The main topic of 2014 is going to be ObamaCare – what’s it going to do to the American People in terms of cost, employment, and the effect upon the economy. We’ve seen the effects of a bungled website and broken promises upon the people who had individual healthcare insurance plans. With 2014, it will be the people who have insurance through their employers. And that, my friends, will be a bigger disaster than what we have seen so far.
The Liberal / Progressives have all reassured us that all the problems with the website will be fixed soon (even though deadline after deadline has come & gone without resolution of said problems), and that everyone will be OK. However, the website is only the beginning of the problems – the rules and regulations of the of the poorly written Affordable Healthcare Act (i.e. ACA or ObamaCare) as implemented by the Dept. of Human and Health Services (HHS)are not only voluminous but onerous (and that is being generous).
While I do admit to having a bit of Schadenfreude watching the Liberal / Progressive masterpiece self-destruct, I have to temper that with the 5-6 million people who have lost their insurance and cannot get it back either through the Exchanges or through their insurance companies. Even if the few do get coverage, the numerous reports of increased premiums, larger deductibles, and unwanted services covered in the policies are legion, far outweighing the “success stories” put out by the lame-stream media.
And this year, the next folks in the ACA barrel will be people like me – those people who get their insurance through their work. I’ve already had my monthly premiums raised slightly to cover what Human Resources calls “to comply with the Affordable Healthcare Act,” and that is before the so-called “Employer Mandate” kicks in later this year. And folks, if you have been paying attention, the Liberal / Progressives want to delay the implementation of this mandate until after the 2014 Election. I wonder why…not!
Our Congresscritters do not represent us, The People, for whom they were elected. If they did, they would not have passed this legislation over multiple objections at multiple townhalls held throughout the country prior to passing this legislation. Indeed, this POS legislation was passed without one Republican vote in the House or Senate. So as far as I’m concerned, the Liberal / Progressive Democrats own this legislation, and must be held accountable for all of the legislation’s effects upon the American public.
While writing the above, I recalled some discussions and other posts of why our elected Representatives do not represent the people that elect them. Part of the reason is a lack of individual accountability of the Representative to the population in their respective districts.
From Walter Williams in 2008:
The Federalist Papers, written by James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, is the document most frequently referred to when trying to get a feel for the original intent of the framers of the Constitution. One such intention is found in Federalist 56 where Madison says, “…it seems to give the fullest assurance, that a representative for every thirty thousand inhabitants will render the (House of Representatives) both a safe and competent guardian of the interests which will be confided to it.”
Excellent research, found at http://www.thirty-thousand.org/index.htm, shows that in 1804 each representative represented about 40,000 people. Today, each representative represents close to 700,000. If we lived up to the vision of our founders, given today’s population, we would have about 7,500 congressmen in the House of Representatives.
James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, argued that the smaller the House of Representatives relative to the nation’s population, the greater is the risk of unethical collusion. He said, “Numerous bodies … are less subject to venality and corruption. ” In a word, he saw competition in the political arena as the best means for protecting our liberties.
Another problem of a small number of congressmen, with large districts, has to do with representing their constituents. How in the world is one congressman to represent the diverse interests and values of 700,000 people? The practical answer is they don’t and attempt to be all things to all people. Thus, a congressman who takes a principled stand against the federal government exceeding its constitutional authority — whether it be government involvement in education, business welfare and bailouts and $2 trillion dollars worth of other handouts — is not likely to win office.
The Constitution states in Article I Section 2 that
“The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative…”
Please note that Congress passed legislation in 1910 limiting the House to 435 members, but it is not a Constitutional Amendment!
From Margo Anderson:
The framers of the Constitution expected the House to grow with the population. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, in Federalist no. 58, noted that the purpose of the census was to “readjust, from time to time, the apportionment of representatives to the number of inhabitants . . . [and] to augment the number of representatives . . . under the sole limitation that the whole number shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand inhabitants . . . “
Let’s stop and think for a little bit. While I’m certainly not comfortable with 7,000+ more politicians running around nor with one Representative for 700,000 people, there is a certain appeal to having the politicians being more accountable to their constituents. Each politician would need to be more in tune to his voter base, and would theoretically be less influenced by special interest groups.
