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The States' Rights Challenge

The Virginia Capitol in Richmond, Va., on March 4, 2010. Virginia is among the states challenging the federal health care reform law. (AP)

Before health care reform passed last weekend, Virginia and Idaho had already voted to defy the law. Now, dozens more states have movements to pick and choose elements, or reject it outright.

“States’ rights” is suddenly an opposition rallying cry. And not just on health care. On gay marriage and marijuana and gun laws, and more, states have been flexing their own authority.

Maybe it’s a source of creativity and strength. Maybe it’s a not-so-slow-motion rebellion.

This hour, On Point: states’ rights, in the health care debate and beyond.


Reed Wilson, editor of Hotline On Call, a political blog of National Journal.

Thomas E. Woods, senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama. He is the author of “Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse” and a forthcoming book on states’ rights called “Nullification.”

Neil Siegel, professor of law and political science at Duke University. He served as special counsel to then Senator Joseph R. Biden during the confirmation hearings of John G. Roberts and Samuel A. Alito and has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and in the Office of the Solicitor General.

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  • Gina

    This aught to be good…the comments on the NYT story on this topic were priceless.

  • larry

    Did the states have a duty to secede if they are detrimental to the union as a whole? And should we encourage and allow this?

  • Wait one minute…

    I think the renewal of enthusiasm for state’s right is another symptom of a fraying union. This has been decades in the making… “don’t mess with Texas” “fly over country” “exurban”

    “States rights” just formalizes or legalizes what began as cultural movement

  • Cynthia Gilliatt

    There are names for what these attorneys general are doing: interposition and nullification. Remember ‘massive resistance?’ Our Virginia attorney general is cutting off the noses of poor people to spite the president. I am disgusted.

  • Kim

    With physicians and hospitals coming out in support of this bill, it’s time for Republicans to drop their opposition.

  • Anna

    What your first speaker is “running on” is a few words carefully extracted from their context. People dislike some parts of the bill. Of course. If the politicians worked together, from the beginning, we would have a much better bill.
    All this is not about democracy; we only hear politicians, not people. The only way to hear people in the current political system would be to have a referendum (not just about health care) , where we would hear everyone’s voice.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If I were a Big Business pushing certain states, given the effectiveness of Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and tea partiers and so on, I would put my money into the smaller states, the “cheaper” states to sway.
    In terms of marijuana laws, I am coming to the conclusion (by a few years experience) the forces that apply might be international drug lords, something shadowy. Decriminalization, regulation, is against their interests.

  • http://www.tedauch.com Ted Auch

    Okay so if – and hopefully when – Texas secedes can we put to rest their warped view on primary education? I would love if Perry & Co. left because they are in the process of steering education down a dark and non-secular path.

  • Larry

    It’s a new era. Maybe this country doesn’t have enough in common across all regions to hold all it together. If it’s not working let’s try something new.

  • Anna

    Just too bad Texas did not leave the Union long time ago – many people would not needlessly loose their lives and we would not be in this mess. They could have their great decider and keep it.

  • Margaret

    NE.States are deficit, How much will a Att Gen battle on HC reform cost to taxpayers,and Federal cost of fighting these suits?

  • John Varner

    What differentiates what FOX, the Teabaggers and some Republican legislators from sedition or treason? Why are the “law and order” Republicans fomenting this? Why is no one talking of prosecuting them?

  • Ellen Dibble

    With HCR, I think the nation’s best interests are actually single payer, weaning ourselves off the insurers except for bells and whistles (hearing aids, heart transplants…?)
    If the idea is to prevent lobbyists’ dollar interests from prevailing, and fight by state or by national according to where you’re likely to win, dollar interests DID prevail in HCR. Maybe we can expect nullification to rectify this and steer to where federal taxes are not being used to subsidize private insurers.

  • Brian Murphy

    I thought we settled the nullification issue with the death of 700,000 Americans in the 1860s and the liberation of 4.2 million slaves.

  • Zach S.

    Let them secede! I don’t want to share a nation with people who could care less about whether or not someone without healthcare lives or dies. We are a nation divided beyond repair. I will never in my life agree with people who oppose universal healthcare. I most certainly will never vote for a republican ever again in my life. Let them go!

  • Todd

    So much for objectivity! On Point/Ashbrook couched the topic as a purely Left/Right issue within the first 30 seconds of the program.

  • Wait one minute…

    We are use to thinking of the phrase “race to the bottom” on a global scale. I think that the powerful interest in this country want to bring that phenomenon to the states, so that places like Texas can be like a NAFTA export zone and richer states (with nice views-resort style) will be where the markets are.

  • Liz

    Probably the least well understood part of the Constitution.

    Could today’s guests spell out what does the Constitution say about the role of the Federal government vs. the states? What is settled law? Where are the gray areas?

  • meg

    First they argued that the state had NO RIGHT to mandate the type of coverage available to their citizens. Now they state that the states have SOLE RIGHT to mandate insurance coverage. Talk trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  • Lark

    Why aren’t “State’s rights” proponents opting out of Medicare?

  • Ron DeMattio

    This is just part of a move to play the ‘independent’ card to test the court. Some of those states will also love to challenge any environmental rules. When the Constitution was written, you didn’t have corporations in states that could pollute the air or water for a whole region. The oil and coal companies are drooling.

  • Larry

    Wait one minute
    We are use to thinking of the phrase “race to the bottom” on a global scale. I think that the powerful interest in this country want to bring that phenomenon to the states, so that places like Texas can be like a NAFTA export zone and richer states (with nice views-resort style) will be where the markets are.

    They have already done that to the states through “right to work states” and low, no tax states etc that let companies come in and pay no taxes but take all kinds of tax credits in return for the jobs they create. But the joke is on the states. Usually the jobs they create are low wage no benefit jobs.

  • libby@sertoron.edu

    Why do we even talk about this subject?

    One Word: Waterloo

    Please Media, please WBUR … time to spill be beans.
    It is RACISISM

    Look at the Profile of Opposition
    This country 48-52% non-white Adult, and Tea-Bag People are 99.87% older White. Daaaa.

    They just cannot stomach Obama, and want to un-elect him with garbage and crap.

    Let’s not Beat Around the Bush; Bush is Goooooooooone.

  • Tom

    Health care reform doesn’t belong in the hands od Washington. It belongs in the hands of individual people. America is unhealthy by choice, poor diet and lack of activity. I don’t like taking care of you because you chose not to take care of yourself. If you want big macs, chips, smokes, beer, ect. Fine with me, but, when you create disease in your body because of your bad choices, you pay for your traetment and leave me out of it.

  • Todd

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

  • Larry

    The oil and gas companies have already bought their judges and are soon going to buy their elected representatives through the Citizens United ruling.

  • ErikW65

    Fascinating discussion, thanks Tom and guests.

  • Michael Dunton

    Either the tenth amendment exists, or it doesn’t. You want to mock conservative-oriented states’ rights movements, but you should be mocked yourselves, because this type of talk existed in the liberal Northeast during the recent Bush administration. For me, I would love nothing more than to see wacko Northeast be separated from the rest of us.

  • Cindy Barnard

    My first reaction to the health care insurance requirements in Mass. was similar to what I am hearing from some republican-leaning states on this show — that somehow my rights were being infringed upon; that is, until I understood why health insurance should be a requirement. And, BTW, I was already paying for this insurance — I was just in the routine of electronic deposits and was overlooking that particular line item deduction in my pay check, and overlooking this deduction in my “adjusted” annual salary.

    Now that I am self-employed, do I ever feel lucky to have on the horizon affordable health care — which will still be a standard line item deduction, as it should be.

  • Tor Smith

    There are things states can manage on their own. There are things which can only be done at a national level, defense for example. The Preamble to the Constitution states that “We the people of the UNITED States, in order to form a more perfect UNION, establish JUSTICE, INSURE domestic TRANQUILITY,provide for the common DEFENSE (against disease too?), promote the general WELFARE….. Sounds like National Health Care to me. Health care is proven to be a problem that is a national level issue.

  • Walter

    As an Attorney I have looked at the constitutional issue. As an Episcopal Priest I’ve looked the lack of morality and civility in this Tea Party – Nullification Movement. As an African-American very of aware of ALL the history, I was grieved by the the use of the “N – Word” and other examples of ugly behavior. My reasoned question, why now ? and why the vehemence or repugnant conduct ? Well try this .. White GOP , mostly southern politicians opposing the FIRST American – American President. As a former Marine Officer, we learned if it looks like a duck, quacks likee a duck, it is a duck!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Lark, states maybe aren’t trying to opt out of Medicare because Medicare doesn’t involve trying to regulate Big Insurers. We know the tricks of the banks, and the tricks of the insurers are similar. I think we can expect fine print and heavy lobbying for the foreseeable future. I think unlike the banks, the insurers are NOT international pillars of our well-being. They are actually dispensible. To wit, Medicare.

  • Todd

    The States voluntarily chose to join the Union; therefore, they should be able to voluntarily choose to leave by secession.

  • Frank

    I love how Woods keeps saying that nobody understands history and then goes on to distort Jefferson’s views on nullification. Jefferson is backing off this position by 1813 – and is fully suspicious of states’ supposed equality by the time of the Missouri Crisis in 1819.

    But – more to the point – why ignore the Commerce Clause? It clearly gives Congress the power to regulate national commerce – something John Marshall explicitly recognized in the Gibbons decision.

    Show me a historian who wants to ignore this and I’ll show you a right wing hack who speaks for nobody but unhooded Klansmen.

  • rob

    the guest just described liberals as “centralizing freaks” ? pejorative, much ?

  • Peter

    It appears to me that taxing a citizen for not purchasing a product from a private corporation is a possible violation of the constitutional prohibition against a bill of attainder. The health care law selectively targets a class of people, those not buying health insurance, for punishment through a loss of property.

  • Larry

    For me, I would love nothing more than to see wacko Northeast be separated from the rest of us.
    Posted by Michael Dunton

    The wacko Northeast and other Blue States support Red States with their tax money that is sent to Washington and paid back to Red States who get way more then they send.

    Us Blue States would love to separate from the wacko Red States that are dragging us down.

  • keith

    it all just seems to boil down to racism and ugly, mean-spirited politics.
    the republicans — not all, but some — just want to see obama FAIL.
    this health care legislation is TRULY the best thing that has happened to the US in a long, long time and if “the majority of americans are against it,” as is being asserted, i would argue that it becasue they have been programmed/manipulated/propagandized to be against it.
    why is it that we always seem to find enough money to help the haitis of the world or invade the iraqs of the world but not enough for our own citizen’s health?
    i live in germany and the people i know here are scratching their heads in amused confusion.
    me too.

  • Simone

    Thomas E. Woods has just resorted to the same name-calling as the rest of the racist, sexist, homophobic “conservative” movement. Whatever happened to the rational community-minded conservatives of my early years in politics? “Conservatives” and the GOP has dumbed down to being citizens of Glenbeckastan, not the United States.

  • Eric

    The idea that war decides legal questions is completely grotesque.

  • Linda

    One thing that puzzles me is the folks who argue about the process. The GOP refused to take part in the process. Where did that leave the process? If you take your marbles and go home, it is hard to complain about the game. I find it quite amusing to see the gyrations going on because the GOP lost on the issue.

    In addition, the process of getting us into Iraq was based on a very flawed process and yet I hear none of the folks worried about that money ill spent.

  • Larry

    Now that I am self-employed, do I ever feel lucky to have on the horizon affordable health care — which will still be a standard line item deduction, as it should be.
    Posted by Cindy Barnard

    If you are self-employed it is already deductible. The problem is not that it isn’t deductible but that the price of it is astronomical and going higher.

    It is yet to be seen whether this bill will change that.

  • Bob

    States rights — Fed rights — its all just rationalizations. Why the hysteria about health-care and the abundance of irrational reasons and mishistory by those oppossed? The triumph of subconscious fear motivation by the power elite


    The only real political issue is campain finance reform everything else is just treating the symptoms.
    Corruption is coddled and encouraged by our system, if it wasn’t any shady dealings with PAC and such would carry a death sentence.

  • NW

    Thomas Woods was present at the founding of the League of the South, and has contributed to its newsletter.

    The League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, whose ultimate goal is “a free and independent Southern republic.”

    The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy. While political independence ranks highly among the group’s goals, it is also a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditional, conservative Christian-oriented Southern culture.

    The organization is labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  • Zach S.

    I am really sick of hearing the right wing, republicans, and tea baggers say that this bill ignores the will of the people. I am an American and I support the bill. Am I not one with the people? I am pretty sure a lot of people support this. Stop talking as if the whole nation is against healthcare. You know you are wrong.

  • Todd

    “…Woods has just resorted to the same name-calling as the rest…the GOP has dumbed down to being citizens of Glenbeckastan, not the United States.”
    Posted by Simone

    @ Simone:
    Who’s “name-calling” now?

  • Mike

    Bureaucratizing freaks? Classy. Go back to Fox and Friends.

  • http://www.lewrockwell.com/calderwood/calderwood-arch.html David C.

    The callers and commenters on this site reflect a complete capitulation to a fully fascist system where every aspect of human life is subject to central control and management by political authority.

    What is wrong with you? Do you somehow think that being a slave is okay as long as you get to vote on who your overseer is, or on what plantation you labor?


    You see “state’s rights” as all about residual racism, but can’t imagine that some slaves resent their chains! I see the whole game as a red herring; this is about CONTROL and power, not making people healthier.

    The naivete of the average American today is nauseating.

  • Barbara Paul

    Each representative and senator from those states joining in the planned lawsuit should renounce their participation in the group insurance medical program provided to federal employees. The rubber needs to meet the road.

  • jeffe

    It’s a shame that BUR has to spend more time having these annoying people harping on about why people should donate.
    It is a pretty cheap shot way of trying to command attention. I was listening but turned it off. BUR you just did a drive, what two months ago?

