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General Welfare clause of the Constitution(6 posts)

General Welfare clause of the ConstitutionBikingViking
Feb 6, 2002 12:58 PM
I know the "general welfare" clause in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is used by those to continue a growing trend of politicians (Republicans AND Democrats)spending other peoples money on pet projects.

I find the words of James Madison rather enlightening on this subject.

"With respect to the words, "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the details of power connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution . . . [that] was not contemplated by the creators.
Letter to James Robertson, April 20, 1831 (Madison, 1865, IV, pages 171-172)"

BTW, if you think I am annoying in cyberspace, just ask my wife what I am like in person! :o>

Disagreement over the meaning of the General Welfare Clausescottfree
Feb 6, 2002 1:27 PM
is as old as the Republic itself. See long dispute between Hamilton and Jefferson. See creation of two political parties after Washington. It's a little daunting to think a selected quote from Hamilton cited in an obscure road bike forum 200 years later could ultimately be taken as the last word on so ancient a controversy!
and the 10 AmendDog
Feb 6, 2002 1:33 PM
"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."

What would the 10th Amendment mean if the General Welfare clause were read to mean the Feds can do anything they want?

Not the 10th Amendment! Sheesh!scottfree
Feb 6, 2002 1:43 PM
Providing for the general welfare is a delgated power. That is not in doubt. Nor has any serious commentator I'm aware of ever suggested it means the Feds can do anything they want. What it MEANS is that, if we are to have a nation and not just a chaotic collection of state fiefdoms (vide The Articles of Confederation) there are certain general purposes to which a national government must lend itself.

The real question we have is: What are those purposes?

The 10th Amendment has long been the refuge of the Radical Right, but in serious discourse their contentions don't hold water. In reality, the federal/state issue was settled long ago. I seem to recall a war that revolved around it a little bit.
Not the 10th Amendment! Sheesh!BikingViking
Feb 7, 2002 6:03 AM
What concerns me about all of this is the growing size of the federal government. In my opinion, it has grown beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned. We have an obligation, as a society, to look after those that CAN'T look after themselves, not those that won't.

I just hate seeing our tax dollars go down a rat hole. The examples of waste abound (Department of Defense included! Don't get me going about those stupid Army berets!) :o) THEN, on top of all that, these @#$% politicians don't want to give us OUR money back.

It is so much easier for them to steal more money from us than to do the good work and TRULY eliminate waste in government spending.

My spleen is now vented!
Disagreement over the meaning of the General Welfare ClauseBikingViking
Feb 7, 2002 5:54 AM
I agree! That age-old difference of opinion will not be settled here. It's just interesting for me to read a diversity of opinion on things I find interesting. Just when I think I know it all, along comes a thought provoking viewpoint.