Letter to the editor: We're all in this together

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Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” Ronald Reagan once said, “Live simply, love generously, care deeply [and] speak kindly.”

This nation has never been perfect, but together, we have accomplished wonderful things. The United States of America is a great experiment, and we are still a young country.

From the time of the first white settlement, people came here seeking opportunities to do things differently than the way they had always been done before. People came to these shores to practice their own religion (or none at all), to become land and homeowners, to start their own businesses, to get an education, to raise their children and to contribute to a free society.

People have come to this country for generations seeking the American dream — the idea that, according to James Truslow Adams in 1931, "Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement" regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

As a nation, we have made mistakes. As a nation, we have a history of decimating populations of indigenous peoples and a history of slavery. As a nation, we have discriminated against women, Native Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Latino-Americans, LGBTQ Americans, indigent Americans, disabled Americans and mentally ill Americans.

As a nation, we have also learned from these mistakes. We have grown and accomplished great things. We have put people on the moon. We invented rock 'n' roll. We were first in flight.

We have defended those who cannot defend themselves. We have come together when we have needed to. We have expressed human compassion and kindness in trying times.

In November 2016, we had an election where 53 percent of our electorate turned out to vote — 45.9 percent of that vote went to one candidate, and 48 percent went to another. Several months later, we are just as divided — if not more.

These are tough political times, with much discord and discontent. People are scared. People are worried. How can we begin to come together as a nation? How can we begin to breach this current divide and to heal old wounds?

Maybe we can’t, but we must try. We must start here in our own community.

Steamboat Springs is a small and caring community. We must remember kindness and embrace it.

Let us affirm everyone’s right to express themselves without harm to any and instead with kindness to all. Let us respond to each other with questions and concerns instead of insults and easy dismissals. Let us attempt to understand each other’s point of view, rather than hastily typing off nasty comments online. Let us learn from each other without name-calling. Let us build bridges instead of walls.

A quote attributed to Plato says, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” We are all in this together — as citizens of this planet and of this country.

Most importantly, as citizens of Steamboat Springs, we are right here in this community right now — together. Life is challenging enough. It is important for us to be kind to each other. Let us lift each other up rather than trying to tear each other down.

There are many good people in this community. We can do this.

Thank you,

Erin Biggs, Nancy Spillane, Diane Miller, Mariana Ishida, Linda Delaney, Nancy Working, Lisa W. Berry, Betty Truelove and Nancy Porter

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Harvey Lyon 2 months ago

So I'm kind of curious, is it the 8 plus million dollars these folks cost the State of North Dakota in law enforcement and emergency services by sponsoring the protests against the pipeline? The same pipeline that was totally approved by President Obama and his crew. Or was it the 3 million dollars in direct costs to the local Indian Casino not counting the lost revenue when they had to close to feed, house, clothe and wash the protesters when the winter weather blew in. Perhaps it was the 2 plus million dollars it cost the US Army to go in and clean up all the, literally, human excrement, abandoned vehicles and other potentially hazardous waste left after the protesters got tired of "protesting"?

Maybe it was Spillane's millions of dollars spent by Colorado in her wanting free health care for all regardless if you get off a couch or not?

And now you want to come together?

My hind quarters! You guys are exactly what's wrong with this Country. You want it all, you want it now and you want someone else to pay for it!

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Harvey, what are your questions in the first paragraph? You say "is it...?" without finishing. Is what?

The facts are this: the water protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline and elsewhere are fighting for you and your children and grandchildren just as much as they are fighting for their own for clean water. Clean water - or the lack thereof - affects us all. Oil will run out. We can survive without it. We cannot survive without clean water.

People who are fighting for health care are fighting for you and your children and your grandchildren as well "regardless if you get off a couch or not."

We can disagree about issues without attacking each other personally. That was the point of the letter - not Standing Rock, not healthcare. We don't need to agree on a thing to be kind to each other. Your personal attacks by saying we are what's wrong with this "Country" prove our point exactly.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men – not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular." -Edward R. Murrow

I wish you only the best. Have a great day.

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Carl Steidtmann 2 months ago

Erin,

The Dakota Access Pipeline protesters are not fighting for anyone but their own sense of entitlement and desire to signal their own elevated virtue. Most Americans don't support people who can not clean up after themselves and who by their actions threaten both the quality of the water and the air they are allegedly trying to protect.

