Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Health Insurance and the Broccoli Test

An op-ed in the New York Times argues that the mandate that individuals buy health insurance is clearly not unconstitutional:


If government can require automobile drivers to buy auto insurance, why can't they require individuals to buy health insurance, because what are people but navigators down the highway of life?

The Constitution was a great achievement, and a great advancement, but it seems to me it contains a few fundamental flaws deep within it. One arises when freedom of speech implies political spending cannot be restricted for corporations, and maybe another is the implication that things must be protected but people not. Or maybe the founders just thought people ought to be smart enough to vote out scoundrels who do not serve the people's interests. I'm currently reading James Madison by Richard Brookhiser, which isn't as good as I hoped (it's mostly just a running annotation of excerpts from letters of the time), but it's clear that even back then those guys committed a lot of politics. George Washington owned land where he advocated that the government should build a canal, Alexander Hamilton worked his colleagues to get friends and family appointed to posts, and Madison often played one guy off another or made sure he was on the right string of committees to get his favored ideas passed. I guess that's just life. So far the only one who seems clean is Thomas Jefferson, who spent many of those early years in France and otherwise seemed to just want to be at Monticello away from all the sturm und drang.

By the way, did you know Jefferson had a lisp?

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