Friday, May 05, 2006

LIMITED GOVERNMENT?

With ballooning budgets, a gigantic new entitlement (prescription drug coverage), lack ok immigration law enforcement, and even a recent proposition to bribe Americans with "oil rebates" it is hard to see conservatism anywhere in government. Right Wing News comments on a recent article bemoaning this fact:

David Frum has written a gloomy piece for CATO about the future of conservatism. To make a long story short, he seems to think that Bush has put out the last sparks of Gingrich's Republican Revolution and it's all downhill from here.

John Hawkins quotes a portion of the article, which includes these lines :
Now I still continue to hope that the Republican Party will lean against these trends. But there’s a big difference between being the party of less government and a party of small government. It’s one thing to try to slow down opponents as they try to enact their vision of society into law. It’s a very different thing to have a vision of one’s own.

And the day in which we could look to the GOP to have an affirmative small-government vision of its own has I think definitively passed."

Hawkins then gives his commentary on what Mr Frum has said:

Here's the thing: George Bush may have followed Ronald Reagan, but the hearts of the GOP still belong to the Gipper -- at least on domestic issues. Although Bush has managed to revolutionize the way conservatives view foreign policy, conservatives have utterly rejected his, "big government Republicanism."

Of course, that hasn't always been apparent for a number of reasons. In 2000, Bush may have run as a, "compassionate conservative," but Republicans simply didn't understand that meant he'd be spending money like Ted Kennedy. Then in 2004, the election ended up being all about foreign policy, not big government.

But, today? Bush's domestic policy on issues like illegal immigration and spending are finally front and center and it's no coincidence that most polls, slanted to the left though they may be, show his approval rating in the low thirties.

The blog entry concludes with this point:

It's all cyclical and in my opinion, nothing short of a Balanced Budget Amendment of some sort will change that over the long haul. The good news? People are getting so upset with the way that Bush and Congress are spending money that we're getting to the point in the cycle where we may soon have a shot at getting spending controls enacted. That means those of us in the small government crowd may look like we're down for the count, but in reality, we're like Jason at Crystal Lake. Just when you think we're gone for good, we always find a way to spring back to life.

Commenters had a lot to say about this, including an extended discussion on the limitations of congressional power and the 10th amendment (this is quite long and has multiple quotes by me, for which I apologize in advance, but I think they were important points):
Another reason to consider George Allen in '08. He authored the balanced budget amendment.

"Taken together, I believe that my 3-point plan for the line-item veto, a balanced budget amendment, and a paycheck penalty will restore fiscal accountability and common sense to Washington. And, we will be better able to lower the tax burden on all Americans as well."

The "paycheck penalty" would prevent the members of Congress from getting paid if they fail to pass appropriations bills by the start of the fiscal year.
-by CavalierX

That doesn't mean Bush is the only Rockerfeller Republican out there. He has plenty of Republican comrades, especially in the Senate. But unfortunately, that's just the nature of the beast. You're going to have trouble getting Reagan Republicans elected in the most liberal states.
I just don't buy the notion that Reagan Republicans are tough to elect in liberal states, and I wish more Modern Republicans believed the same these days. Perhaps 1980 and 1984 ring a little bell?

Carter only won 7 states in 1980 (including the powerhouses of DC, Hawaii, and Rhode Island), and Mondale only won Minnesota and DC in 1984. Considering that God himself couldn't win DC as a Republican, it would appear that Americans developed quite a taste for conservatism between 1976 and 1984, wouldn't you say?

The problem since then is that so many of us have inexplicably decided that it couldn't happen again, hence the rise of the Big Government Republicans, and not coincidentally, extremely close elections.

What we don't need:

1. More weak-kneed, liberal Republicans who pay no attention to fiscal responsibility whatsoever.
2. Marriage Amendment.
3. Term Limits (we already have them for every elected office).
4. Line-Item Veto (the all-or-nothing method works just fine when Congress realizes that a President is quite happy to issue a veto here and there).