  • Jackson from Austria

    Does anyone else find it odd that it was mentioned in a comment that the idea of secession or nullification was ‘settled’ by the civil war as an treasonous act…but what of the ideas of secession or nullification from the British empire? Was that treasonous? I believe secession to be a natural right, a belief I might share with a few of our founding fathers.

  • Dave

    I believe in Sates Rights to a point.

    2 issues with the topic in front of us today;

    First, when any faction of the population states from the beginning, “we will make Health Care Reform Obama’s Waterloo”. The cards were laid on the table that day.

    Second, much of the Health Care issue before us today is that the rendering of Health Care is NOT free. It needs to be paid for by EVERYONE somehow and the reason it cost so much in this country is that the people who can pay, pay more to make up for underfunded programs and the “free care” that all facilities give on a daily basis. Is everyone saying that physicians and hospitals can CHOOSE wh to care for, based on whether their bills will be paid??

  • Ben Johnson

    The strong central government which unites the states has made this the richest country in the world. The same economies of scale can be applied to lower the costs of healthcare. We need only look at the problems with Greece and the Euro to see how a series of loosely coupled, but largely autonomous states can drag down the entire union.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Keith in Germany, ABC TV broadcast an interview with Nancy Pelosi, parts at 6:30, another part on Nightline, showing where she breezily saying to a question about Boehner’s red hot speech on Sunday, “Some people will do anything for the insurance companies.” Or maybe, “He will do anything for the insurers.” A tossed-off remark, but it seems so obviously true, and not only about him.

  • Eric

    “Coldly it lies,” Nietzsche wrote of the State “and this lie slips from its mouth: ‘I, the State, am the people.’”

  • Noel

    I am somewhat floored that WBUR considers someone from the von Mises institute to be a legitimate part of the debate. We settled most of these issues 145 years ago, and the rest 40-55 years ago.

    The states are subject to the federal government.

    Congress has the power to control interstate commerce and promote the general welfare, and to pass laws to do that.

    The same arguments were made around many other federal programs, especially in the wake of the New Deal and civil rights laws, and they failed to stop Congress from doing what we elected them to do.

    If you don’t like the legislation, argue that it is unconstitutional on other grounds (and you might even succeed with the current makeup of the Supreme court) or campaign to change the law, but the idea that federal government doesn’t have the power to pass health insurance legislation is ridiculous.

  • Todd

    “The organization is labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
    Posted by NW

    @ NW:
    The Southern Poverty Law Center labels ANY organization that it has disagreement with as a hate group.

  • Bob Roddis

    Tom Woods is a marvelous ANTI-warrior. He recently wrote an anti-war book with liberal Murray Polner:


    Trying to smear Woods as a racist right-winger just demonstrates liberal ignorance.

    And liberals ARE centralizing freaks.

  • Eric

    You are alive. We own you. You will buy health insurance from this list of companies. They will then tell you what doctors to go to and what medicines to buy. You are alive. We own you.

  • Gina

    Health care reform doesn’t belong in the hands od Washington. It belongs in the hands of individual people. America is unhealthy by choice, poor diet and lack of activity. I don’t like taking care of you because you chose not to take care of yourself. If you want big macs, chips, smokes, beer, ect. Fine with me, but, when you create disease in your body because of your bad choices, you pay for your traetment and leave me out of it.

    That’s really nice Tom, but you know what? Not all illnesses are caused by eating Big Macs and smoking. In fact, very many are not. I’m sorry to sound uncivil, you and those who make this argument sound very ignorant, and selfish. Women don’t get breast cancer from lifestyle choices. People don’t get lupus, Parkinson’s or cystic fibrosis because of something they did. Do you understand this? I could go on for pages about why you people are so frigging ignorant and self-centered.

    rob, I totally did a double-take over liberals being “centralizing freaks”. As a liberal, I don’t want to turn America into Europe (but why that’s so bad I don’t understand…) but for a load of reasons, health care doesn’t follow free-market principles, and there is something fundamentally wrong about a system designed to profit off people’s health.

    And I have to comment, the man who called from S. Carolina and remarked “what happens when the next hurricane hits?” The true libertarians would just tell you that individuals would have to rebuild on their own.

  • Wait one minute…

    How do you have a debate with people who think the Constitution was written by God through his chosen men? (all white men)

    If it was so perfect, why did they make provisions for amending it?

  • Kevin Currie

    People who complain about being forced to buy something are crying crocodile tears. Being required to buy car insurance is something most people support. The same people complaining about mandatory health insurance would be the first to complain about uninsured drivers increasing our financial risk by being on the road.

  • Steve V

    To those who object to the government taking money w/o our consent (for health care), how do they explain taxes?

  • http://iowapublicradio ron nath

    this whole business of government requiring someone to purchase something is effectively put to rest by the states requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance and the harsh penalties for failure to do so.

  • Michael Dunton

    If you’re against states’ rights movements and nullification/succession movements, then repeal the tenth amendment. If states can’t use the tenth amendment, then what can the amendment be used for?

    Just what is the correct use of the tenth amendment? Why ignore the Bill of Rights?

  • Joe

    Tom –

    I agree that states cannot opt out of this law, to allow them to do so would in some ways return us to the Dred Scot days.

    But, what about the question of constitutionality as question of imposition on individual liberty? I keep hearing the painful comparison of this mandate to auto insurance mandates.

    First, auto insurance mandates attach to registration of vehicles, NOT to people or even drivers.

    Second, with a reasonable restriction like auto insurance, a citizen may “opt out” by choosing not to drive. If life itself is the trigger for the mandate, where is the opt out?

    States could bring the constitutional claim on behalf of citizens under that logic…

    I think your guest is overlooking the possibility

  • Todd

    At the turn of the century, song birds were disappearing; being made into hats and other fashion items. Members of congress wanted to take the management of migratory wildlife away from the states, which invoked a state’s rights issue. However, states didn’t want to pass legislation protecting songbirds because such laws would have prevented their own public from hunting something that could be hunted in other states. Consequently, John Lacey, congressman from Iowa, argued that if states do not engage in protective activities for their citizens, the responsibility falls to the federal government (under section 8 of the constitution). Lacey was talking about protection of birds, but his argument couldn’t be more appropriate for healthcare.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Robert nailed it. Much of this is about race. Thanks for taking it further Neil.

  • Larry

    The American empire is going down. We, the people who make it up should have a say in what that new way of life will look like.

    There was a time when 50 states together made sense. Maybe it doesn’t today. Maybe we are too divided ideologically. Nothing is carved in stone.

    The Constitution is a flawed document written by men. There is no way that our founding fathers could have envisioned the world we live in today. Multi-national corporations control our jobs, our society and now our government.

    Why can’t the people change a Constitution that clearly cannot and does not address the world we live in today?

  • Bob Roddis

    Hopefully, here is a better link to the Woods/Polner book:


  • Eric

    I think all of the slow assumptions of power by the federal government are coming to a head.

  • Avery S.


    The Boston Globe published a letter today saying that the far-left is enjoying this victory. In a purely partisan sense, I guess, though I distain the partisan nature of politics today. Philosophically, this bill is lost somewhere is moderate-left-to-center land.

    Far left socialist policy may resemble european systems of medical treatment. Granted, making change in steps will make for longer-lasting policy with a better foundation. Yet this is simply the federal government overstepping its bounds and trying to make everyone buy insurance. Sadly, not all care about their health, but it is not my place as a member of the sovereign to tell another what to do regarding their health. I cannot stop anyone from being healthy, and I certainly cannot force them to do so.

  • Jonathan Yip

    The opposition is purely from Republicans.

    The hidden elephant in the room is: A BLACK president accomplish what 11(?) WHITE presidents couldn’t.

    Racism is ALIVE and still living in many!

  • Joan

    I find it amusing that the gentleman uses Jefferson as an example of genius and wisdom. He impregnated his 16-year old female slave while living in Paris, (half sister of his wife), and continued to own slaves throughout most of his lifetime. Great role model!

  • jeffe

    Jackson from Austria, all Founders and the officers in the Continental Army were accused of treason by the British crown and government.
    Your ideas are over simplified I think and you seem to lack any understanding of how much damage the Civil War did to this country and still does.

    The states rights issue was settled in 1865, if you don’t agree that’s your right. I happen to think you are wrong.

  • http://none Dana Franchitto

    I know battelines cannot always be simplistically drawn on such issues but were it not for the federal government, we would not have the Marine Mammal Protection Act, THe Clean Water and Clean Air acts among other milestones in environmental protection. Furthermore, if “State’s Right’s were to supercede the federal govt’s authority, it turn the clock back 50 years on civil rights.

  • Liz

    The interstate commerce clause has been stretched to serve almost any conceivable congressional aim, in my opinion widely abused.

    I suppose some think the commerce clause gives the federal government power to compel a citizen to do “commerce” with a health insurance company, under threat of penalty?

  • Marty

    I live in South Carolina. I retired early 3 years ago and read extensively about HIPPA. I was SURE that since I had always been insured that I would be able to buy private insurance with no pre-existing clauses. WRONG SC law overrides HIPPA and I had to buy insurance with pre-existing conditions! What is so new about states rights?

    Also – what’s the difference between having to carry car insurance from health insurance? There was no uprising with mandated car insurance.

  • evul libtard

    The Southern Poverty Law Center labels ANY organization that it has disagreement with as a hate group.
    Posted by Todd,

    Gee Todd, you sound like one of those terribly oppressed angry white men.


  • G

    Corporations gained the same rights as citizens as a result of the 14th ammendment at the cost of so many American lives in the Civil War. Emancipation of the slaves was the public face of this action, which has the true intent of separating the American people while the corporations reap profits and destroy the human race and our planet. And it’s still working today.

    We Americans need to WAKE UP and see the true face of evil… these immortal “people”. They have taken so many of our jobs and sent them overseas. They are importing imigrants to do jobs they should pay more for Americans to do. The corprations have turned their back on the working people of this country and are a virus that has infected every corner of this planet.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The insured pay for the uninsured, whether through higher premiums or through higher taxes. When many lived in accessible backwoods, say 150 years ago, the legislature wouldn’t have the choice of offering care to someone on the frontier.

  • Eric

    Oh jeez, yes the race card, please.

  • Michelle in Virginia

    Hi, Regarding Billy’s ccmments about this bill being unconstitutional: what about driver’s licenses? Is it unconstitutional t make someone pay for NOT having insurance? Or to have to pay for a license in any case?
    And please do NOT forget, when there are uninsured people who have to go to the emergency room because they lack primary or preventive care, we ALL pay for it.
    I have been disheartened by people complaining that we are NOW socialist: if you use a library, call the fire police departments, benefit from public education (including college),collect Medicaid, Medicare….you have been participating in socialim. Social Security, the name should be a tip off right there.
    I do feel that the Republicans who voted against this under the premise of socialism or “unconstitutionality” need to drop access to all these things and ESPECIALLY their government health care because it is very hypocritical. When they do that, I will listen to them as people truly willing to stick to their principles.

  • Drew

    This issue isn’t simply an argument between states rights and federal law. The ideological background also includes the capitalistic structure of our economy. People who are quick to criticize the power of government, often fail to recognize that the real battle is between the government striving for fairness in health care and the powerful monopolies that insurance and pharma. do not want to give up.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Sorry. Lived in INaccessible backwoods in the 19th century.

  • Simone

    Thomas E. Woods is another angry “conservative” man who snarls when he talks. To deny that the Teabaggers are anything but super-right-wing Republicans who have educated by the most vicious talk radio and goaded on in their ignorance by Fox is ludicrous.

  • http://ktornquist.com Kathryn Tornquist

    I am amazed at how folks can say “the American people” believe/want this or that, as though they speak for the majority (often with no respect for CREDIBLE polls).

    To quote scientist/Apollo 14 astronaut/consciousness researcher Edgar Mitchell, “Attention is curiously monadic…. It is single focused….” Essentially, when we hold one view, we are not able naturally to look objectively at another view. “Simplistically, when focusing on one face of a coin, the other face is not visible.” The primary problem being illuminated by this furor over the health care bill is our inability to entertain the vailidity of viewpoints at opposition with our own. Both “sides” have valid points; we must call ourselves and our representatives to SEARCH FOR the validity on opposing viewpoints; only then do we sidestep the fear mongering from misinformation on BOTH sides, and create a foundation to build successful collaboration toward valid solutions that are best for the country.

  • jeffe

    Gee BUR I make a comment about the funding drive and you remove it. Way to go. So much for accepting a critique of the way you all do these things.

  • Jason

    I find it interesting here those who demonize Jefferson stand solidly behind Lincoln…Lincoln actually wanted to deport slaves back to Africa and to the tropics as part of the solution to hold the union together. He was a savior? Really? Becareful who you deify. All of our forefathers were racially biased.

  • evul libtard

    And liberals ARE centralizing freaks.
    Posted by Bob Roddis

    And all neocons are stupid, illiterate, redneck, racists.

    No one likes sweeping labels and generalizations. And that my friend, is 90% of the problem in America today. This marginalized “us vs. them” mentality, and only “my point of view is right!” We choose which shows to watch and which blogs to read that re-enforce our views, and make us feel good.

    So much easier to blame and scapegoat others than to offer change and solutions.

  • http://www.lewrockwell.com/calderwood/calderwood-arch.html David C.

    Falling on the floor laughing….

    The “state’s rights” debate today is but a pie slice of a general revolution, a trend change from a centrally-planned super-state running every aspect of U.S. citizens’ lives toward decentralization of the U.S. system. This is the first hammer swung at our Berlin Wall.

    Only by understanding things in this way can you have any hope of grasping a trend that is inevitable.

    I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, red, or green, and I don’t care how much melanin the president’s skin produces. All politicians are repugnant.

