This past January, the House GOP caucus insisted that the session of Congress be launched with a reading of the Constitution. The member of Congress who led this idea into fruition was Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and he was also the first reader.
But at a town hall meeting that took place last week and was captured on YouTube, Goodlatte showed his pre-20th century view of the Constitution. At one point during the town hall presentation, Goodlatte displayed a pie chart to the audience showing the various programs that consume the federal budget, with Social Security and Medicare consuming the biggest sections. One constituent, referencing the pie chart, said that everything on the chart is unconstitutional. Goodlatte responded that he agrees, but that the courts keep ruling the opposite way:
CONSTITUENT: Everything that the federal government does on that pie chart is unconstitutional [...] If I violated my marriage contract the way the federal government violates the constitution I’d be in divorce court tomorrow!
GOODLATTE: I hope you’re not. Here’s the deal. You’re absolutely right! But you have one problem, the Supreme Court ruling that these programs are constitutional.
At another point, a different constituent made a similar point, saying that he couldn’t find Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security in the Constitution. Goodlatte agreed that the programs aren’t in the Constitution, but reiterated that the courts have stretched the document to say that these programs are allowed:
CONSTITUENT: I have three points I’d like you to elaborate on if you could. I’ve searched my Constitution for 20 years and I can’t find Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security in there. Those are forced on the American people by the courts. Now, we’ve all accepted that and American people have bought into that, but it’s unconstitutional simple as that, to me, I can’t find it –
GOODLATTE: Well, it’s not in the Constitution. The courts have stretched the Constitution to say its in the general welfare clause.
CONSTITUENT: So the courts are wrong, you can go back to Jefferson and check that –
GOODLATTE: Right, well we are where we are now.
It should be noted that Goodlatte voted, along with almost all House Republicans, for the GOP budget plan that would effectively privatize Medicare. Now we know why — he doesn’t think the health care system for seniors is constitutional in the first place. (HT: 2ndTCG YouTube account)