What we DO need:

1. Republicans with conviction, and quite frankly, balls (figuratively speaking). Reagan proved that they exist, even in tough times, and that they can and do win big.
-by roglewis


The GOP leadership has abandoned conservative principles and the majority of their own party. Unfortunately, regaining control seems impossible. Perhaps, conservatives should quit investing their hopes for change in the GOP. Throughout out history, political parties have died and new ones arose to take their place as the parties became un-responsive to the voters. Conservatives should strive to bring about a revival of our constitutional form of government and our moral foundations. Conservatives: examine the Constitution Party platform! If we all change our allegiance to a party that reflects our values, over time we can bring about real reform. It will take time and, initially, the Republicans will lose power, but I believe that such an occurence will not make a great deal of difference in how we are governed at this time. Let's face it, once you get past the election year rhetoric, there really isn't much difference when it comes down to legislative or executive action between Republicans and Democrats. For the past 6 years the Democrats and their willing allies in the antique media have controlled the agenda in government, even as conservatives have delivered the votes to the GOP, hoping in their empty promises.

-by Riccola


I read that David Frum article the other day and it was certainly depressing. Part of Frum's argument is that there are a number of political issues that would have to align themselves in order for Republicans to enact a true 'small government' policy, and that this alignment existed in the 1990's but has since passed us by. I tend to agree with him.

-Retiring Baby Boomer's are going to want their Social Security, and they'll be wiling to tax the rest of us in order to get it.

-Three decades of liberal education in public schools and universities is going to catch up with us. The post 9/11 world will bring more young voters to the table, and young voters will increasingly be willing ot look towards the government for answers.

-The War On Terror will be never-ending and will afford politicians an excuse to continue to expand and consolidate federal power.

-Widespread acceptance in both parties of the "deficits don't matter" doctrine will keep us from enacting any true fiscal restraint.

-The emergence of China as a viable economic force will hamper free markets. In part, because China itself is not a free market, and in part because our politicians will feel the need to "do something" about China.

-Failure of the Repubicans to represent small-government constituents will lead to these constituents leaving the party, with the end-result being increaseed Democratic influence in Congress and the White House.

I agree with John Hawkin's that advocates for small government will always exist and will always fight for their beliefs, but Frum makes a valid argument that from here on out, it will be an uphill battle. I'd recommend reading Frum's entire column on this issue.
-by President Friedman


"I agree with John Hawkin's that advocates for small government will always exist and will always fight for their beliefs, but Frum makes a valid argument that from here on out, it will be an uphill battle."
When hasn't it been an uphill battle? The entirety of human history has been a struggle between people who want power and those who want independence, and it's been no different in this country since day one...only a third of American colonists wanted independence from the British Throne.

I still think there's a lot to be optimistic about both domestically and globally.

- Contrary to your belief about young voters, the trend is for them to be more conservative than their parents. And if anything this age of cynicism ought to teach them to be more self-reliant.

- We've dealt with and overcome the specter of government war powers before, and under much worse circumstances. Lincoln suspended parts of the Constitution during the Civil War...how is Bush enforcing the legal and Constitutional PATRIOT Act worse?

- China has a long and storied history of government implosion, and more likely than not it's going to catch up with them as they keep trying to mix the oil and water of capitalism and communism.

- And there's no real evidence that the GOP is going to split and hand lasting power to the Democrats. The conservative wing of the party will pull the moderates back to the right (just like what's starting to happen now) instead of bolting and giving us a repeat of 1992.
-by MikeM


There's no need for campaign finance reform, theres just need for the government to be made smaller and have less power. If the government has less power and less money, the temptation for corruption and campaign finance fraud and violations will be greatly reduced. There is no law that will remove the temptation and thus actual occurrence of campaign finance excesses. And nothing will stop the violations of existing law like President Clinton and others engaged in ... nothing except removing the reasons for the temptation.

I agree with Cav's quote. A line-item veto (which would require careful wording and a constitutional amendment), balanced budget (again constitutional amendment), and the final nail is to remove the paycheck from these men until they do their job.

This is an uphill struggle, and it always will be. We're fighting against sinful human nature and greed, the love of money and the love of power. That's something that is the battle of mankind until the end of time, and it's always a worthy battle.
-by Christopher_Taylor


I do not believe Conservatism is over, nor is it close. I also do not believe that Reagan Republican have a hard time getting elected in liberal states.

Liberals can appreciate the truth. We have a bunch of stupid senators and some stupid people in congress that worry more about getting re-elected than what is best for the country.

Just what is best for country? Tell the truth. Let the chips fall where they may, but don't be afraid to answer any question. "I don't know" is a justifable answer...when you actually don't!

God, what I would do to support an honest politian.
-by Rosemary

>t's all cyclical and in my opinion, nothing short of a Balanced Budget Amendment of some sort will change that over the long haul.
No, what is going to change it is this:

1. Flat tax of 15% with a repeal of the 16th amendment or a new amendment as part of the agenda which can be passed after everyone enjoys the results of the flat tax, or with it, as politically viable.