Opponents to this would include increased expenses for the politicians, no room in the Capitol for the increase in representatives, and an inefficiency in passing laws in their arguments against this line of thought. Let’s address each of these:
Our representatives were not paid when this country was first founded. Representing the People was considered to be a public service to the country, an honor, and was considered by many to be a duty. (I personally would like to see the career politicians get a life outside of politics instead of dipping into the public trough for their livelihood.) But that isn’t practical, so there should be a pay scale set up for the politicians based on the average income of the citizens of the United States. If the People do better as a whole, then so will the Representatives. If not, then they get to share the pain of their decisions as well as the rest of the People.
No room in the Capitol shouldn’t be a problem. With technology being what it is, virtual meetings can be set up at almost any time at any location. Voting on legislation can be set up in much the same way (as long as the same systems as Healthcare.gov are not used). This way, the Representatives can stay home in their district to understand what the real issues of their constituents are concerned with instead of being insulated in the Washington DC Beltway.
Our Founders did not set up a system of government to be efficient. No, it was deliberately set up to be inefficient and accountable to the People it represented. I understand that as of January 1, 2014, over 40,000 laws went into effect nationwide. Taxes, restrictions, grants, and other laws were created by our Local, State, and Federal Representatives over this past year. This disturbs me on several levels, and can be summed up with the following statement:
Every law or regulation that is passed must be funded by the taxpayer in one way or another, and will most likely take away either a freedom of choice or infringe upon a right. – Tom Roland
There is no way that anyone, no matter how steeped in the law, can know every single law and regulation. And I know that there are laws that are contradictory and useless, but they remain on the books. But I digress only slightly.
The Representatives that we have now are woefully ignorant (or deliberately ignoring) the Constitution that they all took an oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same”. As such, they should, as a requirement, to read and reread the Constitution and the Amendments to understand their limitations as well as their authority and responsibility to the People of the United States. As an added requirement, they should also be required to read the Federalist Papers, which would put them into the mindset of the Framers as to why the Constitution was written the way it was, and to fully understand the role of the Federal Government. Walter Williams wrote in his January 1, 2014 Townhall.com column:
… Just as in a marriage where vows are broken, our rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. These constitutional violations have increased independent of whether there’s been a Democrat-controlled Washington or a Republican-controlled Washington.
There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways. You say, “Williams, what do you mean by constitutional abrogation?” Let’s look at the magnitude of the violations.
Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution lists the activities for which Congress is authorized to tax and spend. Nowhere on that list is there authority for Congress to tax and spend for: Medicare, Social Security, public education, farm subsidies, bank and business bailouts, food stamps and thousands of other activities that account for roughly two-thirds of the federal budget. Neither is there authority for congressional mandates to citizens about what type of health insurance they must purchase, how states and people may use their land, the speed at which they can drive, whether a library has wheelchair ramps, and the gallons of water used per toilet flush. The list of congressional violations of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution is virtually without end. Our derelict Supreme Court has given Congress sanction to do just about anything for which they can muster a majority vote.
James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, explained in Federalist Paper No. 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.” Our founder’s constitutional vision of limited federal government has been consigned to the dustbin of history.
And now, dear friends, we have come full circle to the start of this post. The Representatives that we elected to govern us are not following the Constitution and are not representing the People that elected them. This is why we have such legislation as the ACA / Obamacare. But then again…
We The People are not being served, but we are on the darker side of “To Serve Man.” ** This is what happens when We The People make poor, uninformed choices when electing our Representatives to government.
I can only hope that the People see what has been happening and make better choices in elections from 2014 onward.
* – “Are You Being Served” was a British sitcom that followed the misadventures of the staff of the fictional “Grace Brothers Department Store” that parodied the British class system. I hope you get the irony here…
** – “To Serve Man” was a Twilight Zone episode based on a short story by Damon Knight. Read the synopsis at Wikipedia to understand which definition of the word “serve” is being used above.