  • Roger J

    The whole problem here can be solved with a single payer system. Almost all other major developed democracies have it. Nothing else will achieve the management of health care costs we all want and universal coverage. Everyone who complains about federal mandates for personal purchase needs to recognize we only got to this uncomfortable compromise because conservatives vilified a compassionate, comprehensive, health-care reform that accomplishes the central common goals. They argued foolishly that single payer health care is socialism. Of course any government which organizes to provide services for all people (like roads, police, armed services)is pursuing a social agenda. That’s good and reasonable. We need to keep moving to that goal.

  • jeffe

    woops sorry I made a mistake. It was not removed.
    I do apologize. I still can’t stand the interruptions!

  • Michael Dunton

    A point to squash any talk of tenth amendment supporters is that people (minorities, for example) need protection from the evil hand of individual states.

    What protects people in the individual states from the evil hand of the Federal Government? It’s the tenth amendment–which can be used by Blue and Red states, alike.

  • allen

    “States rights — Fed rights — its all just rationalizations. Why the hysteria about health-care and the abundance of irrational reasons and mishistory by those oppossed? The triumph of subconscious fear motivation by the power elite


    The only real political issue is campain finance reform everything else is just treating the symptoms.
    Corruption is coddled and encouraged by our system, if it wasn’t any shady dealings with PAC and such would carry a death sentence.

    Posted by Bob, on March 23rd, 2010 at 10:40 AM”

    Right on!

    Vote all encumbents out in the primarys.

    Repeat until clean.

  • keith

    yes, the caller robert nailed it.
    elephant in the room…
    EVERY single rebublican in the house lined up against the bill…
    ugly, rascist, politics.

  • Tom

    Dear Gina,
    Name calling was not needed. I have chrons disease and certainly don’t believe I caused this to happen considering my clean life style. The CDC will show a long list of PREVENTABLE disease. Things that fall under the terms of non-preventable should covered by every american, but when you knowingly abuse your body and you break it, then you pay for it.

  • Janet Lawson

    People who argue that they ought not be required to purchase health insurance, should also agree to sign a consent that they understand they will receive no treatment they cannot pay for if they become injured or sick. Obviously, society wouldn’t allow it, we wouldn’t leave people “in the ditch” because their bank account was low. But this points out that the people don’t buy insurance are actually gambling with the money of others who are forced to pay those emergency room and other costs that the gambler ultimately defaults on.

  • http://N/A Elena

    I called into the show and was somehow disconnected. I am a supporter of your program and would not want you to think I was rude and hung up on you.

    Thank you for the good work you are doing for our country.

    John Locke said:

    “Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a stats of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience”.

    Stupid caller just said that Americans don’t like the bill because obama is black. This is nonsense. Americans don’t like this bill because it is a BAD bill, period.

    A point not made, we will not only be forced to get health insurance we will be forced to get government madated health insurance. Ironically the same insurance companies that obama has demonized are the very companies that obama is going to madate the American people buy under penalty of law. And what about 17,000 IRS agents coming after the American people if they don’t abide by this law ?

    Process and Inequality of law permeate this bill.

  • a democrat

    The Republicans are becomming a disgrace the world over as the party of “no”

    They show no concern for the American people and default status quo
    which they want to reinstae….How irrepsonsible they all look today….

  • http://controlled-systems.com Kathy

    Massachusetts requires car insurance, is that against our constitution?

  • Chris

    Once again, Tom and Tom’s staff…WOW! What an hour!!! I cannot thank you enough for what you put together for us!!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    We have learned in the USA from sleezy promoters NEVER to say yes without understanding the fine print. I think the polls that show Americans skeptical reflects the red flags and warnings that have been sort of encouraged by all sorts of special interests ($$$). They know how to play this game. So I consider the Tea Party (very unfairly I’m sure) to be those polling out skeptical, naysayers, but not necessarily the Real Majority. Right now smart money seems to be on the settling of the snow in one of those shake-it glass snow-globes. When it all settles, people will like it. When would that be? In 2020?
    Oh, our cautious people, our pseudo-tea-partiers. We are proud not to be Nixon’s Silent Majority. We are learning to Speak Out.
    Or is the Silent Majority still being silent? One step more cautious than the others?

  • Bob Roddis

    evul libtard:

    As an anti-war fan of anti-war Tom Woods, I generally consider neo-cons to be war-mongering centralizing freaks. All of them.


    I’m encouraged by this show and discussion which again demonstrates that liberals are totally ignorant of the vast scholarly literature of the libertarians and the Austrian School.


  • Barbara

    As a history buff, this was a fascinating and timely topic. I’d love to hear more but, please, without Thomas Woods. HIs sarcasm and arrogant put downs were a distraction from what was, otherwise, a great discussion. His comments at the very end about racism were too much. Please! Look at his history. He is soooo a racist! I would prefer to hear the opinions of a more even handed conservative in any future discussions on this subject

  • CA

    As a physician, I completely support reform. No bill will be adequate or perfect. The public option would be the only way to ensure health care for all and so I’m disappointed that is not part of the bill.

    Arguments against health reform – states’ rights, personal freedoms – are completely disingenuous.
    It’s all about the money; everything is always about money.
    The bottom line is that those opposed are mad that they will have to give up more of their money. Currently, we are subsidizing the uninsured – we are already paying for those without insurance. However, with insurance people will get better, less costly healthcare. Now, some will finally have to pay their own health insurance rather than relying on the rest of us to pay for them (usually for catastrophic illness/injury).
    The “haves” who have plenty to begin with (and won’t suffer financially) will have to give up a little more to provide for the “have nots”.
    I am fortunate enough to be in the tax bracket that will have to pay more to provide health insurance for those who cannot is not a burden to me and I relish the opportunity to help the less fortunate.

  • tom

    One more thing Gina, a good example of what I am talking about. Two thirds of Americans are overweight and one third are obese. This country consumes 700 more calories per day that it did 30 years ago. I have seen many examples of people who were 1, 2, or 3 hundred pounds overweight and while they were, thier bodies were riddled with illness and disease. But upon losing all of thier extra pounds they also loose ALL of thier illness and disease. This is health reform. Look, if an earth quake injures you, eneryone should help take care of you. I am talking about prevention and non-prevention.

  • yar

    @ Michelle in Virginia, on March 23rd, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I would add “keep your money in banks, have insurance, or belong to a church or other social organization. In fact, the family is a social unit. Socialism is word that many people don’t understand. Capitalism needs social structures to work. Neither is able to survive without the other. In Castaway Tom Hanks had Wilson. Is that socialism?

  • http://na Charles Layton

    I flipped through the above comments and only saw one concerning the commerce clause. And that was against the commerce clause as a vehicle for the federal government to do anything, if I understood what the person said.

    If big insurance is not interstate commerce, legitimately to be regulated by the Federal Government, what is?

  • Jackson from Austria

    All in all I’ve been pretty disgusted with this show and the comments/callers.

    Trying to tie the ideas of secession and nullification to racism is nothing but an ad hominem. i.e. It is impossible for an individual to have a legitimate criticism of the federal government as their actions are immaculate. If someone opposes the federal government and seeks greater autonomy through secession or nullification, they must be irrational racists – as only blind hatred could lead someone to disagree with our central authorities.

    The level of debate has been shifted away from historical examples of nullification as a means (the only means) to defend against federal actions perceived to be unjust and moved towards emotional arguments and assumptions about the moral character of proponents of an idea.

    But then again, I don’t think anyone expects to hear an unbiased discussion about defying a democratic president on npr.

  • Roger Johanson

    A caller argued that while we may not have liked Bush’s impositions on the country, they were constitutional and this is not. This raises lots of red flags.
    The darling of conservatives, Reagan, unconstitutionally overturned congress’ mandates and supported the Iran-Contra fiasco bringing immense suffering to the Nicaraguan people and forcing us all to devote our tax money to this morally repugnant policy.
    Nixon had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Instead, he escalated it and took billions of American dollars from those of us who saw the war for the travesty it was.
    G.W. Bush’s administration manufactured a rationale to drag us into a constitutionally questionable war that drained our resources and distracted us from the goal of capturing Osama bin Laden and thwarting al Qaeda. My tax money was impounded for that mistaken effort.
    That’s what governments do. They make their best judgment about how best to spend tax dollars for the people’s good. I’ll take Obama’s health care program any day over these three Republican presidents’ awful, misguided programs.

  • Todd

    “this whole business of government requiring someone to purchase something is effectively put to rest by the states requiring drivers to purchase auto insurance and the harsh penalties for failure to do so.”
    Posted by ron nath

    Failed comparison—apples & oranges.

    First, auto insurance requirements are set by, and managed at, the individual STATE level, not at the federal level. Second, there is no requirement to purchase auto insurance, UNLESS/UNTIL one owns a car that s/he intends to operate on public roadways. There is no state insurance law to fine people who don’t buy auto insurance, as long as they have made the choice to not operate a vehicle on public roadways. The new federal health care bill does not allow people such a choice. It basically says that you’re going to be forced by law to purchase auto insurance, whether you own a car or not.

  • Larry

    Two thirds of Americans are overweight and one third are obese. This country consumes 700 more calories per day that it did 30 years ago. I have seen many examples of people who were 1, 2, or 3 hundred pounds overweight and while they were, their bodies were riddled with illness and disease. But upon losing all of their extra pounds they also loose ALL of their illness and disease. This is health reform. Look, if an earth quake injures you, everyone should help take care of you. I am talking about prevention and non-prevention.
    Posted by tom

    It’s not only the calories. It’s that they are calories from corn syrup and processed foods.

    And we have seditary lifestyles. 9, 10, 12 hours a day at at desk. Then into the car for a 40 minute commute.

    Also, there are endocrine disruptors that are changing the hormones in our bodies and may be the part of the reason we are getting fat.

    Also, when people’s sleep is disrupted by noise, Urban environments anyone, it cause’s a diabetic state in our bodies.

    It isn’t as simple as saying people overeat.

    Which they do when they are stressed.

  • Douglas C. Dodge, Esq.

    Regardless of your views on the health care insurance overthrow, please (1)take a deep breath; (2)dig out your copy of the US Constitution or borrow one if you have to; (3) read carefully Art. I, sec. 8, which sets forth EVERYTHING that the Congress may do, and try to find anything relating to health insurance; (4)read carefully the Tenth Amendment, specifying that any power not given to Congress is reserved “to the States respectively, or to the people”; and (5)decide whther you want to amend the Constitution to permit the Federal Government to continue to run your lives or take back a part of the limited government adopted in 1789.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Roger, thanks for the post. That was terrific.

  • Ellen Dibble

    In 1789, a smokestack in Dodgeville didn’t cause acid rain a thousand miles to the east. Things like that.
    As to fat and its contribution to cost of caring for all, it may be the more controllable part of the cost. I think 50 percent of the spikes in cost have to do with medical research and advances, with the USA proudly leading the way, doing the trailblazing, at our expense. I think a fair share is the fat, especially as it causes endocrine disruptions, but pollution would cause that more preliminarily. At any rate, I heard that there had been a sugar tax (corn syrup and such I assume would be included), which was removed from the health care reform act due to the lobbying of the food industry.
    Presumably unhealth foods can be taxed outside of that bill, and maybe start with the states. I think Massachusetts will be doing that. Maybe the lobbyists have less pull state by state, so that is the way to start.
    If cap and trade can’t be passed nationally, then maybe states have to take the lead again, taxing gas enough to move the economy along.
    Whether or not the constitution allows states’ rights promoters to do this or that, change has to start somewhere. Isn’t change written into the constitution itself? Didn’t the founders anticipate change? Well, they had lived in a world that changed far more slowly than ours, so maybe not.

  • jeffe

    Massachusetts requires car insurance, is that against our constitution? Owning a car is a privilege not a right and requiring insurance for this privilege is part of the program. You don’t have to own a car.

    I find all of this talk of states rights to be a little bit much. Why now? That said I don’t like this bill as I want a single payer system. The insurance companies still have there teeth in our necks and they are sucking the life blood out of us. This bill does nothing to deal with this issue. The irony is if the bill was a single payer bill the sates could not go on about this “states rights” argument.

    The mandate is a problem as it gives for profit insurance companies an monopoly on health care coverage.
    If this bill also subjected the insurance corporations to anti-trust laws I might be convinced this bill had some teeth. Alas it does not.

  • Bob Roddis

    Many of Dubya’s nefarious actions were unconstitutional but nevertheless the red-staters cheered him on. Not so Tom Woods.

    Before the Iraq invasion, Tom Woods criticized pro-war Catholics:


    In May, 2003, Tom Woods told red-staters that Dubya had scammed them into supporting the Iraq war:


    Tom Woods wrote against presidential war making powers during the Dubya years in 2006:


  • Jim Long

    This hour was the most insightful,valuable and necessary on a most relevant subject to every American. I would strongly encourage, short of insistence, that you entertain a fresh, or continuing, full hour, with the same competent guests asap. This was much appreciated. We need much more. Thank you.

  • http://www.lewrockwell.com/calderwood/calderwood-arch.html David C.

    I have yet to see a single critic of the state’s rights position elucidate where limits on central government hegemony might be found. As Woods noted, asking members of the Supreme Court to limit the power of the central government from which they derive their power and THEIR PAYCHECKS is about as absurd as expecting pigs to fly.

    IF the Commerce Clause trumps all limits on the enumeration of powers in the US Constitution, what limits the Triumvirate power of men and women who beg, borrow, or steal high offices?

    Government absolutism, even in a so-called democracy, is a peculiar kind of religion. It is the embodiment of Rousseau’s “General Will,” where by definition any enactment or executive order represents the will of “the people” whoever they supposedly are. It baptizes any absurd fiat law handed down by career politicians (liars all) with the religious patina of “Truth.”

    Viewing this as a permanent condition demonstrates a full subscription to Fukayama’s “end of history” view, that social democracy is the “end state,” the pinnacle of human societal evolution.

    People who believe this must also wait each Dec. 24th for Santa Claus to arrive.

