By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
?Congress shall make no law. . . prohibiting the right of the people. . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. . .
? U.S. Constitution, Amendment I
?Congress shall have the Power. . . to raise and support armies. . . to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces. . . and to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing power. . .
? U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8
?LoBiondo petitions for more local health care services for vets. . . Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo (Republican, 2nd District) delivered thousands of signed petitions from South Jersey residents in support of additional local health care services for area veterans to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Joan Mooney, on Wednesday, July 20.?
? Current/Gazette Newspapers, July 27, 2011
Aging local veterans who must take a bus to the VA hospital in Delaware for dialysis treatment are very pleased with LoBiondo?s efforts.
But as one who reads our Constitution on a regular basis (as every American should), I find it ridiculous for an elected official of the legislative branch of government (which wrote the VA law) to petition (beg) an employee of the executive branch of government (which administers that law) to disregard that law.
I know very little about VA health care laws. But when I see big signs (in English and Spanish) in every local hospital that say everyone, even foreigners in this country illegally, have a right to free medical treatment there, three questions jump out at me.
1. Why can?t veterans go to any of these local hospitals for treatment? Why do we force them to go to a VA hospital in Delaware? Do veterans have fewer health care rights than illegal immigrants?
2. Suppose someone served a few years in the military, but was lucky enough never to be near combat or suffer any injury or illness in the service. When that veteran is 70 or 80 years old, and suffers normal old-age ailments like diabetes, heart trouble, or cancer, isn?t it more efficient for them to be treated like other senior citizens? Shouldn?t doctors in military hospitals specialize in treating combat- or service-related injuries?
3. When the VA was started, almost all hospitals were run as private businesses or charities with little or no money from the government. But now that taxpayers fund almost every hospital, does it make sense to have a duplicate VA hospital system?
The federal government is broke. It spends $3.6 trillion each year, while it takes in only $2 trillion. It borrows 44 cents for every dollar it spends. The federal government can no longer afford to give everyone everything they want.
Our national government can only afford to pay for national problems described in detail in Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution. That same section of the Constitution gives Congress the power to decide how much to tax and borrow, and how that money should be spent.
When you read Article I, Section 8, and compare it with how Congress spends our money, you quickly see that most of that money is spent on things not permitted by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
And because Congress spends so much money on things that do not involve national issues, in violation of our Constitution, it doesn?t have money for what the Constitution says it should be spending money on ? like defending our country and caring for veterans who got sick or hurt while serving.
As a lawyer, I know that over the years the Supreme Court invented a number of artificial rules (like ?standing?) that make it almost impossible for any ordinary citizen to sue to block unconstitutional spending. That is why blatantly unconstitutional spending like Wall Street bailouts, ?Cash for Clunkers? and ?Quantitative Easing? by the Federal Reserve were never challenged in court.
Only Congress can enforce the Constitution when it comes to spending.
LoBiondo should not have dumped those petitions from local veterans on the desk of a government official with no power to change the VA law. He should have worked with other members of Congress to change the VA health care law so that every eligible veteran can be treated at any nearby hospital. To pay for this, LoBiondo should have worked with other Congress members to transfer money away from under-used VA hospitals or from spending programs not authorized by the Constitution.
Isn?t this ?tea party? solution the only responsible thing to do?
(Reprinted from August 10, 2011 Current-Gazette Newspapers of Atlantic and Cape May Counties, http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/politics/14735-only-congress-can-change-its-unconstitutional-spending.html)
Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman appears on 1400AM talk radio 3-4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and on 92.1FM 8-9 a.m. Saturdays. For information see www.libertyandprosperity.org, email
or call?(609) 927-7333 Breakfast discussions are held 9:30-10:30 a.m. every Saturday at the Shore Diner on Fire and Tilton roads in Egg Harbor Township.