2. Privatization of social security and medicare/aid along with constitutional recognition that such programs are not constitutional and can never again be created or funded by government.

3. These two will result in a huge surplus, pass bill that says that we must cut taxes whenever there is a surplus.
-by EconomicLiberty

And do we also agree that voters vote for politicians so that they will get something in return?
Correct.
Maybe you didn't really mean "power" when you spoke about what's the problem with politics, but some kind of procedural aspect of our particular brand of democracy that is at fault. But to say that power is the problem with politics is like saying hydrogen is the problem with water.
I'll try to clarify. It isn't power, but the abuse of their power. Take agriculture, for instance. The federal government subsidizes a number of agricultural industries, but the government cannot subsidize anything unless it takes money from other people. As much as I want farmers to succeed, changes in our culture over time require that people must adjust. I know people who used to be fishermen who gave up that job because money could not be made in that business.

Politicians have one primary motive: to get re-elected. And people who receive government money (for whatever reason) will elect those politicians so that they can continue to get that money. However, there are other people who have money taken away from them to give to those other people. The govenment cannot make money, it receives money through taxes

Agriculture and welfare are two examples of authority that Congress claims that it has, despite the fact that these are not listed in the Constitution. If Congress wanted that authority, that's what ammendments are for.

Social Security is another example. Despite the warnings that the money will eventually run out, the government continues its "business as usual" mentality. By the time that SS goes bankrupt, these politicians will have retired (with a very nice package) and they won't have to worry about it. However, our children and grandchildren WILL have to worry, A LOT.
-by Kingfisher

This mentality will surely sink the Republic.
Many wise men in the past have predicted this, and it's the bane that big government socialism brings on liberty. The reasons for these programs were well-meaning and well-intended but they are poorly executed, foolish, and ultimately self-destructive.

When the government realizes it has nothing to fear from and is wholly independent from the power of the people, we are doomed as a republic. When the people realize they can vote themselves benefits, money, and goodies from the government at the expense of their neighbor, then the republic is doomed. When the people of a republic reject and mock morality and virtue, the republic is doomed. It is only a matter of time, and the only thing that can save it is a reversal of these things.

9/11 gave us a reboot, a new chance. We are sliding back into the failure and corruption we had a fresh chance to escape from.
-by Christopher_Taylor

"Agriculture and welfare are two examples of authority that Congress claims that it has, despite the fact that these are not listed in the Constitution. If Congress wanted that authority, that's what ammendments are for."
ARe you suggesting that if it isn't specifically stated in the constitution as a federal authority, it can't be undertaken? How specific must a designated federal power be? Clearly not spelled out.
-by Wino


For the ten-millionth time, read the Tenth Ammendment:

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.

Now, show me where the Constitution gives the government authority to subsidize industry. If Congress wants it, they can propose for a Constitutional ammendment.
-by Kingfisher

"Now, show me where the Constitution gives the government authority to subsidize industry. If Congress wants it, they can propose for a Constitutional ammendment.
Article 1:Section 8: Clause 1
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

Article 1: Section 8: Clause 18
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
-by Wino

>ARe you suggesting that if it isn't specifically stated in the constitution as a federal authority, it can't be undertaken? How specific must a designated federal power be? Clearly not spelled out.
Read the 10th amendment. If the power isn't listed as a federal power, it is only constitutional for the states to undertake it (so long as the sates aren't banned from doing it) or must be left to the people. Seriously, if this is unclear, read the constitution. And read it somewhere that has a history and explanation so that you feel sure you understand it.

Here are a few places to start (I am not trying to be condescending, its important and I was older than I would like to admit before I took the time to go back and learn more about the constitution and what it means and what the reasons were for writing it as we did):
http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Constitution.html
http://www.constitutioncenter.org/explore/Welcome/index.shtml
http://www.usconstitution.net/
-by EconomicLiberty


RE: Privatized Social Security, I can't think of a way that it can be done that doesn't involve at least some government oversight and that oversight should be at the state level. I'm fine with social security as is, as long as it's at the state level instead of federal. If it's privatized, even better.
ARe you suggesting that if it isn't specifically stated in the constitution as a federal authority, it can't be undertaken?
That is exactly what the US Constitution says.
How specific must a designated federal power be? Clearly not spelled out.
There is a certain level of interpretation that must be implemented. For example, the concept of interstate highways was not even something the founding fathers considered as is the internet. But the basic principles are in place, as are the words and thoughts of the men themselves.

