Michele Bachmann on Health Care

Ken AshfordConstitution, Health Care, Obama Opposition, Right Wing Punditry/Idiocy2 Comments

I love her.  Here she is on Hannity last night:

Money quote:

It is not within our power as members of Congress, it’s not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution, for us to design and create a national takeover of health care. Nor is it within our ability to be able to delegate that responsibility to the executive.

Pinhead, let me tell you what your job description is.  No, let the Constitution tell you what your job description is.  It's all there in Article One.  Among other things, Congress has the power to “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises” and to “provide for….the general welfare of the United States.”

That's a pretty broad mandate, something which the then-right-wing Supreme Court recognized and wrote about almost 75 years ago:

Congress may spend money in aid of the "general welfare." Constitution, Art. I, section 8; United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1, 65; Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, supra. There have been great statesmen in our history who have stood for other views. We will not resurrect the contest. It is now settled by decision. United States v. Butler, supra. The conception of the spending power advocated by Hamilton and strongly reinforced by Story has prevailed over that of Madison, which has not been lacking in adherents. Yet difficulties are left when the power is conceded. The line must still be drawn between one welfare and another, between particular and general. Where this shall be placed cannot be known through a formula in advance of the event. There is a middle ground, or certainly a penumbra, in which discretion is at large. The discretion, however, is not confided to the courts. The discretion belongs to Congress, unless the choice is clearly wrong, a display of arbitrary power, not an exercise of judgment. This is now familiar law.

It was "familiar law" in 1937, yet Bachmann apparently didn't get the memo.

(And by the way, nobody is proposing that national health care reform be delegated to the executive. It's Congress writing the bills now; not the executive branch).

Still, One has to wonder what Bachmann's view of America is. 

Think Progress writes:

It’s important to note just how radical Bachmann’s theory of the Constitution is. If Congress does not have the power to create a modest public option which competes with private health plans in the marketplace, then it certainly does not have the authority to create Medicare. Similarly, Congress’ power to spend money to benefit the general welfare is the basis for Social Security, federal education funding, Medicaid, and veterans benefits such as the VA health system and the GI Bill. All of these programs would cease to exist in Michele Bachmann’s America.