Skip to comments.If there really is a 'general Welfare' clause then why ...
Posted on 03/20/2010 11:05:24 AM PDT by Rurudyne
If there really is a 'general Welfare' clause then why doesn't the language of the 10th Amendment mirror that of the 9th to read: 'The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain Powers, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others deemed necessary to provide for the common Defence and promote the general Welfare of the United States of America.'?
... but instead reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
I mean, since the 10th Amendment was in no small measure adopted in response to arguments about the meaning of A1:S8:C1 AND the hypothetical language was obviously known to those who wrote the 10th Amendment since they used similar language in the 9th....
I suspect it’s because to our founders, “general welfare” was synonymous with “maximum liberty” and “minimal government intrusion.” When read in that regard, the clauses are not only consistent, but mutually reinforcing.
You can thank Alex Hamilton(another Bastard) for injecting “General Welfare” into the US Constitution.
In other words, it was a statement of the general welfare of the country, directly tied to the raising money for defense.
I thought the “promote the general welfare” was only in the Preamble to the Constitution...not in the bill of rights.
Or as Chief Justice Marshall might observe: “Affirmative words are often, in their operation, negative of other objects than those affirmed, and, in this case, a negative or exclusive sense must be given to them or they have no operation at all.”
Meaning that if there are any delegated Powers for promoting the general Welfare (post office, patents, etc...) than their very existence demonstrates that they are THE Powers ... and there are no others.
Also as an aside, this may easily be the least wall’o’text-like post on this subject that I’ve ever made that still manages to cover the material.
A bit harsh no? Isn’t Hamilton the Father of the American Banking system?
Harsh, maybe but factual nonetheless.
Note it says “promote” the general welfare” not “provide for”. Hamilton knew exactly what he was doing. One of the roles of gov’t is to promote an economically friendly environment. Hamilton knew this and the gov’t does have to step in from time to time to make sure that this is the case.
This is where the government’s role as a regulatory body comes in. At the time of the writing of the Consitution, regulate meant to keep regular. Nothing extraordinary or unfair. Regulate did NOT mean “to run”. Read the Federalist Papers. Its all there.
Yes, the purpose of A1:S8:C1 is to delegate Power to Congress to levy certain forms of taxes.
In that context the phrase “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;” has real meaning about why Congress may tax and even the logical limits on how much they do tax (i.e. not to simply build up a huge pile of swag as if they were Eastern potentates); but, it tells you nothing about the objects of governance (Appropriations, Rules, Regulations and other non-tax stuff) that are reasonable and legal under Law.
It was never intended to be interpreted to mean what the libs/socialists/marxists/commies on courts want it to mean. It’s a travesty of justice and any judge who interprets it by ignoring the 10th Amendment should be impeached
The term ‘general welfare’ is clearly defined and enumerated in Article I, Section 8. It is not an ambiguous term.
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
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.
Congress can exercise the powers it is delegated in support of the General Wefare, that being a goal, not a means or a poer. But it can not exercise any powers not delegated, nor can it exercise even those powers in such a way as to violate the restrictions of the first 9 amendments.
I find it interesting that this came while he was Secretary of State, AFTER the ratification of the Constitution, and in contradiction to what the Framers had told the several States (who alone had Authority to respect the Establishment of the Constitution as Law).
Thus I’ve said that Hamilton’s later comments (as Secretary of State) were made Apart from Authority ... or apart from any lawful role he may have once enjoyed as a Framer but which had to come to an end once those with Authority, indeed Sovereignty, had acted.
Ditto for a much later Court preferring Hamilton’s spurious opinion and explanation.
because, um, (and the teleprompter goes out so I have to think on my own), um, um, “General Welfare” means that, generally everybody should be on welfare!
Heh heh! .^
The ammendments should trump the body of the Constitution, they are the final say since they ammend it.
Webster’s dictionary 1828
applied to stales: Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government;
applied to persons: Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life ; prosperity; happiness;
The government has deemed itself a person and therefore believes it has the right to use the term as it is applied to persons becaue the term as it is applied to states & governments is too limited.
Decided in 1899 that corporations are to be called “PERSONS” and thus the United States, Inc in which the IRS is the enforcer became a “PERSON”.
Constitutional architect James Madison
"Another not unimportant consideration is, that the powers of the general government will be, and indeed must be, principally employed upon external objects, such as war, peace, negotiations with foreign powers, and foreign commerce. In its internal operations it can touch but few objects, except to introduce regulations beneficial to the commerce, intercourse, and other relations, between the states, and to lay taxes for the common good. The powers of the states, on the other hand, extend to all objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, and liberties, and property of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state."
Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
Yup he was. Old Alex is buried in Trinity Church graveyard just a block away from Wall Street.
“The government has deemed itself a person and therefore believes it has the right to use the term as it is applied to persons becaue the term as it is applied to states & governments is too limited.”
