Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, March 29, 2012

Updated

OBAMACARE IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE
BY KATHLEEN PARKER
WASHINGTON POST

As a selfish human being, I want everyone to buy insurance. I also want nearly everyone to drop 20 pounds, exercise 45 minutes a day, abstain from drugs and cigarettes, drink no more than five ounces of red wine daily, get eight hours of sleep, eat a diet of mostly grains and vegetables, and avoid all sugars. This would do more to improve health and reduce the need for medical care than anything else on the planet. Shouldn’t we start there? Doesn’t it violate my civil rights to have to subsidize the consequences of other people’s irresponsible choices and lack of discipline? Ah, but no, government can’t dictate what people consume or how much they exercise. Wanna bet? Stick around.

ACTIVISM AND THE ROBERTS COURT
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

The last issue before the court was the law’s expansion of Medicaid, which will be financed mostly by federal funds. The challengers contend the expansion coerces them to cover more poor people and that the penalty for refusing to do so would be a cutoff of federal money. This is a bizarre view that treats Medicaid, a voluntary federal-state partnership, as an affront to state sovereignty. There is no legitimate constitutional question on this issue. It is disturbing that the conservative justices seriously entertained the opponents’ argument.

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MORE GUNS, FEWER HOODIES
BY GAIL COLLINS
NEW YORK TIMES

This is pretty much par for the course. Whenever there is a terrible shooting incident somewhere in America, our politicians talk about everything except whether the tragedy could have been avoided if the gunman had not been allowed to carry a firearm. You would think that this would be a great time to address the question of handgun proliferation, but it has hardly come up in Washington at all. This is because most politicians are terrified of the National Rifle Association. … The only serious debate Congress is likely to have this year on the subject of guns involves whether to allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry their handguns into other states.

THE FED EASES OUT
EDITORIAL
WASHINGTON POST

Without the Fed’s policies, growth might have been even weaker, tax revenue even lower, unemployment spending even higher — and, accordingly, deficits even bigger. Mr. Bernanke’s latest view of the economy is that it is still underperforming and that there is no reason to change the Fed’s plans to keep zero interest rates through next year and into 2014. Nevertheless, when it does come, a self-sustaining recovery will undermine the case for fiscal and monetary expansion. Both Congress and the Fed will then have to react decisively and swiftly to undo a lot of what they’ve done in the past four years.

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM IN THE SUPREME COURT
BY E.J. DIONNE
WASHINGTON POST

The conservative justices were obsessed with weird hypotheticals. If the federal government could make you buy health insurance, might it require you to buy broccoli, health club memberships, cellphones, burial services and cars? All of which have nothing to do with an uninsured person getting expensive treatment that others — often taxpayers — have to pay for. Liberals should learn from this display that there is no point in catering to today’s hard-line conservatives. … The irony is that if the court’s conservatives overthrow the mandate, they will hasten the arrival of a more government-heavy system.

OBAMACARE AND THE CHARACTER QUESTION
BY MATT MILLER
WASHINGTON POST

Is Obamacare flawed? Of course. … Despite all the shouting, Obamacare’s signature achievement is poorly understood. The law creates a way for nonelderly Americans to get access to group health coverage outside the employment setting. The United States is the only advanced nation where this ability doesn’t exist. If the insurance exchanges get up and running, they can in time become the place where most of us get coverage that’s not tied to our jobs, with those who need help receiving subsidies. This would help the economy even as it makes America a more decent society.

THE OBAMACARE RECKONING
EDITORIAL
WALL STREET JOURNAL

The government is mandating that everyone buy health insurance specifically, but by this reasoning any economic or personal decisions that touch on health care could be used as a pretext for federal police powers. People who lead healthy lives consume fewer medical services than others, so the government could mandate exercise, a healthy diet, and more. This is power without limit, which is not what the Constitution provides, or what its framers intended, or what the Supreme Court has ever tolerated. That is why this week’s arguments have been so careful, why they have revised the establishment’s thinking, and why they are so important for the future of American liberty.

WE’RE NOT FRANCE, YET
BY DANIEL HENNINGER
WALL STREET JOURNAL

Maybe the United States dodged a bullet this week. Make that a deep-penetration bunker buster into the original idea of America. … It is not a certainty that Tuesday’s discussion of the ObamaCare mandate means it will be overturned. It’s still worth thinking about the implications if the court affirms the law’s individual mandate. Should that happen in June … [t]he Commerce Clause’s authority would be unfettered. Big as that is, the implication of an unfettered Commerce Clause is larger: That will be the day the United States becomes France.

SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF ANTHONY KENNEDY
BY ERICK ERICKSON
RED STATE

In placing our constitution in the hands of a black robed elite who can divine from thin air powers, rights, and duties neither contemplated nor easily extrapolated from the constitution, our republic has become a kingdom. Our king is Anthony Kennedy. Every argument advanced is advanced with him in mind. On every major issue he is the decisive vote. Put bluntly, the constitutional integrity of our republic has been ceded to one man in the third branch of our federal government. It makes him more powerful than the democratically elected Congress and President. It is not a sign that our system is too partisan. It is a sign that our system is broken in a fundamental way. But the dirty little secret is that while legal experts and scholars may agree the system is broken, they only think so when Anthony Kennedy disagrees with them.

 

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Must-Read Op-Eds for Thursday, March 29, 2012

Updated