Our editorial page disagrees with The Indianapolis Star's about the appropriateness of state Attorny General Greg Zoeller's decision to add Indiana to the 13 other states challenging the constitutionality of health care reform.
The Star editorial's headline says the suit is "tainted by politics," but the body of the piece acknowledges that the law's requirement that individuals buy insurance or face a tax penalty "appears to be unprecedented" and is "at the very least worth questioning." So, it's tainted by politics but raises a valid point? How to get out of that dilemma?
. . . it's debatable whether Zoeller and other attorneys general are the proper plaintiffs to bring the challenge. It would be better for individuals affected by the new law, not state governments, to raise legal objections to the insurance mandate.
But the state has standing because of all the extra Medicaid spending it will have to do, and Hoosiers are citizens of the state -- the whole point of the 9th and 10th Amendments is that the states and the people have all the powers except those very few explicity granted by them to the federal government. And this is a gigantic power grab by the federal government.
Which is the point of our editorial, another futile gesture brought on by my lifelong, quixotic quest to make the "living Constitution" quacks at least feel guilty about their systematic destruction of federalism:
But the federal government is all powerful, the states and the people subjected to the ever-growing demands of Washington. The Constitution has been used to make the power grab or, in many cases, ignored to facilitate the takeover. We are almost to the point where the constitutionality of a Washington initiative doesn't even matter.
Health care reform will take us beyond that point. The mandate for individual health insurance alone is breathtaking in its disregard for the proper relationship between citizens and government. Americans will be required, as a condition of citizenship, to buy a commodity or face a fine. That is intolerable.
The Star makes a valid point that Zoeller hurt his credibility on the matter "by recently blasting three school districts that sued the state over what they believe to be inequities in the school funding formula." But as they teach in Logic 101, an idea can't be responsbible for who holds it.
A charge of hypocrisy might make us feel good about pointing out the hypocrite's moral failing, but it's not a good argument for or against something.