  • jeffe

    This bill is a win for the insurance corporations.
    The ban on preexisting conditions is a joke.
    It’s not taking any effect for what 3 years and then it does not stop the insurance corporations from denying the coverage. It only states that it’s illegal. Well you know what you will have to sue them. They will have to pay a paltry $100/day fine if they violate the rule.

    This is not only a joke it’s an insult.

  • http://www.lewrockwell.com/calderwood/calderwood30.1.html David C.

    For a different view of what this kind of bill means, consider this:


    Recent debate over “health care” (oh, how I hate that term) presumes to pit advocates of 100% government management of medical services against advocates of the status quo…which is only about 95% government-managed.

    Some political cretin (this term is from the DRD, the Department of Redundancy Department) explains that, because current government management of hospitals compels treatment of indigent patients with the full spectrum of available, expensive procedures, resulting in innocent taxpayers getting stuck with the bill, the fix is to…what? Force all people to pay the government for insurance?

    The underlying premise is that if there’s any way that one man can unilaterally thrust an unasked for burden on another, a trespass if you will, then the only remedy is to treat us all like interchangeable worker bees in the hive.

    The problem with this is that it is government intervention causing the trespass in the first place. Without government intervention, a business providing medical services at a profit would not treat someone who had no ability or intention to pay for those services. The indigent person could not burden his neighbors because he could not compel them to pay for his use of goods and services in the market.

    Before collectivists scream “heartless conservative” at me, they are free to join like-minded friends and establish free or reduced-price “bare bones” clinics for people who are truly down on their luck. No, such collectivists are not happy to be charitable by themselves. Afraid others might “game” them, they insist that their standards for compassion be exported to all their neighbors at the point of a government gun. “Pay your ‘charity’ to the IRS or we’ll put you in jail, take your bank account, and if you resist, we might shoot you.”

  • cory

    Something about secession sounds really nice (especially Texas), but many states are split pretty close ideologically. We’d have to make Texas a Republic and then deport the regressives, neo-cons, and other like minded folks there from the other 49 states. Nice idea, but probably unworkable.

    We’ll get single payer universal healthcare in America. It is only a matter of how long it will take. We are behind the curve of civilization, but we are still moving slowly forward. Keep fighting the good fight and have faith that humanity might eventually figure it out and get it right.

  • David

    Nullification was used by the northern states in opposition to the unconstitutional embargo, the unconstitutional calling up of the militia, the unconstitutional proposed military conscription bill, and a federal bill for the enlistment of minors.

    Anti-slavery activists repeatedly referred to state sovereignty in their opposition to unconstitutional aspects of the Fugitive Slave Act (which, even though there is a fugitive-slave clause, WAS unconstitutional).

    So no, the Civil War didn’t “settle” nullification, since it had nothing to do with nullification, a doctrine used more often by northern states than by southern.

  • Ron

    ’ll take Obama’s health care program any day over these three Republican presidents’ awful, misguided programs.”

    And what about those of us who reject “awful, misguided” policies regardless of which party is enforcing them? I, and many others, rejected Bushes pointless war, trashing of the constitution, invasions of our privacy, suspension of habeus corpus (so did Tom Woods for that matter!). And I will never believe Bush won that election legitimately! I have never been a fan of fox news or any of the neo-con mouth pieces!

    Now, I and many others, reject being forced to buy insurance as mandated by DC bureaucrats with corporate ties, and anything else they will be mandating for my own good! I am horrified to learn that 16,500 new IRS employees will be hired, MANY OF THEM ARMED, to enforce what is good for me!

    Furthermore, I deeply resent being constantly labeled “racist”, “teabagger”, “right-winger”, “hater”, “extremist”, etc, by narrow-minded bigots who clearly consider themselves well informed and open-minded! Prejudice is just as disgusting when it comes from “progressives”, “liberals” and your more popular minorities!

    Please open your mind and stop pretending people like me don’t exist! If the shoe fits, put it on and kick yourself with it!

  • Charlie Mc

    Wow! I feel that Walter Cronkite should be signing off with, “This is happening right here, right now…in 1859, and “You Are There!” My son and I have just finished arguing heatedly about these events with me calling him a “red-neck, nazi conservative racist” and him calling me a “liberal, socialist, communist “patsy” for tax and spend newcomers who are helping with the disintegration of the American “way of life.”
    There can be little dialogue between parties so dug in against each other. FDR was hated by wealthy citizens who still feel that WWII is what saved the USA in 1940′s, and not anything that the President did; while the poor and the disenfranchized looked upon him as a saviour.
    In the 1960′s, the wealthy supported the Vietnam War and objected to the movement towards the Civil Rights proposed by JFK and effected in the administration of LBJ.
    Following the debacle of the Nixon years and Watergate, Ron Reagan led the charge to “get rid of Big Government” and deregulate the Market. Deregulated, the Market turned into a phoney used car (2nd mortgages) market and the wild ride into financial chaos took us into the present state of affairs.
    “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it” [Santayana] is the truth we all forget to remember when the going gets good, and when the going gets bad.
    Let’s be sure to “throw the bums out” in next November’s elections who haven’t got the dignity and statesmenship to respect the political adversary and to always seek compromise through dialogue. To hurl insults and defamation at other persons indicates an upbringing which tolerates and encourages it. It is a reflection upon our mothers and fathers, and when selecting and electing candidates, let us eliminate bigots, racists and hate-mongers.

  • tom

    Car insurance and health insurance is not the same thing. Driving a car creates the possibility that I might injure myself and other people. So my car insurance is to pay for my negligence. Health insurance isn’t the same thing. For instance, if I eat a big mac, donuts, chips or smoke or inject ilicet drugs into my body, the only person this has a negative effect on is myself. Car insurance and manditory health insurance is not the same thing. If you break your car your insurance pays for it, if you break someone elses car, your car insurance pays for it. If you break your body, you should pay for it, if your body gets broken and you didn’t break it, then everyone should help you pay for it.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    “Keep fighting the good fight and have faith that humanity might eventually figure it out and get it right.”

    Cory, some of humanity has already got it right. The question is whether we’ll get it right in our lifetimes.

  • G

    We could get it right, in this country, in our lifetimes if we dissolve the laws that allow corporations to operate so freely in this society. Once the corporation gained the rights of a person (so slighly with the 14th ammendment), they essentially created slaves out of every single one of us and have turned this planet into an industrial wasteland.

    Corporations were invented for specific purpose, then turned their product over to the public services and the corporation dissolved. This stimulated competition, continually created jobs IN THIS COUNTRY, and built a better society for all citizens. Once a corporation gained immortality, that all changed and created slaves out of every middle and lower class citizen in the world.

    Many states have constitutional laws that require the dissolving of corporations to protect the citizens of this coutry from a system run amuck. Sure seems like ours is out of control and time to enact the true power of the states and gain back our freedom.

    Want more info? See the documentary “The Corporation”, which could be viewed for free at hulu.com. Another good documentary if you ever wonder about the food you eat and possible links to healt problems is “Food, Inc”.

  • Debbie A.

    I am amazed how misguided and lacking critical thinking people are today. Of course we can thank the liberal educators starting from the 60′s, like Bill Ayers. The same people who believe that American History prior to the civil war is archaic. The same people, like our President, who believe the Constitution needs a major overhaul. The same Liberal/Progressive/Socialist/Communist/Maoist who have stated our country needs to be torn down and renewed to Socialism. The same people who stand on University ground with our children or grand children, all with signs in tow, spouting Socialism is good. Nothing worse than seeing a college student, maybe one of your children with a sign and speaking how great Socialism is. Hummmm. If would be wonderful if you people here would read the Constitution. And please don’t tell me you have. After you are done then buy the book “5000 Year Leap” to get an even better grasp on the intentions of our Founding Fathers. There you will learn about the intent of the General Welfare Clause, 10th Amendment, 2nd Amendment, The Preamble. It is obvious you have no historical knowledge.

    The Great State of Texas is one of one three (?) states in the REPUBLIC that is actually solvent. Imagine that. A solvent State. I wonder how they did that? Hummmm. Sure haven’t heard from their citizens how they aren’t getting their needs met like NJ, IL, NY,MA, CN, MD, RI and I guess you get the point. The list is far too long. Maybe it is because those states are insolvent because they spend too much and rely on the federal handouts. Hummmmm.

    When you can get educated on the Constitution come back and join the discussion with intellect and not the slurs you find in your repertoire.

  • Larry


    Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the nation. It’s pushing it’s costs off on other states by raising the premiums across the board for people. Hummmmm

  • John

    Nullification did not begin and end with the civil war. It was attempted by South Carolina during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. At that time slavery wasn’t on the table at all. Jackson owned slaves himself and South Carolina’s only complaint was high tariffs which it felt unfairly hurt agricultural states to the benefit of industrial states. Jackson threatened to hang those involved and South Carolina blinked. McCulloch v. Maryland was an even earlier attempt by a state to regulate a corrupt national bank out of existence. (Ironically Andrew Jackson later killed it).

    The states lost both of those fights. But they’ve won other fights such as the 1992 New York v U.S. decision which held the 10th amendment limited the power of congress to direct states to legislate in a particular way. They won U.S. v. Lopez which struck down a federal school gun free zone law as outside the power of congress under the commerce clause. The states also won in U.S. v. Morrison which declared that the federal “violence against women act” went beyond the commerce clause power. The commerce clause power is interesting. It’s how the federal government usurps most state and civilian rights. This broad power came as a result of Wickard v. Filburn, a depression era case which held that the federal government could fine a farmer for growing “excess wheat” which he fed to his OWN family and farm animals in order to affect price controls. Imagine the government telling you that you had to dig up your backyard garden. That happened in Cambodia and could happen here under that ruling. The 13th and 14th amendments bar slavery and set the foundation for basic civil rights legislation (Jim Crow laws were themselves unconstitutional under the 14th amendment, although this was ignored), but it was the commerce clause that gave the government extraordinary powers for both “good” and ill. I say “good” in quotes because the argument can clearly be made that the “good” achieved could be gained by other less questionable means.

    Lastly the commerce clause cuts against traditional “liberal” interests as well. The liberal voters in California want medical marijuana? Tough. Undermining some of the strength of the Lopez case is Gonzalez v Raich which ruled that even if you grow medical marijuana yourself for your own personal use the government can still come after you based on the commerce clause power because it’s part of a larger “regulatory scheme”. Sure Obama stopped enforcing raids on medical marijuana shops, but what happens with the next president?

    States rights isn’t all about “race” or “slavery” or “the south”. It’s simply another tool in the arsenal of the republic. Any tool can be used for different purposes.

  • Todd

    “Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the nation. It’s pushing it’s [sic] costs off on other states by raising the premiums across the board for people. Hummmmm”
    Posted by Larry

    Uh, Texas has the highest number of uninsured people, because Texas is one of the most populous states in the U.S.—second only to California, which is now bankrupt from providing hand-outs. Also, it’s not the State of Texas that’s pushing costs off by raising premiums, it’s the insurance companies. Hummmm

  • loninappleton

    After reading through the long list of comments, I found it surprising that no one has mentioned the Vermont secession movement. They have a nice site, philosophy, collectibles– all the things most liberal minded independent people crave. Secession is not just an idea for crackers. Though I haven’t followed everything on Vermont Commons they have thought about this for a long time and not in a knee jerk snap judgment way for a radio show:


    They cleverly invert the old pre-Revolution symbol– the snake in segments — with the new slogan “Separate or die!”

    Obama said, paraphrasing Rooseveldt, ‘if you want change to have to make me do it’ This is change and this is how it is done:

    Most recently John Nichols has written about the movement toward state banks which would de-fund Wall Street through money movement from pensions and so forth to state banks to punish those who have abused the privilege of banking as a public trust.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech. What is good for corporations can also be used by individuals and states to protest policy.

    Currently in Wisconsin there is pending legislation which confirms the governor’s power to declare the conditions under which the National Guard can be used. This is another state power to de-fund and un-man unjust wars.

    The homogenization of American society really makes state borders inconsequential. Localization is the way to re-establish identity and justice as well. One nationally known figure who speaks on financial matters advises that you should get to know the powers that your local sheriff has. You may find some surprising results.

  • cory


    I wouldn’t personally put any money down on seeing it in my lifetime (I’m 40).

  • Bill

    States rights in the 18th and 19th centuries had a totally different meaning than it does in the 21st century. When there were many fewer states and it took days to travel between them, there was a much different need for states to have more control. With the diversity and mobility of our citizens today, we are much more in need of laws that apply to everyone more so than tailored to individual states.

  • Javier

    It would have been nice if Thomas Ashbrook could have at least played the role of a fair host. His repeated insertion of his comments was pretty juvenile.

  • Daniel

    Our Constitution is pretty clear, no?

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: Congress shall have Power to lay and collect taxes . . . . . for the general Welfare of the United States . . . ”

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 18: Congress shall have Power to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers; and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States . . . . ”

    Beyond debates about “necessary and proper”, um, am I missing something here?

  • Javier

    Yes its clear but you are unclear about it. The general welfare clause as understood by Madison never meant that the Fed govt trumps the state in anything, only in those powers enumerated in Art I section 8.

  • Bob Roddis

    Tom Woods explains the general welfare clause:

    At the Virginia ratifying convention, Patrick Henry expressed his fear that the “necessary and proper” clause of the Constitution (which said that the federal government would have all powers “necessary and proper” to carry into effect the powers granted in Article I, Section 8) would inevitably be interpreted by the federal government as a boundless grant of power, transforming the limited government that supporters of the Constitution promised into an unlimited government that would menace the people’s liberties. He was likewise concerned about the “general welfare” clause, since government could justify practically any action it might take by some strained reference to the general welfare.

