Congressman Stark: "The Federal Government Can Do Most Anything"
As we get closer and closer to this year's Election Day on November 2, anti-incumbent sentiment towards a select group of 535 people on Capitol Hill continues to grow exponentially. Depending on whom you ask, voters tend to be frustrated with our legislators' lack of concern for their constituents, disregard for moral or ethical standards, or an overall lack of professionalism.
In recent weeks, names like Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., have been on or near the front pages of many major publications because of various ethics charges levied against them. Rangel, as I discussed in my last article here on Technorati, is currently fighting 13 separate charges from the House Ethics Committee, while Waters, according to the Associated Press, has apparently had three charges filed against her. Among those is an accusation that she violated "The government employees' ethics code, which prohibits granting or accepting special favors, for the employee or family members, that could be viewed as influencing official actions."
Both Rangel and Waters are accused of some pretty serious stuff, and I'm not downplaying them for the sake of my argument to follow, but what hacks me off more than anything is the arrogance with which they have conducted themselves. One particular member of Congress, however, seemed to corner the market on arrogance with one very blunt statement. That person is Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.
At a July 24 town hall meeting, a female attendee asked, (referring to the mandate in the federal health care bill passed earlier this year requiring Americans to purchase medical insurance), "If this legislation is constitutional, what limitations are there on the federal government's ability to tell us how to run our private lives?" With a brief appearance of that "deer in the headlights" look, Pete, to his credit gave only a somewhat half-assed answer. The same female attendee then had to very simply explain how enumerated powers work according to the United States Constitution: It spells out certain powers of the federal government and splits all other power with the states. She then asked how the legislation is constitutional, and if the federal government could make individuals purchase what is, for now, a completely voluntary service, what can't they do? The question was put even more bluntly: "Is your answer that they can do anything?"Continued on the next page