Virginia’s tea partying Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has a new book out today: The Last Line of Defense: The New Fight for American Liberty. Here are ten of the most bizarre ideas advanced by this book:
1) Medicare Is ‘Despicable, Dishonest, and Worthy of Condemnation’
Cuccinelli quotes a story about an “elderly woman painfully huddled on a heating grate in the dead of winter . . . hungry and in need of shelter and medical attention.” It would be wrong, according to this tale, for a mugger to “walk up to you using intimidation and threats” in order to steal money to pay for the woman’s care. And so, this story concludes, it must also be wrong for government to use its power to tax and spend in order to provide for a sick woman’s needs:
What if instead of personally taking your money to assist the woman, I got together with other Americans and asked Congress to use Internal Revenue Service agents to take your money? . . . Don’t get me wrong. I personally believe that assisting one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets is praiseworthy and laudable. Doing the same by reaching into another’s pockets is despicable, dishonest, and worthy of condemnation.
2) Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and Food Stamps Are Deliberate Attacks On Americans’ Freedom
In what is already one of the most quoted lines in the book, Cuccinelli attacks the entire social safety net
One of [politicians'] favorite ways to increase their power is by creating programs that dispense subsidized government benefits, such as Medicare, Social Security, and outright welfare (Medicaid, food stamps, subsidized housing and the like). These programs make people dependent on government. And once people are dependent, they feel they can’t afford to have the programs taken away, no matter how inefficient, poorly run, or costly to the rest of society.
3) If We Don’t Tax People, They’ll Just Give All Their Money Away To Charity
“Your government will never love you,” Cuccinelli proclaims. Only “[c]hurches and charities can love you and nurture your soul.” So Social Security and Medicare are bad because they take money away that could go to charities that love you — “[i]f instead of spending all this money on social service programs, the government left all those dollars in the hands of the taxpayers, Americans would have more money to donate to private charities and churches.” It apparently does not occur to Cuccinelli that David Koch or Grover Norquist might do something other than fund a nationwide retirement and health care program if relieved of the need to pay taxes.
4) All Welfare Is Unconstitutional
“[P]ublic charity was never supposed to be a function of the federal government,” proclaims Cuccinelli, citing a single 1794 speech on the Constitution by James Madison. In reality, Madison led a minority faction during the early days of the Republic to shrink America’s power to govern itself more than the Constitution’s text permits. He lost.
5) Antitrust Law Is Unconstitutional
Cuccinelli also strongly implies that the Sherman Antitrust Act, which prevents monopolies, cartels and similar practices that allow wealthy corporations to exploit consumers, is unconstitutional — “For the first hundred years of our national existence, the Commerce Clause functioned just as Madison and the framers had expected. However, beginning with the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, Congress began asserting more affirmative power under the Commerce Clause.”