There are more than 2.4 million miles of pipeline in the US alone. Moving that much crude oil, natural gas, and other refined products by truck or rail would not only be more expensive, it would be much more damaging to the environment. The result would be a lower standard of living for everyone, a significantly greater risk of deaths from accidents and dirtier air and water. That is what the pipeline protesters are fighting for.

I like your Edward R Murrow quote. Its good to know that dissent is again patriotic.

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Carl Steidtmann 2 months ago

Erin,

I would like to add a quote of my own for you to consider. Its from CS Lewis: God in the Dock: Essays on Theology

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."

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Nancy Spillane 2 months ago

Correction to Mr. Lyon: I never, ever proposed free health care for all or for anyone. Obviously, you never read anything I wrote on universal health care and you have no understanding of the facts. I encourage you to read up on what universal health care is.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Nancy - Does the "Universal Healthcare" that you promote establish that a person in America has a Right to receive healthcare services?

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

Ken, do you believe that healthcare should only be provided to those who can afford to pay for it? That it is a privilege, not a right?

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Lock- Yes, the words "healthcare" and/or "medicine" do not appear in our Constitution, which defines our Rights.

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Nancy Spillane 2 months ago

Ken, you are correct with ascertaining that the current Constitution does not define health care for all citizens as a right. Yes, I support a change in that thinking.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Nancy - Thanks for your response. Your proposal would require a fundamental change of how we view Rights in our society. That's gong to be an interesting conversation. Besides legal services to the indigent, can you propose other "Rights" that involve someone taking the time and/or resource of another person to exercise?

If we can compel a doctor or hospital to provide us healthcare as a Right, can we also compel the New York Times to publish our thoughts as an exercise of our First Amendment Rights? Also, since the SCOTUS has clarified that the Second Amendment protects an individual Right to posses a firearm in the home for self-defense, can we compel others to provide us with a firearm?

Although clean water is essential for life, the city installs water meters for a reason. If you don't pay for the water you consume, your water service is interrupted. If a person doesn't have a Right to clean drinking water, it seems a terrible stretch to me that it could be claimed they have a Right to medical care.

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Nancy Spillane 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ken, thanks for your thoughtful response. It also seems to me that if a person has a RIGHT to have firearms, that also is a terrible stretch. Just my opinion.

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Nancy Spillane 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Ken, thanks for your thoughtful response. It also seems to me that if a person has a RIGHT to have firearms, that also is a terrible stretch. Seems like one's health is more important than having a gun. Just my opinion.

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

The original path for the North Dakota pipeline had the pipeline crossing the Missouri River upstream of Bismark, until the people of Bismark complained about possible water contamination. Then the route was moved so that Bismark was spared. It seems that the White People's water supply is more important than the Native American's.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Lock - You believe that since the "White People's" water was "spared," the Native Americans representing a single tribe decided to contaminate their own water supply as a form of protest? That's an interesting theory.

Other than the "White People" in Bismark, the other affected Tribes that participated in the planning process were also "spared," as you put it. In hindsight, do you think the Standing Rock Tribe would have been better served by their leaders if they had also participated in the planning process?

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/02/500331158/north-dakota-commissioner-standing-rock-souix-sat-out-the-state-process

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

Most of the pollution problems stemming from the protest were created by outsiders who came to support the protest, but they didn't clean up after themselves.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

OK, I'll accept that as a fact in order to remain focused on my question: In hindsight, do you think the Standing Rock Tribe would have been better served by their leaders if they had also participated in the planning process?

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Nancy Spillane 2 months ago

Ken, the Standing Rock Tribe has participated since 2014.

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Nancy Spillane 2 months ago

Ken, the Standing Rock Tribe has participated since 2014.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Nancy - Your assertion is contrary to what NPR reports. Can you provide a citation that disputes the NPR report?

http://www.npr.org/2016/11/02/500331158/north-dakota-commissioner-standing-rock-souix-sat-out-the-state-process

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

"However, the recording provides audio from a Sept. 30, 2014, meeting in which Standing Rock officials expressed their opposition to the pipeline and raised concerns about its potential impact to sacred sites and their water supply — nearly two years before they raised similar objections in a federal lawsuit."

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/audio-tribe-objected-to-pipeline-nearly-years-before-lawsuit/article_51f94b8b-1284-5da9-92ec-7638347fe066.html

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Ken, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline since first learning about plans for it. In September 2014, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault indicated the tribe's opposition to any pipeline within treaty boundaries encompassing North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Erin - Obviously the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposed the pipeline, that's not a controversial assertion.

