Saturday, October 26, 2013

Obamacare failures is the shiny object

Over the past weeks, the Hamburg Post has been filled with blog posts reviewing the Amendments that Mark Levin proposes in his book The Liberty Amendments. Today, a break from that and a look at ObamaCare. The past week saw Congress grill various stakeholders in the development and roll out of the Federal website as it hasn't worked as advertised.

The various glitches being reported now have Democrats, that are up for re-election in 2014, asking President Obama to delay the mandate from six weeks to an entire year. First off, the President doesn't have the power to legislate which he has already done granting Congress, the Executive Branch and business exemptions from the law. The Affordable Care Act clearly states in the law the start date of the law and all of whom are to be part of it. To change this, delay or not, Constitutionally requires an act of Congress and a signature of the President.

That being said, America faces a larger problem with ObamaCare. Well it's not a problem if you enjoy being dictated to and prefer a loss of freedom. For Americans that prefer choice and freedom the current glitches are all part of the plan. In order for ObamaCare to work, it requires 7 million healthy Americans to sign up to pay premiums to cover the costs of less healthy users. Trouble is that the healthiest Americans, as a pool, are those between the age of 18-26.

Ironically the Affordable Care Act has taken these healthy American's off the payroll by allowing them to stay on their parents health care until they are 26. Without this low risk pool paying premiums, the funds will not exist to pay for higher risk pool users of the exchanges. Yet, this is just part of the complicated plan of cradle to grave nationalized health care.

Another aspect of the Affordable Care Act was to require health insurers to take on all Americans despite of their preconditions. Health care insurers, for the most part, already do this but the insurance premiums are higher for high risk pools than lower risk pools. Now with that option taken away from healthcare insurers, those of us in lower risk pools now must pay higher premiums.

Precondition pool is the Trojan Horse of the Affordable Care Act for Single Payer Nationalize healthcare system. Companies such as UPS have given notice to their employees that spouses will no longer be covered. Consulting firm Deloitte surveyed 560 companies and found that 9 percent of them plan to drop coverage over the next three years. We are also seeing a shift from full time employment to part time employment by firms to get under the 50 employee number that allows them to avoid a fine for not offering healthcare benefits.

Once the pool of preconditioned  Americans are no longer covered by employee based healthcare insurance the exchanges will be deemed a failure then the real push for Nationalized healthcare begins.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Term limits on the Supreme Court

Chapter 4 of Mark Levin's book The Liberty Amendment tackles the Judicial branch of Government( p49-50):

Section 1: No person may serve as Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for more than a combined total of twelve years.

Section 2: Immediately upon ratification of this Amendment, Congress will organize the justices of the Supreme Court as equally possible into three classes, with the justices assigned to each class in reverse seniority order, with the most senior justices in the earliest classes. The terms of office for the justices in the First Class will expire a the end of the fourth year following the ratification of this Amendment, the terms for the justices in the Second Class will expire at the end of the eighth year, and of the Third Class at the end of the twelfth Year, so that one-third of the justices may be chosen every fourth Year.

Section 3: When a vacancy occurs in the Supreme Court the President shall nominate a new justice who, with the approval of a majority of the Senate, shall serve the remainder of the unexpired term. Justices who fill a vacancy for longer than half of an unexpired term may not be nominated to a full term.

Section 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

Section 5: The Congressional override under Section 4 is not subject to a Presidential veto and shall not be subject to litigation or review in any Federal or State court.

Section 6: Upon three-fifths vote of the several state legislatures, the State may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

Section 7: The States' override under Section 6 shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court, or oversight or interference by Congress or the President.

Section 8: Congressional or State override authority under Section 4 and 6 must be exercised no later than twenty-four months from the date of the Supreme Court rendering its majority opinion, after which date Congress and the States are prohibited from exercising the override.

Thus far I have been on board completely with Levin as to Amendments needing to be added that will lead us to more freedom and control over our lives. When I read this chapter the first time my knee jerk reaction was yes. I do like the notion of term limits on Justices while at the same time I struggle with the notion that 9 people can make decisions that drastically impact our lives.

With our country becoming more and more polarized, we have seen - especially in my life time - the courts outcomes are not based on Constitutional limitations rather by judicial review. That judicial review has turned the courts into a defacto legislature. The fact that 9 humans cloaked in black robes will judge cases in the purview, limited by the Constitution originally and later expanded in Marbury v Madison, without error is a fallacy. Humans by our very nature are flawed thus the 9 Justices are flawed despite their education and training.

