General Question

Captain_Tetanus's avatar

We all know this country has some pretty big problems, what do you all think about a new bill of rights to be added to the old one.

Asked by Captain_Tetanus (205points) March 28th, 2008

I mean we keep the old one but we add a whole new one to it. I think the foundations of the USA were built on the idea of change, and I think rather than just adding more ammndments a new bill would signify another major cahnge by the people similar to the one that started this country. I would like to see issues such as the guarantee of affordable health care for all, a good education for all, the right to clean air, clean water, and clean food. Maybe smething about excessive advertising, privacy, . What would you like to see?

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20 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

I think you have to distinguish between rights that mean something cannot be taken away from you and rights that mean that someone else is required to spend money on you.

For instance, the right to free speech means that nobody can prevent you from having whatever opinions you want and expressing them. That doesn’t cost anyone but you money. Your “rights” to affordable health care and a good education, on the other hand, mean someone has to pay for that health care and education, which imposes a burden on other people that’s qualitatively different than the one imposed by the right to free speech.

(And excessive advertising? Turn off the @#$% TV, and you’re 9/10 of the way there!)

soundedfury's avatar

We have the 9th amendment, what else do you need? I mean, besides the Supreme Court to enforce it.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Adding amendments is the avenue that the Founding Fathers envisioned for making change. Whether you package it as another Bill of Rights (which is a pretty terrible idea) doesn’t matter, it is still “adding more ammndments [sic].”

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

From wikipedia:
In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the name by which the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known. They were introduced by James Madison to the First United States Congress in 1791 as a series of constitutional amendments and were ratified in 1791, coming into effect on December 15, 1791, when they had been approved by three-fourths of the States. The Bill of Rights limits the powers of the Federal government of the United States, protecting the rights of all citizens, residents and visitors on United States territory.

The Bill of Rights protects the freedoms of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom of assembly; the freedom to petition; and prohibits unreasonable search and seizure; cruel and unusual punishment; and compelled self-incrimination. The Bill of Rights also prohibits Congress from making any law respecting establishment of religion and prohibits the Federal Government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. In Federal, criminal cases, it requires indictment by grand jury for any capital or “infamous crime,” guarantees a speedy public trial with an impartial jury composed of members of the state or judicial district in which the crime occurred, and prohibits double jeopardy. In addition, the Bill of Rights states that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,”[1] and reserves all powers not granted to the federal government to the citizenry or States. Most of these restrictions were later applied to the states by a series of decisions applying the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was ratified in 1868, after the American Civil War.

I have not personally lost my freedom of speech or press, but the corporate media owned “newscasters and pundits” have. I would love to hear what some of them really want to say on the air.
The freedom of assembly and petition have not been lost, yet. You bet your ass that if there is another attack or catastrophic event, that S 1959 will be pushed through the Senate. I feel freedom of religion will be gone too.
The right to a public and speedy trial is gone thanks to the Military Commissions Act.
10th Ammendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Must I even comment?

Its clear to me that we do not need any more Bill of Rights, we need to protect the ones that we have(had) first.

soundedfury's avatar

The 10th Amendment protects the rights of states, not of individuals. It is to ensure that a federal government would not trample on the rights of the states and the people within those states to govern themselves, except where the Constitution explicitly gives the federal government jurisdiction (like interstate commerce).

It is, effectively, a reinforcement of the prevailing force behind the Constitution, namely that the federal government would be limited to enumerated powers and that, absent enumeration, the states and the people retain their rights and power.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

So how come the DEA can over-rule a states approval for use of medical marijuana?

soundedfury's avatar

The Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8) gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, which historically has included a wide range of activities. The 1942 Wickard v. Filburn clarified that the power to regulate continues to exist even if the activity in question is private in nature but affects interstate commerce.

The power to regulate does is not abrogated simply because the activity is not legal. Gonzales v. Raich, the case that allowed federal prosecution of medical marijuana users, correctly states that private use of marijuana can be regulated by the federal government under the Commerce Clause and that the Supremacy Clause allows federal law to trump state law.

Granted, I think the federal government’s position on marijuana is tenuous, they clearly have the constitutional power to regulate its use.

Captain_Tetanus's avatar

Okay, I do not turn on the @#$% TV, I get one channel and it sucks. However, there are ads on billboards and buses and magazines, on bananas, in schools, on jackets and bags and shorts and people’s butts, and before movies in theatres, and in packages, and friggin everywhere. I think we as people have a right not to be turned into consumers. We’re people but little kids are identifying themselves with companies. It becomes increasingly more difficult to just be a person.

As for rights that cost money, people work almost half of each year just to pay taxes! Where is that money going? If my governemtn is taking that much of my money I expect something for it! I’m not asking for a free ride, I’m not poor, but I can’t afford a reasonable health and dental insurance. I don’t expect free health care, I just expect it to be reasonably priced. Instead it is an industry. If people are profiting from making us sick and the medical industry profits from keeping us sick why should they want us to be healthy?

