The legal definition of a contract is an agreement that two parties enter into voluntarily. Helen Whalen Cohen posted an article at Townhall.com asking if Obamacare violates this basic concept. Ms. Cohen also points out how bad things can get when a government enters into contracts with the governed without the consent of the governed.
Jim Powell at the Cato Institute cited a few examples of government forced contracts that did not turn out well in a recent article he wrote for Forbes Magazine.
Mr. Powell points out:
…For example, on April 5, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 that mandated Americans to surrender their gold coins, gold bullion and gold certificates to the government by May 1, 1933.
…On February 19, 1942, amidst war hysteria, FDR issued Executive Order 9066 mandating that some 110,000 peaceful Japanese Americans be hustled away from the Pacific Coast and into places like the urine-soaked Santa Anita racetrack stables until these people could be moved to Spartan “War Relocation Camps.”
…On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11615, mandating price controls, rent controls, wage and salary controls. By forcing people to do their business at below-market prices, Nixon’s controls encouraged consumers to buy more, while encouraging producers to supply less. Consequently, the controls caused shortages that led to rationing and daily inconvenience.
…In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs’ most hated tax was the corvée — forced labor that had to be provided on demand for, among other things, quarrying stone and building pyramids.
…After the U.S. Civil War, many blacks didn’t want to work for former masters who had tormented them. But The Union army, occupying the South, pressured former slaves to sign annual contracts with plantation owners, and blacks were forbidden to leave plantations without the owners’ permission — the same policy as under slavery.
…During the 1930s, Nazis began barring Jews from professions and ordering Germans not to do business with Jews. By December 1938, there were substantial numbers of unemployed Jews, and the regime issued a decree that ordered these people to register for forced labor.
Etc., etc., etc. The point here is that a forced contract is simply not a good idea.
Mr. Powell concludes:
1. Most of the cases I mentioned took place during a war, a financial crisis or other emergency leading people to accept extreme measures that are unthinkable in easier times.
2. Nobody can predict when the next emergency will occur.
3. There isn’t any reliable way of keeping bad or incompetent people out of power.
4. Once government gains additional power, it’s exceedingly difficult to roll back.
These are major reasons why we should uphold our Constitution with limited and enumerated powers.
I hope the Supreme Court Justices take these ideas into consideration.