    Edmund Randolph, the leading Federalist speaker at the convention, argued that Henry’s fears were unfounded. Those phrases could not have the expansive meaning that Henry attached to them because, Randolph explained, the only powers possessed by the federal government would be those expressly conceded to it by the states. “All rights are therein declared to be completely vested in the people, unless expressly given away,” he said. “Can there be a more pointed or positive reservation?”


  • Ron

    Now that the IRS will be in charge of enforcing the health insurance mandate, they have decided they need a little more firepower!

    From a government site:
    “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inch barrel, modified choke, Wilson Combat Ghost Ring rear sight and XS4 Contour Bead front sight, Knoxx Reduced Recoil Adjustable Stock, and Speedfeed ribbed black forend, are designated as the only shotguns authorized for IRS duty based on compatibility with IRS existing shotgun inventory, certified armorer and combat training and protocol, maintenance, and parts.”

    “Combat training and protocol”?! Sure, why would you think anything bad might come of this?

  • http://flustercucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    If Texas secedes, could we declare war on it? They have oil and we need oil! So it could be a war for oil.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    In spite of all the hullaballoo, the advocates of free market medicine still have yet to address the fact that real socialized medicine has proven to be superior to our current system. They cannot win the battle on intellectual grounds because the facts are brazenly against them.

    United States:

    •17% of GDP and growing spent on health care
    •Tens of millions uninsured or under-insured
    •Insured people living in terror of losing their jobs and health insurance
    •Hundreds of thousands of medical bankruptcies each year, many of whom had insurance
    •Businesses burdened by insurance concerns and costs.
    •Wealthy insurance executives (and a thriving yacht industry)

    Nations with Real Socialized Medicine:

    •Much smaller percentage of GDP spend on health care
    •100% coverage
    •Zero medical bankruptcies
    •Often more doctors per capita
    •A more content populace
    •Businesses not burdened by insurance concerns
    •Fewer wealthy insurance executives (oh noes! Whatever will happen to the yacht industry?)

    Frank the Underemployed Professional

  • David

    Any time you have to sell your house or car and get in debt hundreds of thousands of dollars there is something wrong. Your country is run by special interest groups and lobbyists, don’t you people ever get tired of it. Are you stupid, these people only want to get rich off of you. They are not your friends. Thats what the rest of the world thinks when they look at the USA. I live in Canada and ended up in a wheelchair after a car hit me. I had months of surgery and hospital stay, my bill at the end of it. Nothing.
    Dave Stewart

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard


    “I wouldn’t personally put any money down on seeing it in my lifetime (I’m 40).”

    Well, I agree with you and I’m 58 so I’m ####ed as well.

    The question is, will Medicare still be solvent when I need it and when you need it.

    I can honestly say that I’ve been paying (gladly) into both SSI and Medicare for a working lifetime. I just hope the next few generations continues it.

    Of course, if we could just see clearly enough to have Medicare for all (an idea that I’ve supported for many years and I know you support) life would be so much better for everyone.


  • Rick from Norcal

    The “states rights” argument lost all traction for me when the United States Supreme Court overroad the Florida Supreme court in the 2000 Presidential election, consequently installing George Bush as the President of the United States.

    All of these people who are right now screaming about states rights sat on their hands and kept their lips sealed when Florida’s right to control its own election process was taken away in the year 2000.

    This told me that the states rights issue was only imporant to these people when it served their purposes, not when it played against them.

    I remember David Boies comments prior to that fateful year 2000 Supreme Court decision when he said something like this: “I can’t imagine THIS supreme court overiding Florida’s right to control its own election”. Mr. Boies made the mistake of believing that a conservative court would be consistant in its support of the states right argument.

    How wrong he proved to be.

  • John

    To Rick from Norcal: Interesting argument, but you’re painting with too broad of a brush. Many people who are concerned now about the Obama administration were equally concerned about the Bush administration and were concerned about the Clinton administration before that and the H.W. Bush administration earlier. Tom Woods has been highly critical of the Bush years.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I think Rick from Norcal makes a very important point and too few of us are making it now. How many of the tea baggers protesting in DC were protesting that Supreme Court Vote? For that matter, how many of them protested when George W. Bush took us to war with Iraq? If they’re so into states rights, why not pull support for federally declared wars that they don’t agree with.

  • Ron

    “Your country is run by special interest groups and lobbyists, don’t you people ever get tired of it…”

    This bill was WRITTEN by special interest groups and lobbyists! They didn’t even involve any doctors or other medical professionals in the process. They DID meet with plenty of people from the insurance industry though! Now they will have millions of new customers – all forced to buy their product under threat of fines and/or imprisonment. If that ain’t corporatism, what is?!

  • jeffe

    Debbie A how convenient of you to mention only blue leaning states while there are plenty of red states having fiscal problems due to the huge rescission we are having.

    Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida are not exactly solvent now are they.

    As for Texas leaving the US, well lets be real here they would fall apart in a matter of years. This is absurd and is just a silly argument.

    As for Vermont, well they use to be part of Canada but for them to be thinking of succession is also absurd as it’s one of the poorest states in the North East and the country. This is the talk of fools. Now if they could somehow rejoin Canada, well now that’s an idea I could get with.

  • Michael

    if texas left the union, they would lose a large amount of funding since, the military bases would be needed to be moved, funding would be dropped, along with funding for border patrol, allowing for illegal to come over the boarder easier,causing the states around it to tighten its boarders around texas.

    Than which the Wacky Righties would crack down on these illegals,creat laws discrimating against mexicans, in doing so than the large proportion of Mexican wouldn’t allow this, and would work with the Union, causing a constant state of emergency for Texas,than when more people loss there funding for medicare and S.S. since there not part of the government, and more become pooor they soon would rebel against the Wacky Rigthies , further fractionating texas, Parts would most likely Join the Union, causing the Crazy righties to go to war to keep those parts, the world and the Hatred Socialize Europe would refuse to trade, Most likely leaving the Crazy righties who love there republic to only be able to Trade with China(the same commies they don’t want America to be)

  • Michael

    The real truth about these people are

    “States’ rights as “code word”

    The term “states’ rights,” some have argued,[11] was used as a code word by defenders of segregation.[citation needed] It was the official name of the “Dixiecrat” party led by white supremacist presidential candidate Strom Thurmond.[12][13] George Wallace, the Alabama governor—who famously declared in his inaugural address, “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”—later remarked that he should have said, “States’ rights now! States’ rights tomorrow! States’ rights forever!”[citation needed] Wallace, however, claimed that segregation was but one issue symbolic of a larger struggle for states’ rights; in that view, which some historians dispute, his replacement of segregation with states’ rights would be more of a clarification than a euphemism.[14]”


    Amazing that it’s so hard for our news media to call what many of these people are “racist, bigots” since they are purging there republican officials who are anything close to moderates on just about anything, i doubt many of the teabbager/republican base hold moderate views on other races.

  • XC

    ” A little rebellion every now and then is a good thing”. Thomas Jefferson

  • Spencer

    Now that we are protected by law, I don’t believe that a majority of the my countrymen want their health insurance canceled when they get sick. If any part of this reform package gets undone, the whole thing unravels. Other than single payer universal health care, what other way is there to implement the protections given by the current reform package? Isn’t that the whole problem the Congress has been grappling with for the last year and before that?

  • G

    The idea of succession is just a ploy to get some attention. We are all fed up with the conditions we are experiencing here in the USA, and we ALL have every right to be mad. Taking our children’s money and giving it to executives of corporations is not an easy concept to comprehend for any of us. And for them to defend themselves saying they need to retain talent. Well, that is just an argument that is filled with disallusion and distraction.

    We just need to realize others are having the same frustrating experiences and express them with respect to the regions we live. This is precisely why states having more power is esential to being able to keep this republic in order and moving forward with the voice of the people. Corporations do not allow for the voice of the people as EVERYTHING that directs the coproration is done in secret. There is never full discolsure or a voice of he people or the society in which they operate.

    Sure states would need to work together. For example, Coal fired power plants create mercury that pollutes rivers in states east of the powerplant due to prevailing winds. That is an undesputable fact that woule need to be worked out when evaluating the true “Cost” of such a powerplant.

    Healthcare Industry? Does anyone else see the completely ubsurd conflict of interest here? If not, let me break it down for you. There is no money in a cure. I equate it to the new technology we purchase these days… which has an average lifespan of 3 or so years. Sad really, when we call ourselves a technologically advanced society. We purchase things with no longevity and we accept it because we “NEED” to have the latest and greatest gadget, even if we can’t afford it and put it on credit. Can’t you see that you are hypnotized to be a consumer? Don’t you think that new TV should last a bit longer? Mine was built in 1993… still works great. Now… back to healthcare.

    There is no money in a cure, but there is loads of money in “treatment”. Especially the pills! Add to that eating food, that is synthisized in a lab to taste like something that will kick the correct synapses in your brain. There is no regard to the true after affect. Every hear of propelyne glycol? It’s illegal to put in dog food, but it is in artificial flavorings in human food. You don’t see it very often on the packaging, but if you see “artifical flavoring”, it’s there. Propelyne Glycol is am emulsafier, which is a derivative of natural gas. Yes, you are eating oil. So back to healthcare.

    There is no money in a cure, there is tons of money in treatment with pills, the food we eat is not healthy, healthcare industry is nothing but a huge corporation that is in place to purge every dollar from our pockes. To be middle or lower class and to think that you will ever have a $ to give to your next generation is not a realistic thought in today’s society. In most cases, on your way to death you will spend every penny and then some on your way out, leaving nothing for the next generation.

    As a society, we are our own worst enemies. Always looking for the quick fix and a pill for everything. Once again, I have to say WAKE UP! Look at what you are eating and choose things your grandmother would recognize as food. And for your sake, get some exercise! Being fat is not a sign of prosperity, it’s an obvious symbol of stupidity. A pill can’t fix that.

  • john

    Enough chicanery!

    VIRGINIA’s delegation, and their ratification deliberations most certainly were aware of and considered the taxation authority, commerce clause and Article 6; all of which gave supremacy to the federal government. Furthermore, VIRGINIA’s state constitution gave IT the right to tax.

    MASSACHUSETTS, if one recalls, nearly failed as a state during Shays’ Rebellion.

    The reason for national supremacy is national responsibility. If national interest and national economic security is TODAY dependent upon a health care system that is world class, it is because other nations are providing a structure that has put the US behind pace. The framers wisely made provisions for amendment of the Constitution for just such unforeseen circumstances.

    If one wishes laws that meet the conditions of 17th century, we’ll end up with an economy and lifestyle that looks like the 17th century.

  • john

    err…1700′s or 18th century…couldn’t decide…oops

  • B.S.

    Now that secession and civil war have been put on the table, progressives can feel freer to be more frank in the view that conservatives represent an ideology so blind and malicious as to have forfeited citizenship.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Note: I am sort of responding to G, but I am reading this thread and the thread on health care reform in tandem; I leave it to the moderators as to where it might end up.)
    I have been floating in these forums my dismay at the idea that tax subsidies for insurance are essentially federal tax monies that go to for-profit insurance companies, and wouldn’t it be better for health care to be on a not-for-profit footing in this case. Note G’s remarks above about how “cures” are not profitable, whereas “treatment” (which keeps the victim dependent on returns and paying for each return or resupply of prescription) — treatment is very profitable. (Sickness “care” versus health care.)
    Now I heard this evening on All Things Considered a specific answer. Obama stated it to answer someone’s question (I am not quoting): The subsidies are taxes we don’t have to pay; that is, instead of the government paying the insurance company on our behalf, we are credited off our taxes and pay the bill ourselves.
    This is a very fine distinction. We have the lack of tax inflow instead of federal money outflow. Oooh, what a fine distinction.
    The government gets an additional say $4,000 each year from me if I earn over say $45,000; if I earn less, the IRS finds that $4,000 deducted from my taxes. I haven’t consulted the actual now-law amounts, but the “affordable” scaling is something like that.
    I note that it resonates on this forum that to be required to buy a for-profit item is a bit much.
    However, we as a nation buy military help from Blackwater (now renamed), which is for profit. We buy airplanes from for-profits. On and on.
    And to return to health premiums, actually, right now, as a self-employed individual, my health insurance premiums are already deductible from my taxes, IN THEIR ENTIRETY, and at whatever rate I pay this year, 25% or whatever.
    So what is the big bonanza in this bill that says my taxes will be decreased by a certain proportion of my cost of premiums (plus decreased by a proportion of deductibles and co-pays, I hear on the NewsHour — Oh, my bookkeeping headaches).
    Can someone follow this train of thought through to the end of the tunnel?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Listen to Michael Moore on Democracy Now! on the internet or TV, today’s edition. He says Kucinich and the other single-payer people should start organizing now, and that Obama as a senator got “the most” of health insurer money, whatever that means, and never intended single-payer, or really anything that puts the working man/woman voter back in the driver’s seat. He’s in Show-Me mode, and agitating for I guess unfunded Democratic candidates to burn their way to the top. In Massachusetts we have Jill Stein for governor, independent, and as such in his view a spoiler.
    State’s rights if misused (and secession) jeopardize the unity we’ve fought for. Are we ready for an admission of defeat? We’ve ruined this country, handed it over to the callous manipulations of people governed by greed, insulated from reality? And so we retreat to ever more local units? Do we?

  • Michael

    Wanna hear something even funnier? the Same folks threatening to secede, were the same ones atttacking the Justice Sotomoyer and saying she was in league with a group(they claime was) trying to make Texas secede to Mexico.

  • twent-niner

    “and there is something fundamentally wrong about a system designed to profit off people’s health.”

    What about earning profits from food and water? Not eating or drinking could certainly be deleterious to one’s health.

    Or profits from shelter, heat, or transportation? If health care is a right, shouldn’t transportation to a health facility be a right as well? Should oil and gas companies profit from people needing to travel to a hospital or to stay warm during the winter?

