Ron Morley's Freedom Blog

This is the place where I do my little bit to explain the evils of the State.

October 2009 - Posts

Health insurance nationalization - here we come

When the history of the United States is written the date Monday, October 26, 2009 will be one which those seeking to trace the growth and intrusiveness of the Federal government will note for marking the start of the nationalization of the American health care system. The date is important because on that day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he was introducing the so-called “public option” into the Senate's version of President Obama's horribly mis-named “health care reform” bill. According to Senator Reid his version of the public option will allow individual states to “opt-out” of participation in the plan. Details of the opt-out provision have not been finalized but, given the Federal government's propensity to withhold funds from states which fail to act in the manner that our Grand Masters desire, it is likely that funds for some other portion of the reform plan will be withheld so as to encourage states to do the right thing. In the long term it likely won't matter as private health insurers will succumb to the competition from the government-subsidized health insurance plan.


We are told that the “public option” will act to increase competition between private insurance providers. This assumes that competition in providing private health insurance is somehow lacking. Those who maintain that this is so often point to the similarity in prices offered for similar insurance coverage. This is a fundamental error in defining competition and, like so many other fundamental errors that the parasitic class makes, this one is going to end up costing a lot of money. The error which is being made is the confusion of similarity of the prices quoted for the same sort of coverage from different companies with a lack of competition. It is the same thing as asserting that there is no competition between WalMart and Target based on the fact that the prices of the vacuum cleaners they sell are close to each other. For example, I checked the insurance quotes for health coverage for two adults, both non-smokers, with no resident children. The policies I looked at had $5000 deductibles, 20% coinsurance rates, and $30 office visits, along with allowing me to keep my current doctor. The prices I got back ranged from a low of $280.55 to $303 per month – not a significant differential in price, but there were ten companies included in that spread, plenty of competition from where I sit. And there shouldn't be much of a difference in price for the simple reason that health insurance pricing is based on statistical expectations of health outcomes across a broad spectrum of the insured. A large disparity in price would be indicative of either substantially different internal costs or important divergences of coverage – the “fine print.” The fact that I was able to obtain quotes on roughly one hundred disparate policies, issued by more than ten companies, tells me that competition for my health care dollar is alive and well. The lack of a wide price spread for similar coverage is also an indication that the companies involved have roughly the same costs of doing business – costs undoubtedly increased by governmental interference in what is left of what was once a free market.


Unfortunately, the level of economic education in this country is such that most people are not capable of seeing through the fog of the statist propaganda that is being disseminated about the “public option.” This makes them susceptible to the argument that introducing a government run (and subsidized) health care insurer will increase competition and result in lower insurance prices. The sad fact is that a government-subsidized health plan will be less expensive, for the insured person, than will similar coverage from a private company – the politicians will see to that. The Federal government will simply subsidize the public option to whatever extent is necessary – raising taxes and hiding the costs as needed – because to do otherwise would be to expose the lies about how the public option will actually work.


As time goes on the subsidized nature of the public option insurance will ensure that it will gradually drive private insurers out of the market. Besides the subsidies offered the purchasers of public option insurance, the Federal government is sure to impose further regulatory burdens upon private companies – regulations that the government itself will be exempted from. The added costs of the regulations will act to force private companies to raise their prices in order to remain profitable. The Federal government is also sure to impose new minimum requirements for health insurance policies regarding the type of coverage they must meet – minimums the public option insurance will either be exempted from or which taxpayers will find themselves footing the bill for. This sort of action on the part of the Federal government will act to drive non-state actors from the health insurance stage.


Even if some states do opt-out of the public option there will come a time at which it will no longer matter. Sooner or later the market for private health insurance will shrink to the point at which it will not be sustainable. For private insurance to be viable the market for the product needs to be large enough that affordable policies can cover the cost of the occasional catastrophic illness on the part of some of the insured. I don't pretend to know how large that market need be but it is likely to be bigger than the populations of states that might choose to opt-out; states such as Wyoming, Montana, and Arizona – to name some of the states that sometimes show signs of resisting Leviathan's continued growth. In any case, at some point in the future there will no longer be private health insurers and the nationalization of yet another piece of the United States' economy will be complete. And it will all have started on October 26, 2009.

