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Archive for December 13th, 2010

Too Severe?

Assuming that we’re talking about punishing real crimes (in other words, we’re seeking to uphold legitimate laws that protect people and property), I’m a firm believer in harsh punishment, but even I’m a little squeamish about this.

It is a real crime, so that’s not the issue. Who knows, maybe I’m becoming a soft-headed liberal in my old age.

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This is just an early skirmish in a battle that will go all the way to the Supreme Court, but it’s good to see that a federal judge has declared that the individual mandate in Obamacare is unconstitutional.

Who knows what the Supreme Court eventually will decide, but it’s clear America’s Founding Fathers did not intend for the federal government to have the unchecked power necessary to coerce citizens into buying particular products from particular companies. The statists claim the feds do have this power thanks to the interstate commerce clause. But that provision of the Constitution, which says the federal government has the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes,” was designed to prevent protectionism between states.

This article by Sheldon Richman is a good summary of the constitutional issues, and it shows that a proper reading of the interstate commerce clause indicates that Obamacare is unconstitutional – but so are most activities of the federal government.

Returning to the narrow issue of the Court’s Obamacare decision, here’s what my Cato colleague Roger Pilon says, and here’s an excerpt from an AP report about the decision.

A federal judge declared the Obama administration’s health care law unconstitutional Monday, siding with Virginia’s attorney general in a dispute that both sides agree will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the first federal judge to strike down the law, which has been upheld by two others in Virginia and Michigan. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed and others are pending, including one filed by 20 other states in Florida. Virginia Republican Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli filed a separate lawsuit in defense of a new state law that prohibits the government from forcing state residents to buy health insurance. However, the key issue was his claim that the federal law’s requirement that citizens buy health insurance or pay a penalty is unconstitutional. …The central issue in Virginia’s lawsuit was whether the federal government has the power under the constitution to impose the insurance requirement. The Justice Department said the mandate is a proper exercise of the government’s authority under the Commerce Clause.Cuccinelli argued that while the government can regulate economic activity that substantially affects interstate commerce, the decision not to buy insurance amounts to economic inactivity that is beyond the government’s reach.

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Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute blogs at Carpe Diem and perhaps is best known as being the go-to guy for things-are-better-than-you-think statistics. But he has bravely waded into the PC battlefield with a new video examining lower test scores for females on the math portion of the SAT.

Using the same technology as the famous QE2 video, Mark pokes big holes in the feminist argument that cultural bias is responsible for differences in test scores. I suspect “The Janet Hyde” will not be happy with the results.

Lest anyone accuse him of misogyny, Mark’s video also points out that girls do much better than boys on the reading and writing portions of the test, and also get far more college degrees. His goal is to puncture the PC notion that males and females have to be exactly equal and that any differences require government intervention.

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