I notice that you don't make the claim that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe participated in the planning process and you don't deny that NPR correctly reported that the Tribe refused to participate in the planning process.

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Hi Ken.

"In a map included in Public Service Commission documents, a proposed route dated May 2014 crosses the river north of Bismarck. A change to that route dated September 2014 — the same month as the meeting with the tribe — showed the proposed pipeline crossing the river north of the reservation, the document shows...We have actually been having a hard time setting up a meeting with the corps for this particular project,” said Win Young, who added that the agency did not consult with the tribe on previous projects."

http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/audio-tribe-objected-to-pipeline-nearly-years-before-lawsuit/article_51f94b8b-1284-5da9-92ec-7638347fe066.html

Have a good day. I have work to do.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Erin - First, let me say how much I respect your willingness to be involved and express your thoughts. While I disagree with many of the policies that you support, I appreciate that you debate honestly, sincerely and without personal animosity.

That explained, you're still wrong. To provide a single statement of opposition made by Tribal leaders at a single meeting is non-responsive to my request that you cite any evidence that the "Tribe participated in the planning process." It was a "process" that every other stakeholder participated in. Only the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe did not participate in the "planning process."

It seems obvious to me that the Tribe would have been better served by it's leaders if they had actually participated in the planning process, like all of the other Tribes, instead of showing up once to object. In the end, the pipeline will be built and the river was placed in immediate jeopardy of contamination by the very people that were presumed to care so much about it.

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Ken,

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate that. I also appreciate your willingness to debate without personal attack or insults and easy dismissals.

I also appreciate we have a difference of opinion on this particular issue that will not be resolved through debate in an online forum. As I said before, I have work to do, so I better get to it. I wish you only the very best.

Take care.

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Brian Kotowski 2 months ago

Curiously, I can't seem to recall any of the liberal signatories to this letter raising so much as an eyebrow while Preezy and the Dems ran the show and slung their insults. Personally, I found Preezy's labeling of tea partiers (like me) "tea baggers" more than a little tiresome. The Plagiarist In Chief's designation of conservatives (like me) "terrorists" even more so. One hardly knows where to begin with the former Speaker of the House; but the stupefying arrogance of "we have to pass it to see what's in it" isn't a bad place to start; ditto the former Senate Majority Leader, who likened those of us who dared to oppose Obamacare to pre-civil war slave owners; that those of us who presumed to disagree with the President about anything were racists.

"Let us learn from each other without name-calling."

Fair enough. But these ladies will need to convince me that they find rhetoric emanating from the left over the last decade to be at least as egregious as anything being said in the here and now, before a tea-bagging terrorist like me will be able to take them seriously.

Until then, I'm rolling my eyes. Because that how bitter clingers like me roll.

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Hi Brian,

Yes, the left and the right. I have taken a beating from people on the left just as often as I have from people on the right - though the right seem to have more free time to devote to online comments in the Pilot. ;) This letter was written not to be partisan, but for all of us - left, right, and in the middle. As we said, "we are right here in this community right now — together." I can't control what others say, but I don't find name-calling on either side to be helpful. Have a good day!

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Eric J. Bowman 1 month, 1 week ago

Uhhh, Brian? "Tea Baggers" is what y'all called yourselves until y'all realized there was a sexual connotation to it, then started calling yourselves "tea partiers" and blaming the unfortunate, earlier name on the Democrats. Just accept that y'all made a boneheaded blunder and move on, instead of blaming others, OK? ;)

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Lou Coggia 2 months ago

To the letter writers, one of the more interesting comments in your letter was about the voting percentages. That a little more than 50% of eligible voters actually voted is disappointing but consistent with past elections. That is significantly below what other developed countries report. Then we have the fact that less than 50% of those that did vote, voted for Trump. The same metrics apply to Congress. What's got me frustrated is the position of those in power that they have a mandate from the people to push whatever ideology that they want. This fact does not promote unity and only heightens political partisanship.

Take the ACA. Most polls show that significantly more than 50% of Americans do not want to completely repeal it. Yet those in power say they have a mandate to do so - even though they can not articulate a better alternative. No wonder we are divided.

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Healthcare easily fits under “promote the general Welfare” part of the very first sentence of our Constitution. It also fits under “insure domestic Tranquility”. And “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, is much easier when healthy. When the Constitution was written, health care hardly existed. The beauty of the Constitution is that it can embrace concepts unthought of at the time of its creation.

