The Commerce Clause: Herding Economic Animals into the Statist Corral

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3

(Congress shall have Power) To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;


This same question—what are the limits of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause—is at the heart of the dispute over the health-care law’s individual mandate.Adam Winkler, “Daily Beast, November 11, 20011


Man is an economic animal as well as a political animal andis, therefore, born into an industrial system as inevitably as he isborn into a political state. -Henry J. Thurston, “The  Teaching of Economics in secondary Schools Schools, The School Review, Vol.4,no.8, 1896



This administration is rather big on logos.

There are plenty of amateur constitutional scholars out there; I’m not one, yet it seems to me that a little common sense and average reasoning skills would lead one to be deeply troubled by Obamacare, not just in itself, but also as proof that our governed really knows no limits, and only observes those that suit its purposes of the moment.

If the government can tell you to buy a product you may not want or need, and can tell the seller how to configure the product, what can’t the government do in any field of economic activity?

If Obamacare can tell you to buy insurance, and tell the insurance company that it must keep your children on your policy until they are 26, why can’ t the government tell you to buy an electric car, and the manufacturer that it must include GPS and a high end stereo whether you want these features or not?

No doubt it can, and may well do so one day.

If the government can tell Insurance companies what their profit margin should be, as Obama care does with the “medical loss ratio” proviso,  why can’t the government dictate what is an acceptable profit in any industry, even to the point of none at all?

Under the line of argument presented by Obamacare’s defenders, and if indeed man is an economic animal, then there is little of our behavior that  government cannot regulate.  The devil can quote scripture, and this administration can and will cite the Constitution of a government clearly conceived to be limited, in order to further its limitless ambition.