    Is the argument that when a market-based system fails to deliver, the government should take control of it? If that’s the case, looking at the accelerating rates of diabetes and obesity in this country and the horrible effects of industrial farming on the environment as well as the food it produces, should the government not seize control of the food supply? After all, what we consume ties directly into to our well being and ultimately health-care costs.

    Further, shouldn’t the government really be putting us all on a path to better wellness by mandating diets high in fiber and leafy greens, with a strict exercise regimen? Shouldn’t we all be required to bike to work to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our cardio-vascular systems clogged with Big Macs? After all, the government’s footing the bill, and there isn’t enough money to take care of all of these fatsos riding around on their Rascals eating ice cream sandwiches all day.

  • ny_girl

    It has nothing to do with race. For God’s sake, that is such a cop out. It’s a government that is too big and too much in debt and not listening to the people that it is supposed to represent.

    I didn’t like Bush either. I didn’t want the war and I don’t want IRS enforced healthcare.

  • Brett Greisen

    Dear Tom,

    To the Glasgow KY caller – If Bush “upheld” the Constitution – Why didn’t he FOLLOW the Constitution & insist on a Congressional Declaration of War???

    Also, I’m surprised @ the NON-mention of Marbury v. Madison & Bush v. Gore.

    The “Southern” defense of the Auburn gentleman isn’t responsive to the proper racial concern expressed by the GA caller.

    Then there’s the General Welfare clause, et al.

    Thanks for a lively show.

  • phoebe baumgarten

    I think there is just one simple, foundational point that all of these debates surrounding health insurance reform are missing: the US is not, and could never be, a direct democracy. The people voted in their representatives to act on their behalf. If they don’t like how their choices behave while in office, they can vote them out next time around, but until then, they have to reconcile themselves with the fact that this is how the system that they support through their votes works.

  • Phil

    Can’t say I’m a fan of this particular bill.
    Can’t say I’m a fan of this state’s rights claptrap, either.
    States Rights has been the rallying cry of every divisive form of evil that has ever fouled this great Republic. God help us if these idiots have their way.

    If the Union disintegrates because of these right-wing idiots, you will see the end to freedom as any patriotic American since Revolutionary time has ever understood it. I think it’s pretty funny that this movement markets itself as a harbinger of a truer freedom.

    We *can* become like Pakistan–We *can* become just one more religiously destabilized military dictatorship in possession of a nuclear arsenal.

    We can forget history and go down the road to throwing away everything that has made this nation great, our prosperity and our freedoms alike, in the service of a heedless vanity.

    This is the political analogue to the financial insanity that was shown for what it was in 2008. I predicted that more than a decade previously. I really hope there is nothing to predict here. There is definitely something to resist.

    Let real American Revolutionary values prevail. Turn back these right-wing zombies while you still can.


  • Todd

    Argue until you’re red, white, and blue in the face about State’s Rights and secession. Fact is, as long as ANY state remains part of the Union, its people will never enjoy self-rule again. The U.S. government is not serving the people, the people are serving it—and it’s become a corporatocracy. There’s no amount of debate, voting, protesting, or anything else that’s ever going to change the status quo. The logical action to take in order to restore state sovereignty and regain a true self-rule is for states to secede. The U.S. is an imperialistic sinking ship. States should deploy their “life boats” now, and distance themselves from the vortex of its demise.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Oh, Todd, the vultures will be hovering. Anything strong that suddenly becomes weak is preyed upon.
    A point about states that get too separatist — unlikely I think since it seems every state has its rebels within, rebels not against other states — I am a baby boomer, born right in the wake of World War II, and named after my dear Grammy, who was a baby boomer born in the wake of the Civil War. Her father like mine fought in a war, one even a lot more costly in lives, actually. Instead of the protesters we’ve had in the 1960s, and also now, in her day it seems to me there were religious revivals gatherings, with moral underpinnings just as the Civil Rights Movement had. And west of Chicago, about 1870 the subordination of the Indians must have been coinciding with the ending of the terribly profitable use of slave labor. In those days conflict led to the bloodbaths of war. What would happen now?
    So I knew Grammy and actually have her name. I recall her chief anxiety was the giraffe she said would come through the porch window while she was trying to read to me. Well, we all have our strange ideas, I thought.
    My own strange thought is that certain people in every state get together and move elsewhere; let the rich people take their money (and maybe take the Supreme Court with them, as constituted), and let Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh et al lead their flock thence. Maybe the floating ice detaching from Antarctica would accommodate them. The dollar would float somewhere up or down too, I suppose. We could establish our own frontier, of sorts. Never mind me.

  • http://NA James Sullivan

    I think the only reason why the GOP & teabaggers are keeping this issue is being kept alive is to use it as a wedge issue in this election cycle.

    If those who are advocating for states to opt out of the national health care reform then will they also argue to opt out of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security?

  • david

    My concern about all this is not the need for health care for those who need it, but how are we going to pay for another behemoth social program. They stated today that this bill will go down in history along side Social Security and Medicare. At last check, both these well intentioned programs are astronomically broke!
    We created a housing bubble with the good intention of helping those who were without, do I need to say what that pop sounded like. We now, during the worse recession in history, once again embark on good intentions for those who are without healthcare. We have now labelled this bill, incorrectly as a civil right, so it becomes now a right to all.
    If this program becomes another bubble, which I foresee unfortunately it will, the consequence of the pop will mean the total economic collapse of this nation.
    The states are fearfull of this very idea. Many states are broke and cannot see how this new program is going to do anymore than add to the deficit, as Social Security and Medicare have.

  • Todd

    “Oh, Todd, the vultures will be hovering. Anything strong that suddenly becomes weak is preyed upon.”
    Posted by Ellen Dibble

    Anything that’s allowed to become too strong preys upon the weak. The Vulture has already landed. It’s the power-bloated creature wrapped in Stars & Bars which calls itself the Federal government.

  • Brett

    I think secession would be great for Texas, as well as Alaska! I’m all for it; of course, Texas received the most Federal funding for disaster relief in ’09; Alaska received the most Federal funding overall last year.

  • Gina

    “What about earning profits from food and water? Not eating or drinking could certainly be deleterious to one’s health.”

    Oh please. You really want play this game?

    There are 6 groceries within 2 miles of my home, and within them, dozens of brands beg for my business with competing prices. These stores, and the companies that make the brands, *are* an example of how our fine free market capitalism is supposed to work.

    “Food, Inc” is not holding my only loaf of bread and charging me 200% mark up on it if I want to eat it and survive. God knows the town I live in is not obscenely marking up water to profit from it, or else we wouldn’t have to get an override passed to build a new library and not lay off teachers.

    The rest of your comment is just being snotty and flippant.

    I buy homeowner’s insurance to protect my home, like most owners do. The odds of a fire or a tree falling on my house are small. Amica can take in hundreds of policies, and pay out 1. They make money. Hooray!

    The thing with health insurance? The odds of you needing to use is much higher than your home or auto. And the risk pool doesn’t work like your car or house. So in order to make moeny they have to try to minimize paying for you.

    In order to make money they have to deny claims. Drop people who cost them too much, or charge them exorberant premiums. Over something that is not always in your control.

  • Matt Berglund

    There seems to be a belief that the meaning of the Constitution cannot be warped. In general, the Constitution was drafted in order to prevent an omnipotent federal government from usurping local authority. The state has no more power than the federal government in that it must also derive its power from a set of rules, usually in the form of a constitutional document.

    Arguably Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the like should NOT have existed without a constitutional amendment. Certainly, the feds can tax, but for those reasons set forth in the Constitution. There are good reasons to have an amendment for some of these things, including health care, but this argument needs to be held on the state level (either by ratification of an amendment OR by dealing with the problem on a more local level) and NOT in the house or senate.

    There are too few people that are too easily corrupted, making decisions which have led to a 12 trillion dollar deficit that I would LOVE for my stat to nullify.

    It may be time to start from scratch with a group of people who do not care to be in office for 40 years, Mr. Kennedy or Thurmond, if you please. And I don’t care what color they are, black, white, or otherwise.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think the reason so many states are astronomically broke, not to mention the nation in debt to China up to the eyeballs, seems to me partly a paper problem, real but paper. The banks bet against their own bad advice and some made out like bandits. The idea that profit follows from profitability ceded to profits follow from mathematical roulette.
    On top of that, trickle-down economics depended upon corporations flourishing in ways that advance independently of the common good. Anyone who watched the Vietnam War play out has engrained in their mind the warning about the care and feeding of the military-industrial complex. The fireworks over Baghdad on March 19, 2003, I believe it was, broadcast on every major network, was a kind of boast. In 1969 we had our man on the moon. In 2003 we had our fireworks over Iraq. Witness our profligacy! Remember to support your defense industry.
    But as to Social Security and Medicare, I think there are huge concessions that Americans need to make. We live a lot longer. We are productive a lot longer. If we are not doing strenuous jobs, or mind-numbing jobs, we don’t need what was needed once upon a time.
    I think that rationing of health care is essential, whether by private insurers or public option or whatever. It will have to happen.
    I think that taxing of foods that ruin our bodies has to take place.
    I think that taxing of gas or otherwise slowing down our egregious lifestyles has to take place.
    So far those are a lot of ways to steer us toward solvency.
    Do we want to provide Social Security and Medicare for those who don’t need it? It is a consideration. What exactly do we NEED. Remember, not that long ago plumbing was a luxury. I had a great grandfather somewhere out west who impressed his grandchild (my mother) by using the Sears catalog in his privy for toilet paper. That was his luxury.
    People who point out that it is our ability to act maturely and come together that is being challenged. We CAN go bankrupt and fail in ALL SORTS OF WAYS. Or we can come together and solve some things, one step at a time.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Todd, yes, that too. The vulture in DC is as greedy as Bernie Madoff and has made off with a lot more. Why exactly calling a halt at HEALTH CARE, basically a consumer protection measure (regulation), I don’t know. I utterly believe that regulated health care, with incentives to actually cure people, for instance, can save everyone a lot of money. I hate the subsidy mechanism, and want a choice of for-profit and non-profits, just as I can mail a package by UPS or USPS.
    I think a new approach to poverty and joblessness is desperately needed. As is, it enforces what I’ll call a glass ceiling, holding people down but keeping them alive. Remind you of anything?

  • zack

    It seems like the only ones bringing up racism are the defenders of this garbage legislation, that really is nothing more than corporate welfare and a naked government power grab. It’s a rather obvious attempt to divert attention from the fact that the Democratic Party is just as corrupt as the GOP – totally owned by the banks, insurers, defense industry, etc.

    This country is going down the tubes.

  • Clay

    Hard to explain the anger I feel at this socialist bill that has been passed. Hatred might come close, but it’s not really enough. What to do with that. What to do. Somehow, someway, “get even, and never rest until you do”, comes to mind. I see their smiling faces. I look at them constantly now. I’m feeling the opposite, and I’m never getting on board with these criminals! Enjoy your theft Dems, we’ll grind this axe for a long time to come; I know I’ve got nothing better to do; as do millions of others. You think you’ve won. I swear it won’t last. I swear it.

  • twenty-niner

    You said:

    “and there is something fundamentally wrong about a system designed to profit off people’s health.”

    And my point is: philosophically, why is health care any more important than any of life’s other bare necessities such as food, shelter, heat, etc.?

    According to one study, one third of Americans are malnourished. Doesn’t this adversely affect health care costs? The health care bill at hand does little to address the root causes of ballooning health expenditures. My guess is that the future debate isn’t going to be will the rich be willing to pay for the poor, but will the joggers be willing to pay for the apathetic?


  • Ellen Dibble

    Twenty-niner, am I the “you” you cite? Maybe, maybe not. I ask too about what exactly is “necessary,” remembering that for instance now I believe seniors are provided free cell phones to call 911 in case they don’t have phone service. Lots of things are considered necessary. We get to a point where we ask “the liberty to die” (to quote Emily Dickinson’s poem) although we could be kept alive far longer, and greatly to the profit of the nursing home, in certain cases.
    You raise the question of fault in health costs. Personally, I expect that if everyone had the same health care (like Medicare?), everyone would keep an eye out for the most economical way to do things. If someone had a Cadillac wheelchair, they would say, “Oh, so the government paid for that?” And the answer might be, “No, I have private supplemental insurance.”
    I think the cost of health care could easily spike, with the human species itself at risk, due to global pollution. The program “Here and Now” with Robin Young on 3/18 last week had a program outlining the endocrine damage that scientists think threatens our ability to reproduce — one in three to be born with diabetes; more hermaphrodites, etc. I’ll copy the blurb from the show again. This goes far beyond who runs, who eats Big Macs. The dangers that are beyond our control are accumulating.
    (From Here and Now, 3/18/09 — looming existential threats to health):
    “A new novel, “The Eye of the Whale,” tells the story of a marine biologist who studies the songs of humpback whales. Her research leads to a breakthrough discovery of how pollution is harming them and humans. While the story is fiction, the science is not. We’re joined by Douglas Carlton Abrams, the book’s author, and Theo Colborn, who co-wrote the groundbreaking, “Our Stolen Future,” which details how endocrine disrupting chemicals are harming reproduction in whales and humans.”

    Theo Colborn was the scientist speaking.
    It would be good for human survival (at whatever cost) to have universal coverage if the threats get VERY costly and VERY widespread.
    I have to assume science will come up with costly treatments of some sort. This is not science fiction. This is not generations away.

  • Dante


    The Democrats have given us our demons. This bill is ILLEGAL! To the polls, and to the front! At all cost, RISE! FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM! This bill is unconstitutional!

  • Todd

    “…the fact that the Democratic Party is just as corrupt as the GOP – totally owned by the banks, insurers, defense industry, etc.
    This country is going down the tubes.”
    Posted by zack

    Exactly right! Furthermore, the corrupt power-mongers that own the corporations that “own” both political parties is far fewer than most people realize. The extent to which our government is manipulated/controlled is almost beyond comprehension.