Class warfare in America

We all know that anger is a powerful emotion. Politicians know this well and often work to deliberately fan the flames of anger in order to attain their own goals. Some, such as Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, Mao Tse Tung, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, attain mastery of the art of manipulating emotions to lead their countries into war, or campaign against supposed internal enemies to increase their personal power. There is another political figure who is showing that he is a master of this art and is working to not only increase the power of the State but, also, his own influence, prestige, and power. This man has changed the aim of his country's internal politics and has radically altered the economic and legal foundations of that nation in less than a year in office. That man is none other than American President Barak Obama.


Mr. Obama, for all his veneer of impassiveness and his soothing speeches in which he proclaims his desire for everyone to live in peace and harmony, fails to match his actions to his words. He is accomplishing this by fanning the flames of class hatred and resentment with his constant repetition of what has quickly become the official myth of the current economic crisis with which all of us are living. In almost every speech, interview, and press conference which he gives the President is at pains to repeat the same distortions, omissions, and outright lies about the causes and course of our economic problems. That in itself would be bad enough, but President Obama, as part of his propaganda offensive, is urging banks and other financial institutions to continue with many of the same policies that have caused all this trouble in the first place. He is putting banks in a damned of they do and damned if they don't position – for they will be the first ones blamed, again, when the next round of economic trouble comes our way, as it must when all of the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Federal Reserve has created out of thin air begin coursing they way through the economy. Chances are good that all of that new fiat money will trigger a round of inflation that will make that of the the late 1970s and early 1980s look like small potatoes. But I digress.


The President has launched what amounts to a class war by repeating that the cause of our current mess is attributable, in large part, to the actions of grossly overpaid, greedy bankers, hedge fund managers, and other banking and investment professionals. He goes on to compound the deceit by asserting that those same greedy people are refusing to loan money to supposedly deserving businesses and individuals in spite of having received hundreds of billions of dollars in TARP funds in order to avoid bankruptcies. According to what has become the gospel according to Saint Obama, misguided Federal policies such as the Community Reinvestment Act, the demand for more and more mortgage backed securities on the part of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with market distorting, artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve have nothing to do with our problems. Indeed, the Federal government is cast as the hero of the drama because of its selflessness in acting to provide untold billions of dollars in taxpayer-backed funds to bail out the short-sighted greedy bankers and financiers, takeover AIG, GM, and Chrysler and prevent what is portrayed as an economic cataclysm. By acting as it did the Federal government has supposedly protected us all from that dread phenomenon – market instability, whatever that is – and enabled most Americans to continue life as usual.


By making use of a willing left-leaning mass media propaganda machine the American people have been subjected to a nearly continuous barrage of misinformation. This has resulted in many Americans becoming ever more angry with the “greedy bankers” who are supposed to be at the heart of the mess which has cost millions of ordinary citizens their jobs. And President Obama has not been slow to take advantage of the emotional storm which he has had a large part in creating. He is proposing to slap a bunch of new regulations on banks and financial markets. This is to be expected from a Democratic President elected on a platform promising some sort of undefined “change.” The new part of the proposed policy changes involves using the power of a now nearly-unrestrained Federal government to set limits on the pay of executives in the banking and financial sectors whose companies partook of TARP funds. Little did these people realize what a poison pill they were being handed when then Treasury Secretary Henry “Chicken Little” Paulson brought them the bailout money that he had frightened our spineless Congresscritters into giving him. The President's new proposals are certainly not part of any deal they thought they were signing up for.