I'll quote Jefferson and Madison here again because their words are very compelling:

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.
-James Madison (regarding the general welfare clause)

"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
-Thomas Jefferson

"On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
-Thomas Jefferson

The constitution is the document telling us to what the federal government is limited not what it is empowered to do. It may do no more than it is given power to do, not legally at least.
-by Christopher_Taylor

"The constitution is the document telling us to what the federal government is limited not what it is empowered to do. It may do no more than it is given power to do, not legally at least.
CT:

Madison took your view, suggesting the "General Welfare" Clause limited Congress to what came after it. Alexander Hamilton took the opposite view, arguing that this clause allowed the govt. to spend if it promoted the general welfare broadly defined.

The Supreme Court took Hamilton's side in in 1936 in US V. Butler when it said that challenging federal spending on the grounds that it didn't promote the general welfare "naturally require a showing that by no reasonable possibility can the challenged legislation fall within the wide range of discretion permitted to the Congress."

Since then there really has been no challenge, by any Court, to this interpretation.
-by Wino


Wino,

The best quote I can give you to help explain the 10th amendment is this, by Hamilton in discussion whether a bill of rights should be written up at all:

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.

You see - if its not laid out within the constitution as a power granted to the federal government, then: it is not a power of the federal government. Hence the federal government has no power to create vast social programs, ban free speech, regulate commerce except as outlined, set a minimum wage, etc.

Hamilton wasn't the only one to say that:
A bill of rights had been barely mentioned in the Philadelphia convention, most delegates holding that the fundamental rights of individuals had been secured in the state constitutions. James Wilson maintained that a bill of rights was superfluous because all power not expressly delegated to thenew government was reserved to the people.
http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution_history.html

The link to the other is here: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed84.htm
-by EconomicLiberty

You see - if its not laid out within the constitution as a power granted to the federal government, then: it is not a power of the federal government. Hence the federal government has no power to create vast social programs, ban free speech, regulate commerce except as outlined, set a minimum wage, etc.
Interesting...It was also Hamilton who said the General Welfare clause allowed the Feds to spend without any restraint. Was he a flip flopper?

Alexander Hamilton in
"A Report on Manufacturers" 1791

The terms "general Welfare" were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those which Preceded; otherwise numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a Nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union, to appropriate its revenues shou'd have been restricted within narrower limits than the "General Welfare" and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.

Washington's right hand man is pretty clear on this point concerning what kind of authority the Govt. has to spend.
-by Wino


>Madison took your view, suggesting the "General Welfare" Clause limited Congress to what came after it. Alexander Hamilton took the opposite view, arguing that this clause allowed the govt. to spend if it promoted the general welfare broadly defined.

Then explain the quote of his I gave above. Read the whole article of his that I linked.
>The Supreme Court took Hamilton's side in in 1936 in US V. Butler when it said that challenging federal spending on the grounds that it didn't promote the general welfare "naturally require a showing that by no reasonable possibility can the challenged legislation fall within the wide range of discretion permitted to the Congress."
By saying that something that did not promote the general welfare is unconstitutional does not imply that everything that does promote it is. And you are very wrong to say that this hasn't been challenged nor that the limited view hasn't been upheld. There are many examples from education to in-state commerce to social programs (many under FDR were deemed unconstitutional) etc etc.
-by EconomicLiberty


"Also, it doesn't take into account USSC decisions that have upheld the view that the General Welfare Clause allows congressional spending to promote that vague notion of the "General Welfare".

What? Excuse me, but weren’t the decisions you site made after the 10th Amendment was written? As such, wouldn’t that mean that the decisions are wrong, not the 10th?"

I dont' get you here. Every supreme court decision ever handed down came after the 10th Amendment. The Supreme Court interprets the Amendments and the constitution. My point is that there has for a very long time, since the founding, been a dispute as to the meaning of the "general welfare" clause. Madison thought it was meant in context of what was listed after it. Hamilton and others argued it meant the govt. had the authority to spend broadly. In 1936 (it took that long) the Supreme Court sided with Hamilton and the broad view. That view was reaffirmed in Dakota V. Dole in 1987.
-by Wino


Did you read the whole thing, Wino?

You misinterpreted it.

The only qualification of the generallity of the Phrase in question, which seems to be admissible, is this--That the object to which an appropriation of money is to be made be General and not local; its operation extending in fact, or by possibility, throughout the Union, and not being confined to a particular spot.

