The singular most unconscionable activity vis-a-vis the Senate’s passing of a health-care bill was the out-in-full-view buying and selling of votes, particularly the ones involving Senators Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the former a patent wheeler-dealer, business-as-usual piece of earmark perfidy, but the latter a far more serious one involving Constitutional considerations.
Article 1, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence [sic] and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; ...” Amendment 16: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
These provisions have to do with the collecting of taxes and other financial matters but can and must be interpreted with respect to the fairness issue regarding equal treatment for all citizens. In the first instrument mentioned above, the key requirement is: “shall be uniform throughout the United States.” In the health-care bill just passed, Senator Nelson’s state is exempt from all of its Medicaid liability forever, meaning that its financial responsibility must be borne by the taxpayers of the other 49 states. Even a first-grader can understand that this negates any uniformity with regard to the second instrument, since income taxes on citizens/institutions of the other 49 states will be levied disproportionately to those on citizens/institutions of Nebraska in order to make up the Nebraska shortfall. Plainly un-Constitutional!
The definition of apportionment: “an act or result of apportioning; especially: the apportioning of representatives or taxes among the states according to United States law.” The Congress may not apportion income-tax-collections at rates not applicable to ALL the states. Plainly, the Nebraska windfall places its taxpayers advantageously with respect to those of the other “several” states, who are required to pay greater amounts than citizens/institutions of Nebraska. Plainly un-Constitutional!
Amendment 10: “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.” By injecting the federal government into the Medicaid program of Nebraska, the health-bill tampers with the state’s Medicaid laws, thus violating this Constitutional instrument. Plainly un-Constitutional!
It stands to reason that the attorneys-general of other states and/or their governors view this piece of political chicanery with very jaundiced eyes. No greater power-grab has been seen in recent months, if ever, than this golden parachute to Nebraska, and the wonder is that supposedly conscientious senators could swallow enough vomit to approve it.
This display of legislative crookedness and blatant corruption, unless one marks it down to just plain simple-mindedness, comprises the reason that the Congress currently has an abysmal approval rating. According to Rasmussen (29 October 2009), “just 15% of voters now give Congress good or excellent ratings. ... Forty-two percent (42%) of voters see most members of Congress as corrupt, the highest level measured in over a year.” This is worse than in both the Carter and Clinton administrations (19% and 18%, respectively, according to Gallup, 14 May 2008), when the democrats held both houses of Congress.
The country suffers a leadership vacuum worse than any, perhaps since the Carter presidency, in both the administration and Congress. DHS (FEMA) Director Napolitano has just done a 180-degree turn with regard to her statements of 27 and 28 December, respectively, concerning the near plane disaster outside Detroit on Christmas day. Her first reaction was the knee-jerk one – just LIE, though she could be cut some slack for her explanation of after-the-fact actions. She went to the Sunday-morning TV biggies to tell her yarn (normal procedure for the lapdog mainstreamers), then recanted the next day.
The president finally got around to making a speech about the near disaster on 28 December. He could have appointed someone with actual bona fides to the DHS-FEMA post, perhaps someone with long-term experience at DHS-FEMA, but he did the politically correct thing – pick a woman at all costs, not that there weren’t women already in DHS-FEMA perfectly capable of doing the job. However, Napolitano is not likely to join the Rev. Dr. (God damn America) Wright and former apparatchik tax-dodger Daschle under the bus, since that wouldn’t be politically correct.