they’ll spend the money on booze or drugs if they say they’re using it for food or gas.

    I’ve parted with the money in my wallet with a suspicion that the money might not be used well, but without knowing for certain, I erred on the side of charity. I believe this is what we are called to do as Christians.

    However, if we are talking about a situation in which a known liar and moocher asks for money or something else, then I believe we are fully within our rights to deny them, or, if we can, place conditions on our assistance. We will help them, in other words, on the condition that they make a serious effort to improve their position, to the best of their ability.

    In none of these scenarios do we find prescription for public policy. The Gospels are very thin on political theory, probably for a good reason: virtue is only meaningful if it is the result of a free choice. Jesus says “render unto Caesar”, and Paul says to obey the lawful authorities. The Apostles say to obey them only insofar as they do not conflict with God’s laws.

    Of course, Caesar Obama is not authorized by the Constitution to force us to buy health insurance, or to plunder the treasury to finance universal health care, so in resisting Obamacare we aren’t violating any Christian teaching that I know of.

    “Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?”

    Absolutely not. The encyclicals do not contradict the Catechism. When they speak of economic issues, the presuppose a desire to work for a living on the part of the poor, as well as various problems that prevent full employment.

    The Church teaches that societies are obligated to find ways to provide employment for all. But the obligation to actually do the work rests upon us as individuals.

    John Paul II condemned the “Social Assistance State”, which at its absolute worst subsidizes idleness and laziness. So I would say Catholics have no grounds for insisting that the state do any such thing.

  • Donald and Joe – I don’t have much of a position on this health care debate. In the face of reality, it all seems like smoke.

  • This so-called health care reform bill and the Bishop’s position on the bill praising the increase access for the poor has caused me to research the Church’s positon on Social Justice. I wasn’t aware what a leftest organization that the US Catholic Bishops are.

    Social Justice is in many ways is a less offensive word for Socialism / Marxism.

    Subsidiarity is lost in current Catholic teachings.

    It is not charity when one is forced by the threat of imprisonment to pay for anothers’s health care through taxes.

    I use to feel good about charity to the Church. I’m less inclined to support the Bishop’s from this point forward.

  • Dan,

    That makes two of us.

    I’m less inclined to support the bishops in anything they push in “our” name.

  • We are obligated to be obedient to our bishops – they are the successors of the Apostles. Of course, that obligation is limited to their authority as Apostles – primarily in matters of faith and morals.

    The Bishops financial charity is not an obligation. I strongly suggest that we do it; however, I have been struggling with this all through Lent. Not because of the bishop – I actually have an excellent, faithful son of the Church, pro-life, loving shepherd as my bishop. I assisted at a Mass he celebrated yesterday and had a chance to speak to his excellency during dinner after. He is a wonderful and loving man and a good bishop. He also told me his schedule is already booked for two years. It is not easy being a bishop, especially these days when administration and litigation takes up so much of his time.

    The Enemy is using our twisted culture to force our bishops to be so busy with ancillary things that they are fatigued when it comes to their apostolic mission. We must pray for them.

    The problem with the bishops’ financial charity is that it is administered by bureaucrats and they are overwhelmingly leftists and barely qualify as Catholic, if at all.

    I fear that my money ends up being used to support the enemies of the Church. I am strongly considering directing those funds to our seminary in the name of my pastor and my bishop, rather than to the diocese. This is a difficult choice. Prayer is helping, but I am such a sinner that I haven’t been inspired one way or the other yet. It is so much easier to make decisions as a secularist – they all lead to hell so it doesn’t really matter.

    I am also considering what to do about being a Knight of Columbus, since I just found out that Bart Stupak is too!

    Pray much my friends our government is quickly working to become the enemy of the Church. We must be prepared, like St. Thomas More, I am my country’s servant, but God’s first.

    Pray also for the poor Catholics who chose to seek (not achieve) good ends by the means of the enemy. Socialism, big government, collectivism are never compatible with our beliefs. We may have to live under tyranny, but we cannot cooperate with it. I know I will be chided for equating tyranny with this so-called health care reform bill – but the facts are the facts – this bill is merely one step toward total government (perhaps global) and marginalization of the Church and then out right persecution. It has happened before, it can happen again. Of course, Judgment could come any time before it happens too.

    Engage all the mental gymnastics you want – this law is not only illicit because it does not subordinate itself to the law of the land – the Constitution, but it also opposes our beliefs while couching itself in the tenets of our faith. The devil is smarter than we are. Don’t be fooled by him – we are children of God and heirs of His Kingdom.

  • Dan, then why don’t you take Glenn Beck’s advice and join another church since you’re obviously taking your cues from him?

    The fellow replied that this was a “republican interpretation” of St. Paul, and one which he did not accept.

    I was flabbergasted by this. Are there really Catholics who believe that the Church teaches that one is obligated to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher? What could justify that? Is there some passage in an encyclical which can be construed that way?

    R.C. – In our conversation I said nothing about having an obligation “to give alms even when one knows one is not helping the needy, but only enabling a moocher.” Those were not the terms of the discussion at all. In fact that way of framing it is so incredibly vague that it’s unhelpful. We were talking specifically about health care. When it comes to health care, the church insists that health care is a human right. Yes, “moochers,” even known “moochers,” deserve health care. Whether or not you should flip a quarter to a person you “know” to be a “moocher” is probably up for debate. Sorry, but health care is not. People that you, based on republican assumptions, deem to be the “undeserving poor” still possess basic human rights whether you like it or not.

  • Michael is correct – the right to life includes the right to adequate care of their health. This is true regardless of what human being we are talking about. Jesus demonstrated that when he healed the ear of the sinner who came to arrest him.

  • Don’t forget about the 10th commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal.

    By taking money away from people against their will is not Catholic social teaching.

  • ‘But whom do I treat unjustly,’ you say, ‘by keeping what is my own?’ Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From what did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.

  • Henry, individuals and households do manage to produce salable goods and services. We are not all just drawing from some endowment left to us.

  • Oh, and when you say you have a ‘need’, you have an implicit purpose in mind.

  • Tito, my friend,

    I believe “thou shalt not steal” is the 7th commandment… 8th if you read a heretic Bible 🙂

    Nate, my other friend,

    The right to health care does not = the right to federally subsidized health care. I agree that the government has a duty to take some action to make health care accessible – it could do so in any number of ways short of this monstrous and unconstitutional power grab.

    I maintain that Catholics are well within the bounds of Church teaching in rejecting Obamacare, and reitirate John Paul II’s and the Compendium’s condemnation of the expansion of bloated welfare bureaucracies, Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of excessive and unfair taxation, the principle of subsidiarity, AND the fact that CST does NOT require us to dismantle the rule of law in this country – which is the Constitution – in pursuit of utopian ideals we cannot afford.

  • Joe,

    You are correct.

    I had two commandments in mind, but only one came out.

    The 10th is Though Shalt Not Covet.

    Darn N.A.B. Bible. I need to stop reading USCCB propaganda.

    😉

  • Who are the greedy. Those who are not satisfied with what suffices for their own needs. Who are the robbers? Those who take for themselves what rightfully belong to everyone. And you, are you not greedy? Are you not a robber? The things you received in trust as stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? IS not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward man as you might have aided, and did not

  • The redistribution of wealth can never be condoned by breaking 1/5th of the Commandments.

  • Therefore let us use our goods sparingly, as belong to others, so that they may become our own. How shall we use them sparingly, as belonging to others? When we do not spend them beyond our needs, and do not spend them for our needs only, but give equal shares into the hands of the poor. If you are affluent, but spend more than you need, you will give an account of the funds which were entrusted to you.

  • Henry, get to the big “reveal” already.

  • Henry is quoting St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church. I suppose he’s putting chunks up slowly hoping that someone will protest against something so that he can then pounce with an “Aha!”

  • John:

    Yeah, I knew he was quoting someone, and engaged in some kind of point-scoring exercise. I had just reached my “Monty Python chorus” moment: “GET ON WITH IT!”

  • Tito is right again.

    St. Basil is absolutely right to condemn selfish people as robbers and thieves. We should give freely and generously – freely being the operative word.

    What exactly does St. Basil have to say about the role of the state? Oh wait… nothing. At least that I know of. If he did say something, I would be interested in seeing it.

    In any case, we have the political philosophy of the Catholic Church to guide us. And what it says is clear.

  • Listen and groan, all of you who overlook your suffering brethren, or rather, Christ’s brethren, and do not give the poor a share of your abundant food, shelter, clothing and care as appropriate, nor offer your surplus to meet their need.

  • ::wonders if sanctimonious lecturing ever changed anyone’s mind on anything, ever::

  • I dunno, Joe. Maybe you could go post “Liber Gomorrhianus” by St. Peter Damien in its entirety in the gay marriage thread over at Vox Nova and see how long it stays.

  • Health care is certainly a right when the means to provide it are available to a degree – there are circumstances that render it untenable some are natural, we don’t know how to cure cancer, a cure for HIV-AIDS is also elusive. Others are our responsibility. Saddling physicians with so much regulation, litigation and insurance costs not to mention the ridiculous cost of their education is dwindling the numbers of physicians we have. Additionally you cannot secure a right for everyone by destroying the means and the capacity to provide that same to anyone.

