Blog: My Unusual Road of Life....
by kerminator

The “general welfare clause.”

** Two words in the clause hold the key. General and common. The phrase simply means that any tax collected must be collected to the benefit of the United States as a whole, not for any partial or sectional (i.e. special) interests. Yet it has been used for years to get money and privilages to certain select groups! **

Date:   10/11/2018 12:00:46 PM   ( 25 mon ) ... viewed 464 times

The General Welfare Clause is not about writing checks

By: Mike Maharrey|
Published on Aug 28, 2014, |

Categories: Constitution, Constitution 101, General Welfare Clause

The General Welfare Clause is not about writing checks

When challenged on the federal government’s constitutional authority to create welfare programs, meddle in education or run a national healthcare system, progressives will almost always appeal to the “general welfare clause.”

Huffington Post columnist Paul Abrams demonstrated this line of thinking in a March 9, 2011, piece.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 grants the United States government the unqualified and unlimited power to raise and spend money, see the examples, {which has become a huge, complicated and very controversial more so than the norm}, to provide health care for the elderly (or for everyone); provide old-age pension; build roads, bridges, train tracks, airports, electric grids, libraries, swimming pools, housing; educate our children, re-train the unemployed, provide pre-school and daycare; fund public health projects; invest in and conduct basic research; provide subsidies for agriculture; save the auto industry; create internets (sic); and, yes, Tea Party Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), even provide emergency aid from natural disasters, and so forth. All subsumed under the authority to spend for the general welfare.

The term “general welfare” actually appears twice in the Constitution. We find it first in the preamble and then in the opening line of Article I Sec. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;

These words create something of a dilemma. Either the founders didn’t really intend to create a general government of limited powers, or the general welfare clause doesn’t really mean unlimited federal authority to do things beneficial to the nation as a whole.

The fact that the framers followed up the general welfare clause in Article I Sec. 8 with specifically enumerated powers indicates the latter – a qualification on federal authority. If they had intended Congress should have the power to do virtually anything and everything to promote the general welfare, they wouldn’t have bothered to include specific powers.

James Madison made this very point in a letter to James Robertson dated April 20, 1831.

With respect to the two words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

Yes, promoting the general welfare falls among the responsibilities of the federal government, but it must do so within the scope of the specific powers delegated.

During the ratification debates, anti-federalists who opposed the Constitution voiced fears that people like Abrams would come along and assert that the term “general welfare” granted unlimited power to the federal government. Supporters of the Constitution swore it would not. Even Alexander Hamilton, the framer most in favor of expansive federal power, conceded as much in Federalist 83.

This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.

Madison specifically addressed the anti-federalist fears in Federalist 41.

For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

Madison further illuminated the intended meaning of the general welfare clause in a letter to Edmund Pendleton dated 1793, pointing out that the phrase was lifted from the Articles of Confederation and was intended to retain its meaning in the new Constitution.

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated, is copied from the old articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers, and it is a fact that it was preferred in the new instrument for that very reason as less liable than any other to misconstruction.

So the words general welfare must mean something other than a grant of power for Congress to do whatever it pleased. What exactly did the framers mean?

Two words in the clause hold the key. General and common. The phrase simply means that any tax collected must be collected to the benefit of the United States as a whole, not for partial or sectional (i.e. special) interests. The federal government may promote the general welfare or common good, but it must do so within the scope of the powers delegated and without favoritism.

# by Mike Maharrey

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky.
See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty. You can visit his personal website at MichaelMaharrey.com and like him on Facebook HERE


Blog note:
The General Welfare Clause - has become a political plum is a much-overused giveaway program with a guaranteed lifetime re-election program for those members in Congress who misuse it!

Add This Entry To Your CureZone Favorites!

Print this page
Email this page
DISCLAIMER / WARNING   Alert Webmaster


CureZone Newsletter is distributed in partnership with https://www.netatlantic.com


Contact Us - Advertise - Stats

Copyright 1999 - 2020  curezone.com

0.094 sec, (2)

Back to blog!
 
Add Blog To Favorites!
 
Add This Entry To Favorites!

Comments (25 of 176):
Re: Critical Think… #2694… 36 d
Re: Who are you? mygeeksh… 43 d
Re: Organize Your … jack1… 47 d
Re: 10 Most Danger… newme… 49 d
Re: Stories to fue… Paul0… 49 d
Re: Critical Think… Symon… 71 d
Re: What is a Mira… Sandy… 85 d
Re: Critical Think… kermi… 85 d
Re: Critical Think… Carlo… 3 mon
Re: 10 Most Danger… noahw… 3 mon
Re: What is a Mira… Sandy… 4 mon
Re: Washington Post kater… 4 mon
Re: Organize Your … jackd… 5 mon
Re: The Gift Of Fo… freyk… 5 mon
Re: Critical Think… Sandy… 5 mon
Re: God's kind of … Sandy… 6 mon
Re: Stand against … Sandy… 6 mon
Re: The Ministry O… North… 6 mon
Re: 10 Most Danger… willi… 7 mon
Re: ‘þetta reddast… lucih… 8 mon
Re: Organize Your … noahw… 8 mon
edu #263097 8 mon
Re: Don't follow f… liqyt… 8 mon
Re: Thirsty for th… Maria… 9 mon
Re: What is the su… steel… 9 mon
All Comments (176)

Blog Entries (12 of 1175):
The “general welfare clause.”  25 mon
The Hundred Year Lie  25 mon
Life is?? #340 Why or How di…  25 mon
Life is?? #339 Liver Flush  25 mon
Life is?? #338 is a series o…  25 mon
Life is?? #337 It is just a …  25 mon
Don't let fear dominate you  25 mon
Holiness will not produce a …  25 mon
The closest union in life  25 mon
Deception can be avoided  25 mon
It takes thinking  26 mon
Life is?? #336 Computers se…  26 mon
All Entries (1175)

Blogs by kerminator (6):
Uncommon Wisdom!!  43 d  (305)
Absolute Truth Some Wisdom an…  43 d  (282)
Ya’ think??  4 mon  (273)
Brain Boot Camp or Mindset Ma…  6 h  (214)
Southern Etiquette or life in…  62 d  (208)
Forgotten Words!  43 d  (114)

Similar Blogs (10 of 185):
install | microsoft…  by zack1998  17 d
Steps to Speed up Y…  by Codingwithtea  47 d
Buy Adjustable Comp…  by rackfinity102  49 d
Security Technology  by virginialucas  58 d
Video Marketing Bla…  by marketing2secrets  4 mon
Easy Power Plan Rev…  by horse6power  4 mon
Female Voice Over T…  by johnnydepp  8 mon
asinglemomstory  by loknathtechtro  10 mon
Research Paper  by kimberlyclarkson  11 mon
Tips to reset Hotma…  by jennyunderwood  15 mon
All Blogs (1,019)

Back to blog!
 

Black Walnut Tincture
Hulda Clark Cleanse Kits