Adding another layer that gives Congress more check and balance on the Judicial system while also allowing the States that same authority is interesting. What makes this additional twist more interesting is the limitations that Congress and the States have to override a decision.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Restoring the Senate

In Chapter 3, Mark Levin proposes the following Amendment that would restore the Senate (p33):

Section 1: The Seventeenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All Senators shall be chosen by their state legislatures as prescribed by Article 1.

Section 2: This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

Section 3: When vacancies occur in the representation of any State in the Senate for more than ninety days the governor of the State shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy for the remainder  of the term.

Section 4: A Senator may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the state legislature.

Prior to the Seventeenth Amendment, Senators were chosen by the State Legislatures to represent their State in Congress. Perhaps when the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified was the end of the Statesman in Congress. In recent years, money is spent insanely by outside sources - on both sides of the aisle - to help elect a Senator that the National parties want to see in Congress.

Returning back to the original intent of electing the Senate returns a vital State right Perhaps if this was in place, Minnesotans would have seen their Senators vote for placing a tax on medical device companies when Minnesota is home to one of the largest and respected medical device communities in the United States.

Some may attempt to argue that keeping the Seventeenth amendment in place protects our Democracy. Trouble is that we don't live in a pure Democracy; rather we are a Republic that uses elected officials to represent our interests. And one of those interests is to keep politics local which is lost when Senators are elected by popular vote.

Levin surmises (p 46), "However, it will be opposed by the Statist, for he may pose as a democrat, but it is democratic tyranny that he favors." Levin continues (p 47), "Furthermore, state sovereignty is not a top priority for most senators because the state legislatures hold no sway over them. Therefore, situations arise where senators vote for major federal legislation over the strenuous objections of their own state." Guess that is why Sen. Franken and Klobuchar voted for the Affordable Care Act!

Source: Mark Levin's  The Liberty Amendments

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A case for Term limits

As I write this blog post this morning the United States government is still on shutdown and we are only days away from the Federal Government hitting the debt ceiling yet again. President Obama has repeatedly said over the past few weeks that raising the debt ceiling is not raising the debt of the nation. If it really is not then we should never have to raise the debt ceiling. Over the weekend I purchased a book - yes an actual hardcover book - The Liberty Amendments by Mark Levin.

The premise of the book is a look at a series of proposed Amendments to the United States Constitution to bring us back in line to intent of our nation forged by the Founding Fathers. The fact that we are under a shutdown and dealing with $17 trillion is debt illustrates that our Federal system of government has become too centralized and beaucratic.

Over the course of the next several weeks I'd like to take each Amendment proposed by Mark Levin and discuss it hear. The original post, as all my posts, are to be a starting point of conversation. My blog is not an echo chamber.

Mark Levin's first proposed Amendment deal with establishing term limits on members of Congress:

Section 1: No person may serve more that twelve years as a member of Congress, whether such service is exclusively in the House or the Senate or combined in both Houses.

Section 2: Upon ratification of this Article, any incumbent member of Congress whose term exceeds the twelve-year limit shall complete the current term, but thereafter shall be ineligible for further service as a member of Congress

For much of my life I rejected the notion of term limits being placed on elected officials, outside of the President of the United State, but with greater observation of what transpires in Washington D.C. my leanings tend toward limiting the time of those seeking office. In the beginning of our nation, holding office was seen as a service to our fellow citizens and at some point along the way those elected to office would return to private life.

Mark Levin, page 11-12, illustrates this by quoting Benjamin Franklin, "It seems to have been imagined by some that the returning to the mass of the people was degrading the magistrate. This he thought was contrary to republican principles. In Free Governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors & sovereigns. For the former therefore to return among the latter was not to degrade but to promote them. And it would be imposing an unreasonable burden on them, to keep them always in the State of servitude, and not allow them to become again one of the Masters."

In the 21st Century, and I'd argue for the better half of the 20th Century, those seeking political office do not see the "mass of people" as their superiors; rather they see them as their serfs. I know I paint a broad brush with that last statement but why else do 20 year Congress members feel justified in seeking another term? Granted turnover may not bring about the change one desires but knowing that the knucklehead in office can only be there for 12 years at the most gives us assurances that a bad apple doesn't have enough time to take root.