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General Welfare Clause

buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
Concerning spending for the public good, the Federal govt has been out of control since 1937. WWII starting interrupted the actual spending somewhat and conservative admins after the war limited spending somewhat as well. After the assassination of Kennedy, LBJ's "The Great Society" got the ball rolling and the climb up the graph charts has been astounding. This constant demand for more money to be spent contrary to the ideals of our founding will cause the failure of the American republic.


As long as General Welfare means whatever congress wants it to. We are doomed to failure.

Define: The General Welfare.

Comments

  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    "Define: The General Welfare."

    Well, to define it as used in the constitution, one has to understand the constitution, and the first thing to understand is that as far as government is concerned (and "the people" for that matter), the intent, and words of the constitution are COMPLETELY irrelevant.
    "general welfare" is the powers and responsibilities placed on the general (federal) government, as spelled out in the constitution. Those responsibilities can be found in article one, section eight of the constitution.
    The constitution does not say that congress can legislate for the general welfare- it says that they can TAX to provide for the general welfare. And the "general welfare" as far as the federal government is concerned, are those powers and responsibilities that are enumerated in the constitution. All other powers are reserved to the states. Of course, today it means that congress can do "generally" whatever they want, the text of the constitution notwithstanding.
    Since the inception of the constitutional government, the government has strayed from the text, but it blatantly got ignored with Lincoln, and has continued the downward spiral.
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sorry Salzo, not looking for a class on on the constitution. I did a poor job of asking my question. I want to find out where folks draw the line as to what should be included or excluded from "The General Welfare". Since the constitution has been ignored just wondering what the constituency "wants".

    For myself, social safety nets, "welfare checks", Unemployment insurance, govt. disability, SS and the like are out.

    I would include a full time military, certainly not the bloated behemoth we have today, but a standing army, yes. Even though the founders did not support standing armies, I think it is prudent as a defensive force.

    Everybody jump in.
  • pickenuppickenup Member Posts: 22,845 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    salzo,
    Good to see you posting.
    Hope you have been doing well.


    Now everyone jump in on buffalobo's question.
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    "For myself, social safety nets, "welfare checks", Unemployment insurance, govt. disability, SS and the like are out."

    Absolutely agree. THose items that you mention, are nowhere to be found in the constitution as areas that the federal governemtn is "allowed" to tax, or legislate. Any legislation or taxation in those areas are reserved to the states, or local governments. I would draw the line on where the constitution draws the line. If it does not say the federal government can tax or legislate in whatever the area that is being considered, then the feds cant do it. It would be nice to have legislators whose first consideration on a bill or tax is whether it is constitutional.
    Hey Pickenup- thanks for the hello, and hello back to ya.
  • Marc1301Marc1301 Member Posts: 31,902 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I say it originally meant to protect against foreign invaders via a 'military', and to provide a certain amount of infrastructure to enable the states to have free trade with one another.

    Beyond those 2 items I am at a loss for anything else under the Feds.
    All else should be up to the states.
    "Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here." - William Shatner
  • Don McManusDon McManus Member Posts: 22,937 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Article 1, Section 8 lists the powers of Congress that can be used to provide for the Common Defense and General Welfare of the United States.

    Defining General Welfare to include anything outside these enumerated Powers exceeds that which is Constitutionally permitted.
    Freedom and a submissive populace cannot co-exist.

    Brad Steele
  • Mr. PerfectMr. Perfect Member Posts: 62,897 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Agree with the above with the addition that a case can probably be made for federal maintenance of roads, interstates at the very least.
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    And fiery auto crashes
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    While sifting through my ashes
    Some will fall in love with life
    And drink it from a fountain
    That is pouring like an avalanche
    Coming down the mountain
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "General welfare", firstly, refers to the welfare of the people at large, in general, and not isolated or specific groups. Equinimity of benefit is the idea.

    Public funds, obtained through taxes and excise, are to be spent for the public at large.

    Welfare is the next term.

    Please seek a good reference on natural law for the appropriate consideration of "welfare".


    Enlighten us or not, but stick to the spirit of the thread. Looking for specifics Barzilla, not interested in philosophical on this one.
  • Don McManusDon McManus Member Posts: 22,937 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Congress has turned the General Welfare Clause into the Santa Clause, and Americans vote like children on Christmas morning.[xx(]
    Freedom and a submissive populace cannot co-exist.