No objection ought to arise to this construction from a supposition that it would imply a power to do whatever else should appear to Congress conducive to the General Welfare. A power to appropriate money with this latitude which is granted too in express terms would not carry a power to do any other thing, not authorised in the constitution, either expressly or by fair implication.

He was using a much more limied interpretation than you.
-by EconomicLiberty


Madison took your view, suggesting the "General Welfare" Clause limited Congress to what came after it. Alexander Hamilton took the opposite view, arguing that this clause allowed the govt. to spend if it promoted the general welfare broadly defined.
And Hamilton was wrong. James Madison was the primary writer of the Constitution, and the bulk of the founding fathers were well on his side, as you can see a glimpse of from the quotes I gave.

See, if you define "general welfare" as "whatever the congress decides is useful and good for the people" then there is no limitation, no stricture, and no restriction of any sort on congress' power. They can do anything they desire, pass any law. Whatever you might think of the Constitution, that's rather obviously not what was intended, not remotely.

You can try to make all the arguments you wish, but the only man that was around at the time you'll find to support your position (somewhat) is Hamilton.

Please, don't tell me that the Supreme Court decided it and thus it's right, that's not only a gross overamplification of the Supreme Court's power and significance, but nearly sycophantic in worship of a body that gave us such ghastly gems as the Dredd Scott decision and "Separate but Equal."

You can try to argue this all you want, but you're contrary to the intent and writings of the men actually responsible for the constitution and the rational basis of the document and our nation.
-by Christopher_Taylor


"By saying that something that did not promote the general welfare is unconstitutional does not imply that everything that does promote it is. And you are very wrong to say that this hasn't been challenged nor that the limited view hasn't been upheld. There are many examples from education to in-state commerce to social programs (many under FDR were deemed unconstitutional) etc etc.
by economicliberty on 2006-05-04 18:32:23"

This is true. There are restrictions on how the govt. can spend. However, when it counts, the Supreme court has said very specifically, as Hamilton did, that the "General Welfare" clause is not relegated to supporting those items that come after in in Section 8.
-by Wino


Once you re-read it you'll see that what he is saying is that because the constitution expressly stated that the federal government has the power to do the particular thing - which related to agriculture, therefore the power is broader than the specific enumerated power that related to agriculture within the constitution.

He expressly said that this does not mean that the federal government has powers in areas not appropriated within the constitution.

Somehow your left wing talking points left this bit out, making you look like a fool using Hamilton, who wrote extensively about the limits of powers of fedeal government duing the bill of rights debate, as a "living document" proponent.

His whole article that you quoted from is here: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_1s21.htm
-by EconomicLiberty


"He was using a much more limied interpretation than you.
by economicliberty on 2006-05-04 18:41:41"

Yes, but this owes to my own limitations with the language and desire to be more specific. Nonetheless, Hamilton does express "The broad view", if you will, which I grant is contrary to Madison's "limited view" of Section 8, Clause One.

And by the way, just becaue the "broad view" is how America has operated since 1936 does not mean that anything is possible, as you noted. A Supreme Court could come back with a judgement that a particular spending program DOES NOT benefit the "General Welfare"...and they have. However, courts have also suggested that defining the "General Welfare" from the bench and over the expression of Congress is probably a losing proposition for the judiciary.
-by Wino

>Yes, but this owes to my own limitations with the language and desire to be more specific. Nonetheless, Hamilton does express "The broad view", if you will, which I grant is contrary to Madison's "limited view" of Section 8, Clause One.
Huh? You might as well give up. He specifically stated that one need not worry that someone will take your broad view and think that congress could consider things to be constitutional just because they are for the general welfare - because it clearly does not mean that.

He very clearly backs my view up - just as did Jefferson, Madison, etc etc etc.
>And by the way, just becaue the "broad view" is how America has operated since 1936 does not mean that anything is possible, as you noted. A Supreme Court could come back with a judgement that a particular spending program DOES NOT benefit the "General Welfare"..
So, we might as well throw out the constitution and just allow any progam that congress thinks benefits folk.

Lovely!
-by EconomicLiberty


So, we might as well throw out the constitution and just allow any progam that congress thinks benefits folk.

Actually his position is 'whatever the courts thinks' because he believes the congress can decide to spend money on anything whatsoever they wish, then the courts can decide if it's ok or not.