This is not the first time that a misguided economically-illiterate president has imposed wage controls. It is the first time that wage controls have been targeted at a single group of employees and certainly the first time they have been introduced without even the poor excuse of fighting inflation (which was used during WII and later by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s). This move represents the opening shot in a class war: carefully aimed at a group which has been painted black by the State's propaganda machine for more than a year. Those cheers you hear in the background are coming from the throats of American citizens who have not only been unable to see through the State's propaganda smokescreen, but are also unable to see that this assertion of Federal power marks a precedent which will some day be applied to them. President Obama is openly proclaiming that this wage cap is being adopted only to punish an unpopular class. What will happen to the next class that displeases him – say small business owners who fail to provide whatever the Federal government should decide is needed as part of the president's health care reform effort? How about the doctors and other health care professionals who “make too much?” After all, we've already been told many times that those who make more than $250,000 a year are wealthy and, by socialist definition, have too much money.


The Federal government under President Obama has already shown that it does not care about enforcing contract law – as is evident from the many demands from both the White House and Capital Hill that bonuses, contractually owed to former Merrill Lynch employees, not be paid by Bank of America – which didn't want ML in the first place. (See: partway down the page with the title “Threats and Secret Promises: Bank of America's Merger with Merrill Lych”). This government has no concern about passing what amount to ex post facto laws (forbidden explicitly by the constitution) when it comes to dealing with the economic crisis we find ourselves in, particularly when those laws apply to those greedy bankers. President Obama and his team of merry men, ably assisted by Congresscritter Barney Frank and his fellow clowns on the House Financial Services Committee, have no problem with unilaterally changing the rules of the game, after the other side has already started playing by the rules as originally written down. (See:, and Not content with limiting the pay of executives whose companies took advantage of TARP funds the president and his allies are seeking to extend these limits across the spectrum of financial service companies.


Now, I'm not defending the actions of the Wall Street bankers who helped bring about the current mess, they do have a fair share of the blame for not having had the sense to see that Federal government-induced market distortions were bound to come back and bite them in the ass. Nor am I defending the incredible salaries some of them have gotten over the years, although there is at least some economic justification for disbursing billions of dollars in bonuses for good performance. The truth of the matter is that the bankers and financiers are not blameless and, if they had any sense of honor, at least some of them should be seeking to give back some of the money they received for making decision which, in the long run, have turned out to be horrible mistakes. If they can live with their consciences I, as a good libertarian, am not going to try to coerce them into doing anything they don't want to do as regards their levels of compensation.


But I am concerned with where Mr. Obama is taking this nation. In less than a year in office he has made changes in this nation's economic structure which would bring smiles to the faces of Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin, and Mao Tse Tung – taking over large parts of the economy directly with the takeovers of GM and Chrysler and making other sectors dance to his tune, as with Wall Street and, soon enough, health care. The changes that FDR wrought upon this nation's economic structure are but pimples compared to those of a man who has never run a business, has never had to adhere to a budget, managed to vote “present” more than anyone else in Illinois history when he held office in that unfortunate state, and now is in charge on what was once a vibrant national economy. His continued calls for more regulations to be placed on America's financial sector are meeting with wide acclamation and, most likely, will be put in place – complete with salary caps for executives in that arena. Little does he realize that in doing so he will be adding costs to financial transactions performed in this country – costs which are not found in many other places which would love to have the business we will be losing. Barak Obama has shown that he is a master at crowd manipulation – especially when that crowd consists of people convinced that life “owes” them everything from a place to live, to food, to health care simply because they exist. Class warfare is alive and well in the United States. We can only hope that it will not become physical in nature.

The Police State that is America

The many recent calls for further regulation of financial markets and institutions in the United States are but one manifestation of the left's infatuation with the idea that humans and their society are perfectible if only enough rules and regulations are put in place to control their actions. They also mark one more step on the road to totalitarianism in the U.S. We have been told many times in recent months that it is necessary to place further restrictions, on what is already a market over-burdened with Federal regulations, in order to “ensure that this [the current financial crisis] never happens again.” President Obama has not only called for more regulation of the U.S. financial markets, but, also, seems to agree that some sort of international oversight of those markets is necessary. Given that the Federal government has apparently won the propaganda war over who is responsible for the recent “meltdown” of financial structures around the world –- it was unregulated bankers and financiers who brought the calamity upon us – it is virtually a certainty that more onerous restrictions will be placed upon the evildoers in order to prevent them from causing such damage again: all to the cheers of a poorly educated and informed populace.


