Most Americans might not really appreciate this, but the U.S. Constitution does not entitle anybody to health insurance.
The Constitution does not require Congress to take money from those Americans who possess more and hand it over to those with less. It doesn’t even encourage Congress to subsidize farmers or pay for prescription medications. It just doesn't.
In Article I Section 8, the Constitution does say:
"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…"
It goes on to talk about securing patents for scientists and establishing postal offices and roads and supporting armies and maintaining a navy. It says nothing about feeding all the downtrodden. There were plenty of poor people back in the days of the Founders, and they did not once mention using taxes to feed 'em. Apparently, providing for the general Welfare did include maintaining roads and hiring judges and keeping the peace, and did not include buying tuna fish for single moms.
Does that mean we should let the poor starve to death? Should we leave our grandparents without support or health care? Of course not. It just was never supposed to be the federal government's job to take care of these things. Here's why:
- Congress is not an industry. It does not produce anything that can be sold. It must take money from the people in order to pay for anything.
- Governments are by nature wasteful. It's easy to overspend money when the funds come from somebody else’s hard work.
- Governments are run by imperfect humans and are therefore subject to mismanagement. For this reason, it is best to keep them small and easily managed, with very specified responsibilities.
- Governments are run by imperfect humans and are therefore subject to corruption. For this reason, it is best to keep them out of trouble by limiting their power. (Lobbyists and special interest groups could just go home were Congress kept within its constitutional limits.)
- Bigger government means more bureaucracy, more government fingers in private lives, and less liberty.
Socialism is corrupt by nature. As soon as Congress started taking money from taxpayers to give it to somebody else, the whole idea of private property was compromised. My property is not really mine if the government officials can stick me in jail for not giving some of it to them.
As George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams wrote recently:
"Whatever Congress wishes to give, it has to first take other people's money. Thus, at the root of the welfare state is the immorality of intimidation, threats and coercion backed up with the threat of violence by the agents of the U.S. Congress. In order for Congress to do what some Americans deem as good, it must first do evil. It must do that which if done privately would mean a jail sentence; namely, take the property of one American to give to another."
But...if the federal government did not take care of poverty, of health care, of the elderly, then who would do it! Who would take care of all these things that need serious attention?
We would, of course. We the people.
We are caring for people every day in communities all across this great nation without any government involvement. Unfortunately, we Americans have gotten so spoiled, we're in danger of losing the ability to properly govern ourselves. We think that "freedom" means license to do whatever we want to do. We think that "general welfare" means adding on to that massive government feeding trough. As we have stopped obeying God's Word and controlling ourselves, as we have gone lax in caring for our own families, young and old, we have found ourselves in an increasingly deep hole, surrounded by a growing number of government officials, along with red tape and high taxes, and... the poor still with us.
Let's get back to taking responsibility for ourselves, to doing what is right ourselves, and maybe we will find the federal government shrinking as a natural result.
Related Links: The U.S. Constitution - National Archives