There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government authority to provide health insurance or regulate the country’s health care system. In fact, federal involvement has created many of that systems’ problems. The tax code gave a deduction to employers for providing workers with health insurance but not to individuals who purchased insurance on their own. That policy removed market power from the hands of patients, contributing to high medical costs. And the costly burden of federal Medicare regulations has driven most solo and small group medical practices, that is, most traditional family doctors who many patients prefer, out of business or into large HMOs.
What of the government Social Security system, or Clinton’s plan simply to give people taxpayers’ funds for “universal savings accounts?” These are not authorized by the Constitution either. Of course, after World War II an average family paid only about 4 percent of its income to federal taxes. Today the average federal tax burden is about 24 percent, with another 10 percent tacked on by state and local governments perhaps 10 percent more in indirect taxes through federal regulations. No wonder people can’t save for retirement or a new home or for the kids’ college education.
So here’s Clinton’s conception of “doing the people’s business.” Most individuals are incapable of tying their shoes or wiping their noses without federal government assistance. The Imperial President will bestow bread and circuses on the people, program after program, to meet everyone’s every need.
Clinton and his ilk are pushers just as much as peddlers of crack cocaine. For them, “doing the people’s business” is appealing to people’s weaknesses, the desire to shirk responsibility, to get something for nothing. They addict people to government programs, and are themselves addicted to power.
In a healthy constitutional republic individuals prefer to run their own lives, to meet their own challenges, to solve their own problems for themselves or through civil institutions such as families, churches, and fraternal organizations. Free men and women would be insulted by an elected official offering to take care of their every need, to treat them like children needing a father, serfs needing a master. They would realize that government programs are too seductive, that it is too easy to become dependent on them. They would realize that such dependence eventually leads to the sorry spectacle of citizens with servile souls applauding the hand that takes away their money, freedom, and dignity and then throws them crumbs.
America’s Founders well understood the nature of the federal government’s and the people’s business: The Tenth Amendment states that “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.”
The response to those elected officials who claim to be “doing the people’s business” should be “Mind your own business, not ours!”