The apparent success of the Obama regime's drive to further control the nation's banking and financial infrastructure is another step on the road to making the United States a police state. As the Federal government moves to place caps on the remuneration of those who work in the banking and finance fields all Americans lose yet more of their freedom – the majority simply haven't yet recognized that fact. Given President Obama's recent speeches in which he declares that the banks which were bailed out by the Federal government are not loaning enough money to businesses and consumers it will probably not be long before policies will be put in place which will define how much money banks and other financial institutions must loan to various classes of customers; likely, whether or not they would ordinarily qualify for those loans. Despite the President's many disclaimers that he doesn't want the Federal government involved in the day-to-day management of such areas of the economy as the auto industry and Wall Street his actions say otherwise. Given his recent calls for banks to return to the good old days of loaning money willy-nilly it is obvious that he has not learned anything from the lessons of the current economic troubles – indeed, he wants to force banks back into the very practices which helped get us into this fix in the first place. Each time the Federal government puts in place more regulations, every time a Federal or state prosecutor decides to bring criminal charges against bankers and financiers for actions that were not crimes when they were made, every time Federal and state prosecutors are allowed to conflate civil law infractions with criminal actions (as is often the case with so-called “conspiracies” whose members are brought to trial) the United States takes another step on the road to becoming a police state.


One of the signs that one is living in a police state is an increased unwillingness on the part of most citizens to say or do anything which might be construed as opposing the State. The State seeks to attain this goal in several ways. It starts by introducing young people to the vision of the State as a benevolent entity –- one which is concerned only with providing citizens with the best possible life; at the low, low cost of sacrificing a few civil liberties which don't matter all that much anyway. For those who have already passed through the State's education system the mass media (which are always required to obtain licenses from the State in order to operate) are enlisted in the propaganda effort. This is particularly true when socialist programs and policies are being discussed There is an increase in the number of puff pieces published or aired which seek to portray the leadership of the State as wise, enlightened individuals who desire nothing more than to make the citizenry happy, well-fed, and willing to join the leadership in bettering the nation internally and strengthening it against all external and internal enemies. During the period of Nazi rule in Germany this mode of operation was known as “working toward the Fuhrer.” Citizens are encouraged to inform the State's police agencies of any “unusual” activities on the part of their neighbors. Everyone, young and old, is encouraged to be alert for anything which might threaten “national security.” The police are increasingly used to monitor the political actions and speech of the citizens: various types of “thought crime” are defined and viewed as, in many cases, more serious than plain, old-fashioned crimes such as assault and larceny. In an effort to make certain that everyone is made aware of the many threats facing the State and thus the Nation, and the people arrests are made and trials held. Many times the information that leads to the arrests is provided by informants –- often in the pay of the State –- to the State's increasingly politicized and militarized police agencies. This serves to reassure the mass of citizens that the State is ever on guard to keep them safe, while also introducing an element of doubt about what constitutes a crime, as many of the alleged plots never get any further than discussing or “planning” some alleged outrage against the State. (Check out the books The Tyranny of Good Intentions and Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything , both available through Amazon for more details than I can go into here). The fact that, in many cases, no overt actions need to be taken in order to commit a crime causes many citizens to cease even talking about perceived shortcomings of the government and its leadership. This results in the State being able to declare that the vast majority of its citizens are happy and content with the policies of the government –- which is very convenient whenever someone does actually complain.


