In democracy, there are a lot of apples in the pie

Published 5:47 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To the Editor:

I found Mr. Reg Lees letter concerning health insurance very disheartening. His experience is one that millions of American are suffering these days with the loss of jobs together with their health insurance, and COBRA is very expensive, beyond the reach of most people.

I also found Mr. Lees response to Glenn Hanford of the Hanford Insurance Agency very informative although I disagree that Medicare has been poorly run (administrative costs are only three percent). Since Medicaid is run by the 50 states with 50 different programs, I dont think we can blame the government for that, other than Congress allowing the states to do so.

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Mr. Hanford well knows that insurance companies are regulated by the states, not the national government, because of a Congressional law passed in 1944 that required the national government be unable to regulate insurance companies. Now it will take another Congressional law (Health Insurance) to override the previous act and allow the government to regulate health insurance.

Mr. Lee cited several well run Federal programs and I will add a few more: the National Parks, the FDIC, and yes, the Postal System considering the strains it must work under.

Of course there is waste and some fraud in the government but what do you expect in a Democracy? Mussolinis making the trains run on time? Stalins jailing all his opponents? Hitlers extermination of Jews, Gypsies, gay people, and his enemies?

In a democracy there are a lot of apples in the pie and that is the way it should be. We want to minimize waste and fraud but never eliminate it because that means only one or a very few men are making all the decisions for the people who have lost their freedom.

Now to the Constitution: Mr. Lee cited the preamble promote the general welfare. But the preamble cannot be enacted into law. It is written as the purpose of the Constitution only.

However, there is another part of the Constitution which is enforceable by law: that is in Article III, Section 8: Congress can tax to promote the general welfare… That is why Social Security was chosen by its authors to be financed by a specific tax as that was the only part of the Constitution that could make Social Security legal.

Virginia Perrenod