Vid: Wheat, Wheat, & Obamacare - How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful

 

As the nation waits on the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), it's worth taking a look at the 2010 ReasonTV video that the New York Times recently cited as one of the reasons why the individual mandate is under legal attack.

Here's the original writeup for "Wheat, Weed, and Obamacare," produced by Austin Bragg:

The Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to "regulate commerce . . . among the several States," and for more than 100 years federal lawmakers invoked it for a very narrow purpose—to prevent states from imposing trade barriers on each other. But today members of Congress act as if it gives them the authority to do just about anything—including forcing you to eat your vegetables.

During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan seemed to accept that the Commerce Clause could, in theory, give Congress the power to dictate what Americans eat. And what about ObamaCare's "individual mandate," which forces Americans to purchase health insurance? ObamaCare opponents are lining up to challenge its constitutionality, but supporters say it's justified—you guessed it—under the Commerce Clause.

How did a clause intended as a restriction on states wind up giving Congress a green light to regulate noncommercial, local, and purely private behavior?  How will ObamaCare stand up against the legal challenges brought by the states? Legal titans John Eastman (Chapman University Law Professor) and Erwin Chemerinsky (Founding Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law) slug it out to to determine whether or not Congress has been abusing the commerce clause.

Produced by Austin Bragg.  Approximately 10 minutes.

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  • ||

    Wheat, wheat, and wheat!

  • John Thacker||

    Sounds like someone is playing Settlers of Catan.

  • benji||

    This is off-topic, yet could be on-topic.

    Mark Cuban destroys Skip Bayless over the whole "narrative" focus of journalism:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv2jqFd2-qI

    Something that is not limited to sports journalism, but you can see all over, especially in these ObamaCare and government policy discussions. The idea of "properly framing the narrative" for the masses who don't know any better. Also think of O'Reilly shouting with/at guests for two minutes as "coverage" of a topic. Etc.

    Stephen A. Smith argued later (about 26 minutes) that everyone ESPN hires is too incompetent to do their jobs and understand what's happening unless a coach or player tells them about it, so Cuban should stop criticizing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXL9SyIZkDI

    I thought it parallels the modern political reporting quite well. What the Administration tells us, OBAMA WANTS TO BAN UR GUNS VS. IT'S A REPUBLICAN RACIST PLOT TO DESTROY THE ECONOMY, etc.

  • benji||

    *26 minutes in

    And I know no one cares, but ... Whatevah, I do what I want!

  • John||

    Stephen A. Smith argued later (about 26 minutes) that everyone ESPN hires is too incompetent to do their jobs and understand what's happening unless a coach or player tells them about it,

    Steven A Smith is certainly a living embodiment of that.

  • Killazontherun||

    OBAMA WANTS TO BAN UR GUNS

    That was a mean thing for him to tell Sarah Brady. Getting her hopes all worked up like that.

  • Mickey Rat||

    ESPN's reporting on the NBA has been in panic-driven manic-depressive mode the entire playoffs. Every time a team won a game, the 7-game series they were in was over. They had Miami's coach fired on at least two different occasions. And then there' this idea that LeBron James has been unfairly persecuted for leaving Cleveland. For someone who goes to ESPN for other sports, their NBA coverage elicits hysterical laughter at best, utter disgust at worst

  • JayDick||

    None of the arguments supporting a broad view of the commerce clause make any sense to me. However, it appears that we must amend the constitution to put the commerce clause back to where it should be. The language about regulating interstate commerce needs to be replaced by something much more narrow, like regulating individual transactions that are interstate or maybe just prohibiting tariffs on interstate transactions.

  • John||

    To believe the broad view of the clause is to believe the framers spent months crafting this balanced federal system only to render the entire thing moot by inserting the commerce clause.

  • ||

    Perfectly stated John.

    Wife and I were having this exact conversation this AM. If this isn't struck down, you might as well tear up the Constitution, because it won't be worth the paper it's written on.

  • Bitter Taxpayer||

    Good one!

  • Brutus||

    Bingo. And that we fought the mightiest military power in order to set up a consolidated despotism that would have made George III blanch.