    Does Jesus want us to take care of the sick? Of course, to the best of our capacity; however, His primary task is for us to pray for the health of their souls and not simply their bodies. The healing miracles Jesus performed where visible signs of his healing message – primarily healing our souls. Furthermore, most of the sick need comfort more than they need medical treatment. Some of us have chronic illnesses, it sucks, but that is just another cross to bear – frankly, I’d rather bear the cross of diabetes than vanity by seeking to be the one who forces others to ‘charitable’. Judas always comes to mind – he always championed the plight of the poor, while he was pilfering the purse.

    I won’t judge anyone’s interior intentions, not my place, but all y’all who are constantly whining about the poor are usually liars and self-seeking vain, prideful ones at that. Charity must be love, it cannot be force, government cannot love. Government does have a responsibility to ensure that the natural free market, the charitable intent of her citizens and the settlement of disputes are not hampered so as to provide access to medical care, when it is possible. Medical care, for acute physical ailments – not health care per se.

    Health care is broader than medical care it includes food, shelter, exercise, education, etc. government cannot provide that, the only ones that come close to even promising that are socialist at best and totalitarian ultimately. As Catholics, we cannot support that kind of a state.

    Furthermore, what kind of contortion do you have to do in order to categorize killing babies and elderly, giving sexual stimulants to perverts, sex changes to poor twisted souls, etc. as health care and then consider that a right according to CST? Y’all who propose and support this twisted logic should get on your knees and thank God for His Mercy and the Sacrament of Penance.

    Again, I will make the bold statement that Catholics not only cannot support this ‘law’, we must oppose it. It is anti-life, anti-Christian and anti-American. We are commanded to be pro-life, pro-Christ and patriotic.

  • In a free society many people do not understand the differnece between a human right a a human need.

    Health care and food are essential to life and are human needs. But needs do not give one a right to property of others. If I’m hungry I do not have the right to steal from you.

    Charity is when you freely give to someone in need. Non-voluntary redistribution of wealth is not charity, but theivery.

    I’ve encounter the moocher that Micheal talked about and have given him money for food. The moocher turned around and told me he was buying beer with the money I gave.

    I’ve not stopped giving to street people, but now walk the person to the nearest store and buy a sandwich. Sometimes the person looses interst and this weeds out people looking for beer.

    I’m afraid this health care reform bill with it’s affordablity credits will discourgage people from doing what they can do for themselves. With a big goverment program there is no opportunity to weed out the moochers and give to the people with true needs. Moochers will multiply without close managment of resources. If the resources are not mananged correctly there will not be enough for those with true needs. This health care bill will certainly provide more beer for the moochers.

    In a society that is not free, there are no human rights, and plenty of unmet human needs. If we continue down the road to socialism, our rights like freedom of speech and religion will be in jeopordy.

  • Dan,

    Freedom of religion will not be curtailed in the USA. All will be free to practice all manner of religion, well, except those pesky Catholics with all that doctrine and dogma – we can’t have that.

    I refrain from giving money to beggars because I will not enable them in doing harm to themselves, but I will always buy them food and drink (not alcohol) or even a blanket or a jacket. I know they can turn around and sell it for drugs, but I can only exercise the prudence that is possible with the charity that is required.

    Social welfare programs invite a self-perpetuating bureaucracy and like any other system it needs clients. Helping poor people improve their situation will render them no longer poor and so you’ve lost a client. It is far better to waste wealth to increase the quantity of poor. Notice how many more poor people (if you can truly call the poor in America poor compared to the poor elsewhere) since the Great Society.

    Is it really justice to incentivize and perpetuate the less fortunate in a state of dependency while increasing the numbers of those who are dependent?

    I don’t think that is quite what Christ or Holy Mother Church means.

    I think He taught something about not giving a man a fish, but teaching him how to fish.

    Me thinks leftists of all stripes confuse true Charity (Love) with mere sentimentalism.

What We Know Now

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

As it so happened, I was in Washington DC on that National Mall as congress was voting on the mess which is our “health care reform” bill. I hadn’t been to our capitol city before, and it was a simply beautiful afternoon — one on which it was hard to believe that our elected representatives were bringing us one large step closer to a major budgetary crisis point, and Representative Stupak was busy selling out the principles everyone had imagined to be as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar for a rather paltry executive order which may (or may not) come after the fact. (Call me a cynic, but I could well imagine the EO never coming. Though in a sense, why not issue it: It would have no effect and could be repealed at any time. Still, there would be a great deal of justice and truth in Obama using the old Microsoft line, “Your mistake was in trusting us.”)

Still, though sun, green grass, and stone monuments are fresh in my mind, and the largest looming problems in my mind revolve around children wailing that they need a bathroom right now while traveling on the metro (let’s just say that didn’t end well) I don’t want to seem as if I’m discounting the importance of what we’ve just seen. And there seem to be some fairly clear conclusions we can draw:

1) Stupak had no desire to be to abortion what Joe Lieberman chose to be to foreign policy. Lieberman was hounded out of his party and continues to hold office only because of people who disagree with him on nearly every other issue admired his principled stands on Iraq, Israel, etc. If Stupak had brought down the Health Care Reform bill in defense of the unborn, he would have received similar treatment from his own party to what Lieberman has received, and he clearly didn’t want to be that person. Instead, having talking himself into a corner he really didn’t want to be in, he seized upon a fig leaf when it was offered and did what he’d clearly wanted to do all along:

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21 Responses to What We Know Now

  • Thanks for your thoughts on this Darwin. Though I will say this: I am not so sure Stupak’s principles failed today as much as his intelligence. What was he thinking, putting the status of abortion in the health care program in the hands of Obama?

    He was willing to go to war just to keep the Hyde language in the bill, but now he caves and gives the president what amounts to carte blanche? What idiocy. What foolishness! It’s irrational behavior.

    The rabidly pro-abortion Dems who threatened to block the passage of any bill that denied public coverage of abortion are clearly confident that this EO would have little to no effect. Pro-life Republicans also clarified how EOs really work during the debate running up to the vote.

    I will be writing soon on the prospects of nullification.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Anyway, surprising indeed.

  • It is rare for a political party to walk off a political cliff in lockstep, but that is precisely what the vast majority of Democrats did in the House last night. Most of them I assume have no idea of the political whirlwind they sowed last night.

  • Donald,
    I hope you are right, but if ‘pro-life’ Dems have not figured out their party by now is there any chance that they ever will?

    Party affiliation first and foremost!!!

  • What do you guys think of Bill McCollum, et al and their posturing to kill this in the courts? Do you think they have a shot? I mean, large parts of this monstrosity strike me as blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m no lawyer.

  • restrainedradical,

    Given that the text of the Senate bill, with its more liberal abortion language, predates Brown, I’m unclear how it is the result of his election. Are you theorizing that if the Democrats still had a 60 seat majority in the Senate they would have been more willing to accept Stupak’s language even though they’d initially refused.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

  • Nice try, rr, but I do not think the psychology commonly attributed to battered wives is salable in this forum, whether the huckster is you or David Frum.

    Oh yes, pro-lifers were the victims in all this. Aren’t they always? I can’t say I didn’t warn you, not like you were listening anyway. Pro-lifers got more out of this than they deserved politically. It’s time for the pro-life movement to stand up, and admit they are facing the adult consequences for their adult choices. Of course that would mean actually holding leaders accountable and not continually giving them a pass. For all the complaining about McClarey’s favorite representative, he’s probably the only reason you have the half loaf you have.

  • Victims? Not particularly, that I can see. We lost lost a battle but won some side engagements along the way, and while it could have been a lot better, we certainly did better than if we’d simply sat around on our hands. (BTW what’s with all this 2nd and 3rd person?)

    That said, we did lose, and in directly because of a loss of either wisdom or principle on the part of one of the main players. In that sense, it’s hardly surprised to see him blamed.

    The point about battered wife syndrome is more that it hardly makes sense to argue that we somehow would have got even more concessions if we hadn’t pushed for anything at all. The Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point, and they run congress, so clearly, if pro-lifers had not tried very hard to get pro-life restrictions forced into the bill, the folks who think that killing the unborn is a form of health care would have had their way in its entirety. If there’s a lesson in all this, it’s that the “let’s shut up and be good patsies for the Dems because they’re only ones who care about people” crew would never have got any pro-life concessions at all if they’d been left to their own (lack of) way.

  • I mentioned upon the election of Brown that it’s possible that his election would result in a more liberal bill. Without Brown, Stupak would’ve had a much better chance of getting his amendment.

    I’d considered this possibility too, but ultimately I don’t think it works. The language to be included in the Conference bill had already been worked out prior to Brown’s election, and it wasn’t the Stupak language (that’s what the whole Cornhusker Kickback thing was all about). If Brown hadn’t been elected we would have ended up with the same result w/r/t abortion.

  • MZ, rr fancies we are responsible for this mess because we did not play the angles in some complicated way, e.g. being frightfully clever and casting a ballot for Martha Coakley. Now, I am not impressed with such a thesis or the bloke who offers it, but then I am just an ass who doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything.

    not like you were listening anyway.

    You got me there. I do not pay you much mind, for reasons you should be able to discern.

  • DarwinCatholic, I disagree with you assertion that “the Democratic Party is overwhelmingly pro-abortion at this point…”

    I’m a 30-year-old pro-life Catholic and spent the last decade voting Republican solely on the abortion issue. But I’m done with that. The Democrats of 2010 are a far cry from the party that silenced Bob Casey 18 years ago. Case in point: as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause from his caucus. Imagine that, 250 Dems cheering a pro-lifer as he champions the pro-life provisions of a piece of Democratic legislation.

    Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

  • What a ludicrous thing to say Mr. Kelley. The Democrat party is the most pro-abortion that it has ever been. Stupak sold out the pro-life cause for a meaningless Executive Order that is unenforceable. That is why he was getting cheers from the overwhelming pro-abort Democrat caucus. Vote Democrat if you wish, but do not delude yourself that you will be voting pro-life when you do.

  • Frankly, the fact that you and others on this blog find yourselves in the same camp as Planned Parenthood and NOW, lambasting Obama over abortion, should give you pause.

    Put that bong down, and crash.

  • Donald:
    I didn’t say I was vetoing Democrat, just said I’m done with the Republicans.

    Art Deco:
    Huh?

  • oops. “voting”

  • Chuckling at Art Deco.

    If the Dems weren’t overwhelmingly pro-abortion, there wouldn’t have been any provisions in this bill for abortion from the beginning. Only a handful of Democrats in the house held out for an abortion exclusion. “Pro-life” senators were bought off with promises of pork. The leadership maintained that the bill will still allow funding of abortion and consider that a cost saving measure. Even going as far as to call this a “life-affirming” bill.

    We know to some Catholics abortion isn’t a big deal to begin with, and to most of them the end justifies the means. But the Church’s teaching on life, abortion, and justice resonates with and informs some of our consciences.

  • I don’t blame those who voted for Brown. I wouldn’t have voted for Coakley. But I did think the celebration was premature.

  • RR,

    Yes, the celebration was premature.

    Let’s see if the Democrats can control both houses of congress come the November elections.

  • ” as Stupak took the podium last night he was greeted with loud, sustained applause”

    Whereas just days before, he was greeted with vicious hate. For everyone from the liberal bloggers to the House Dems to suddenly love Stupak says one thing, and one thing only to me: that he agreed to a deal that will do absolutely nothing for the pro-life cause, because any bill that would, would have been shot down by the pro-abort Dems.

    The viciousness with which he then attacked pro-life Republicans during the following vote was like a victory dance with salt-coated shoes over open wounds. And all they were trying to do was get HIS language in the bill – his reason for berating them was that he had the utmost confidence in Obama’s EO.

    What a chump. What an irrational, foolish man.

  • We also know that the people begging and praying for the congressional critters to obey God and the Constitution aren’t being heard by most, both those in the Capitol and anyone outside of the four block radius.

    According to the reporting there were a 1000 ‘Tea Partiers’ and hundreds of Catholics for Health Reform making their cases.

    The sad fact is there is no such thing as a Catholic who is in favor of this ‘health care reform’. I know you misguided lefties are going break your keyboards responding, but the fact is you are wrong. You may have won this battle, but you are still wrong. Engage whatever mental gymnastics you want, you can’t contort the Catholic faith into making this OK.

    I spoke to these poor fools when I was on the hill the past two days and nights. At one point there was some confusion over the boundaries of the pro-Constitution group and the anti-life group and I ended up on the anti-life group side. I admit that after the confusion was cleared up I stayed there because I wanted the cameras to know that we are not all nuts, in favor of collectivism and that there is NO SUCH THING AS A PRO-ABORTION Christian. The camera men told me to, ‘get out of my face, I’ll film whatever I want’. I was told by Capitol police not to cause a commotion and I told them that I was just correcting a lie. The cops were very cool, they did there job well with a few minor exceptions who were chastised.

    One poor woman holding one of the professionally fabricated signs that were given to them by Demon Pelosi ‘catholics’ told me that I wasn’t allowed to be there. I responded that Catholics aren’t allowed to be for killing babies. I was met with silence. No matter how much we sin, that conscience is always there, as misguided and disfigured as it is – even Judas could have repented.

    The interesting thing was that after the ‘staged’ pro-abortion promoters were scheduled to leave – the pro-life, pro-Constitutionalists stayed and prayed and chanted and prayed. Sure I found the Our Father a little long, you know with the Novus Ordo doxology tagged on to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but that was OK. We sang the national anthem and said the pledge of alliegence and emphasized REPUBLIC and UNDER GOD! (tangent: funny how Bible-only Chrhstians pray the Lord’s prayer differently that it says in the Bible). Some of the younger fools came to our rally carrying their professional signs and acted like fools – some of us fell for it and engaged, sadly, I wish I had recalled that Jesus didn’t say one word to Herod – but I caved into temptation and engaged.

    I am not sure that all of the ‘Catholics for Health Reform’ were actually Catholic or just very, very poorly catechized Catholics, but they are certainly wrong and misguided. They behaved like ignorant fools. It is sad that each subsequent generation since the 60s is devolving into barbarism. Having attended Mass in DC, I also noticed that the Washington DC diocese is not nearly as conservative and traditional as the western part of the Arlington diocese just across the river. That may have something to do with it – lefties and unorthodox, even downright heretics are in our Church and to be silent is to allow the Devil to sweep souls away.

    Oh – as for those racial slurs – I saw none of that – it hasn’t been proven and none of the thousands that I met behaved that way. Not to mention I met many black Americans that were with the alleged perpetrators. There were also many agent provocateurs among us to malign patriotic Americans – don’t fall for the lies. As for Barney Frank being called a fag**t, I didn’t see any of that either, despite the fact that he is a proud Sodomite. We did call him a treasonous traitor – another term that is accurate for that man.

    There were thousands standing up for life, for America and for freedom to worship and honor God. If you can’t be there in person you must pray and fast with those on the front line. This isn’t a joke. This is how a society succumbs to Jacobins, Leninists and Brownshirts. It is so sad that so many have been mentally conditioned into believing that it can’t happen here and that it isn’t happening.

    Of course, this bill is not ushering in collectivism tomorrow – we’ve been working on that for 100 years and the Enemy bides his time. The damage from this will be slow enough for most to not notice it and that will fool many into thinking their conscience is OK with it and then one day they’ll look back and wonder when it happened – when did we become Communist slaves? Or, worse, actually be happy about it and embrace it.

    Thanks for coming to DC – perhaps we bumped into each other. 🙂

November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

Monday, March 22, AD 2010

Last November during a town hall meeting near the Upper Peninsula Representative Bart Stupak of Michigan, an alleged “pro-lifeDemocrat that recently voted for government funding of abortion, made it clear that he was never going to vote “No” on ObamaCare.

Biretta tip to Sydney Carton and Alicia Colon.

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30 Responses to November 2009, Stupak Never Intended to Vote No on ObamaCare

  • From the Weekly Standard:

    The GOP is now offering its motion to recommit: the Stupak-Pitts amendment which passed the House 240 to 194 in November to ban abortion-funding. If it passes, the bill will have to go back to the Senate for approval, which means at least 25 Democrats will flip-flop on their previous vote on Stupak.

    Stupak is now urging fellow members to vote it down.

    Update: The Stupak amendment fails 199 to 232.

  • “The American Catholic”? Really? So you are American first, and Catholic second? Or what?

  • Yeah, and as Roman Catholic, I’m Roman first and Catholic second. Yeesh.

    You guys should have named this blog The Catholics Who Live in the United States of of America, Don’t Really Hate it, and Aren’t Self-loathing. Not that some would appreciate it, but you’d be denying them juvenile semantic plays.

  • I’m pretty sure I heard about this at the time. Wasn’t it excused by some pro-life leaders (or maybe his spokesman) as a necessary profession of open-mindedness?

    In his defense, a man in Stupak’s position can’t afford to appear totally uncompromising all of the time.

    I am disappointed that so little came out of the Stupak fight. He fought and lost but wouldn’t commit political suicide over it.

    How can pro-lifers limit the damage and strengthen a bipartisan pro-life coalition for the future? If Stupak had real help in the Senate, for instance, he would have had less need to compromise.

    (Juvenile semanticism should often be deleted to stop tangents. Don’t feed the pedants.)

  • I think I remember reading that Stupak is Catholic.

    That being said, and given the smart-mouth remarks previously posted, I would guess that Stupak’s label would best be a “Democrat Catholic” in regards to his way of voting. Political Party man first, God’s second.

  • No one has worked harder than Mr. Stupak to protect the unborn throughout this whole process. No one… not one Republican, not any bishop. I love the Church. I am 100% Catholic, by God’s grace. I am particularly concerned with the plight of the unborn. I think that Mr. Stupak is very sincere and his conscience is clean before God. He and his fellow pro-life democrats have been the voice of reason in this debate. Both pro-abortion Dems and anti-health care reform Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. Neither group has taken account of the poor and downtrodden

  • Patrick,

    If he was sincere, he would’ve voted “no” on the final bill.

  • It puzzles me that he held out for so long to only give in to a worthless piece of paper. Not to be all conspiratorial, but my feelings are that this was done intentionally by the Democratic leadership in order to buy themselves more time. They did not have the support of those on the far left (i.e. Kucinich) who wanted a strong public option and/or a single payer system. So, in order to garner the support of the severe leftists, they made it sound as if there were pro-life democrats who were holding out.

    The thing is: there is no such thing as a pro-life democrat.

  • When given the chance to support his own amendment, Representative Bart Stupak described it as “cynical”.

