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News Opinion

'Necessary and proper' doesn't give Congress a free pass on Obamacare

The argument that Leslie Meltzer Henry and Maxwell L. Stearns make in a recent op-ed piece in support of the Affordable Care Act ("Individual mandate is constitutional," March 22) is based on the Constitution's "necessary and proper" clause, which they claim, gives the government the right to pass laws to make other laws work. Under this logic the government can justify the passage of any law regardless of its constitutionality.

In fact, the Supreme Court has routinely overturned federal laws that are not based on an enumerated power. Their circular logic continues in the assertion that the Wickard decision applies equally to inactivity as well as activity, since the act of electing not to do something is itself an activity. By this logic there is no activity that can't be regulated — since refusing to eat broccoli is, under their definition, an activity.

The height of U.S. liberalism occurred during the New Deal Era. The Wickard decision was flawed then and is worse today. But even then the government never claimed that non-consumers of wheat were affecting interstate prices or that it was is necessary for everyone to buy wheat in order to effectively regulate it. These arguments are flawed and the authors know it.

Their real agenda in revealed in the phrase "national interest." It is the same argument that all liberals make. We know better than you and because our purpose is noble we have the right to run roughshod over your rights. At the time of the New Deal the case for allocating resources through technocrats (central planning) was not yet disproven. But today we you know that millions of individuals making their own decisions is far more effective than the decisions made by a few central planners. The Affordable Care Act will be overturned because it takes back the power from a few and returns it to the many.

Steve Williams, Towson

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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