Going on a spree of man dates.


Oops. Sorry. It turns out that “man date” is just a homophone for what I really mean: mandates. Even though I despise the concept of a “man date” – that two males are so inept at making friends that they must be forced to go out as though they were attempting to court each other, leading to the inevitable awkward conversation about nothing – I will not devote my time to writing about this outrageous practice. Instead I’ll write about the concept of mandates, ever present in any health care bill that has passed through each chamber of Congress. I’ve already written my thoughts on where I believe this country will be headed should this health reform pass. Trust me, it ain’t pretty.


Congress and the President wish to impose upon the American people a particular restriction upon economic liberty with their version of health care reform. I use the term “restriction” because even though it’s not the case that this bill stops us from purchasing something – as is usually the case with laws passed by Congress – it strips away the choice that we have to not do something, which in and of itself is still a restriction. I realize that there’s a bit of dubiousness in the constitutionality of forcing someone to buy health insurance. The Democrats will claim that under the commerce clause, they have this power. After all, if states can require drivers to have car insurance, why would the government not have power to mandate the purchase of health insurance? I’d argue this by calling it an inappropriate generalization, but I usually find logic to be lost on Democrats.


And anyway, I’m not writing this to argue why a mandate is unconstitutional (I’m no lawyer), nor why all arguments in favor are logically invalid (I’m only a logician by hobby, and I simply do not have the patience). Instead, I’m going to speculate on what I see as the future of our economic liberty should this be considered perfectly allowable. After all, once Congress has gotten away with something once, there’s no doubt that they’ll try to get away with it again.


With that in mind, I’d like to propose a list of future economic mandates of which some, most or all will be imposed upon the American people. With each is the warped and twisted reasoning that will be used to maintain that these are for right and necessary.


All Americans must purchase an American made automobile. By American made, I don’t simply mean manufactured here. I mean a car built by a company whose headquarters are firmly footed in the U.S. After all, (Union card carrying) Americans build these cars. Purchasing anything but will wreak an immense level of havoc on the economy. If the market share of GM, Ford and Chrysler are allowed to shrink, this could force people out of jobs. If they have no jobs, how will the purchase the medical insurance that’s mandated upon them?


On second thought, let’s just change it to “buy American.” Completely. Everything. Why not?


Require everyone to deposit a certain percentage of disposable income into a government run retirement account. Disposable income is defined as all money still remaining after the payment of all bills. I like to call it Social Security doubleplus. This will serve two purposes. First, it will allow Americans to save money for retirement, something at which we’ve proven terribly inept. It will stop people from wasting money that they should be saving up on things like going to Vegas for a weekend. Being in the government’s hands, the money is perfectly safe (trust me). Secondly, the mandate will make the tax forms so complex that companies which prepare tax returns will have to hire more employees to make up for the loss of efficiency. It’s a jobs bill!


All Americans must own a dog or cat. There are so many stray animals wandering around, that this will save those poor creatures from a life of misery. It will also provide much needed stimulus to veterinarians and manufacturers of pet food and toys around the country. And since all purchased products must be American made, it’s a perfect fit.


All utility bills must be paid immediately, before the money that should go towards them can be used for any other purchase. Gas, electric and oil suppliers are not the kindest people. It would be dangerous to allow a world to exist in which people have their heat or electricity turned off due to failure to pay.


If people don’t pay their utility bills, companies cannot turn those services off. Just in case.


All Americans must buy X number of books per year (with X to be redefined every year). Let’s face it, Americans are falling behind and getting dumber. Constantly. This will provide the people of this country with much needed mental stimulation, allowing us to retake our place in the world.


All Americans must finish high school, in a publicly funded high school. See above about education.


All Americans who finish high school must go to college. Ibid.


No one may have a credit card. There’s a definite credit card crisis in this country. People are spending more than they have. The only way to curtail this is to completely eliminate the solitary cause: credit cards.


I have no doubt that there are many Democrats out there (well meaning? I can’t say) who would think that some of these ideas are perfectly reasonable and good for society. These are probably the same people who argue that health insurance mandates are based on sound, logical ground.


 I’m not one for slippery slope arguments. Generally, such concerns are not based on any particular evidence. Congress has shown, however, that often the slope is very slippery, and the only ones sliding down it are the American people.