  • Todd

    “The Democrats have given us our demons. This bill is ILLEGAL! To the polls, and to the front! At all cost, RISE! FIGHT FOR YOUR FREEDOM! This bill is unconstitutional!”
    Posted by Dante

    And vote for a third-party candidate—unless, of course, you merely want to replace one evil with another…yet again!

  • twenty-niner


    I’ve read about the endocrine disrupters as well. There was a good Frontline about this last fall:


    Everyone seems to be up in arms over the health insurance companies, and believe me, I’m no fan of these organizations, but to me, the problem is much deeper than that one layer in the system.

    It seems that our health system is under assault by bureaucratic inefficiencies, poor lifestyle choices, a polluted environment, tainted water, over-medicated kids and adults, and the stress of an in-peril economy. I have to imagine the stress of having your job outsourced to China, or having to spend the last two weeks at work training your third-world replacement, isn’t the best thing for your health.

  • Gina

    And my point is: philosophically, why is health care any more important than any of life’s other bare necessities such as food, shelter, heat, etc.?

    You can talk about it “philosophically” all you want. I am talking good ol’ libertarian practicality.

    Can you chop wood and build a home? I bet you can.
    Can you burn wood in a stove to heat and cook on? Sure.
    Can you dig a well? Easy.
    Can you grow grain and produce to cook and eat? If necessary.

    Can you remove your appendix?
    Can you replace a defective heart valve?
    Can you figure out why your legs are swollen?

    Having an illness is not like being cold. If I am chilly, I can turn up my thermostat, knowing I am adding on to my gas bill. Or, I can put on a sweatshirt. If I have an acute asthma attack and can’t breath, my options are to suffocate or call 911.

    Having epilepsy is not like being hungry. If I am hungry, I can tell myself my next meal isn’t far off, or I can grab a snack. A grand mal seizure doesn’t really care where I am or what I am doing.

    If I am having radiating chest pain, I’m not really in the position to check on Amazon.com for the reviews on heart surgeons and who has the best deals on CABGS.

    In all of these cases, there is no advanced notice so I can’t “save up” for treatment as if I was buying a new car or a flat screen TV.

    Getting. Medical. Treatment. Should not be treated like a market commodity. It does not follow the same rules and behaviors as the hard goods and services we purchase out of convenience. If I really resented my water bill, I could shell out 5K to put in a well. If I wanted off the grid, I could install solar panels and a wood stove. But if my heart goes into arrest, there aint nothing I can do about it, except call 911. And I would rather pay a percentage of my income into a big pot to make sure we all got treatment when we needed it, than a couple of grand to insurance companies so someone could make money.

  • Ishmael

    Mr. Woods sounded kind of silly there, too bad he was not able to make a substantial contribution other than making his cause seem rather, well, unworthy.

    Are there really states whose citizens feel unjustly impinged upon by the requirements of being licensed and insured to drive a car? States that wish to “opt out” of the federal protections of the US military and of use of interstate highway systems, the VA and medicare? Try as it might, the State of Texas will not convince its citizens to adopt its proposal that the earth is indeed flat, and that T Jefferson has no place in history textbooks.

    It is patently obvious, incidentally, that race has a huge role in these issues. Otherwise the current political malaise simply doesn’t make sense. Looking forward to more teapotty rants and Boehnerisms.

    Missing from the discussion was that health insurers stand to benefit in the extreme from this legislation: their business will dramatically increase, and the important core of the bill is glaringly missing: the public option. It is the equivalent of requiring people to purchase certain brands of clothing.

  • Erik

    Wow am I late to the party! I will read all the comments, but at about 20 minutes in I’d like to say once again: the current Republican party and its backers in public opinion are really playing with fire on this. Stirring illogical ire at a time of grave economic and social danger can end very badly. Maybe they really don’t care what they break and how much damage they do, blinded by their irrational allegiances. We must call them out on this as vigorously as we can.

    I am convinced that post-Clinton liberals (the ones that are more budget-conscious, pro-market, and data-driven than before) can find enough common ground with the truism articulated by libertarian anti-federalists (that it’s crazy to pretend the Constitution doesn’t give the states ways to resist federal power) to forge a strategic alliance to defeat the Republican dead-enders. With them out of the game, we can discuss our real disagreements like adults again.

    Tactically, I am afraid that it’s not productive to bring up slavery or the civil rights, because not every tea partier crying socialism today is a racist. It serves no purpose alienating them by insulting them just for the company they keep. And for the ones who are indeed racist, what does pointing it out accomplish?

    On the other hand, I have no problem calling Fox News and many in the Republican hierarchy cynical fomenters of racism, fumbling with matches next to the powderhouse.

  • Betty Commanday

    I was listening to On Point while I was at the gym. Those around me were bemoaning the passage of the health care bill. They are all for states rights when it affects them – like they won’t wear safety helmets in SC while on bikes or motorcycles, and fought the seat belt law. Bush’s usurping rights didn’t bother them because it didn’t affect them personally. I think the bottom line is that they don’t want to help uninsured people get health care. It is the “elephant in the room” and it all goes back to racial prejudices although they won’t admit that. Most of them only know what the Republicans have been telling them and not the real parts of the bill. Yes, they do talk about seceding.

  • Dan Prentice

    what happened to the Senate vote on this issue as well as getting the Supreme court to sign off on this issue as to the Constitutionality of this bill?

  • Matty D

    Government failure is everywhere and the game is unraveling before our eyes. In 1983 Social Security was in crisis, a bipartisan , blue ribbon committee, that include Alan Greenspan, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Robert Dole, concluded that the program was going to run out of money if the payroll tax was not increased immediately. The government took in the new taxes, stuck IOU’s in the SS trust fund and spent the money right away on unrelated programs. Now the money needs to be found to pay back the IOU’s so that the Baby Boomers can collect their retirement benefits. The IOU’s can only be redeemed by levying new taxes. The system has operated exactly like a criminal Ponzi scheme. The government’s monetary system operates on the same principals; spend now and worry about the consequences later. The banking system, which is teetering on the edge, is guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), which has no money at present. Any health care proposal that relies on government funding or madndated expenditures by third parties only places further burden on the an economy that is a house of cards. It is childish to pretend otherwise.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I know what triage means — try to sort out those who need immediate help, those beyond all help, those who can wait — and I know emergency rooms are VERY experienced in triage. Even in Massachusetts, with mandated care, even at two in the morning, a year or so back I found the ER flooded with what looked like an Ellis Island waiting room.
    My point is that next time YOU go to an emergency room, how long do you want to wait (3 hours? 6 hours?) for your cold sweats and arm numbness to be addressesd? Garrison Keillor in Prairie Home Companion last week did a piece about his experience last year when he had a stroke and got himself to the ER, and waited in line behind the woman with the growing mole, the man with the rash… He says Lutherans are very polite and wait their turn. Of course he’s probably making some of it up. But you can be sure there have been “inputs” from people he’s bounced that story off, friends and acquaintances, before he lays that out there — the Friday before the vote.
    It is dangerous to us insured people to have uninsured people crowding emergency rooms. Tell that to the people who have time and money for gym experiences.

  • Aaron C

    I was very disappointed by the host’s bias against Tom Woods. Mr. Woods was given very few chances to reply to comments and questions made by the host, Mr. Siegel, and various callers.

    For all the talk of the importance of equality and civil rights, I found the host very uncivil to Mr. Woods and there was no equality to be found in speaking time.

    Along with framing the argument in a one-sided way, the host allowed Mr. Siegel to essentially define the nature and scope of the disagreement, state his opinion as fact and then refused to allow Mr. Woods to respond to or challenge these misrepresentations.

    This was very arrogant and unprofessional behavior on the part of the host, and a great example of why I will not help support my local “public” radio station.

    Regardless of your political persuasion, you must agree that a public radio show should provide access to all points of view equally.

    Given that this seems to be impossible (there are no completely unbiased people), the title of “public” should be stripped from such shows and the stations that air them. If you want to have Mr. Ashbrook host a show called “On Statist Point”, that would be much more authentic and suited to his bias.

    There should also be no public funding or institutional support for any media outlet, at least in a free society which scorns propaganda masked as truth.

  • zack

    rather obvious bias from the host, Tom Ashbrook

    When one caller said that she’d like her state to opt out of Medicare, Tom responded “well you might feel differently in the future, but I hear you now”.

    Tom Woods spoke for approximately 1/4 of the time alloted to Neil Siegel. Lame.

    Tom, try to be more even-handed towards opposing guests in the future, rather than choosing sides. Be professional.

  • http://www.mises.org Mechanized

    Frankly, the emotionally-laden and hysterically absurd accusations of racism would be amusing if these charges were not so nefarious. Can’t many individuals simply consider socialized health care a destructive policy? Simply assuming racism on anyone who dares to oppose the present administration’s controlling actions is quite childish.

    However, having stated this, those who truly oppose statism and the continued erosion of liberty in the United States should have been equally outraged at Bush’s, as Tom Woods did quite vocally (this latter statement may be news to many).

    Whether a war based upon lies (Iraq), the foolishness of socialized or fascistic health care, the manipulation of money and credit which generates the business cycle (The Federal Reserve & fractional reserve banking), and myriad of other authoritarian controls/actions it should be obvious to even a blind man that the government is not a productive institution.

    Medicare, medicaid, Amtrak, social security, the post office; all bankrupt. Has political discourse degenerated into accusing anyone who dares to question the sanctity of a given administration or piece of legislation of racism? Is it racist to oppose any and all usurpation of ones economic or civil liberties? This is completely illogical and unreasonable.

    Unfortunately, the Right & Left (imaginary constructs in many respects) are too busy simply debating over what form of statism should be implemented (the “liberal version” or the “neoconservative version”) rather than whether liberty or statism as whole is the answer to the proper organization of society.

    Lastly, it’s disconcerting and even insulting to suggest that those who oppose socialized health care simply want others to die. Such a personal attack is completely uncalled for. Rather, some simply believe that a true free market can, in the long term, provide inexpensive health care for all as opposed to the privileged few.

    Please keep in mind that the health care system the US currently operates is no where close to a free market system. Before the implementation of the recently passed legislation (which will not be fully implemented until 2014, if memory serves) the government has already been involved in regulating the system, creating government-mandated monopolies, subsidies to Big Pharma, and so forth. It has vastly increased costs over the last half century and this shall continue under the present system.

    While socialized health care is not the answer by any means, the present system is also seriously lacking.

  • jeffe

    This health care bill is not socialism, far from it.
    It’s a fact, people are dieing every year from a lack of decent health care coverage.

    Rather, some simply believe that a true free market can, in the long term, provide inexpensive health care for all as opposed to the privileged few.

    OK show me the proof of this. We have had a market based system for decades, and still do by the way, and I don’t see any evidence of prices going down or any insurance corporation trying to bring down costs through the “market”. They deal with their bottom line by denying coverage. This a fallacy, the market does not work for health care. Our system is uncivilized, period.

    You make these statements and then cry foul when someone calls you out on them. You say I should not be critical of your point of view and political ideology and then have the nerve to be critical of mine. Give me a break.
    I see through this game.

  • oh yeah









  • Ellen Dibble

    Oh, yeah, that video. Has me dancing, all shivers. All lovely. Mmm, youtube. Love ya. There is much more behind the campaign ’08 now than before, oh, yeah. You. You. You.

  • oh yeah








  • darjen

    The claim that we have a “market based” system of health care is completely and utterly absurd. That is the reason we don’t see prices going down. if you look at the computer industry, however, that is exactly what you see. There is absolutely no reason an actual free market health care system would behave any differently than the tech industry.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Darjen, you must mean if there were no insurers involved.

  • jeffe

    darjen this is just not true. Microsoft for years had the majority share of software in the world. They controlled it. PC’s are now pretty cheap, but Macs are not.

    Health insurance corporations, and while we are at it the pharmaceutical industry, have a monopoly. It is a market based system based on profit and answering to the shareholders not to doctors or hospitals or you or me.
    you can sit there and argue all you want about this.
    I have had experience with our system and Great Britain’s and as far as I’m concerned the British system is far superior. I’ll say this again, our market based system is uncivilized.

  • http://www.mises.org Mechanized


    Thank you for your response.

    Please reread the original post more carefully. It was never stated that my political viewpoints are above and beyond criticism. It was stated that it is quite dishonest, even childish, to accuse others of racism bases solely on their belief in either states rights, nullification, or a market-based health care system.

    As for our health care system, it certainly is not market based and has not been for quite some time. It is a form of quasi-market system so over-regulated and “oligopolized,” if you will, by government decree (at the behest of insurance lobbyists) that what little remains of the market in the system has become completely stifled.

    As for proof of the efficiency of the market and inefficiency of government-sponsored health care, if you’re interested, the following provides a great deal of material to ingest. As follows:

    The Healthcare Reader

    Take care.

  • brett

    Ah yes, the Ludwig von Mises Institute of the Austrian school; but, more to the point, a libertarian view which sees everything through that lens. So, to a true libertarian, the only free markets are those which are completely unencumbered; the philosophy of laissez-faire absolutism. The institute’s motto is (in English) “do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.” The institute’s stated goals are to undermine statism in all of its manifestations for the purposes of stamping it out.

    (There, of course, was that awful falling out with the Cato Institute–of which no one is ever to mention–rather like Spanky having a row with Alfalfa over who’s in charge of the proverbial clubhouse…)

    A mixture of wariness and a sense that some cultish devotion are almost always present when someone begins to regurgitate the “doctrines” of a whole faction of a particular philosophy/ideology. Interestingly, to a fault, said devotee presents those ideas as his/her own.

    His/her nature in having a conversation becomes tiresome, as well. Never will there be any direct belief opined, only hair-splitting, strawmen and red herrings in response to any view other than one’s own. There will never be any attempt to acknowledge where views may converge; I suppose that would make the whole thing seem less lofty, less absolute. And, there are the arguments that are semantic in nature, perhaps seeming clever to the devotee. The devotee may wish for elegance in his/her approach, but, alas, elegance is not as forthcoming as the devotee believes, and self-proclaimed cleverness is never a substitute for true intelligence.