As stated, one of the goals of the Constitution is to make all the citizen's lives better. Why can't we agree on that point and all work together to progress towards better lives?

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Scott Wedel 2 months ago

A federal judge determined that the Standing Rock tribe failed to submit sites or meet with archaeologists to identify cultural sites despite numerous requests.

That is why Obama made the decision to suspend the permit in order to have the newly submitted claims of cultural sites to be reviewed even though mentioned after the legal review process. It was an attempt at a compromise because cultural sites don't prevent pipelines, but just cause it to go a hundred feet or so underground using horizontal drilling.

The pipeline was changed from the original route near Bismarck because of the pipeline proximity to residential neighborhoods and the many section needing new pipeline easements. It had nothing to do with polluting city water.

It is proven that a pipeline crossing a river is less likely to pollute a river than a train due to occasional derailments. Modern pipelines use double walled pipes in which if water or oil appears in the outer pipe then the valves are closed and pipe is repaired.

This river crossing was chosen because it is an existing pipeline easement with several existing pipelines. This pipeline would go under the river via horizontal drilling and with the doublewalled pipes, it would be the pipeline least likely to pollute water at this crossing. Thus, the idea of water protectors is rather comical to be focusing on this pipeline instead of insisting the other pipelines are upgraded.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Lock - Thanks for your reply. The Preamble to the Constitution does not assign specific powers to government or provide limitations on government, which is the purpose of the Constitution. Therefore, the Preamble is generally not interpreted by the Courts and applied to law.

As suggested earlier in this thread to Nancy, the establishment of a Right to medical care opens Pandora's box of what can be considered a Right. Per SCOTUS, we clearly have a Right to own a firearm in our home for self-defense. Since all of our individually enumerated Constitutional Rights are considered equal in significance, how would you propose a program that would ensure that every American home possesses a firearm? What about those that can't afford a firearm? They clearly have a Right to a firearm, that's beyond dispute. How will these people exercise their Right to have a firearm if they can't afford a firearm? I look forward to your ideas.

Rights guaranteed by the First Amendment also present significant challenges when viewed through the lens of a Right to healthcare. Since we have a Right to free expression, how do you propose that we compel the New York Times or the Steamboat Today to publish our expressions? Clearly we have a Right to free expression. Why should we have to pay a newspaper to publish our thoughts when we have a Right to express ourselves? What about the people that can't afford to pay for a piece of poster board and a marker? Clearly, they have the Right to stand on public property with a sign. Can others be compelled to provide the poster board and markers? After all, they have a Right to express themselves.

If we can compel a doctor or hospital to provide medical care as a Right, we can also compel others to provide for our other Rights. I don't think that's a good idea at all. What do you think?

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

It seems there is a confusion between the different concepts of “Free”, one concept is “unfettered”; another is “without monetary cost”. Health care cannot be without cost; it just needs to be paid for by those whose basic needs of housing, food and health care are taken care of and can contribute to the general welfare of the whole society, all those who can provide for themselves and all those who can't. Wouldn't society be much better off if we all worked together and tried to solve our societal problems?

From the 2010 census for Bismark The racial makeup of the city was 92.4% White, 0.7% African American, 4.5% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Lock - Thanks for your reply. I agree 100% that society would be better off if we all worked together. Rights, however, are primarily exercised by individuals, not collectives, hence the term, 'Individually Enumerated Constitutional Rights.' While the SCOTUS has clarified that the First Amendment's guarantee of free association ensures that we retain our individual rights when we join like-minded others for a common cause, Rights are generally interpreted as held and exercised by individuals, without any involvement from another person. It becomes inconsistent and quickly unsustainable when we begin to interpret Rights in such a way that requires the involvement of another person to exercise. I have a Right to a firearm, but can't compel others to participate in the exercise of my Right or provide the firearm. I have a Right to make a sign and stand on public property, but I can't compel others to participate in the exercise of my Right or buy the poster board or marker.

Likewise, the provision of healthcare can never be defined the same way we define our other Rights. Changing the definition of "Rights" in such a way that one person may compel another person's involvement as a condition of exercising the "Right" is the anti-thesis of what our Rights truly are.

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Chris Hadlock 2 months ago

Ken, you write: " The Preamble to the Constitution does not assign specific powers to government or provide limitations on government, which is the purpose of the Constitution. Therefore, the Preamble is generally not interpreted by the Courts and applied to law."

