The words “provide for the common defense and general welfare” rank among the most abused phrases in the Constitution.Details
James Madison: â€œWith respect to the words â€œgeneral welfare,â€ 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.â€Details
With the nation in the midst of an economic crisis, many groups and individuals are questioning the massive spending and so-called economic stimulus bills recently passed by Congress. This includes bailouts and appropriations known as earmarks and pork-barrel spending. Since the constitutionality of federal spending is never part of the debate, we need to re-visit Congressâ€™ power to tax and spend.Details
For far too long, Congress has been violating the Constitution by passing legislation that gives them powers that were never authorized by the Constitution. In every case, those powers represent rights that were intended to be reserved to the states and to the people.
How has Congress committed these grievous violations and gotten away with it? By claiming that “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” is an enumerated power granted to Congress under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. It is not. It is a general statement describing the section content and justifying the need to levy taxes.
“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”
If “[to] provide for the general welfare” were intended to be an enumerated power, just that one statement alone would render the rest of the article unnecessary. It would allow Congress to do whatever it wanted, so long as it could be explained as being for the general welfare of the country. The framersâ€™ intent in writing the Constitution was to limit the power of government, not to grant it unlimited power.Details
From the Associated Press: A year after warning America of its addiction to oil, President Bush is expected to renew concerns about energy security in his State of the Union address. More… Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says the administration over the years has spent nearly $12 billion in developing new energy technologies. He cited the…Details