  • Mr. Stupak straddled two logs, upholding the great tradition of political BS in this cgreat country. He milked the pro-life folks and it is concievable that he was not sorry he lost the vote there. His vote on the Medical reform bill no longer mattered. He was free to abstain in accord with his professed “conscience” or again vote negative on the Reform Bill. To vote for the Bill truly stinks since it allows him to straddle both sides of the debate which in turn allows him to advance his own personal poliltical agenda from the pro-life folks was well as from the abortion folks. A true Solomonic/Satanic choice. He didn’t save the baby, so he cut the baby in half!

  • FYI: Cheboyan is in the lower peninsula of Michigan. Oh yeah, Stupak sucks.

  • Another politician that bears all the traits to be in the Congress of the USA. 1. Liar 2. Cheat 3. favors genocide(abortion). If the Government were serious about health they could make it free for every American (legal) and stop giving away our tax dollars to themselves and foreign countries that are against every thing that we stand for. YOU DO THE MATH……

  • Will,

    Thanks for pointing that out.

    I’m not a Michigander, but it sure is close to U.P.

  • The question I have is this. Did Richard Doerflinger who led the last minute rush to include the Stupak amendment in the House bill know about this, did Nat’l Right to Life know about this. Where has this been. Why are we just know getting it!!!!!!

  • If the Bishops knew about this and if Nat’l Right to life knew about this at the time the Stupak amendment was put in the House bill, then our own Bishops and our own Right to Life groups have betrayed us!!!!!

  • To Patrick:
    Charity for the poor and downtrodden is a good thing. But only if it’s FREE WILL VOLUNTARY! The entire governmental welfare system is corrupt as it is never moral to forcibly take from one person, even if the intent is to give to another person for a “good” intention. The original theft negates any possible “good.” Taxes should only go to things that have equal possible use for everyone, i.e. police, fire protection, infrastructure, etc., never to force anyone to give even one dime to another for nothing in return. Theft by “majority rule” is still theft. All government forced wealth transfer is immoral, period, whether for “health care” or anything else.

  • Stupak went through months of hell from pro-abortion advocates, gets a concession from a politician like Obama, and now he gets this vituperation from people who were singing his praises days before?

    He lost in the Senate and had no good options, supporting his party gave him an opening to fight another day. Pelosi already had votes in reserve, but Stupak just helped out his threatened fellow Democrats who were allowed to vote no. That’s how you advance in a party.

    Stupak has pledged to go back and fix things if it is necessary:

    During the press conference announcing his last hour support for the bill, Stupak said: “the statutory language, we’d love to have it. But we can’t get it through the Senate. And we’re not giving up. If there was something we missed, we’re coming back with legislative fixes. These right-to-life Democrats, who really carried the right-to-life ball throughout this whole debate, we will continue to do that. We will work with our colleagues to get the job done.”

    If he really were only a craven opportunist, he would have abandoned his pro-life fight long ago. His situation is ugly, and the EO is almost useless, but he got more done than if he had just followed the party leadership.

    His months of fighting was a show of loyalty to the pro-life cause. Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    No. He caved and settled for a useless fig leaf to hide his abject surrender. He deserves all the scorn he is reaping. I regret every positive word I wrote about Stupak. In the final analysis making his peace with his party was more important to him than the pro-life cause.

  • @ Jim S.

    “The development of peoples depends, above all, on a recognition that the human race is a single family working together in true communion, not simply a group of subjects who happen to live side by side.”

    (Words given by Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate.)

    If you ask around I believe you will find that your consideration of paying taxes as theft and thus a moral evil incapable of bearing any good to be very isolated and unacceptable to 99% of people(including Christ Himself see: Mt 22:17-23)

    You mentioned charity, but reduced it to government run almsgiving. Upon further reflection I hope you find that charity is much more dynamic than you propose (see 1 Cor 13 for example).

    As Catholic followers of Christ we should look to HIM and not to figures like Rush Limbaugh for answers. Christ is our model. See how he had compassion on the multitudes and fed them (Mt.15:32), taught them (Mk. 6:34)and yes, healed them of their infirmities (Mt 14:14; 20:34; 1:41; etc… He gave His very life for us and has asked us to do the same (Mt 16:24).

    St John asks: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1Jn. 3:17)

    True charity, a real love of our brothers, is the priviledge and the gift given by God to us. Social Darwinist, ultra-conservative “Christians” may very well find themselves in the same predicament as the rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day, oblivious of the righteous man Lazarus sitting outside his door. (Lk 16:19-31).

  • I missed the part in the Gospels Patrick where Christ decreed that it was the duty of Caesar to take care of the poor. Statist attempted solutions of taking care of the poor have an abysmal track record. Christians have a duty to care for the poor personally. I do not think we have a duty to have the State confiscate funds from taxpayers under the pretext of caring for the poor.

  • Duh. The Catholic faithful haave suffered enough while the Church goes chasing after socialis progressive ideals. I suggest you read the history of Marx, Lennin and Saul Alinsky

  • “Doesn’t he deserve pro-lifers’ critical loyalty rather than critical rejection?”

    I think Stupak deserves our forgiveness and prayers, but not our loyalty. My prayers go out to both Ben Nelson and Bart Stupak for I think both of them have consciences and are suffering and perhaps even condemning themselves more than we are condemning them. They are both casualties, and Lord only knows of all the other casualties due to the tactics used by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al. The problem therein lies within me as my heart tells me that there is unconscionable evil abounding in Washington in the form of Obama and Pelosi, those who will continue exploiting others for their own selfish ends, yes, even the perhaps noble motions of Stupak. Once Stupak examined his very ignoble acquiescence of yesterday followed by drinking and partying, one would hope his disillusionment set in about the deal he had just struck. Pelosi and Obama, however, seem to be stuck in perpetual happiness with themselves, totally. We are told to pray for their conversion, but would it do any good? As C.S. Lewis said, “should they be confirmed forever in their present happiness, should they continue for all eternity to be perfectly convinced that the laugh is on their side?” I detected no mocking tone or cavalier attitude in Stupak’s interview today, but perhaps confusion. It is not his intent, nor Ben Nelson’s, to eliminate undesirable elements of society. But what is the intent of our most pro-abort President ever, who would deny medical care to a still-alive aborted fetus, and the 100-percent NARAL rated Pelosi, who voted against the ban on partial birth abortion? I cannot fathom the evil that lurks in their hearts and souls.

  • Read the reply list and you will soon recognize the problem. We are much closer to Anarchy than we are to Socialism. Stupak is playing his own game (anarchy) just like all other congressmen do. Read some history about other empires and how they failed. You need not be a scholar to figure it out. The United States and the Catholic Church needs to step back and look at the one thing that creates good and rejects evil. It is called UNITY. Remember the Trinity?

  • The cynicism is overwhelming. We won’t even allow a matter of days to play out before we cast our stones at Mr. Stupak, who has probably spent the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing in the midst of this complex and relatively poor political system. I am amazed that we already feel the authority to judge not only his actions, but his culpability. Time will tell what the fruit of his labors will be, and may we pray that those fruits will be the preservation of many lives; yet, no amount of time will ever reveal to us the inner thoughts or intentions of a man’s heart.

  • Thank you TM for a mature reply.

  • To Patrick,

    It is not the place of the government to take money from its people to freely give to another group of people and we as citizens should not accept this. This precept is not Christian nor Catholic for it breaks the 10th commandment. We are called as Christians to give to the poor and downtrodden. We are not called as Christians to have money taken from us and given to someone else because the government deamed it something good. Charity comes from people not from governments. Our welfare, medicare, etc systems are in a mess and do nothing but hold people down in poverty. Welfare is to help people until they get on their feet not to sustain them their entire lifes even though they have the ability to work. This is evil not good.

  • TM: Since we know that in November 2009 Stupak indicated that he NEVER intended to vote no on Obamacare, where do you get the idea that he has spent “the last few weeks and months agonizing over how to do the right thing?” Your defense of him is clearly negated by what the man said himself, right in front of a camera.

    He used the unborn as pawns in a political game designed to fool gullible pro-lifers and place himself in the spotlight. Now that’s what I call cynicism.

  • Be careful–Stupak will lie about other things as well. The key word is FOOL and we are that FOOL…

  • My only intent in posting this is to edify those who may not know. Bart, Jr., Stupak’s youngest son, committed suicide approximately ten years ago. I don’t know whether this tragic event played any role in Stupak’s initial heroic stance on abortion and his subsequent shameless cave-in, but, in any event, he and his family certainly deserve our prayers.

What Will ObamaCare Look Like

Friday, March 5, AD 2010

[4 updates at the bottom of this post as of 8:08am CST]

If ObamaCare somehow passes through Congress and signed by President Obama, what can Americans look forward to?

Well the Republican Party’s very own potential presidential candidate Mitt Romney did just that as governor of Massachusetts, passing universal health coverage for the entire state.

The results are mixed at best, and scary at worst.

Here are some highlights from the op-ed titled Romneycare model a dud in the Boston Herald by Michael Graham where Massachusetts is “already glowing in the radioactive haze of Romneycare, aka “ObamaCare: The Beta Version.” [emphases mine]:

Shouldn’t Obama have been bragging yesterday about bringing the benefits of Bay State reform to all of America?

As we prepare to wander into this coming nuclear winter of hyper-partisan politics – one in which we’re almost certain to see widespread political fatalities among congressional Democrats – I have to ask: If bringing Massachusetts-style “universal coverage” to America is worth this terrible price, why doesn’t Obama at least mention us once in awhile?

