Bill O’Reilly, Constitutional Scholar

From The O’Reilly Factor, email segment for July 5:

“Bill, you keep asking what the Republicans have to replace Obamacare.  Under the Constitution, there is no role for the Federal government in healthcare.”

“That’s not true, Felicia.  The opening paragraph of the Constitution says the welfare of the people must be promoted.  A just healthcare system comes under that banner.”

I couldn’t resist answering this.

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  • Grunchesgrup

    I like this video and keep watching it.  Short and succinct but powerful and direct but acomplished with grace and humore.  i’d love to see more of this sort of thing – responsed to specific things in the news or comments by talking heads.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, taxation is theft, and necessarily involves violence, or the threat of violence. 

    Stealing from one person to pay for the care of another is immoral, and counterproductive to the quality and quantity of service. A system funded this way will look to serve the wants and needs of the politicians and the bureaucrats, not of the consumers.

    You seem to think that the offense is at the expense of the doctor, but that is not what I was talking about.

    The offense is against the taxpayer, the fruits of whose labor are expropriated to pay for these services. 

    That being said, forcing someone to provide a service that they have not contracted for would be immoral. Forcing a person to perform labor for which they are not paid is immoral, in this case, you would simply shift the burden from the doctor to the taxpayer. If I steal money from you, and then buy a car with the stolen money, I would still not have a legitimate claim to own the car, any more so than I would had I stolen the car from the dealership directly. If you substitute health care in this example for the car, you have exactly what you are proposing.

    Doctors, before the 1960’s regularly provided services for the poor and the disabled pro bono. That was their choice.

    Why are doctors so well paid, might it have something to do with the cartel that is the AMA, which limits both the number of hospitals and medical schools? Might it also have something to do with the artificial government incentives for people to have their health care paid indirectly, thus removing the incentive for competitive pricing? Might it be that the government already pays the bulk of health care costs in this country?
    Socialism has failed. It has failed in every country where it has been tried. It has failed in every sector of the economy in this country where it has been tried. The government education monopoly spends over three times (inflation-adjusted) what it did in the 1960’s today, to no positive results whatsoever. The “War on Poverty” has halted a steadily falling poverty rate. If we want good health care, we need a private system. This will lower costs and improve quality. Calling these things “rights” is simply a way of increasing the government’s control over them. No one suggests that anyone has a right to a color television, yet this which was a luxury just a few decades ago is now affordable for all, while the quality of the product is vastly improved. Is it any coincidence that there is very little government involvement in the making of televisions, and a great deal of involvement in the health care fields.

    There is nothing that can be best done by government, and if you can’t see that, then you’re right, you’re done – there’s no point in you going on.

    You show a very clear misunderstanding of Libertarianism, as well as of basic economics.

  • Anonymous

    No. Everyone is entitled to attempt to contract for any service with anyone who wishes to contract with them. That is how the market works, and the only way of providing services without force. This is also the most efficient way of providing the highest quality of goods at the lowest possible cost.

  • David

     Cops aren’t personal protection. In fact, courts have ruled that people explicitly do not have a right to have cops respond to 911 when they’re in danger.  Cops and court are used to capture and punish people who break laws, not provide personal security

  • Rob Nabakowski

    “Its just another public service  that can be best be done by govt.”!  Wow.  Just wow.

  • Rob Nabakowski

    Well said.  It’s like he just doesn’t get it.  

  • Luke Sunderland

    Most likely it’s been “If Bill says it, it must be true!”

    You can’t explain that.

  • Nicolas Martin

    You answered a question I didn’t ask. I want your definition of a “right.”

    If I’m without shelter do I have the right to enter your home? If I am hungry do I have the right to help myself to your food? If I am sick do I have the right to demand that you pay for my treatment? Why? Why not?

  • Jon Gibbons

    James Madison rips this up right here. Federalist #41:


    “Some, who have
    not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce
    attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has
    been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties,
    imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and
    general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission
    to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common
    defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress
    under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a


    Had no other
    enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the
    Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the
    objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult
    to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate
    in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial
    by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of
    conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise
    money for the general welfare.”


    But what color can
    the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these
    general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause
    than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so
    expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part
    of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and
    shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent,
    and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever?
    For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if
    these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?
    Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then
    to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an
    enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general
    meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an
    absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the
    authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take
    the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.


    The objection here
    is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the
    convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the
    Union among the States, as described in article third, are “their common
    defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare.” The
    terms of article eighth are still more identical: “All charges of war and
    all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general
    welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of
    a common treasury,” etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth.
    Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the
    construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing
    Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been
    thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general
    expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit
    their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common
    defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they
    would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of
    Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is
    for error to escape its own condemnation!”

  • damola

    what about indirect taxes