Skip to comments.The "General Welfare" Clause, Justification for Obamacare?
Posted on 05/02/2012 7:10:35 PM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER
The federal government has assumed great responsibility to tax and provide for our citizens under the interpreted authority of the general welfare clause in the Constitution. Our Departments of Transportation, Education, Agriculture, and Interior are all justified by the general welfare clause. Most recently one of the main justifications of the Healthcare Act is that Congress has authority to create such a law because of the general welfare clause. But how Constitutional is this assumed authority? What would our founders say about this current view of federal power?
(Excerpt) Read more at krisannehall.com ...
The “general welfare clause”is not an independent source of federal governmental powers, nor can it be used to override the constitution’s plan for a fed govt of defined (and limited) powers. Imho, such references or appeals by mass media pundits only serves to reveal their lack of understanding of our country’s system of govt, history, and legal structure. Blame it on the schools? Either way, it confuses things rather than helping Imho.
Sec. 801. Congressional findings and declarations: controlled substances
The Congress makes the following findings and declarations:
(1) Many of the drugs included within this subchapter have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people.
(2) The illegal importation, manufacture, distribution, and possession and improper use of controlled substances have a substantial and detrimental effect on the health and general welfare of the American people.
If I recall correctly this clause says PROMOTE the general welfare. It doesn’t say PROVIDE it.
Promote the General Welfare of the US in no way sugests spending one cent on citizens as a payment for “welfare”!
I take it as a State Department function of words not dollars promoting the general welfare of the nation among foreign countries!
Maybe this would fit:
President BARACK OBAMA was invited to address a major gathering of the American Indian Nation in upstate New York.
He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing every Native American’s present standard of living. He referred to his time as a U.S. Senator and how he had voted for every Native American issue that came to the floor of the Senate.
Although President Obama was vague about the details of his plans, he seemed most enthusiastic and spoke eloquently about his ideas for helping his “red sisters and brothers.”
At the conclusion of his speech, the Tribes presented Obama with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, “Walking Eagle.”
The proud President Obama accepted the plaque and then departed in his motorcade to a fundraiser, waving to the crowds.
A news reporter later asked the group of chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to the President....
They explained that “Walking Eagle” is the name given to a bird so full of shit it can no longer fly.
Not an expert by any means, but I thought “general welfare” was widely seen as a statement against corruption and favoritism in government. It’s not about giving people stuff, it’s about honest government.
The “general welfare” is actually specifically defined in the text of the Constitution: It consists of the powers expressly granted to the government, and written down so everyone can see them, that exist in the text of the Constitution and its amendments.
The key word in the term “general welfare” in my opinion, is “general”. It is only general when it benefits all in some measure, as in applying a just and fair system of laws and regulations. It is not general when you disadvantage one group to the benefit of another. Redistribution of wealth in any form is not promoting the general welfare.
What’s the difference between welfare, and hog trapping?
remember the dems believe that they can change the meanings of words to suit their goals and they have done that over they past 5 decades.
"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. If the words obtained so readily a place in the "Articles of Confederation," and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted."
as I recall, “promote” was used in the preamble (which confers no powers on anybody) but “provide” appears in the spending clause (article 1 section 8). However, the supreme court has held that the latter does not empower the fed govt to spend on unconstitutional programs (not otherwise within the fed’s enumerated powers), see Butler v. US (1936) where the court overruled a fed agricultural program as not within the govt’s enumerated powers (even tho the court saw congress’ spending powers to be very broad insofar as its proper range of activities is concerned). In short, Madison wins this round and Jefferson loses. Or something like that. I’m in a hurry and always open to correction, and the Olde Gray Cell is getting a bit long in the tooth. (Ouch)
It simply provides a measure of whether the powers are being used as intended. It does not enumerate any power, and does not expand the scope of any enumerated power.
It means that the use of a power must be beneficial to all, not to one special interest group at the expense of everyone else.
Ha! Thanks. (Will The Colonel catch it, then?)
John Conyer has cited the “good and welfare clause” justification not long ago!
John Conyer has cited the “good and welfare clause” justification not long ago!
I apologize I have not studied, nor have the time to study, the statute you quoted from. Sorry. But I do see in it reference to “importation” — imports involve both international relations and commerce. These are two of the federal govt’s enumerated powers (and just happen to be two that have been broadly interpreted by the supreme court). These matters would probably provide constitutional authority for Congress to pass this law (or at least parts of it, again I have not read the statute). In short, these are 2 independent constitutional bases for legislation in this area to possibly be upheld, OK. The “general welfare’ language Congress often includes....because (as I previously noted, a recent post in this tread) .. the Supreme Court has said that Congress has very broad power to spend our money when it finds that the purpose is “for the general welfare.” So, this helps make the spending aspexts of the statute OK with the court, in case the law is taken up the judicial branch by somebody. However, the inclusion of this “general welfare” language does nothing, or should do nothing, to make the statute OK on its more fundamental level — that being: is it doing something within the federal govt’s constitutionally-enumerated powers In The First Place. I hope I have somehow managed to type something reasonably clear and helpful here. Best regards,
“The federal government has assumed great responsibility to tax and provide for our citizens under the interpreted authority of the general welfare clause in the Constitution. Our Departments of Transportation, Education, Agriculture, and Interior are all justified by the general welfare clause.”
Yet, somehow, such ideas were lost on the men who wrote and approved it, as well as their children.
In fact, the general welfare clause says almost the opposite. It states one of the purposes of the Constitution (”to promote the General Welfare”) and then establishes a constitution of LIMITED powers. In other words, limited government promotes the general welfare.
No one disputes Congress’s authority over imports. The expansive interpretation of the Commerce Clause - the substantial effects test - is the problem. If you accept the legitimacy of the controlled substances statute, then you have no constitutional basis for opposing federal control over education, the environment and health care.
Liberals are taking critical dollars away from the "provide" requirements and spending it on the "promote" requirements.
It’s really the “just because” clause!
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