Maybe he thinks of us as the Manhattan Project of medical insurance reform. Too top secret to discuss. More likely, it has something to do with the nightmare results of this government-run debacle. Here are a few “highlights” of the current status of the Obamacare experiment in Massachusetts:

It’s exploding the budget: Our “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget [imagine it in trillions for American tax-payers] for 2010. Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

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11 Responses to What Will ObamaCare Look Like

  • Clearly, the program only failed because it wasn’t properly funded. The rich need to pay their share to ensure everybody has access to health care. Your opposition to health care reform is really a manifestation of your deep-seeded hatred of the poor and fear of those who are not like you. It is shameful for you to use abortion as a smokescreen for your racism.

    //There. Just saved a few folks some time this morning.

  • Steve,

    That is a failure of imagination.

    All problems cannot be solved by throwing more money at it.

    Massachusetts is a model of what will happen to America.

  • Steve, you do deadpan humor better than I do it! You parodied the arguments of the Left to perfection. Well done!

  • Steve,

    I’m enjoying my sucker-pie right now.

    Good one!

    🙂

  • Yes, but Steve forgot to mention fascism. A fatal flaw in any real argument

  • I don;t know enough about Mass to comment.

    However, if public options are doomed to fail, how come they seem to do OK in Canada and Europe and have done for decades?

  • RuariJM,

    Canada and Europe have been subsidized by American military power for the past fifty years. If those ungrateful countries had to spend money on their own military, they wouldn’t have enough money for universal health care. The only our country could afford to ensure health care for all is to do what those countries do – gut our military spending and shut down the one trillion dollar budget.

    Yeah, right! Who else is going to stop Western Civilization from succumbing to the jihadists, if not the American military?

    // I jest. 🙂

  • “universal” health insurance scheme is already $47 million over budget

    Thanks to greater-than-expected enrollment. It’s a good thing.

    Romneycare will cost taxpayers more than $900 million next year alone.

    So what’s an acceptable price tag? The VA budget is $57 billion. Is that too much?

    Besides, most of the $900 million was already being spent to reimburse hospitals for treating the uninsured. The shortfall is $100 million.

    The choice is between insuring the uninsured, reimbursing hospitals for treating the uninsured, making hospitals suffer the losses from treating the uninsured, or allowing hospitals to turn away the uninsured. Pick one.

    Average Massachusetts premiums are the highest in the nation and rising. We also spend 27 percent more on health care services, per capita, than the national average.

    It was probably already the highest before the reform. I do know for a fact that since the reform, the rate of increase has declined both compared to the past and compared to other states. This is consistent with the CBO report which predicts lower costs offset by higher premiums for more comprehensive plans (a net increase in premiums but a decrease in cost). The Massachusetts plan apparently lowered costs more than it increased the price of premiums.

    In Massachusetts, ObamaCare 1.0 is such a mess our governor is talking about imposing draconian price controls.

    The federal government will deal with a larger deficit the way it always does, borrowing. If the federal government was going to impose price controls, it would’ve done so already to save money on Medicare/Medicaid which dwarfs ObamaCare.

    uninsured Bay State residents has gone from around 6 percent to around 3 percent.

    That’s hundreds of thousands of people. That’s great news! A federal program will help millions!

    In conclusion, the Massachusetts plan doesn’t defy logic and works largely as it’s expected to work. Nobody expected it to be free.

    If you oppose ObamaCare, offer an alternative. The way I see it if you take out the public option and include the Stupak Amendment, you have an acceptable plan. Sure, HSA’s would be preferable but if that’s not an option, insurance is still better than nothing.

  • In all seriousness, the rich have no greater right to health care than the poor. The rich are rich not for their own sake, but for the sake of the poor. To those whom much is given, much will be expected.

    Now, having said that, I do not approve of national taxes and national health care schemes. State taxes and state health care schemes . . . I’d have to think about.

  • RuariJM,

    That would explain why the premiere of Newfoundland decided to have surgery in the US and not Canada.

    As well as many more Canadians crossing our border for superior and sorely needed doctors visits.

    Remember, dead patients don’t complain while waiting in line for a transplant.

    That’s why you don’t hear much of them complaining, but there are complaints and it is ugly.

  • I hope Republicans will run attractive candidates for every open House and Senate seat who promise to repeal it. If this Obama/Piglosi/Reid abomination can be crammed down our throats via the nuclear option, why can’t it be repealed via nuclear option once all the Marxist-Alinskyite dirt bags have been voted out of Congress this November? By the grace of God there will be enough of a conservative flip to override ObaMao’s veto.

Ronald Reagan Warns Against ObamaCare

Sunday, February 28, AD 2010

This is a clip of Ronald Reagan warning us of socialized medicine, the very same bill that President Obama and the Democratic Party are trying to ram through congress.

Reagan warns us of how people such as six-time presidential Socialist Party candidate Norman Thomas, and many others, explained how to move their agenda of achieving a socialist state by a Foot-in-the-Door policy of socialized medicine.  Which is eerily similar to what President Obama and the Democrats are doing, against the will of the people with their European socialized health care bill.

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40 Responses to Ronald Reagan Warns Against ObamaCare

  • I love that clip. It shows why Ronald Reagan will always be “The Great Communicator”. Clear, factual, and with his own depth of Philosophical belief. Unlike most politicians, what Reagan said, he believed.

    After watching the “Bipartisan Healthcare Summit” I was truly astounded at how poor Obama is at communicating without a pre-prepared speech and a teleprompter. The man is rude, cuts people off, stutters and stammers, and has trouble forming thoughts about his beliefs.

    Basically, to anyone who watched the BHS (no, not Barack Has to Stutter) this was a wake up call–Barry isn’t a good speaker, he is a good reader.

  • Is this a real or a parody post? If the latter, well the joke’s on me then…

    But assuming it isn’t – I assume you realize that Reagan was making all kinds of outlandish claims about Medicare, including that it tell doctors where they had to live? I think history had proved him a tint bit wrong – so much so that the party that now idolizes his memory is fighting tooth and nail against “cuts” in this very same Medicare..

    Oh, and as superior as single payer is (and Medicare is single payer by the way), the Obama bill retains the current system of privaet insurers. There is nothing “socialistic” about it. Of course, it attempts to regulate private insurers, including (by the way) how they must deal with abortion – something no Republican has ever supported.

  • MM,

    He was talking about the slow descent to socialism, or does this escape you?

    As for abortion, no matter your hollow arguments, you still voted for the most pro-abortion president in the history of the United States of America.

  • You need to study more on what Reagan actually predicted pertaining to Medicare. Also, tell me why his acolytes currently are its biggest defenders? Also, please tell me what abortion protections were put into the Republican-sponsored Medicare Advantage expansion? And please tell me what exactly is “socialist” in the HCR bill?

    Of course, having a policy debate would require moving past mindless slogans – “socialist”, “most pro-abortion president”. Of course, I could also point out to your that your own ideology is almost identical to the liberalism opposed by the Vatican for quite a long time.

  • Awesome Post!

    Reagan also signed the UN declaration against torture and his DOJ successfully tried and convicted a Texas sheriff for waterboarding prisoners, so I guess that he solved those current debates as well!

  • Oh No! But I just realized that Ronald Reagan might disagree with Friedrich von Hayek on this question, who wrote, in his Road to Serfdom, that “Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance, where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks, the case for the state helping to organise a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong.”

    And now I don’t know WHAT to think!?!

  • We could also say that Reagan raised taxes pretty much every year of his presidency, and pushed for a very ambitious arms control deal! The modern GOP would denounce him a “lib-uh-ral socialist”!

  • Here is the text of the speech:

    http://www.elephantowners.com/?page_id=68

    Reagan’s warnings have proven prescient. Medicare and Medicaid have grown and grown. We cannot pay for them just as we cannot pay for Obamacare. The government as an insurer has driven up the costs of medicine for all.

    Oh and Tony, the most pro-abortion President in our history isn’t a slogan, but a reality. You supported him and now you aren’t even going to get health care. He is also producing a political reaction which is going to sweep the Democrats from power in November in Congress and across the country. As a Republican I would like to thank you. Obama is the best thing that has happened to the GOP since Jimmy Carter!

  • “Reagan’s warnings have proven prescient. Medicare and Medicaid have grown and grown. We cannot pay for them just as we cannot pay for Obamacare.”

    As have Eisenhower’s regarding the military-industrial complex. But few “conservatives” seem to think that that is much of a problem.

    The point of all this, of course, is that it’s rather silly to think that the policy positions of American politicians–Republican or Democrat–should have any bearing on arguments (rather than sloganeering) about what is actually beneficial to the commonweal.

  • However plausible Reagan’s predictions may have been at the time, they have not been borne out by subsequent events. It’s been 45 years since Medicare was enacted, and it hasn’t led to a total government takeover of medicine. In fact, I think there’s a plausible argument to be made that Medicare is one of the main impediments to passing a universal health care plan today.

  • Instituting programs that we cannot pay for is not beneficial to the commonweal, but rather bankrupts the commonweal. As for Defense, that thing that gives you the freedom to comment on blogs, it took up 23% of the federal budget in 2009. Social Security took up 20% and Medicare and Medicaid 19%.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

    Medicare and Medicaid are going to explode in costs over the next two decades and there is no clue how to pay for them other than for the government to continue to borrow until—well, I guess until we can’t borrow anymore or our economy collapses under the debt burden.