The United States is rapidly approaching this state of affairs. Much of the mass media is dedicated to feeding the populace intellectual pablum. Look around at the magazines and newspapers which line the check-out lanes at supermarkets. It is unusual for any of these publications to print anything of a political nature and when they do the articles are almost invariably rehashed “talking points” in favor of whatever new program the current regime is touting as a way to cure some perceived societal ill. The airwaves, with the exception of so-called “conservative talk radio”, are likewise almost devoid of serious discussions of political issues – the shouting matches of such programs as the “O'Reilly Factor” cannot be considered to be reasoned discourse. In most cases even those media outlets which purport to oppose the proposed action by the State are themselves pushing for some increase in the power of the Federal government: it's only that the power will be exercised in a different manner or in an alternative area of life.


The current debate over health care “reform” is but one example of this phenomenon. The Democratic proposal is to place some Federal bureaucracy in control of all aspects of health care. They would mandate that everyone purchase health insurance –- whether it makes sense in the individual case or not. The insurance policies will have to meet certain government-defined criteria in order to be considered legal. The current Federally-controlled health care system –- Medicare -– will be required to scale back the services it will pay for (to the detriment of those participating in the plan) in order to partially pay for the new program. What is left of the free market in medical services will be killed and buried beneath tons of new Federal regulations and guidelines.


The Republicans, rather than pushing for reducing the role of the Federal government in health care, also want to increase its power in this area. Rather than the Democrats' “public option” (State-subsidized health insurance) the Republicans wish to put in place something called “co-ops”. Though no one really knows how they would operate the safe bet is that they will be another way of increasing the Federal government's involvement in health care. One can work one's way down the list of Republicans' objections to the Democrats' proposal and find similar things. All the Republicans' substitutions still result in the growth of the power, size, and intrusiveness of the Federal behemoth: they do not act to reduce the influence of the Federal government in this field.


In like manner, one can go through the list of issues confronting this country and see much the same thing. Democrats want to use the power of the Federal government to legalize “gay marriage”, while Republicans seek to use the same power to forbid them. Democrats want to use Federal power to not only allow women the right to an abortion -– they wish to force medical service providers to perform the procedures no matter the feelings and beliefs of the workers. Republicans want to use the power of the central government to ban abortions altogether. The list goes on and one is hard-pressed to find an issue on which one side or the other wants to reduce Federal power in the area under discussion, let alone act to eliminate that power entirely. Through all of this the Constitution is more and more viewed as an antiquated obstacle to enabling the growth of Federal power. No longer do the vast majority of our U.S. Representatives, Senators, and members of the Executive branch take their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” seriously.


As time goes on the power of Leviathan waxes and fewer citizens move to oppose the growth. Even now there are few areas in life that are not subject to some form of Federal regulation. As the State's intrusiveness has grown so has its police powers: necessary in order to ensure compliance with its wishes. The United States is effectively a police state; it's just that in most cases we call our police “bureaucrats” or administrative law judges in order to disguise their true function and make their intrusions more palatable to the masses. Until now they have remained largely non-violent in the exercise of their vast powers. We cannot count on that to continue and only the foolish wish to see that power increased. What is left of free political discourse in this nation is rapidly disappearing. If the Democrats get their way and the FCC once again imposes the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” the presence of voices opposing the growth of totalitarianism on the airwaves in this country will be mostly silenced. In the meantime those who dispute the need for, or the legality of, the continued growth of the monstrosity that our Federal government has become are labeled as miscreants who represent a small minority of the populace and who are motivated by racist hatred of the new President's policy initiatives. It is anyone's guess how much longer these voices of dissent will be tolerated by the Obama administration or, for that matter, any administration which replaces it. The State's power continues to grow and most Americans ignore the threat it poses so long as they can keep up with who gets kicked off the island next.