I guess my thought here was revolution of some kind. I’d love other ideas that are actually possible, but instead all people have done here is knock the idea, or give me wikipedia definitions of what the old one is. I’m well aware new ammendments can be made, but they can also be removed. I just don’t feel what we currently have is doing the job anymore. There are way to many blockages in place to get new ammendments passed. With all of our current rights is there anyone here who doesn’t feel powerless to stop the awful things currently happening?
I’d like to see a movement like the hippie movement of the 60’s but one that isn’t sated with drugs and free lovin. One that goes to Washiongton and enforces the changes that need to take place. I’d like to see changes made before the country falls apart.
Evil greedy men are in power now. We are a country of rebels. Can’t we do anything? Can’t we come up with a good plan and follow through with it? I don’t want anarchy, I want change. I want real change that actually make s a difference. Any suggestions my negative friends?

Angelina's avatar

The first thing to do is to make sure you vote. And it’s important not just to be informed about which presidential candidate will address your concerns and holds policies you agree with, but also to know who is running in your congressional district for U.S., state, and local seats. These representatives have a lot of impact on your daily life.

Also, you can keep your representatives accountable. They have email address and phone numbers, and their aides and staff do check these and will talk to you. You can, furthermore, contact your party’s governing body with any concerns. They do listen, especially the people in state government.

Now that elections are coming up, there are fundraisers, speeches and events all over the place. You can meet your representatives at these events (they WANT to schmooze with you) and speak with them directly.

trainerboy's avatar

Health care is already a right just the right to like or not like your job or neighbor. What you are speaking of is entitlements rather than rights. We all have the right to buy a car but the Billof Rights does not guarantee that we have one.
I believe the rights we have are perfect to promote opportunity for all. Opportunity is not a guarantee, but the right to pursue if we choose.

hossman's avatar

Our Founding Fathers were correct and farsighted when they made it very difficult to enact amendments to the Constitution, to prevent changes to the Constitution based on popularity alone. They knew that every “right” necessarily creates a responsibility, and that overbroad creation of “rights” will impinge on the rights of others.

the poop master wishes to have a “right” to not have advertising in his presence. That would deny the “right” of someone else to view that advertising. That would deny the “right” of businesses to advertise. the poop master doesn’t wish to create a new right, he wishes to deny rights we already have.

And what is “reasonably priced” health care? Do you have a car? A big screen TV? Been on vacation in the last 5 years? Purchase nonessentials like bottled water, alcohol, tobacco, premium coffee, luxury foods and clothing? (I’m speaking rhetorically, tpm, not to you individually). Perhaps it is a question of spending priorities. When you say “reasonably priced,” a lot of people mean inexpensive. They want inexpensive premiums, but if they have a very expensive medical condition, they want it fully covered. You get what you pay for.

And who is going to pay for this reasonably priced medical coverage? Well, if by reasonably priced, you mean government subsidized, then other taxpayers are going to pay for it. Which will increase their taxes, and make their own premiums less affordable.

What is wrong with health care being an industry? Who do you want putting their hands inside your body, someone motivated to do a good job so they can have a good income, or some bureaucracy, not dependent on profits, who could care less?

And what if something goes wrong? Everyone who even thinks they’ve been wronged wants to sue their insurance company or healthcare provider. If we put health care in the hands of the government, where do you think your lawsuit will go? And if doctors are still liable for their actions, but unable to profit from them, what intelligent person would stay in that business? Doctors are bright people, create an unprofitable or unmotivating environment, and they will go do something else for a living. Part of our current shortage of doctors has to do with the government interference through Medicare that doctors are getting tired of. If medicine was some great scam or great profit center, then why aren’t more Americans willing to be doctors? Why do we have a shortage? Why do we have to import doctors from other countries?

Poser's avatar

As chris’s post says, “The Bill of Rights limits the powers of the Federal government of the United States, protecting the rights of all citizens.”

What you are suggesting is the opposite of the bill of rights. Your “rights” would increase the power of the federal government (which is far larger already than the framers intended, and the cause of many of the problems you mention).

hossman's avatar

Right on, poser.

cwilbur's avatar

See, I don’t mind the notion of adding more rights. I’d be happier if the right to privacy was somehow codified, for instance.

And yes, I think the government spends a lot of my tax money on things that I don’t approve of. However, adding things to the government’s budget that I approve of is not the solution. Requiring the government to pay for medical care for all citizens—because that’s what “the right to affordable health care” will translate to—won’t decrease taxes at all.

That said, healthcare is a problem, and it works like this:

Emergency rooms can’t turn people away. People with no money or screwed-up priorities or both know that they won’t get turned away from the emergency room, use the emergency room as a substitute for preventive or maintenance health care, and don’t pay. Hospitals charge exorbitant rates for the emergency room, so that the few uninsured people who do pay make up for the many that don’t and for the insured that get the services at cost. Eventually the hospital realizes it’s losing significant money in its emergency department and closes the emergency room down.