  • I’m not sure how mandating that people purchase something from the private sector constitutes “socialism”?

  • And that’s not even to say it is a good idea. This is strictly speaking toward definition.

  • Wj,

    If you think that Hayek quote is amazing, check out this one (from the Constitution of Liberty):

    Once it becomes the recognized duty of the public to provide for the extreme needs of old age, unemployment, sickness, etc., irrespective of whether the individuals could and ought to have made provision themselves and particularly once help is assured to such an extent that it is apt to reduce individuals’ efforts, it seems an obvious corollary to compel them to insure (or otherwise provide) against those common hazards of life. The justification in this case is not that people should be coerced to do what is in their individual interest but that, by neglecting to make provision, they would become a charge to the public. Similarly, we require motorists to insure against third-party risks, not in their interest but in the interest of others who might be harmed by their action.

    Finally, once the state requires everybody to make provisions of a kind which only some had made before, it seems reasonable enough that the state should also assist in the development of appropriate institutions . . .

    Up to this point the justification for the whole apparatus of “social security” can probably be accepted by the most consistent defenders of liberty. Though many may think it unwise to go so far, it cannot be said that this would be in conflict with the principles we have stated . . . It is only when the proponents of “social security” go a step further that the crucial issues arise. Even at the beginning state of “social insurance” in Germany in the 1880’s, individuals were not merely required to make provision against those risks which, if they did not, the state would have to provide for, but were compelled to obtain this protection through a unitary organization run by the government.

  • Reagan’s warnings have proven prescient. Medicare and Medicaid have grown and grown.

    Reagan was warning that eligibility for the programs would expand, not cost. That hasn’t happened.

  • “As for Defense, that thing that gives you the freedom to comment on blogs….”

    Funny, I thought that was the Constitution. Thanks for pointing out my ignorance!

  • Eric,

    The moment congress passes this bill, within a generation, we will no longer have what you refer to as the “private sector”.

  • The moment congress passes this bill, within a generation, we will no longer have what you refer to as the “private sector”.

    This strikes me as unlikely. What in the bill do you think will do away with private sector health care?

  • It’s not in the bill.

    But succeeding congresses will expand the bill to include a government option. Will ultimately be a single payer “option”.

    I probably should have said an incremental march towards the elimination of private health insurance.

  • Blackadder,

    Yes, that quote is amazing. I am always impressed by the clarity and nuance of Hayek’s thinking; if Republicans were more consistently Hayekian and Democrats were more consistently social democratic then we might have actual arguments about policy! We would also be living on another planet, of course.

  • Tito,

    Why do you think passing this bill now will make passing those bills in the future any more likely? Usually passing a bill on a subject makes it harder to revisit that subject legislatively, not easier.

  • BA,

    They would not necessarily pass more bills, but it can happen.

    They would also expand the power of said agencies that would squeeze the private sector more and more.

    Not to mention executive orders that can expand the powers of said agencies and restrict those of the private sector.

  • Well, what do you mean by “private sector” anyway?

  • Tito,

    Okay, but all that stuff could happen regardless of whether the current bill is passed. Why is this an argument against the current bill?

  • I ask because it seems that, in your mind, there are these two abstract entities–the “private sector” on the one hand, and “government” on the other–that are necessarily in opposition. But this over-simple characterization does not fit the *actual* way in which the health-care industry (and, for that matter, most other large industries) operates in America.

  • BA,

    Because it is a slippery slope of creeping government involvement in people’s lives.

    WJ,

    Please explain.

  • Can’t–going to bed; briefly, though, I understand your distinction to hold for small businesses, relatively local economies, etc. but not for huge corporate enterprises which sometimes enjoy monopolist status and have the clout to influence legislation in their interests; for such enterprises, any simple distinction like the one you draw seems inadequate for accounting for the facts on the ground.

  • “Funny, I thought that was the Constitution. Thanks for pointing out my ignorance!”

    You are welcome. Without military force to back it up, the Constitution is just another piece of paper.

  • As have Eisenhower’s regarding the military-industrial complex. But few “conservatives” seem to think that that is much of a problem.

    Perhaps becuase the allocation of available resources to military expenditure fluctuates up and down in response to external conditions and is lower now than was the case in 1960.

  • which sometimes enjoy monopolist status and have the clout to influence legislation in their interests;

    The only monopolists in our economy are gas and electric companies and (to some extent) the postal service.

  • (and, for that matter, most other large industries) operates in America.

    That’s just what we need, more crony capitalism.

  • Well, what do you mean by “private sector” anyway?

    Never mind.

  • We could also say that Reagan raised taxes pretty much every year of his presidency,

    You could say that, if you’ve forgotten that legislation is enacted by Congress and that legislative initiative in matters of taxation and appropriation rests with the lower house of Congress, and that the lower house of Congress was controlled by the political opposition for all eight years he was in office.

  • Of course, having a policy debate would require moving past mindless slogans – “socialist”, “most pro-abortion president”.

    Those are not slogans, those are characterizations (the latter quite accurate).

  • Tito: “we will no longer have what you refer to as the “private sector”…slippery slope of creeping government involvement in people’s lives.

    So, the government should not regulate anything that privaet insurers do? So you are fine with them covering abortion, I take it?

  • As for Defense, that thing that gives you the freedom to comment on blogs, it took up 23% of the federal budget in 2009.

    I’m reminded here of an old Lincoln quote:

    All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

    We don’t need to spend anywhere near 23% of the budget on defense to ensure freedom of blogging in the U.S.

  • Blackadder,

    You’re being much too reasonable to be taken seriously on this thread.

  • We don’t need to spend anywhere near 23% of the budget on defense to ensure freedom of blogging in the U.S.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have in mind a scenario of what occurs given particular levels of American military spending?

  • “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.”

    Considering how fearful Lincoln was during the Trent Affair of the possibility of British intervention, I doubt if he meant that statement literally. Additionally, in an age of ICBMs and the coming age of portable nukes by non-state terrorist groups, things have changed militarily a tad since Lincoln gave that speech.

  • Anyone who cannot see that Reagan was right about his beliefs needs to answer these questions:

    1. Did Medicare achieve the goals intended at the costs it promised? Further, is it almost broke now?

    2. Was Reagan right that Medicare was just a preemptive move to pass Socialized Healthcare?

    My answers for those questions are:

    1. No, it has exploded in size, cost, and is rife with Govt corruption and inefficiency.

    2. Obamacare anyone?

Senator Nelson Sells Out Unborn, Health Care Bill Heads to Vote

Saturday, December 19, AD 2009

(Updates at the bottom of this article.)

Harry Reid was able to make huge concessions to the state of Nebraska and bought Senator Ben Nelson’s vote a la Mary Landrieu.  The vote seems headed to the floor with all 60 votes secured to impose on American’s draconian laws that would hike insurance rates and begin the downward slope towards European style socialism.

Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax. He also was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.

What’s in the bill that I’m aware of?  I’ve broken down the Washington Post article almost verbatim below:

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29 Responses to Senator Nelson Sells Out Unborn, Health Care Bill Heads to Vote

  • Senator Nelson said this, this morning:

    “Let me be clear. This cloture vote is based on the full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the Senate and the House.

    If there are material changes in that conference report different from this bill that adversely affect the agreement, I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote.

    Let me repeat it: I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes to this agreement in the conference report. And I will vote against it if that is the case.”

    I am not thrilled with his decision. I am happy that his mailbox is full and so is Senator Casey’s. But this is not a done deal. The legislation has to be reconciled — the slightest appeasement of liberals in the House can kill this thing in the Senate. Better yet, the abortion language is not going to fly well in the House. The first go round there were 64 Democrats to vote for the Stupak amendment and at the end of the day with 39 Democrats voting “NO”. To see this thing fail, there needs to be merely 2 upset Democrats to vote the other way.

    This isn’t over.

    Moreover, I am not surprised. Recent stories in the press suggest that Senator Nelson was being threatened. Maybe they were true. Maybe they weren’t.

    Either way, hopefully this will not succeed.

  • Eric,

    I think you’re absolutely right on this. I think Stupak and the pro-life Dems in the House will hold the line on this.

  • Let’s see. The Democrats, if they can pass this stripped down bill through the Senate, still have to convince the House Dems to scrap their much more ambitious bill. Then there will be a huge fight over the Stupak amendment.

    If this bill passes it will then not be fully implemented until 2014, coincidentally, I am sure, two years after the Presidential election of 2012.

    I do have to hand it to the Dems if they pass this for doing what I considered impossible. They have crafted a bill which is opposed by a majority of the American people, liberal Democrats and virtually all Republicans. They have all the signals known to political man flashing red and saying that this is a one way ticket to a crushing defeat in 2010. Passage of this bill will depress liberal Democrats, the base of the Democrat party, unify and inflame Republicans, and cause Independents to desert the party of the donkey en masse. Never has a political party in my lifetime labored so strenuously to implement a policy that guarantees them an extended vacation in the political wilderness. Democrats have nothing on Lemmings at the moment when it comes to survival instict.

  • I am actually more surprised that Lieberman is voting “Yes.”

    Actually I am shocked they killed the public option.

    ALL THIS POLITICAL AMNESIA DRIVES ME CRAZY!

    We have Republicans defending Medicare (since when?!) and Democrats supporting insurance companies offering national plans that do not have to adhere to state laws (what the…?)