    Brad Steele
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "General welfare", firstly, refers to the welfare of the people at large, in general, and not isolated or specific groups. Equinimity of benefit is the idea.



    No it doesnt. It refers to the welfare of the "united states". It is the general welfare of the states, united under the constitution, the general welfare being the federal powers and responsibilities AS SPECIFIED by the constitution.
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    quote:Originally posted by buffalobo
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "General welfare", firstly, refers to the welfare of the people at large, in general, and not isolated or specific groups. Equinimity of benefit is the idea.

    Public funds, obtained through taxes and excise, are to be spent for the public at large.

    Welfare is the next term.

    Please seek a good reference on natural law for the appropriate consideration of "welfare".


    Enlighten us or not, but stick to the spirit of the thread. Looking for specifics Barzilla, not interested in philosophical on this one.



    You are not making sense.

    If you do not know what "welfare" is , or is supposed to be, your questions are meaningless.


    Guess it must be you. The other posters got my "drift"(for lack of a better term). Define welfare as you wish, that is the point.

    I want to know where the posters stand before we discuss where we/they/us sit.

    If you don't like the format then start another thread.
  • Don McManusDon McManus Member Posts: 22,937 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The definition of 'General Welfare' is a false question.

    Article 1 Section 8 begins with:

    '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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.'

    It then goes on to list how Congress is empowered to accomplish this.

    The list includes the borrowing of Money, the regulation of Commerce with foreign nations and between the states, coin money, establish Post Offices and Post Roads, establish patent and copyright laws, establish courts, raise an army, provide and maintain a Navy, etc.

    Obviously the Common Defense is covered in the listing of powers and one can logically assume that the extent of provision for General Welfare is also covered.

    Therefore, engaging in a discussion as to what is meant by 'providing for the General Welfare of United States' outside the limitation imposed is a basic misinterpretation of the text and the context, and only serves to extra-Constitutionally empower the Federal Government.

    The powers of government regarding providing for the General Welfare are enumerated, and it is thus defined, regardless of what any personal or natural law definition may be.
    Freedom and a submissive populace cannot co-exist.

    Brad Steele
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ain't that a drag. Try to draw a few socialists in for an amusing round of whak-a-mole and the only ones who show up are constitutionalists and an annoying theologian. No fun arguing with those you agree with. Should have posted it in politics, more traffic.[:I][:o)]
  • Marc1301Marc1301 Member Posts: 31,902 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by buffalobo
    Ain't that a drag. Try to draw a few socialists in for an amusing round of whak-a-mole and the only ones who show up are constitutionalists and an annoying theologian. No fun arguing with those you agree with. Should have posted it in politics, more traffic.[:I][:o)]


    Sorry to disappoint ya Kevin.[:)]
    "Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here." - William Shatner
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Marc1301
    quote:Originally posted by buffalobo
    Ain't that a drag. Try to draw a few socialists in for an amusing round of whak-a-mole and the only ones who show up are constitutionalists and an annoying theologian. No fun arguing with those you agree with. Should have posted it in politics, more traffic.[:I][:o)]


    Sorry to disappoint ya Kevin.[:)]



    [:D]

    I am just glad there are some constitutionalists left.

    Learned I need more planning if I decide to go trolling.
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    quote:Originally posted by buffalobo
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "General welfare", firstly, refers to the welfare of the people at large, in general, and not isolated or specific groups. Equinimity of benefit is the idea.

    Public funds, obtained through taxes and excise, are to be spent for the public at large.

    Welfare is the next term.

    Please seek a good reference on natural law for the appropriate consideration of "welfare".


    Enlighten us or not, but stick to the spirit of the thread. Looking for specifics Barzilla, not interested in philosophical on this one.



    Sticking entirely to the thread. I wasn't distracted trying to "whack a mole".

    Got the first term, which you have not done.

    So you can go next....what does "welfare" mean ?


    1828 Noah Websters American Dictionary of the English Language. I found this(the definition not the dictionary) several years ago doing some research.

    quote:WEL'FARE, n. [well and fare, a good going; G. wohlfahrt; D. welvaard; Sw. valfart; Dan. velf?rd.]
    1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.
    2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applies to states.

    I believe #1 applies to the preamble and #2 applies to Article 1, Section 8. The preamble being a statement of goals and Article 1, Section 8 being limitations on the Federal govt.
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    I agree, "general welfare" is s worthy goal of human government, and Article 1, Section 8 provides for the use of public funds to help achieve it.