That statement is simply untrue. Even a tiny little bit of research and reading will turn up a large number of Supreme court cases concerning the general welfare clause starting during the Presidency of George Washington and ending with the most recent ACA decision.

There are of course many "opinion" articles to be found as well, but the Supreme Court has consistently and strongly supported the powers of the Federal Gov't in this arena. If Congress passed a Medicare for all bill, it would pass the Supreme Court. I respect that you hold a different opinion but nothing in past court decisions would lead to a different conclusion if you look only at the facts.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Chris - From Cornell Law: "Courts will not interpret the Preamble to confer any rights or powers not granted specifically in the Constitution." In other words, "...the Preamble is generally not interpreted by the Courts and applied to law."
https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble

I didn't mean to create a distraction of the meaningful conversation regarding how we define "Rights" and why the provision of healthcare cannot be defined as a "Right."

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Chris Hadlock 2 months ago

Ken, Cornell is a respected legal university but anything they publish is still "opinion" The only thing that matters here are actual Supreme Court decisions.

1824 Gibbons Vs. Ogden - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbons_v._Ogden 1937 Helvering Vs. Davis - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helvering_v._Davis 1987 South Dakota Vs. Dole - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Dakota_v._Dole 2013 NFIB v. Sebelius - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Federation_of_Independent_Business_v._Sebelius

Quoting from NFIB V. Sebelius "The Affordable Care Act's requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness."

Quoting from Helvering V. Davis "Congress may spend money in aid of the 'general welfare'... There have been great statesmen in our history who have stood for other views... The line must still be drawn between one welfare and another, between particular and general. Where this shall be placed cannot be known through a formula in advance of the event... The discretion belongs to Congress, unless the choice is clearly wrong, a display of arbitrary power, not an exercise of judgment. This is now familiar law....

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Chris - I appreciate your persistence. Consistent with Cornell's opinion, none of the cases that you cite turned on the text of the Preamble. All of the cases you cite were decided based on either Rights, authority or limitations specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

While the "general welfare clause" is referenced multiple times in the decision, Helvering relied on Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 (through reference of Steward Machine Co. v. Davis; 1937) that provides Congress the authority to levy taxes. Likewise, in NFIB, the Court found "By a vote of 5–4, the Court upheld the individual mandate component of the ACA as a valid exercise of Congress's power to "lay and collect taxes" (Art. I, §8, cl. 1)."

Here's the citation for Helvering. See "Held; Item 2" where Helvering references Steward Machine Co. v. Davis; 1937.
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/301/619/

Here's the wiki link to the NFIB citation. See: Opinion of the Court:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Federation_of_Independent_Business_v._Sebelius

Ergo, the Court found Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 that provides Congress the authority to levy taxes, not the "general welfare" clause of the Preamble.

Do you think the provision of healthcare services is a Right? That's a more interesting conversation than arguing over the Preamble. Maybe it would be better to call Universal Healthcare an entitlement program, rather than a Right. Considering the financial unsustainability of our other, current entitlement programs, however, I'm not sure why anyone would support creating another one. Especially an entitlement program as large as would be required to provide healthcare service to 300+ million people. That seems like a really bad idea.

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Chris Hadlock 2 months ago

It does not matter whether or not healthcare is a "Right". What do you want to call Medicare and Medicaid? The bottom line is that everyone would pay smaller premiums for better coverage if everyone paid into the system. Younger or older, sicker, healthy, rich and poor all pay based on income. That is the premise of "universal healthcare"

Make 1 simple change to Social Security and Medicare and they are solvent for the forseeable future. The change is to eliminate income caps so that everyone pays for what they earn and the problem is gone. You have the right to your opinion about social programs but the courts have upheld their constitutionality. Calling them entitlements is just another example of "alternative facts" The reality is that each and everyone of us pay into those programs it is our money paid in advance, not a government handout.

There is a fable about this if you remember the grasshopper and the ant. With healthcare the caveat is that if you waste your years and never save anything for your coming healthcare expenses then the rest of us end up paying your bills thru higher costs. Making it a tax or "mandatory" means that everyone will pay into the system based on their earnings. Conservatives should like that provision, it means no more free rides.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

We disagree on the importance of calling something a Right. We agree that it would be better, ideal in fact, if we could use force to make everyone do what we-the-majority-at-the-time thinks is best. How do you propose that we enforce a person brushing their teeth twice a day? How about the obese? How will we force obese people to get exercise? Obviously, a high school education is better than dropping out. What if a person turns 18 and they haven't graduated high school? Are they emancipated adults at that point and free to make their own decisions or should we incarcerate them until they complete the high school program? You know, because it's better for everyone.