Of late I’ve been using a similar notion: Sovereignty.
One of the principal causes for the American Revolution was the growing awareness that the Crown and its Ministers (or even Jurist) could essentially recast the English constitution at will to suit them.
They could do this because the King was a Sovereign and his Ministers and Jurist were able to exercise this Sovereignty on his behalf.
But the United States federal government is more akin to a chartered corporation than a Sovereign Person (which may help raise your point to its clearest light). Thus Chief Justice John Marshall wrote: “The powers of the Legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the Constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may at any time be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction between a government with limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited and acts allowed are of equal obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be contested that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it, or that the Legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act.”
... and as for the rule of the courts, Marshall wrote: “From these and many other selections which might be made, it is apparent that the framers of the Constitution contemplated that instrument as a rule for the government of courts, as well as of the Legislature.”
So there is no hint, especially under Marbury when taken in proper context, that the federal is to be sovereign over itself to be able to further establish and define its powers by ordinary means available at its disposal (legislation, executive orders, opinions and the like).
THAT power, Sovereignty over the Constitution, IS retained within the specific context of Article 5 and Article 5 alone.
That means that ultimately WE THE PEOPLE are Sovereign over our government (echoing the DoI no less) but only within a specific context (amendment ... not mere elections) are we able to work out that Sovereignty for ourselves and our Posterity.
The you have to ask yourself: do amendments generally function globally or do they also have ‘original intent’ that must be taken into account?
For example, the 16th Amendment was sold on a soak the ultra rich basis and not as a way to heavily tax the lower and middle classes. As a matter of intent one can say this is what the States as Sovereigns signed off on and nothing else.
Now, as per Corfield v Coryell one of our common law Privileges and Immunities was an exemption to paying higher taxes than other Citizens. Given that there was no other body of rights retained by the people at the time that the 9th Amendment was adopted it logically follows that these SAME P&I mentioned in A4:S2:C1 are also the rights that are the “others retained” in the 9th Amendment.
So, one could look at the 9th Amendment and opine that all progressive taxes are unconstitutional EXCEPT for those on the ultra rich BECAUSE the intent of the 16th Amendment altered this with respect to the federal (but not with respect to the States).
So, using the principal that amendments too have intent that may limit their application I feel safe to opine that any federal income tax that has more than two brackets one more dear that only affects the ultra rich is and should be deemed unconstitutional.
Here’s what Thomas Jefferson had to say about it:
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “ all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition....
“To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.
It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.
It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.
“General welfare” doesn’t mean 2/3 of the nation gets to sit on it’s arse and be fed by the remainder!
The 10th Amendment has been used as a door mat by the Congress. Our Founding Fathers knew that the states and local governments needed protection from an over zealous power in Washington DC. To them it seemed clear each level of government had specific responsibilities to its constituency that should NOT be performed/executed by another level/gov’t sovereign. Thus creating two sovereigns: one federal and one state.
However the federal Government using the Commerce Clause has extended its reach into virtually every aspect of American life, usurping state power. It started with a lawsuit involving the National Labor Relations Board back in the 30’s-40’s time frame (FDR’s New Deal).
Subsequently it has been used and abused by our Washington DC politicians for numerous reasons one being the proliferation of unfunded mandates. It has made the states subservient and secondary to the federal government. State sovereignty is pretty much dead and the 10th Amendment a step-child if that of the Constitution.
Isn’t this basically why the colonies rebelled against the King and England way back when. Can the states revive their rightful sovereignty as delineated by the 10th Amendment ... that remains to be seen.
Chief Justice John Jay stated in his deciding opinion in Chisholm v. Georgia, the first great constitutional case decided after the ratification of the Constitution of 1789:
[T]he sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation, and the residuary sovereignty of each State in the people of each State
[A]t the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects ] they have NO power to force us to purchase anything just because we are citizens or inhabitants. This is further upheld in the constitution by the 14th, the 15th & the 24th amendments. Our God given liberties & rights under the constitution can not be abridged by threats of fines, imprisonment or taxes levied against our property. Therefore mandates that come with threats of fines/taxes/imprisonment affixed against those who choose not to purchase the type of insurance the govt deems they should is WHOLLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. HARPER v. VIRGINIA BD. OF ELECTIONS, 383 U.S. 663 (1966)
This legislation is race based and is choked full of immunities for certain 'classes' of people and it WILL be defeated. Either in Congress or in the courts.
The Bastards were the FDR judges on Scotus who crapped on almost 300 years of common sense. FU
What is right and wrong and Constitutional is somewhat subjective.
There are needs for taxes and Congress has the authority to levy taxes.
However, is it morally right to legally force one group to pay for the sustanance of others?
Since I’m of the opinion that since God didn’t ask Isreal for more than 10% of their increase, government shouldn’t get a cent more than that from individuals no matter how they get it.