So what do we do about this? No money or no insurance, no treatment, period? Mandatory insurance? Government-provided health care?

hossman's avatar

The right to privacy is codified. God knows I had to learn all of that caselaw and the statutes based on the constitutional right to privacy in law school. No explicit codification could possibly keep up with the changing effects of technology on privacy issues.

cwilbur, there are certainly huge problems with health care today. This is unavoidable, no system this important and complex can possibly be devoid of problems or unfairness. The difficulty is that any effort to iron out one wrinkle creates another one elsewhere. The beauty of market approaches are that in the long run, over the whole system, they tend to be more efficient and unbiased than any bureaucracy. Our present health care system, warts and all, is still the envy of the world. I say we don’t try to make a systemic modification until there is a system elsewhere that Americans are rushing to as a superior system. While there is some medical tourism to Canada and Mexico for specific items, no one is emigrating to those countries for their entire medical systems. We have this incessant need to fix what ain’t necessarily broken. Nothing is perfect, but this is better than most.

trainerboy's avatar

@hossman- well said and I agree. If people think health care is a mess now, wait until a bureaucrat starts implementing medical decisions based on budgets and politics. Once it gets in the hands of government, waht little accountability that is in teh current system will go out the window and we will be subject to faceless, nameless, bureaucrats whose main motivation will be to secure their job, not efficiency in the medical system.

cwilbur's avatar

@hossman: the problem is that the current health care system is not operating as a fair market because there are market participants (insurance companies, large corporations who negotiate health insurance deals that their employees then have the option of taking or leaving, destitute patients) who can force the actions of other market participants and because the actual costs are paid by several different people. Because the market is being manipulated, it cannot produce the most efficient result; and because it’s being manipulated, it’s not going to self-correct until the manipulation goes away. Faith in fair markets is a fine thing, and fair markets usually correct themselves with ruthless efficiency; but this is not a fair market, and one of the responsibilities of government even in the most libertarian construction is to keep markets fair.

I don’t think that socialized medicine is the right answer; but I think, given the brokenness of the system, something needs to be done, and I think government has the authority and the responsibility to do something.

Over the whole system, the average is probably better than anywhere else. But that has more to do with the excellent quality of care available to the very wealthy and the very well-insured than with any especially humane treatment to the impoverished or unemployed. And “in the long run” doesn’t really help people here and now when hospitals are struggling to make ends meet because of the poor people using the emergency room as the free medical clinic of last resort.

And the reason people are not rushing to Canada or Sweden for the health care system is because it’s part of a package deal. If I could declare myself a Canadian citizen solely for the sake of health care, you better believe I would. But the package deal isn’t sufficiently better for me to forsake the life I have here.

@trainerboy: “Faceless, nameless bureaucrats whose main motivation is to secure their jobs, not efficiency in the medical system,” “implementing medical decisions based on budgets and politics”—this is a near-perfect description of dealing with a health insurance company. There is no accountability now; you get the insurance company your employer chose, who are accountable to your employer and not you, and you get what they give you; unless you have no health insurance, and then you can’t afford medical treatment anyway.

trainerboy's avatar

I agree and putting the government in charge will make it worse.

hossman's avatar

@cwilbur: I leave the evaluation of the Canadian health care system to the Canadians. Do a quick search of any Canadian newspaper, medical journal or general periodical and you will see article after article complaining about their health care. I agree, it is a total package, but there are many Canadians who choose to continue to reside in Canada but come to the U.S. for health care, paying cash (as their nationalized health care won’t cover treatment here) for services they could get for free at home. The reason? The 2–6 year wait for procedures available here in 30 days.

I agree there are problems with the current system, derived from the interference of government subsidized health care like Medicare and Medicaid, and the market suppression of employer subsidized medical insurance. If I can find it, I saw an excellent treatise a month or two ago by several economists asserting that the expectation in this country of health insurance as an employer paid benefit is a large part of what is wrong with health care in this country, as it DOES limit the influence of market forces by decoupling supply from demand. If I can find it, I will post it here.

A large part of the problem with health care is that as a nation, we expect Cadillac health care on a Kia premium. The article I mentioned suggested mandatory catastrophic health care insurance, selected competitively by the individual, with routine medical treatment costs to be either paid by the individual, or insured by the individual. Insurance would be more competitive if insurers had to pursue the individual rather than being able to stay in the industry by catering to a few large employers. Further, by removing most of the cost of routine care even from those persons able to pay for it, we permit, even encourage, overconsumption of medical services, such as using emergency rooms for routine care.

Even with the present system, I would rather have employer accountable insurance rather than government health care, as it is still far easier to sue an insurance company than to sue the government. And if they adopt completely nationalized health care, you can be sure that the doctors now working for the government bureaucracy rather than themselves (and you can bet a lot of them will become lawyers, real estate agents and stockbrokers before that happens) will demand they be indemnified for liability by the government. So the next guy with his hands around your beating heart is likely to be overworked, underpaid, getting little personal satisfaction from his job, and can’t be sued. Ask the Canadians and English how well that has worked out for them. They’re here in our waiting rooms.

jvgr's avatar

This country wasn’t founded on the concept of change.

The constitution states that the federal governements role is to provide for the common defence and general welfare of the citizens.

I think it’s more important to work within the documents that exist to make the change we want rather than fighting for changing a document.

plethora's avatar

Nah…..too many liberals and Democrats now. We were more of one mind in 1776, or thereabouts.

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