    Chemerinsky and his ilk are loathsome totalitarians.

  • Pi Guy||

    Simple answer: strike down Wickard

  • Concerned Citizen||

    If it isn't struck down, I'll be a test case - my psycho bitch wife is divorcing me, and once I'm free of her I won't have health insurance. Nor can I afford to purchase any, so I'll go without and see what the IRS does. Fuck them.

  • mulp||

    There is can't afford and can't afford.

    If you can't afford due to poverty like income just barely above your State poverty measure, then the law expands Medicaid to cover you.

    If you have income above the new poverty level which is raised so high it shocks people by making tens of millions of Red State residents in poverty, then if your income is still so low the only health insurance offered exceeds a percent of income, then you are exempt from the mandate.

    And not being able to afford health insurance increased dramatically from about 1998 to 2006 after the health industry tipped from mostly heavily regulated not-for-profit to heavily lightly regulated for-profit driven. Not-for-profits are exempt from a range of taxes based on serving the public good which required covering the poor, low income, those with PreX, using community rating, etc.

    The reason everyone wanted health reform was the out of control health insurance premium increased which doubled in 7-8 years under the for-profit model of private insurance which could increase profits by refusing to sell. Not only does ACA mandate buying, it mandates selling at a price everyone can afford by a tiered system of programs where the least government involvement is generally the highest cost, with much higher prices and profits.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Chemerinsky finds it unfathomable that government would require the purchase of an automobile - probably because of the cost - even though cars cost less than medical insurance.

  • mulp||

    Millions of people can't get jobs because they don't have cars because they can't afford cars because they can't get jobs that would make it possible to afford a car.

    The free market has failed to meet this market need that has only increased over the past half century of public policy that picked the winner of a society overwhelmingly designed around privately owned cars.

    Welfare payments and other programs support the people who can't work because they don't have a car, and while public policy tries to force them to work, they don't mandate buying a car to get to work.

    Part of the welfare provided to those who can't work because of no car is Medicaid.

    I find it interesting to see low wage jobs posted ($30k or less) which now require two reliable transports to qualify based on the experience than low income workers can't afford a reliable car on the wage, so by requiring two cars, the income of a second person can pay for transportation to work.

    I'd say there is a mandate to buy a car, but just like ACA, if it can't be afforded you don't go to jail or get taxed more or penalized with a tax.

  • JeremyR||

    There is no free market for cars though.

    The government mandates a hell of a lot of safety and pollution stuff, which means it's impossible to make cheap cars anymore.

    The same is true of the medical system - the government meddles, lawyers sue, costs go up.

  • tee shirt pas cher||

    During her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Elena Kagan seemed to accept that the Commerce Clause could, in theory, give Congress the power to dictate what Americans eat. And what about ObamaCare's "individual mandate," which forces Americans to purchase health insurance? ObamaCare opponents are lining up to challenge its constitutionality, but supporters say it's justified—you guessed it—under the Commerce Clause.

  • ||

    How did a clause intended as a restriction on states wind up giving Congress a green light to regulate noncommercial, local, and purely private behavior? How will ObamaCare stand up against the legal challenges brought by the states? Legal titans John Eastman (Chapman University Law Professor) and Erwin Chemerinsky http://www.maillotfr.com/maill.....c-3_4.html (Founding Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law) slug it out to to determine whether or not Congress has been abusing the commerce clause.

  • Fantocone||

    Sometime you jsut gotta smack em up dude.

    www.Fresh-Anon.tk

  • toolkien||

    Does anyone really think that the abuse of the commerce clause, as well as all the other abuses (fiscal, monetary) is going to end any other way than large hooks and natural water ways as in ancient Rome? We do have the Potomac after all...

  • joy||

    Legal titans John Eastman (Chapman University Law Professor) and Erwin Chemerinsky (Founding Dean, University of California, http://www.zonnebrilinnl.com/z.....-3_13.html Irvine School of Law) slug it out to to determine whether or not Congress has been abusing the commerce clause.

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