Michigan's Governor Granholm has no clue

The Michigan state legislature has avoided another shutdown of the state government by passing a budget resolution that gives them another month to craft a budget that meets the needs of the state. The Republicans are holding firm on not raising taxes while cutting a lot of the social programs that have grown like mushrooms over the last thirty years or so. Meanwhile, Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Democrats are casting about for more ways to lay hands on the money that the few remaining employed workers in Michigan manage to bring home. Governor Granholm is campaigning hard to not cut any of the funds allocated to K-12 education and college scholarship programs. Her reasoning on this is that Michigan needs to “create a favorable business environment” and that the way to do that is to have a well-educated population ready for high-tech manufacturing jobs, such as putting together wind turbines, one of her favorite hobby-horses. And, we all know that the government run education system is a model of efficiency and has no place to save money.


Granholm and the state's Democratic leaders are attempting to portray themselves as being concerned about the decline in Michigan's unemployment numbers and overall economic situation and, by their lights, I suppose they are. However, as with the crowd in Washington, the folks in Lansing have little concept of what it takes to make a state attractive to new businesses. Rather than looking for ways to cut taxes and lower the numerous barriers to entry for businesses in Michigan, the state's Democrats are taking the opposite tack. Governor Granholm proposal:


• Raises the tax on a pack of cigarettes from $2 to $2.25 and taxes other tobacco products at that new effective rate to raise a combined $135 million.

• Applies the state's sales tax to professional and college sports tickets, and concerts, generating $87 million.

• Places a penny tax on each bottle of water sold in Michigan to raise about $18 million.

• Generates $8 million by reducing the value of state credits for film production.

• Gathers $83 million by limiting next year's proposed increase in state earned income tax credits for low-wage workers.


. Along with the increased taxes the Democrats are also pushing for a variety of new regulations and interventions in the marketplace for energy. For instance, on a trip to Japan in September of 2008, in an attempt to get Japanese wind turbine manufacturers to open new factories in Michigan she said


“a legislative agreement will require DTE and Consumers Energy to shift at least 10% of their power from renewable sources such as wind power. She said Michigan stands to create as many as 60,000 jobs in renewable energy industries, but that the state needs a mandate for renewable energy.” (from “Granholm pushes for energy mandate to interest Japanese firms” (see:


The governor is also pushing to tighten state regulations on coal-fired power plants, in spite of the lack of enough “environmentally friendly” renewable energy sources to meet the state's increasing energy demands.


“In Michigan, for instance, Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm is talking about tightening environmental regulation when it comes to coal-fired power plants. Republicans don't have the votes to impose less regulation. “ (see:


And it's not only the energy generation sector of the economy which is attracting the governor's attention. She is also seeking to impose further regulation on auto insurance companies doing business in the state.


“Gov. Jennifer Granholm has threatened penalties for any insurance carriers that do not go along with a freeze on rates for a year.

The insurance consumer advocate, Melvin Butch Hollowell, in a 335 page report, claims auto insurance has become unaffordable for too many. He is calling for lawmakers to change state law to require that insurers obtain the insurance commissioner's approval before raising rates and they they consider allowing a low cost auto policy with reduced benefits. Those are among the 10 changes he is recommending.” ( see: )

In making these charges the governor conveniently overlooks the fact that it is state government requirements that are acting to drive up the cost of auto insurance for Michigan's drivers. For starters, the state requires that all auto owners must purchase a no-fault insurance policy in order to be able to own a vehicle. The state also does not allow the insurance companies to vary the cost of their product based on where a driver lives. This has amounted to requiring out-state drivers to subsidize the insurance of those who live in the Detroit area – raising their rates, but keeping them “fair” for the Detroit area, which, surprise, surprise, votes heavily Democratic. Talking about the increase in insurance rates gives the governor an opportunity to castigate businesses for responding to a situation caused by the intervention of the government into the marketplace.


