The talking heads on television have announced that tomorrow will be an historic day. The stage is set for a show down vote in the United States Congress on the celebrated health care bill.
Not wanting to be left out, I decided to skim a few of the 2,074 pages of the Senate version.
As I ploughed through the incomprehensible obfuscation which passes for federal legislation, I could not help but think of Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French philosopher who visited and wrote insightfully about America.
Tocqueville had many good things to say about our country, but he also expressed some chilling fears about the kind of tyranny that lurks in the bowels of a democracy.
The Frenchman warned of an elected tutelary master.
I love that word, ‘tutelary.’ It means protective oversight. Like a guardianship. Or a guardian angel.
Tocqueville feared that Americans might one day surrender their freedom to an elected government which would dictate every detail of their lives, supposedly for their own good.
He envisioned a race of people living aimless, compliant lives in which every choice has been made for them, every decision preempted, every need and want provided for, every opportunity foreclosed.
In short, the Nanny State.
Nothing could be more nanny-esque than the convoluted concoction known as Obamacare.
And what struck me mightily as I read it was the absolute disregard for even the appearance of constitutionality. It used to be the practice for Congress to preface every piece of economic and social legislation with a recitation linking their purpose to the regulation of interstate commerce.
That was at least a nod to the plan of the Founding Fathers that the federal government was to be one of limited and expressed authority. If the constitution didn’t say they could do it, they couldn’t do it. That was the great scheme concocted in Philadelphia in 1787.
But this time they didn’t bother. The bill dives right into telling insurance companies, states, hospitals, doctors and patients what they can and cannot do.
Nanny says. That’s all the authority they assert.
And I have to chuckle over the last minute reports from the Congressional Budget Office which purport to justify the bill’s economic outlay.
I wasn’t fifty pages into the health care bill, and I saw a number of blank check appropriations giving the Secretary of Health and Human Services the power to spend whatever was needed for this purpose or that.
How the CBO can tally up the economic impact of blank checks is a puzzlement.
Another thing. The bureaucracy being created boggles the mind. Exchanges, Navigators, Co Ops. The list goes on and on.
One particular provision caught my eye. The bill calls for ‘Contract Administrators.’ These will be private business entities hired by the government to oversee the activities of the bureaucrats.
A virtual cornucopia of patronage will spill its goodies into the laps of the political party in power.
And why not?
It works in Chicago, doesn’t it?