Yoshi Tsurumi’s April 16 article, “Supreme Court is destroying U.S. democracy,” shows the writer’s lack of understanding of the American system. No one is saying health care isn’t a mess, but the protest is against President Barack Obama’s plan that, in effect, makes it a crime, punishable by a fine, not to buy something.
The broccoli argument fits. The president claims he has the power to force his plan on Americans because the government regulates interstate commerce. The counter-argument is that it is one thing to regulate commerce and quite another to force people to take part in that commerce whether they want to or not.
This is a very serious and historic question with regard to the power of the government over individuals.
If the [requirement to purchase health insurance] is allowed to stand, the government could claim later that it has the right to force people to buy certain brands of products or food items — possibly to support homegrown industries that could not stand alone but which the government did not want to appear to be subsidizing.
While the idea of requiring people to buy broccoli is silly, what if it were required that a family’s first car be an American brand regardless of the quality, compared with that of a foreign company? Could not the same rule also be applied to phones, televisions or DVD players?
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.