So, on the one hand the governor talks a good story about how to improve Michigan's sagging economy, but with the other she erects barriers to entry of new firms, or expansion of existing ones. This is typical of those who believe that only the government is capable of making the “correct” decisions regarding what needs to be done to improve the prospects of Michigan's economy. Is it any wonder that new businesses are not exactly lining up to open or expand in this benighted state? Given the governor's approach to solving Michigan's economic problems I can only hope that the Republicans stick to their guns and force the Democrats to make serious cuts in social programs that, in many cases, have not been in existence many years, and which we used to get along fine without. Failure to make real cuts to Michigan's budget and take steps to keep it from growing like Topsy once the economy does manage to turn around will only delay that rejuvenation of the economy of a state which has been suffering from the effects of recession for most of the last decade. Unless businesses are convinced that Michigan will become, and remain, a good state in which to operate we will not see the type of growth that is necessary to put Michigan back near the top of the economic heap, as it was when I was growing up.

Will Congress disobey the Consitution, again? Yes, if it passes Obama's health care "reforms"

One of the things which has gotten less attention than it needs in all the noise that has been generated by the debate over health care reform is one that is fundamental to not only health care, but the very manner in which our country is governed. Simply stated it is this: can the Congress legally mandate changes to our health care system and then turn the operation over to bureaucrats? According to our Constitution the answer is also very simple: No. The reason lies in the very first line of the Constitution proper where, in Article I, Section 1 it says: “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. “ And yet, turning legislation, that is the making of the laws under which we all live, over to an ever growing Federal bureaucracy is exactly what the proponents of “change” wish to do. You see, once the Congress passes the law enabling changes to how the nation's health care is provided, the details of its implementation – the actual writing of the rules, that is the laws, defining how things will work – is turned over to some Federal agency.


I realize that I'm out of step with the times on this issue, but this is certainly not what the Founding Fathers intended for our government to be. You see, not only do bureaucrats make the rules but they also, via the mechanism of so-called “administrative courts” decide how those rules are to be enforced. In effect they get to act as law makers, law enforcers, and judges. Combining these three functions under one roof is certainly not what those who spent considerable time and effort figuring out how to separate them intended for our nation. Our Founding Fathers set forth the principles of separation of powers not because they wanted to make our government complex but because they recognized that doing so would help to prevent the rise of tyranny. They counted on the greed for power that is present in the heart of every politician to maintain that separation: they believed that the Congress would act as a check on the President and the Courts would act to check the power of both. They did not dream of the possibility that the three branches would collude to increase the power of all of them so as to be able to kill the liberty and freedom that they had struggled so hard to obtain and pass on to future generations. But that is precisely what has happened.


For many years our Constitution worked pretty much as intended. While it did so Americans not only saw their country grow in size, but also in economic power, so that by the time of WWI our nation was the largest economic power in the world, having overtaken Great Britain in the 1880s. In a space of less than 150 years our country went from being so feeble that its very continuation in existence was in doubt for many years, to a position of world leadership – all under the basic structure that had been laid down in the summer of 1787. There had been a few deviations from the intent of the Founding Fathers, but they were few and far between and, as yet, the power of the Federal bureaucracy was still very limited. All this happened during a period of change in technology, science, and the arts such as the world had never seen before – a period which saw the average American's yearly income rise considerably even though there were millions of people immigrating to this country. Not everything was perfect, understandable as we are dealing with humans here. But, in any case life got better for the vast majority of people over a considerable period of time under a Federal government that remained small and which by-and-large lived according to the rules set up in the Constitution.


Things began to change some in the early years of the 20th century with the growth of the so-called “Progressive” movement – a movement which held that people would be better off under a government which was run by an expert bureaucracy: a system which allowed outside third parties to make the decisions about how others should act, because they supposedly knew what was best for them. The movement made some progress and managed to establish such now monumental bureaucracies as the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On the whole, though our system of government still worked as the Founding Fathers intended it should. The executive, legislative, and judicial functions of government were kept separate and people were still largely able to live their lives free from the interference of the government.