    Our Congressmen need to have their heads examined.

  • Wait…how do they expect to get a bill without a public option through the House?

  • lol Eric, good question. You already have some Dems who pledged to vote it down if abortion funding was scrapped… imagine what they will do with no public option!?

    This whole thing is going to fall apart.

  • I’m trying to understand the bill. So states will able to prohibit subsidized plans from covering abortion. In those states that will allow abortion coverage, individuals will be able to purchase abortion coverage on top of their regular coverage.

    If that’s right, I don’t see what’s so objectionable. Sure, it’s not as good as barring coverage altogether but this is not bad. Those who want abortion coverage will have to pay extra for it. In practice, few would buy the supplemental abortion insurance.

  • I am not sure if that’s how it works. I read something a moment ago suggesting people would have to send two checks — one for abortion coverage, the other for the whole policy. I think it is still account gymnastics.

    I am not sure.

  • So it depends on whether it’ll be the individual’s choice or the insurer’s choice. If the individual gets to choose whether to send that abortion check, this bill isn’t so bad. If everyone has to pay the same premium and the insurers segregate it, that’s unacceptable.

    Need more clarity.

  • Any reaction from the USCCB on this one???

  • Your blog managed to list on google search for reaction to the health care debate.

    As an Irish Catholic who use to be republican, its always distressing to encounter members of holy church who have been utterly beguiled by the evangelical right, I pray for such folks.

    While the issue of abortion is a serious moral lapse in our society, the lies and deception of the GOP and evangelicals pose a more serious danger to both the republic and freedom of faith.

    Pettifogging health care as an element of the debate over abortion is rank hypocrisy and not worthy of big or little C catholicism.

    One can only hope other Catholics who have followed the disciples of the lie into the modern GOP tent will like Paul have their eyes opened to the reality they adhere to a political theology crafted by the Father of lies and promoted by his agents in the GOP.

  • Republicans as agents of Satan? Mr. Keller, it is never a good idea to blog drunk.

  • Mr. Keller would appear to be Gerald L. Campbell’s doppelganger.

  • When I stop Chuckling, Mr. McClarey I assure both lucidity and habitual tea tootling, Nor did I offer implication all republicans serve as agents of the diabolical any more than all members of the German Army were responsible for the Holocaust,

    Art Deco’s reference to Campbell is pithy oh so pithy still I wish you both a merry Christmas

  • Well Mr. Keller, now we have Republicans compared to members of the Wehrmacht and the Holocaust. As I have said to some of my clients when they have committed some felony or misdemeanor sober, “I would prefer that you would at least have had the small excuse that you did this drunk”. And the merriest of Christmases to you.

  • Last one Donald, may I call you Donald? I’m in Phoenix and have to get ready as I prefer Saturday mass, Clients, felony? are you an attorney Don?

    Funny if you are as I find it difficult to distinguish between modern republican leaders and lawyers, both have the tendency when they lack points of authority or a cogent argument to pound the table and besmirch the character of the opposing advocate.

    Please trust me when I say unlike politicians, I will accuse directly when the occasion calls for it.

    Oh I hear the GOP has invited the John Birch society back into the fold, yea that will help.

    Really I try to treat all people as individuals worthy of respect but every time I hear Glen Beck or Sister Sarah Palin speak I think of Forest Gump, White trash is as White trash does, yea that’s going to cost a few hail Mary’s but it had to be said but at least the Merry Christmas was sincere

  • “both have the tendency when they lack points of authority or a cogent argument to pound the table and besmirch the character of the opposing advocate.”

    I am an attorney. The legal saw you are recalling is that when the facts are against you, you argue the law, when the law is against you, you argue the facts, and when both are against you, you pound the table and abuse your opponent. Mr. Keller, as you called Republicans agents of Satan and compared them to members of the Wehrmacht during the Holocaust I would suggest that it is you who have been pounding the table. Of course we also have your charming White Trash reference.

    As for the John Birch society, I can imagine few organizations with less significance for the Republican party. Back in the Fifties William F. Buckley wrote them out of the conservative movement after they accused Ike of being a Communist. Their influence on the conservative movement and the Republican party has been nil since then.

  • Yeah, it’s Campbell.

  • Oh, and Campbell’s referring to CPAC (not the GOP, but who needs facts when you have a hatchet?) having the Birchers as one of their many sponsors. They also have a gay lobbying group as a sponsor this year, so I wonder how he’d process that.

  • Well Mr. Keller or Gerald Campbell or whoever you are, I’ve deleted your last comment since it was an attempt to hijack this thread as part of your effort to convince people that Republicans are evil incarnate. Due to the content of your posts I am also banning you from this blog. Mere invective simply leads to futile combox feuds and we try to avoid that on this blog.

  • “Passage of this bill will depress liberal Democrats, the base of the Democrat party, unify and inflame Republicans, and cause Independents to desert the party of the donkey en masse.”

    I hope so, Don, but I wouldn’t count on it; never underestimate the ability of the GOP (particularly in Illinois, but this is true elsewhere also) to snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

  • In Illinois Elaine I grant you, although even here I think the Republicans will gain two house seats and make take the Senate seat. As for the rest of the country, I think the Democrats are in worse shape than they were in going into the 1994 elections when the Republicans took Congress

  • This will go-down in history as but a Pyhrric victory where political costs outweigh the benefits to the Democrats… if people weren’t pissed at the power-drunk Dems before, they likely are now…

    These tools like Nelson will soon regret the day they did this for Obama, he’ll pull all these fools right-over the abyss with him… and the coming GOP majority will rescind it anyway…

  • At this stage there will be a bill with features somewhere between the House and Senate bills. Illinois will see the Dems pick up Kirk’s seat, the GOP pick up one, and even odds for the pro-choice Republican senate candidate beating the Dem.

  • I see the GOP in Illinois picking up Halvorson’s seat, Bean’s seat and Foster’s seat. They will probably lose Kirk’s seat. I think they have a decent chance of picking up Hare’s seat also. Kirk is a pro-abort which is why I oppose him in the primary and will not vote for him in the general election.

  • Eric Brown writes Saturday, December 19, 2009:
    “Our Congressmen need to have their heads examined”.

    I am at a loss to understand that a college education has failed to make an impression. A simple review of the behavior of Congress throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries would demonstrate that these behaviors are par for the course.

    Senator Nelson was bribed. So also was Senator Landrieu. What’s new about the behavior of “our only professional criminal class”?

    I suggest that we make a point of asking our senators if they voted for this “compromise” [lege sell-out. Think Munich] what they got for it for their states.

  • It is curious to consider that this bill scheduled to be signed on the day of the Holy Innocents:
    “Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”

  • Very well said Gabriel for something so tragic and sad.

ObamaCare Update

Tuesday, August 18, AD 2009

Government Health Care

[Update at the bottom as of 7:39 pm CST for 8-21-2009 AD]

President Obama’s Health Care push has suffered a couple of setbacks.  First they removed the end-of-life provision and Obama Joker Poster Artist Exposed As Liberal-Leaning Palestiniannow the President has removed the public option.

The Democrat and Liberal attempts at demonizing the American people having failed, President Obama could be beginning to understand that we don’t want socialized medicine.

Now come reports that the Obama Joker poster artist is a left-wing extremist, and a Dennis Kucinich supporter to boot.  Not the white, conservative, racist that the mainstream media was accusing the artist of being.

In other news CBS News has reported that the liberal-oriented A.A.R.P. has lost approximately 60,000 members since the video showing an A.A.R.P. representative belittling members at a town hall meeting.  The American Seniors Association has gained 5,000 new members, a rival organization to the A.A.R.P. and significantly less liberal.

CBS News reported that the A.A.R.P. response to the exodus of members as ‘with 40 million members that adds hundreds of thousands each month, losing 60 thousand is just a drop in the bucket.’

Update I:  I forgot to place the American Seniors Association weblink here.

Update II: The 60 Plus Association is experiencing a spike in members following A.A.R.P.’s endorsement of ObamaCare.

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2 Responses to ObamaCare Update

We Are Americans, Not Europeans

Friday, August 14, AD 2009

Isn’t it obvious that most of our American ancestors came over from Europe because they wanted life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  They fled totalitarian regimes, socialist governments, and anti-Christian repression for the freedom that is afforded all Americans.

We have the best health care in the world precisely because it is not operated by the government.  Private industry drives innovation, government regulation or government-run health care eliminates innovation, awards bureaucrats, and ultimately leads to marginal health care in the long run.

We are Americans, not Europeans.  Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.  What Europeans have is not necessarily right nor good.

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42 Responses to We Are Americans, Not Europeans

  • My ancestors from Norway came here because they wanted to farm, and the soil where they lived was rocky, and the seasons short. My ancestors from Germany came, we think, because they were younger sons who were cut out from owning the family farm in the Rhineland. My Quaker ancestors from England and Wales were indeed escaping religious persecution, although if they had landed in the wrong colony in America (anywhere but Pennsylvania or Rhode Island), they would have encountered it again.

    None were escaping government-run healthcare. Most were not escaping any form of statism. It could be argued they were pursuing prosperity in the freedom of America, but it should be noted that most immigrants to the U.S. supported the state-led reforms of the progressives and Democrats in the first half of the twentieth century (although that was less true of the Scandinavian and German farmers of the Great Plains, who tended not to care about urban issues like that, although they did support populist initiatives like North Dakota’s central bank). In other words, your narrative of American history is certainly uncomplicated, and not unrelatedly, quite inaccurate.