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Chris Hadlock 2 months ago

To quote Ronald Reagan: "There you go again"

You keep thinking of this in terms of "sick people are responsible for their health" Yes, at 24 years of age, a lifetime of bad habits caused my cancer. Are you blaming Julie for her health problems on the other article today? We all know an individual with terrible health habits that never gets sick and another that lives the healthiest lifestyle imaginable but somehow manages to find themselves sick or injured.

The bottom line is that every single person alive today will at some time in their life encounter health related expenses. This topic is not about controlling behavior, it is about how best to pay for the expenses that each and every one of us will incur at some point in our lives.

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

We can get away from the issue of "Is healthcare a Right?" and just say that everyone should have access to healthcare no matter what their income or health status, because it is the right thing to do and would cost us way less than the 18% of GDP we currently spend. It will require government control of pricing to get rid of the greedy price-gouging the medical-industrial-complex now enjoys. Other countries spend less with better outcomes; let's copy from systems that work better, and try to make improvements to a well-run system.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Hi Chris - Considering that I'm over twice your age, I've had my share of health-related needs during my lifetime; some were my "fault" and others certainly weren't. While everyone will require healthcare at some point, the vast discrepancy between the level of services needed by individuals makes diversifying the risk a bigger problem than most people realize when one person may consume thousands of multiples more than another person over their lives.

As a practical matter, I suspect that the entire US GDP wouldn't cover what it would cost to provide quality, cradle-to-grave healthcare to every person in the US. Have you ever had to make choices for an elderly relative's healthcare based on resource? I have. It's not a great place to be, but I would rather myself and my family make those decisions than hope some person I've never met makes a decision that's in my family member's best interests. At some point there must be limits of what may be included and the timeliness of services that are provided. I'm all for working together to lower costs and increase choice, but most "universal-type" healthcare suggestions aren't economically sustainable. I'm not in support of any attempt to nationalize healthcare services in the US that will create another gigantic, soon-to-be-bankrupt, government boondoggle, resulting in higher costs and decreased choice for everyone.

Lock - Unfortunately, economics doesn't have feelings and isn't altered by our moral sense of right and wrong any more than any of the sciences are altered by our feelings. Providing healthcare services to every person isn't possible. It's a terrible, harsh reality. I don't want to stifle your enthusiasm for advocating for a better system, because we agree that what we have now is bad, not working well and likely getting worse. It's just that what you advocate for a) isn't possible based on scarcity, and b) isn't going to be considered by the current Congress.

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

How can other countries provide health care at 10% of GDP, but it would take us 100%?

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

Lock - Provide examples, please. Then we can compare and contrast the tax rates, public spending and service levels provided.

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Chris Hadlock 2 months ago

Ken, you are 110? Congrats, but allow me to think maybe not. Another exaggeration that gets added to the growing list along with the 100% GDP, and the "death panels" you invoke with your comments about resource allocation.

Why can the health insurance companies afford to offer such great prices to the employees at companies like GM, IBM or Harley Davidson? Are you aware of the HUGE discrepancy in pricing? The answer lies in actuarial math which allows for an analysis of future risk. When they allow the insurance companies to allocate the risk over small groups, premiums skyrocket. If insurance companies were forced to measure their risk against their entire population of insurance holders premiums would plummet. That is just one of the cost savings that a single payer system would provide. Remember, Medicare was created because no insurance company can make money insuring the elderly. Sounds a lot like the current discussion to me.

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Ken Mauldin 2 months ago

You referenced 24 yrs old and I mistakenly thought that was a reference to your current age. I apologize for the error. We're apparently within a couple of years of the same age.

When I graduated undergrad with a BBA in Economics with a focus in econometrics (forecasting and estimation), the only companies that would interview me through the University's "career office" were insurance companies looking for actuaries, so I'm familiar with the role.

Perhaps Lock will share some examples that we can explore in detail.