    I am not sure, however, that a dictionary compiled nearly 50 years after the constitution was written would be a reliable source for the terms.

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas2.asp


    So what would be a reliable source? What is your source and definition?

    Being of limited time and resources, what is the take away of Thomas's writings. I read lightly on the link. It will take my simple mind more time than I am willing to dedicate right now to churn through and give them fair consideration. So for me to participate further, get to your point.
  • buffalobobuffalobo Member Posts: 2,348 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    quote:Originally posted by buffalobo
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    I agree, "general welfare" is s worthy goal of human government, and Article 1, Section 8 provides for the use of public funds to help achieve it.


    I am not sure, however, that a dictionary compiled nearly 50 years after the constitution was written would be a reliable source for the terms.

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas2.asp


    So what would be a reliable source? What is your source and definition?

    Being of limited time and resources, what is the take away of Thomas's writings. I read lightly on the link. It will take my simple mind more time than I am willing to dedicate right now to churn through and give them fair consideration. So for me to participate further, get to your point.



    Takeaway is that the only real way to know what they were talking about is to read what they were reading in the areas of natural law, and God's law.

    It was their education, training, and chosen approach to government.

    Some framers went further in some directions, others went other ways, but they essentially stayed within the bounds of natural law theory.

    Aquinas was standard fare, and framed the ideas early on as to the reason and scope for government.

    Instead of general welfare, he opted for the term "common good", a classical measure or value.

    If it is not for the general, or common, and it is not good, it is not a proper thing to tax, and spend public monies to accomplish.

    So the issue, in the final analysis, is what natural law and God's law identified as comprising the "good" , if we are discussing the term "general welfare".

    It's just a matter of reasoning from the general to the specific, rather than the other way around, as is so often done in these forums.

    There were several major sources they were using at the time, google any of them under natural law and you will be in the ballpark.




    Thanks Barzilla, if you had made this post Monday evening we could have used the time since to discuss it. It has merit for me and that merit will demand further consideration.
  • salzosalzo Member Posts: 6,837
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    quote:Originally posted by salzo
    quote:Originally posted by Barzillia
    "General welfare", firstly, refers to the welfare of the people at large, in general, and not isolated or specific groups. Equinimity of benefit is the idea.



    No it doesnt. It refers to the welfare of the "united states". It is the general welfare of the states, united under the constitution, the general welfare being the federal powers and responsibilities AS SPECIFIED by the constitution.



    A different approach, but try putting that into shoe leather.

    It certainly differs from your approach, but it is the correct one, at least as far as the text of the constitution is concerned.The constitution says; '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; '
    It says nothing about "welfare of the people at large", or anything else that you mentioned.



    Government is never an end in itself, no one had in mind a situation where the government might prosper and the people perish.

    It is quite clear that you really have no idea what was the intent of those who ratified the constitution. I do not think you know WHO ratified the constitution. And I do not think you know WHY the federal government was created. "natural law", John Locke were certainly influential to the so called "founders", but to better understand THE CONSTITUTION, you should read the federalists, the anti-federalists, Elliots debates, and the tons of debate writings that were written during ratification. THese are much more on point. Locke is not only irrelevant for constitutional comprehension, but it is also detrimental, because it leads to philsophical musings that are completely off point. THe constitution is written in plain english, and is quite clear. If the reader is uncertain about parts of the text, consult a dictionary, consult the above sources mentioned, and leave LOcke for another topic.

    That's ridiculous.

    Any government spending must be for the benefit, the welfare, of the people.

    Not the government, it has no "welfare" to be promoted.

    YOu keep mumbling the "states" with "government"- which again clearly demonstrates that you do not understand who and why the constitution was ratified. TO get you started "United States" was not some artful term that was used to describe this land mass in North America that we live. THe term was used to describe "states" that "united" to create a central government to handle primarily defense and trade.It is important to understand that when the constitution refers to "the people", it is refering to the individual states.
    A "person" would identify himself as a "virginian", not as an "american". Properly understood "states" were countries unto themselves. THey did not create the federal government to give up their soveirgnty, but to deal with basically interstate, trade and defense issues that all of the states had in common. I know that today we consider ourselves "americans" first, but it has not always been that way.

    Such thinking Could then be extended to the national defense being solely provided for the safety of the government.
    No, it really can't.
    [xx(]
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