    Why does it matter whether public health spending increases as a percentage of GDP if overall spending as a percentage of GDP is decreased? Why consolidate vastly different government healthcare programs – what does Medicare have to do with NIH?

    When you win an election for economic reasons, generally it’s because people think your policies will help address the economic situation. When part of that economic situation is healthcare (concerns about its costs, and about losing your coverage), presumably it’s not absurd to think there’s a connection. For years a greater percentage of people have trusted Democrats more than Republicans on healthcare. That suggests that maybe the “We’re Americans, so don’t try to learn from other countries” argument doesn’t hold as much sway as you think.

  • Zak,

    Excellent points.

    But if I were to jump into the details for every European ethnic group that moved to the US it would have ended up being a novel.

  • Ha! In and out of moderation. Hope you are having fun, policeman!

  • Not *all* of us come from European stock. 😉

  • Tito – Interesting that you deleted all of my comments here EXCEPT for that one. What is the point of that?

  • Michael,

    Your less than charitable comments are being deleted. And not only by me.

    Unlike Vox Nova, where I have been banned due to my comment that I am an American first and Mexican second thus destroying the myth of the American left that minorities need to be self-empowered by adding a “hyphenated” prefix attached to “American”, we have charity at this website, so many of your comments do get approved.

  • You know you were not banned for that comment.

  • My comments were moderated before, but that was the first one that got deleted, while the others were in moderation and then approved.

    So apparently that was the final straw that destroyed the delicate liberal world view that all minorities need to be pampered and told how to talk, think, and vote.

  • We have the best health care in the world if you are at a certain income bracket…

  • Proud to be an A-mer-i-can…

  • Eric,

    When I ‘had’ health care insurance, I got the cheapest plan available and ended up having the best orthopedic surgeon in the country repair my damaged knee.

    And I made less than 6 figures.

    Mark D.,

    Me to brother.

  • “Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Tito – Believe what you want. Make things up if it turns you on.

  • “We are Americans, not Europeans. Yet President Obama, Congressional Democrats, and well-meaning liberals and progressives want to emulate European health care programs.”

    I’ve seen it suggested that “blue state” America, especially college campuses, looks so much like Europe because American academics helped rebuild the continent after the war and made themselves and the like-minded into the uncontested establishment. Is there anything to this?

  • Tito,

    Would you forego governmental assistance in the form of medical care and martyr yourself, if need be, for the principles of your America?

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize) “work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    Will it work here? Not according to the CBO, and that is just on the estimations of financial side.

    Why don’t we do this instead?

    PROMOTE HEALTH. Cut carbs – go against the destructive status quo (which the government has done a lot of damage on – remember that food pyramid?) Do something like this
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/

    TORT REFORM. Add high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Equalize the tax laws so that that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. PORTABILITY. Let people view plans across state lines. Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. Enact Medicare reform…NOW. And REVISE tax laws to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP.

  • Pingback: COACHEP » Blog Archive » Posts about Obama Health Care Failure as of August 14, 2009
  • Kevin,

    It happens sadly in red states as well.

    Mark D.,

    There is the emergency clinic.

  • Touche

  • Nationalized” and “socialized” health care programs (they are the same thing, which anyone opposed to the “nation-state” should recognize)…

    They’re not the same thing if there are no nation-states. Socialized health care could also operate on the state (in the u.s.) or provincial level (as in Canada) as well.

    …“work” much better in small, homogeneous places with high average healthy behaviors and human capital – like say, the Scandinavian places many (rightfully, often) praise.

    There you go with your “homogeneous places” stuff again. “If only we could keep all the races separate, everything would work great!”

  • Mark D.,

    I just want to be clear that I want Health Care reform as well. Just not as drastic in some portions of the bills that are floating around in the House with possibly an addition to including tort reform.

    We need health care reform, but together as Americans, not as a strictly Democratic bill.

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

  • Just because an idea or system is not American, does not make it automatically bad (or good). After all, most of us on this blog really like the social and moral ideas promulgated in the last 100 years or so by certain Italian, Polish, and German guys who wear funny hats 😉

  • To all you people who care so much about the uninsured, I have two words for you: PROVE IT! Spend your own money, not someone else’s. Last time I checked, when the Good Samaritan helped the man on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he did not spend another person’s money. He spent his own.

    Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending “their own money.”

    Your me, mine, all mine attitude is sub-Christian.

  • When does society begin to look at itself to curb the healthcare problems? Obesity, smoking, drinking, STD’s, unwanted pregnancy, abortions, elicit drug use all put demand on the system in overdrive. Seems easy to say let the government take care of it so all share in the cost, but we are not eager to curb our own appetite for vices. There can be no true social justice that is not rooted in virtue and our Government does not respect the dignity of life so it is really a farce to think they care about the quality of life. If we as a country do not respect God as our creator, no government program is going to save us.

  • Ray – Sadly, not all health problems are connected to “virtue.” Aside from the fact that accidents happen in real life, your comment is the same old blame the victim nonsense.

  • Michael,

    While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    Dufus.

  • While forcing the rest of us to pay for something we already do through charity.

    This doesn’t make any sense.

  • Tito, you had a good health insurance plan. That does not mean the entire system is not deeply flawed.

  • Mikael,

    Cost is a product of demand; the demand is greatly increased by health care administered to people who made a choice to engage in risky behavior. US Policy Makers have done nothing to slow the erosion of this immoral behavior, but now have a plan to reduce cost. All hollow without morals in the driver’s seat. You will not contain a fire by putting a fire hose in the front door and a gasoline hose in the back.

    And don’t take this to mean I am not compassionate. I am not in favor of a GOVERNMENT run plan. Private and faith based working together with the government will provide greater success. What is the purpose of keeping their body alive if you are not trying to save the soul?

  • Michael, a portion of health care costs are the result of affluenza, the indulgence of appetites in ways that previous generations could ill-afford. That is just a social fact.

  • Today’s reading and Gospel summed up my thoughts better then I did.

    “But when the judge died,
    they would relapse and do worse than their ancestors,
    following other gods in service and worship,
    relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.”

    We are quick as a nation to anoint blame and seek fixes for our problems and concerns, but we are slow to admit there is a divine plan at work here. This country does have a lot of Greed, Does have a lot of Lust, Does Kill it’s unborn, and we are trashing the Mother/Father family structure. Now as you listen to our elected policy makers we “must” do something about the broken health care system; Some what being sold as a moral obligation to the poor and a “must have” to prove we “love your neighbor”. Poppycock if we do not relinquish our evil and stubborn conduct.

    The way we are asked to help the poor is Charity given from the heart, not policy given by our babbling law makers.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Hey thanks for reminding the Sloth in our country has too.

  • Another difference with Europenas is their lifestyle – they tend to be healthier in diet and exercise (lots more walking). Of course that has an impact on health care costs. Not to mention their defense budgets are a heck of a lot less than ours.

    But we are Americans, dang it. If we want that custard filled donut with bacon and eggs for breakfast to help us sit at our cubicle for the next nine hours before we go home and plop down in front of the tube for 3 hours while we wait for the pizza delivery guy, then by golly, we’re gonna get it.

    On the other hand, why the rush to pass this particular bill? Why so hurried – if health care reform is worth doing, isn’t it worth doing right?

  • “Presumably those who are in favor of universal health care are willing to have their taxes raised in order to pay for it. So, um, they would be spending ‘their own money.'”

    Actually, the Administration proposes that very few people pay for it.

  • C Matt,

    It’s our choice to eat what we want.

    Granted it is excessive, but God gave us free will.

    (For the record, I agree with you that Americans don’t eat very well).

    As far as defense budgets are concerned, the US pretty much is NATO. If they were ever to be attacked by Russian or the Arab states, you can be well assured that the Americans will rush quickly to their defense.

    It’s how NATO works.

  • Michael,

    To your reference to “dufus”, I apologize about that.

    I should have been more careful.

    In my defense, I thought it was a silly word appropriate for you, but when I looked it up in the dictionary, it went to far where you didn’t deserve to be called that.

  • 1960 Flemming v. Nestor the Supreme Court ruled “The noncontractual interest of an employee covered by the Act cannot be soundly analogized to that of the holder of an annuity, whose right to benefits are based on his contractual premium payments”. The decision means that since no one has any legal right to Social Security benefits, Congress can cut or eliminate benefits at any time.

    Keep this in mind as Baby Boomers retire. Early on SS was a trust fund that was eventually raided in 1965 to offset the deficit. When the retirees payments exceeds the collections taxes will skyrocket, benefits will get cut, or they print money and inflation runs rampant.

    Flemming v. Nestor will have the same impact on a public option healthcare, it is not a contractual right and they can cut or eliminate benefits at any time. With a private option you have a contract and legal rights. Private payments that are deductible for the poor is a much better solution.

    As far as who is paying? It does not pass the squint test that this can be paid for with only a handful of wealthy people footing the bill. Hence the panic that the “end of life” counseling session will turn into nothing more then trying to talk the elderly into NOT accepting advanced and costly treatment. So why reinvent the Living Will? Promote everyone to write a Living Will; don’t replace it with another system which will open decades of new legal questions already established by Living Wills.

  • Michael,

    That’s between you and Donald.

    While we’re on the subject, look up the word charity and read the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 39.