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Nancy Spillane 2 months ago

Mr. Lyon, good for you for having good health care for you and your family. That is a good thing. It really is. I do not know anyone who is asking for free health care for the country. I've said this before, as you know. I also agree with you that one does not find "the best and most experienced" all the time in other systems - interesting that you say that because that is true in this country. Your insurance dictates the doctors and clinics you can visit. They flat out tell you that IF you go to a doctor "out of network," you pay the full price with no insurance. AND, even now you are asked to see a physician's assistant instead of a doctor. My family and I have had to use health care in different systems around the world. Our care has always been top notch. Our care in this country also has been top notch. I just am opposed to insurance companies and for-profit hospitals (under the mask of non-profit) making billions of dollars off of the sick and dying. I am not opposed to profits, I am not opposed to those in the medical profession making a good living. I am opposed to obscene profits being made off of sick and dying people. Again, I am not for free medical care; I am for medical care for everyone - just like all developed countries have. Again, I am glad that you have had good care for you and your family as I have.

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

Hi Harvey,

I'm happy to hear that you're a well-educated individual, and I appreciate your service to our country. I am also lucky enough to have received an excellent education. While I don't have children, I am also a tax-paying citizen and some might call me a leader of sorts. I hope you are right that your children are "inciting enthusiasm and pleasure among their employees," as I know that good morale is incredibly important in any job environment. You are clearly a proud father, which I respect.

I think it's interesting that you have extended the invitation for "coffee," though I admit being a bit perplexed by it. Why coffee in quotes? Is it a trap? :) (Mostly joking.)

If you are sincere in being "always the gentleman," why in your comment directly above this one did you tell me to leave the country? Why have you called me and my "friends" "exactly what's wrong with this Country?" I believe in other threads you've called me "an anarchist who should be put back on a bus to California," though maybe that was Carl.

Because the theme of this letter to the editor was learning from each other without dismissing each other, I have extended your invitation to the other co-signers, and I will let you know what they say. If you are sincere in your invitation, however, I would expect that you would apologize for any previous name-calling or insults before we could carry on in the true spirit of Socratic debate.

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Carl Steidtmann 2 months ago

I never gratuitously call people names. It serves no purpose.

It you go back and review my comments regarding you, you will find that they are fact based arguments pointing out the environmental and economic damage done by you and your allies in your obstruction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Which makes you and your comrades, in a very ungratuitous fashion, hypocritical.

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Erin Biggs 2 months ago

As it turns out, Carl, you're right about something. You weren't the one who called me that - it was Harvey, the same Harvey who is now suggesting my friends and I meet him for "coffee."

Harvey, there are at least 6 of us willing to meet you if you are genuine in your intention to be respectful and to debate, though in order to prove your sincerity, I will maintain that you owe us an apology for the unnecessary name-calling and insults, which was entirely the point of this letter to the editor until it became about Nancy trying to fight for health care and I trying to fight for clean water and indigenous rights.

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Lock McShane 2 months ago

For examples of effective health care systems, Cuba is a bad example. France is ranked #1 according to the WHO. Yes they pay more taxes, but the result they get is worth it.

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Scott Wedel 2 months ago

I find no news stories of French citizens disenchanted with their healthcare system seeking treatment in England. I can find stories of UK expats living in France returning to England for treatment at NHS. The issue is the UK expats may not qualify for the French system, but then they aren't in UK paying taxes to NHS which they are using.

My understanding of the French system is that even those that pay more to have their choice of private doctors still rely upon the national system for catastrophic medical care. And doctors can charge more than standard rates and that just leaves patient with a larger copayment. ObamaCare bans patients/doctors from doing that.

Thus, citizens in France having private doctors does not undermine their system because those citizens are still paying into and benefiting from the state system. Their jobs may pay for the supplemental insurance covering the added costs of going to private doctors.

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Fred Duckels 2 months ago

The last that I heard, had the U.S. ski team taking all injuries directly to Germany, not considering any other treatment.

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Scott Wedel 2 months ago

Fred,

I don't know if that is true, but if it is then US ski team isn't going to any old clinic in Germany, but to a few specific doctors that are currently seen as the best in the world. Just as for many years, elite injured athletes were going to Steadman in Vail because he was the best and while they were coming to the USA for treatment, it was only because of the overall system, but because of one particular doctor.

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Eric J. Bowman 1 month, 1 week ago

Good grief, Ken Maudlin is the new Scott Wedell. Nothing better to do than comment multiple times in EVERY thread here... at least Scott's a bona-fide local. This forum would be so much more interesting if it weren't for the lame-o's who have nothing better to do than shout everyone else down whose politics aren't the same as their own, day in, day out, ad nauseum, please kill me.

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