    Oh, there is a methodology, as with most libertarians. It’s easy to criticize what’s wrong with other ideologies with specificity; it’s also easy to present one’s own beliefs in abstract, idealistic terms (one can’t join their club quite so easily, after all, and their desire is to size up potential devotion in others, the quintessential “you are either with us or against us”). Double standards notwithstanding, one wonders how a person can hold onto a belief that is never really truly challengeable.

    These beliefs seem to always have an air of religiosity to them…interesting, really, the contradiction: religiosity having a quality that is absolute, deterministic; libertarianism, that has a quality of complete free will and self direction. But, rather than to resolve these ostensible conflicts with some form of complementary coexistence, the devotee will gravitate toward one or the other depending on which viewpoint they momentarily intend to challenge.

    I suppose libertarianism (anarchism’s better-dressed sibling) is a kind of Darwinian orientation but applied to something manmade. Maybe it’s just Ayn Rand for a new generation…

  • Moose

    Most of you seem to be satisfied in your slavery. The oligarchs of both the Republicans and the Democrats have you believing they are somehow different.

    Republicans had the entire government for 8 years and have bankrupted us. Obama has let’s just say, done exactly what was expected. Both parties are destroying what used to be a Republic. They have turned it into an Oligarchy, where a few lead the many, it started LONG AGO.

    If you have a free spirit, and you believe in natural rights, and are truly free in a society that protects those rights, you would never be mandated to purchase any service against your will, and punished when you didn’t.

    The health care system in america failed because government got involved in it in the first place.
    In reference to the slavery issue. The Central government had every authority to stop in and correct the civil rights violations of African Descendants through the civil rights acts and such, that is one of their sole responsibilities. To Protect Natural Rights.

    If you do not believe in natural rights, the rights to life, liberty, and property, than you can never understand the free among you who live their lives according to a higher law who resent the chains being placed on them every day by an over reaching Oligarchy and socialist economic system.

    Fortunately there are still some americans who understand what freedom is, and would like to actually have it in this lifetime. You can tell who freemen are. They are the men and women who love their country but distrust their corrupt government. You are being lied to by both parties, and you don’t understand economics, so you don’t see the enslavement.

    Wake up.

  • AS

    The reason people are so dissapointed with Obama has nothing to do with race. The reason so many people are coming out of the woodwork and objecting has nothing to do with race. Why didn’t Bush’s actions evoke the types of responses we are seeing today? Because we knew what we were getting with Bush. His actions were no surprise.

    But the issue so many people have with Obama is how far he has strayed from his campaign platform of “change” and “hope”. His policies on all major issues do not differ that much from his predecessor. He continues to promote big government, big spending, and big wars. He continues to lead the country on the downward spiral ignited by Bush. We will not come out of it any time soon.

    Look at his current approval rating! The American people did not just discover yesterday that he was black! If race was really the issue he would never have been voted into office in the first place. But what people did just discover is that he isn’t holding true to his word and to his promises (take “signing statements” for example. You can watch a two minute montage of him repeatedly promising to end signing statements. Yet he uses them just as well as Bush).

  • darjen

    microsoft dominance in software is yet another result of government intervention. that is due to the united states intellectual property policies. what I’m talking about is the pace of dizzying innovation in hardware capability… and yes there are lots of competitors in software as well.

    then you state that health care insurance corporations have a monopoly. but you’re not really looking at the reason they do. I’ll say it again, we do NOT have a market based system of health care.

  • jeffe

    darjan, it seems to me that you support a market based for profit health care system. I don’t.
    Are you suggesting that the health care corporations should be broken up into smaller entities and that somehow this will create some competition?

    Unfortunately you are leaving out how much people can afford and how health care is delivered.

    Our system is broken and does not work and I challenge you to show me one market based system anywhere in the world that works. Why do you think that we are the only industrial nation in the entire planet that has this system? Why do you think that not one modern industrial nation has a system that is like ours?

    In Australia a country not unlike ours in many ways, they think we have a uncivilized health care system.
    I am inclined to agree.

  • Trent

    States should take back the power the federal government is trying to take from them.

    “Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes.” -Will Durant

  • Paul

    This discussion would have been much better if Tom Woods had been allowed to speak more. As it was he was only given the occasional brief opportunity to speak. So it was a very lob sided discussion.

    His comment early on that only now are good people coming forwards to defend The Constitution where before they were silent is both encouraging and an indictment. WE can only hope that now at this point in history men will be found who are equal to the task of resorting The Republic to freedom.

    It is through people like Tom Woods that a better way forwards can be found. Ashbrook and his other guest just represent continuation of past failure.

  • darjen

    I could agree that our health care system is uncivilized. but I respectfully disagree that it’s solely because it is “for profit”. it’s no coincidence that our insurance industry is so concentrated when half of all health care spending done by the feds. do you deny that there we already have a massive web of federal health regulation that’s been in place for decades? do you deny that federal tax laws and past acts of congress, dating back to WW2, heavily favor the current setup? the way our federal system is set up now essentially amounts to taking from the poor and middle class and giving it all to the wealthy by government decree. that, to me, is what’s uncivilized.

  • mark

    Plain and simple folks. If men were Angels, we’d need no Government.

  • Todd

    “Plain and simple folks. If men were Angels, we’d need no Government.”
    Posted by mark

    True. But, it’s a distinction without a difference if government is ruled by unjust men, instead of just laws?

  • Moose

    “Plain and simple folks. If men were Angels, we’d need no Government.”

    Rubbish. I’m human with a free will and natural rights. I have a right to life, I have a right to make my own decisions, and I have a right to the fruits of my labor.

    When the government decided they could take any of the 3, it is my duty, and the duty of all americans to take those powers away. The Central governments responsibilities are for national defense and protecting liberty.

    The enumerated powers in the Constitution are an all inclusive set of limitations on government, not on the people. The U.S. Republic was not intended to be a welfare warfare state.

    The elites and politicians do nothing but devise schemes to loot all productive citizens. These schemes will ultimately loot us all. Get your hands out of each others pockets.

  • BigIron

    The Constitution is the Supreme Law-of-the-Land. It has been under attack since the 1830s with the biggest grab previously being the one that occurred around the time of the “War of Northern Aggression”. The “rights” in our Constitution are “natural rights” or “God given rights”. Some of those “rights” are “enumerated” in the Constitution for clarification but they are not required to be enumerated to exist as a right of the people (9thA).

    ALL taxes (other than truly voluntary taxes) are robbery and most often it is “strong arm” robbery. Try not giving the IRS it’s payoff to “leave you alone (protection)” and you’ll see what “strong arm” tactics are all about.

    The “gimmes” who are too lazy or too cowardly to put a gun to my head and steal my money and other possessions honestly have found that they can have the government do that for them by proxy … and our politicians have found that they can buy the votes of these “gimmes” with unconstitutional, though legal (because they made the law), “strong arm” robbery of my wealth. It would appear that our government is now being run by a bunch who are little more than hired thugs, thugs that are in the employ of the “gimme-gang”, thugs who think little of taking our wealth and giving it to anyone will give them advantage and/or more power.

  • Reed Hollis

    Points to NPR for finally having a bit of courage allowing a libertarian scholar to speak at all. But demerits for skewing of the time allotment so the Federal advocate had far more time and was allowed to make many off target comments without a chance for rebuttal from Tom Woods.
    In an evenly paced debate, the professor’s status quo bias would be easily shown to be biased, by the far superior scholarship and objectivity of historian Tom Woods.

  • Michael

    When Right-Wing Extremism Moves Mainstream

    “One of the interesting things about the meeting is how nondenominational it was,” says Mark Potok. “There were Holocaust deniers there. There were anti-Semites. There were also people who have none of those feelings, who are all about the idea that the federal income tax is unconstitutional — people from the old[er] militia movements and so on.”

    “Potok is the director of publications and information for the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group’s latest Intelligence Report, “Rage on the Right,” documents the growth in the number of hate and extremist groups — and how their rhetoric is increasingly entering the mainstream.

    In an interview with Fresh Air host Terry Gross, Potok explains that the meetings that took place on Jekyll Island were significant because they helped relaunch the anti-government “Patriot” movement.”


  • Michael

    The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.

    Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups — militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans — came roaring back after years out of the limelight.


  • Larz

    >> Hate groups stayed at record levels — almost 1,000 — despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America.

    Hal Turner who was a neo nazi leader turned out to be a paid FBI agent after being arrested for threatening legislators in NJ ..

    If the Fed govt is corrupt and full of graft, giving away the country to bankers, pharmaceuticals, and lobbyists then states rights is one of the best chances we have of not being driven into the ground. We have a better chance of influencing local politics because it’s smaller, whereas if the UN ran the world, no chance of making a difference there ..

    And the caller who said what will they do if a hurricane hits South Carolina but call on the Feds for help .. well if the Fed govt is bankrupt and the USA needs a loan from the IMF/world bank loan sharking operation then somehow I imagine you won’t do much better than Haiti so better wake up to where things are headed ..

  • P. Newstrom

    This program was ridiculous. How much time was alotted to Tom Woods to respond to the redundantly stated position of Neil Siegel? Not exactly a fair fight…

  • katie

    15 years ago, my friend in Sweden was making $100k and his tax burden to pay for Swedish National Health was 50 % of his salary. They too, were assured that this tax level would be sufficient to support their new equitable health insurance program, and that their tax burdens would decrease with time. (cost efficiencies, caps on prices and salaries, taxes on specific items, etc.)
    During that time, his sister, a waitress, had a sore shoulder from lifting heavy trays. Their mandatory health insurance paid for her treatment, which, according the Doctors that had remained in Sweden after the changeover to a Nationalized Health care system and had accepted the level of payment mandated by National Health Insurance, decided that her best treatment was to remove her bone. She is now on permanent disability.
    5 years ago, my friend got a raise and was making $110k, and his tax burden had been increased to 60 %. What about now…. Well they have a unionized system of employment, so he thought he would be safe because of his seniority. Last month he was laid off.
    What, you may ask were some of the contributing factors to the Swedish National Health Care System not working? Well, their numbers assumed that all Swedes would work. When they instituted this program, floods of people from around the world re-settled in Sweden. Alas, they do not have the same work-ethic and sense of responsibility to their country as do the Swedes. Essentially they came to Sweden and retired.
    Of course we in the US do not have to worry about the results of the Swedish model; ours is completely different. What could possibly go wrong with the new US National Health Care System?

  • D. Holcomb

    Family, friends and other such things are social activities – not socialism. Socialism is government-mandated social activities.

  • jeffe

    Senators Hatch and Grassley introduced an amendment to modify the Hillary Clinton health care reform bill. That amendment included a Federal mandate that everyone buy health insurance. For some reason these two Republicans did not think it had any Constitutional baring but now for some reason they do.

    Interesting how hypocritical they can be when a lot of this health care bill comes from the Republican bill from 93 and strangely looks like the health care bill Mitt Romney helped bring to Massachusetts while he was governor.
    One more thing Scott Brown voted for that health care bill while he was state legislator.

  • John

    I found it very disappointing that the conversation never came back to the content of the 10th amendment. Siegel simply said that there is no basis for nullification in the amendment, Wilson read the amendment (which clearly says there is no constitutional basis for any action of the federal government which is not specifically delegated—as emphasized by Woods, and seems to me to lay the basis for states to make their own interpretation, i.e., nullification, i.e., the retention, preservation of rights), and then it was dropped.

    Indeed, modern constitutional law doesn’t recognize it, and indeed there are inconsistencies (social security, medicare, war on drugs—all unconstitutional), but it is nevertheless there, and more an more people are starting to recognize it. The argument that modern constitutional law doesn’t recognize it is very weak.

  • John

    Oops. I guess somebody named Ashbrook was the interviewer (who I confused in my post above with the first guest Wilson). Also, “an” in my penultimate sentence should be “and.”

  • http://tomsobottke.com Thomas Martin Sobottke

    The entire movement for states’ rights and secession are misguided to say the least. Between 1861-1865 over 600,000 Americans died to try and figure out if it was Okay for states to secede and defy the Federal Government. At that time the Union prevailed. I pray it will again. My fore-bearers shouldered Springfield rifles to put down the rebellion. May I do the same. I pray I will be able to take up where they left off in 1865. There is more work to do here. I will aim true and straight at any and all traitors to the United States of America. I await President Obama’s call for troops. I will be among the first from my state, Wisconsin to answer the call. I hope to get into the First Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry should our Governor Doyle call. If not, I will head to Washington D.C. and offer my services any way I can.

  • Pingback: Laboratories of Democracy: Further Reading | BackStory with the American History Guys

Aug 1, 2014
A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa. (AP)

Israel-Gaza conflict heats up. The House votes to sue Obama. Ebola spreads in Africa. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 1, 2014
In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, Luis Mendez, 23, left, and Maurice Mike, 23, wait in line at a job fair held by the Miami Marlins, at Marlins Park in Miami. Increasingly, potential employers are turning to digital content as a way to judge job-seekers before they even apply. (AP)

They see you when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. Employers move to digital assessment in hiring, firing and promotion. We’ll check in.

Aug 1, 2014
In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, Luis Mendez, 23, left, and Maurice Mike, 23, wait in line at a job fair held by the Miami Marlins, at Marlins Park in Miami. Increasingly, potential employers are turning to digital content as a way to judge job-seekers before they even apply. (AP)

They see you when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. Employers move to digital assessment in hiring, firing and promotion. We’ll check in.

Aug 1, 2014
A close up of newspaper front pages focusing on the Ebola outbreak, including a newspaper, left, reading 'Burn all bodies' in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 deaths in West Africa. (AP)

Israel-Gaza conflict heats up. The House votes to sue Obama. Ebola spreads in Africa. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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