No work, no eat.

Robert Sheridan rs at robertsheridan.com
Wed Mar 24 18:11:15 PDT 2010


One of the favorite stories of conservatives, I've read, comes out of 
the early experience in planting colonies on New World shores.  As I 
recall, the story goes that some of the colonists refused to work and 
the captain issued an order to the effect that "If you don't work, you 
don't eat."  So the right wing shouldn't object to "encouraging" people 
to work to eat, as it's their idea, basically.

With mandatory health insurance, I wonder whether there might not be a 
similar relatively simple principle, along the order that if you don't 
go to the trouble and expense of getting insured, then don't go coming 
to the publicly supported emergency room when you get sick, as 
inevitably you will.

Wasn't that the argument that justified imposing liability and huge 
damage awards on tobacco companies for contributing to diseases that 
cost the states beaucoup dollars in healthcare?  There the states argued 
that smoking was imposing a costly involuntary burden on them.  Won't 
uninsured sick people impose a similar burden on state resources when 
they appear for treatment at state subsidized hospital facilities?  Why 
aren't the states embracing the new regime, instead of suing to kill it?

Today's news is reporting that death threats have been made against 
representatives who voted for the new healthcare act.  Did that happen 
with passage of Social Security?  Will the new act be so taken for 
granted some time in the distant future that people will find it hard to 
believe that opponents of the measure uttered death threats against it?  
Is the new act going to be Social Security or the next Roe v. Wade?

rs



Sean Wilson wrote:
> ... fascinating.
>
> That is absolutely correct. The government is dispensing benefits in the form of unemployment and welfare assistance on one hand, and is loosing the benefit of growing the tax base by having a system that discourages work. And so, as a precondition of its assistance, it forces work. All of this is done through its direct power to tax and spend for the general welfare, explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
>
> Imagine a world where government privatized unemployment insurance. Let's say government required everyone to pay wage withholding to a private insurance conglomerate (say, who won a public bid), which then provided unemployment insurance. Imagine further that government mandated payment of the premium by anyone receiving wages. Surely the forced purchase would not be anything anyone could complain about. If one has the ability to deliver the product directly, one surely has the ability to privatize it on the grounds of efficiency in management. Isn't that a Republican ethic?
>
> Tell me what Republicans hate worse: (a) a privatized health insurance system where government sheep-herds the business for reasons of managerial efficiency; (b) a single payer system with "socialized medicine;" or (c) capital gains tax rates going up to give access to care to the underclass.
>
> Something tells me this entire issue has only ever been about (c). It has absolutely nothing to do with omissions, activities, commerce or farming. It has to do with the fact that this is the most anti-Reagan initiative to exit Congress since, I assume, the Great Society. (Nor sure right away what might compare from the 70s). And the teabaggers can't quite deal with the fact that the world has changed -- at least, however, for today. (I fear Democrats are going to get their clocks cleaned in a few months).       
>
> Regards and thanks.
>
> Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
> Assistant Professor
> Wright State University
> Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
> SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
> Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html 
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Robert Sheridan <rs at robertsheridan.com>
> To: Sean Wilson <whoooo26505 at yahoo.com>
> Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
> Sent: Wed, March 24, 2010 4:11:46 PM
> Subject: Re: Question about the alleged health insurance "mandate
>
>
>
> Sean Wilson wrote:
>
> "...Imagine a situation where commanding citizens into farming greatly enhanced the general welfare. For example, imagine a possible country just as ours, only with a food shortage. If the government needed food growers, it surely could command this activity as a matter of powers-logic, so long as it did not infringe upon the liberty provisions. Government would have jurisdiction to act even in such a circumstance. The protection here comes from the fact that the government is checked, balanced, hard to capture, preserves liberty, and enacts the requirement for the general welfare. So, as long as your liberty protections are not violated, yes, one could imagine a situation where people were forced to farm.  
> ***
>
> Don't we have a similar situation in which the government wishes people to work?  For their individual welfare and the general welfare?  Such as people receiving general assistance?  Didn't Clinton initiate a program to encourage/force able-bodied welfare recipients into the job market?  Any constitutional deficiency there?
>
> rs
>
>
>
>
>
>
>   
>> (regarding the points of David Nordquest)
>>
>> ... the points about forced grain-growing or "omissions that rely upon other activities" misses the point. The point is this: the activity in question is betting. We're all in the industry. We all bet one way or another on our health. If we bet to cover, we pay money to "the house." They pay if disaster strikes. If we bet on beating the odds, we cheat the house and take the consequences. This has nothing to do with making people farmers. It has nothing to do with an omission that relies upon another market supplier. The issue is exceptionally straight forward. 
>> The picture that you have in your mind of the public being passive little bench-sitters who are suddenly commanded into the service of the insurance industry is wrong. The public is not passive bench sitters here. They are already involved in the betting industry, one way or another. If they aren't purchasing, they are trying to beat the odds. That is a choice. Every adult faces this choice. All that the government is doing is structuring the odds game so that the choice of cheating odds is appropriately factored into the consequences. If you don't buy, there is a penalty that tries to account for the costs you have dumped into the system. (It actually promotes good free will because it promotes responsibility).
>>
>> This is more about accounting than it is farming.
>>
>> Also, let's consider your other premise. Imagine a situation where commanding citizens into farming greatly enhanced the general welfare. For example, imagine a possible country just as ours, only with a food shortage. If the government needed food growers, it surely could command this activity as a matter of powers-logic, so long as it did not infringe upon the liberty provisions. Government would have jurisdiction to act even in such a circumstance. The protection here comes from the fact that the government is checked, balanced, hard to capture, preserves liberty, and enacts the requirement for the general welfare. So, as long as your liberty protections are not violated, yes, one could imagine a situation where people were forced to farm.    
>> Regards and thanks.
>>   Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Wright State University
>> Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
>> SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
>> Discussion Group: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html 
>>
>>
>>
>> ________________________________
>> From: "Nordquest, David A" <NORDQUES001 at gannon.edu>
>> To: "Pohlman, Harold" <pohlman at dickinson.edu>
>> Cc: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
>> Sent: Wed, March 24, 2010 12:55:10 PM
>> Subject: RE: Question about the alleged health insurance "mandate
>>
>>
>> On 3/24/2010, Harry Pohlman wrote:  “That is why I think NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin is relevant.  ‘Not buying’ health insurance of a certain type (one that meets the standards of the health care legislation) is quite comparable in character to ‘not buying’ labor of a certain type (the labor of union members).  NLRB held that the federal government could prohibit the latter under the commerce clause, thereby implying that inactivity of this type can be economic in character.”  Prof. Pohlman went on to refer to Wickard and other cases as containing similar reasoning.  Aren’t there degrees of inactivity?  Not to buy marketed grain or organized labor because you are relying  on home-grown grain or unorganized labor is an inactivity that is possible only because one is relying on a different but related activity.  But what if one were not farming at all and a law were passed requiring everyone to grow grain?  Would Wickard imply that by
>>     
>  doing nothing one would be affecting the interstate market in grain and could therefore be compelled to grow it – that non-farmers could be made to grow grain?
>   
>> David Nordquest, Assistant Professor
>> Philosophy Program
>> Gannon University
>>
>>
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>
>
>
>       
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