Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Expose Judge Vinson's Vision of Our Future as Florida

It's time for the real patriots -- meaning mostly Democrats and Independents -- to file a few outrageous federal lawsuits in the northern district of Florida. That's where Judge Roger Vinson, a Medicare beneficiary for the last six years, has ruled regarding President Obama's healthcare reform that the federal government does not have the power to ask citizens to pay for services on which other citizens depend. After all, why should lucky Medicare beneficiaries have to wait in line alongside poor people for medical care?

Make no mistake, though, that the reason for filing a few outrageous lawsuits is not to score points in a political debate about federal intervention in the health insurance market. It is to protest a noxious vision of America's future -- a future very close to today's Florida.

Anyone in doubt that a coherent vision of America's future underpins Judge Vinson's ruling against Obamacare should consider this week's other major Florida-Gulfcoast byline -- not the one about Judge Vinson's predictable ruling but rather the Economist magazine's U.S. lead on the terrible poverty in suburban Florida, and especially sun-blessed Sarasota. The Economist writes:
...almost half the children in the local schools are from families poor enough to be eligible for free or cut-price lunches; a tenth of households qualify for food stamps; one in eight residents gets free meals from soup kitchens or food banks; perhaps one in 12 has suffered a recent spell of homelessness.
This is no idle link. Sarasota, like most of suburban Florida along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is flat on its back after everyone, including the hairdresser of one of the Economist correspondent's interviewees, flipped real estate until the bursting of the bubble created after Congress' 1999 banking reform blocked federal oversight of mortgage lending by bank holding companies. Gulfcoast Florida is a picture of what an America freed from federal oversight looks like.

Substitute viral and bacterial epidemics like AIDS, that have gathered in intensity as the number of people without health insurance has grown, for the credit and liquidity epidemic that followed so closely on the shutdown of Treasury oversight of mortgage lending -- and the parallel is exact.

Such a vision of our future is not just noxious but a serious threat to the shared American enterprise. It demands an aggressive response. And the best response is one that exposes the nature of the threat.

So it is time for real patriots to file lawsuits in Judge Vinson's district that closely parallel the one he has just supported. Three come to mind.

First, sue the federal government for requiring citizens to purchase Medicare insurance through payroll contributions. Judge Vinson writes that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to ask citizens to buy health insurance so he cannot let it ask citizens to buy Medicare.

Second, sue the federal government for requiring citizens to pay any portion of their taxes that supports bank regulation. Bank regulation is, strictly speaking, an insurance function. If the government cannot ask us to buy health insurance then why would it be allowed to ask us to buy financial insurance?

Third, sue the federal government for failing to let citizens opt out of that portion of their taxes that pays for defense. How can the government compel people to buy insurance against vague and politically suspect threats against us when it cannot ask us to buy insurance against contagious disease? This is a real money-saver, by the way -- over $2,000 for the median family.

We need to file these lawsuits during the current election cycle -- but not really for electoral purposes. We need to use the election cycle to shine a spotlight on this unacceptable vision of our future masquerading under a mendacious banner of liberty.



Blogger Letsgetitdone said...

Hi David,

Nice post on Vinson decision. Thanks for linking me to it.


10:12 PM  

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