See, this is the problem with today's left and right all too often. We've abrogated our right and duty to understand and interpret the constitution. Again I want to quote men of the past I respect for wisdom and understanding on this:

"It is a misnomer to call a government republican in which a branch of the supreme power is independent of the nation."
-Thomas Jefferson

"A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government."
-Thomas Jefferson

"The Judicial Branch must be independent of other branches of government, but not independent of the nation itself. It is rightly responsible to the people for irregular and censurable decisions, and judges should be appointed for limited terms with reappointments resulting from approved conduct."
- Thomas Jefferson

"The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch."
-Thomas Jefferson

"If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court... the people will have ceased to be their own rulers."
-Abraham Lincoln

"The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches."
-Thomas Jefferson

Yeah I know. Jefferson and Lincoln, couple of pikers, they were idiots, children before the vast intellect of the modern progressive!
Simply telling me they are wrong tells me nothing. Tell me why the "general welfare" clause ought to be interpreted to only mean those items that come in clauses after it. Then tell me why the supreme court's reasoning is wrong.
We already have:

1) Because to argue otherwise is to negate the 10th amendment
2) Because the men who actually wrote the constitution said that's how it should be interpreted.
3) Because to argue otherwise grant unlimited power to congress
4) Because the court took upon it's self to define what the constitution said in contradiction to the constitution's actual wording.

Wino. Seriously, you're arguing for the congress to have power to do anything it wants simply by defining it as "general welfare." Anything. I know even you don't believe that.

-by Christopher_Taylor


I will be real nice and explain it one more time Wino. As I said before:

Once you re-read it you'll see that what he is saying is that because the constitution expressly stated that the federal government has the power to do the particular thing - which related to agriculture, therefore the power is broader than the specific enumerated power that related to agriculture within the constitution.

-- okay, get it? The general welfare clause is being used to support a broader federal power over the specific area, in this case agriculture. The he specifically states that nobody should be concerned about this interpretation because it clearly doesn't apply to areas not already enumerated in the constition for federal power.

That is why I said:
He expressly said that this does not mean that the federal government has powers in areas not appropriated within the constitution.

Where did I find that? I will quote the last paragraph again and italicize it for you:

No objection ought to arise to this construction from a supposition that it would imply a power to do whatever else should appear to Congress conducive to the General Welfare. A power to appropriate money with this latitude which is granted too in express terms would not carry a power to do any other thing, not authorised in the constitution, either expressly or by fair implication.
>Federal taxes would be cut drastically to accommodate for the extraordinarily limited view of govt. while state taxes would rise tremendously to allow for the reinstatement of many of the lost programs at the federal level.
Yes, and this would be a good thing - and many states would not reintroduce all or even many of those programs - and people could choose which state they preferred, and the economy would be booming. We could privateize the federal programs so that they would still exist, just in private form (eg like private retirement accounts instead of social security, private health care instead of medicare, private charity instead of welfare - they have all existed and flourished in the private sector)

Two things liberals don't realize:

1. They would not all become state programs because... NOT everyone likes those programs.

2. If we cut taxes down to the 10% or so required for CONSTITUTIONAL programs, the poor would be much better off, as they would have higher paying jobs, prices would be lower, charity would be greater, etc etc.
-by EconomicLiberty

"Federal taxes would be cut drastically to accommodate for the extraordinarily limited view of govt. while state taxes would rise tremendously to allow for the reinstatement of many of the lost programs at the federal level."
But since the states would not have to go through the middleman of federal government with its waste and inefficiency (about 23cents out of every dollar raised for welfare actually reaches the recipients), they wouldn't have to tax as much as the federal government does now for the same level of coverage.

At present, the states are taxed, the money goes to the federal government, is appropriated for welfare, goes to the welfare departments, who then go through the states and the through local welfare departments and offices, then to the people.

Imagine if the states raised the money and got it to the people who needed it.
Think about that. Legal. Cheaper. More efficient. Lower taxes.

Why would anyone oppose that? Unless their real reason is that they want more central government power rather than to actually help the people in need.
-by Christopher_Taylor


And C_T, do you think Texas would tax and spend on programs that pay for Planned Parenthood? What would their version of social security look like? Medicare in Vermont vs. New Mexico vs. Wyoming vs. New York ?

It would be great to see how each deals with these, and who leaves them totally private...

And what great economic data!!
-by economicliberty

Exactly, it would look more like... America! Giving states more power and more determination over their money is only good because it gets the power back down closer to where it was always meant to be with the people.

The contrast between, say, Illinois and Wyoming or New York and Georgia would be enlightening in terms of what works, what doesn't, and how well people are helped and what goes badly.
-by Christopher_Taylor


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