All that changed with the coming of the Great Depression and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was elected in 1933 on promises to bring a “New Deal” to Americans; a government which cared about them as individuals, one which would bring order and stability back into their lives, one which would provide them jobs, certainly not one they should fear. And Americans bought it as they valued economic security above freedom and liberty. FDR, for his part, kept his promises, pushing a veritable deluge of legislation through the Congress in his fabled first 100 days in office. He created a forest of Federal bureaucracies with a plethora of initials to go with them: the NLRB, NIRA, CCC, WPA, and a host of other agencies and programs came into being.


The Supreme Court held back the tide of socialist legislation finding that many of Roosevelt's new agencies and laws were unconstitutional – mainly on the grounds that the Congress was delegating its legislative powers. At that time the Court recognized what most Americans seemingly did not – that allowing the consolidation of legislative, enforcement, and interpretive powers to reside in one agency was a sure path to the destruction of the liberty and freedom which made the United States unique among the nations of the world. The Court realized the truth of Benjamin Franklin's old adage about giving up a little liberty for a little safety and losing both in the long run.


FDR was furious that the Supreme Court would dare to stand in the way of his schemes to vastly expand the power and reach of the Federal government and launched his infamous attempt to pack the Supreme Court with justices who would rule in his favor. It was at this point that a couple of the judges on the Court, fearing more for their future job security than they did for the Constitution, had a change of heart and began to rule in favor of the Administration on many of the contentious issue of the day. The lack of the courage of their convictions on the part of two or three men in 1937 has doomed Americans to lives in which the wishes of unelected Federal bureaucrats count more than our own in many areas of life.


And it's all built on a legal fiction. The fiction is that the Congress hasn't really delegated its legal authority to make the laws because it continues to exercise some type of “oversight” of the powerful bureaucracies it has created. The fact that Congressional oversight, certainly in its ability to control the day to day operations of our multitude of Federal agencies, is a farce, doesn't keep the courts from insisting that it exists. A few Congresscritters holding hearings into some matter whenever the public outcry becomes such that they fear for their own re-election, particularly when no individual is held accountable for his or her actions, is not oversight: it is political theater designed to keep the masses happy. This is another insistence in which clever politicians and lawyers have subverted the clear meaning of the Constitution to the detriment of the American people. Yet most people don't even stop to think about it so ingrained has the apparatus of oppression become in our lives.


Now, the President and his supporters wish to expand the reach of the government into the one area in which its control has been, to this point, relatively controlled. The supporters of the President's scheme to “reform” health care are at pains to point out that there really in no difference between having health care decisions made by lackeys of the State or employees of health insurance companies. They fail to realize that there is a critical difference – if a health insurance company too often abuses its customers it finds that those customers begin taking their business elsewhere – an option that will not be available once Federal bureaucracies are set up to make health care decisions for us. The private insurers are not perfect. It is important to realize that some of their policies are brought about by Federal government regulations that are already in place concerning rates of reimbursement for procedures and limits on lifetime expenditures for things such as durable medical equipment. It is doubtful that putting more power into the hands of unaccountable minions of the State will improve the overall quality of health care in this nation.


The American public needs to wake up and realize that it is the results of policies, not the intentions behind them that are important in the final analysis. I may want to set up a government-mandated wage structure that insures everyone who works a decent wage. But if the result of the policies that I put in place to achieve that goal is that many marginally employable persons lose their jobs because businesses can no longer afford them at my new higher wage rates I have actually achieved the result of consigning more people to the welfare rolls or life on the street. Certainly I would not expect to be rewarded for having brought about such a debacle, but that is exactly what happens when Americans continue to return the same old faces to Congress election after election. Given the lengthy track record of policy failure that the Federal bureaucracies have it is doubtful that they will do any better if they are given the power to directly govern the course of health care in this nation. And that's what will happen if Congress passes such a law because the Congress will give up its legislative power as part of the deal, even though out Constitution says that it cannot do that. Federal employees will have the power to make the laws, enforce them, and interpret what they mean (becoming judge, jury, and, in some instances literally, executioner). If you think our current health care system is a mess give it a few years under the gentle ministrations of an all-powerful bureaucracy – it will get worse.