'General Welfare' and it's Meaning in The U.S. Constitution

By
Education & Training with Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

The Patriot Act and the "phony" war on terror is slowly taken away our civil liberties and burning away at the U.S. Constitution.  With that being said I feel I need to continue to add credence in my posts to defend our rights and freedoms as Americans.

-------------------------

Americans are beginning to question the constitutionality of proposed programs such as government run healthcare. In response to these challenges, a misinterpretation of the 'General Welfare' clause seems to be the common support for such Federal programs. This article examines what the General Welfare clause actually means.

US Constitution Preamble:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "


The Federal Government has continued to expand its power using misinterpretations of the Constitution as its defense. The General Welfare clause is one of the most commonly missentrupreted and seemingly the vaguest of all of the clauses in the Constitution. There is much that can be written on the subject, however the meaning of the ‘General Welfare' clause is easy to grasp with just a few observations.

In order to understand the General Welfare clause, you have to look at only two things. The first is the common definition of both general and welfare. The second is to which body or entity this clause applies.

Common Definitions:

General: "involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole"

Welfare: "the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity."

Source: (http://www.merriam-webster.com)

So, the Constitution states that the US government will promote the state of well being, happiness and/or prosperity for the whole. Those in defense of the expansion of Federal power (and what are now defined as Federal "welfare" programs and entitlement programs) stop there and are satisfied with this generic application of such a definition. However, in order to completely understand the meaning and intended purpose of this clause, you must define who or what makes up the "whole". In other words, to whom does the General Welfare clause apply?

Article 1, Section 8:

"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;"



This section specifically defines to which body or entity the general welfare clause is to apply, since the United States is specifically made up of the States themselves, this clause applies to the States as a whole and not the People. The Constitution addresses specific entities throughout the document. The People as an entity are only addressed twice in the main body of the US Constitution and in no case does the General Welfare clause apply to the People specifically. However, the Constitution does specifically define the rights which are to be retained by the People, as you can see in the following constitutional amendments.

Amendment I

"...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble."

Amendment II

"...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Amendment IV

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,..."

Amendment IX

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Amendment X

"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."

Amendment XVII

"...elected by the people thereof..."

"...That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election..."

Summary


The General Welfare clause applies to the States of the Union, not to the People. However, it is certainly in the best interest of the People if the General Welfare of the states is promoted.

It is important to state however, that under Amendment 10 of the US Constitution, many of the programs that have been created by the Federal Government such as Welfare, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc, would otherwise be perfectly constitutional under the jurisdiction of the states themselves.

Matt White
University of Common Sense

Note: In my opinion, the 17th Amendment should be repealed, because it undermines the sovereignty of the States and the original concept of separation of powers, but that is another topic.

Tony Toto

ISA

Nouveau Riche

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Comments 16 New Comment

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Rainmaker
121,079
Chris Hill
Your Southern Maryland Real Estate Professional
Century 21 New Millennium

It is interesting the amount of "interpretation" of the Constitution. As well as how EVERYONE feels their interpretation is "right" Sometimes I believe that the scrutiny of the wording of a document leads to over interpretation. Much like the Bible. Everyone thinks their interpretation is the "right" interpretation. Thanks for your post.

August 18, 2009 08:24 AM
Rainmaker
244,274
Bonnie Vaughan
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
Re/Max Home Team

"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;"

I'm a little confused.  How did the Congress get elected if not by WE THE PEOPLE?  So am I to take it we elect Congress, put them in office and pay them so they can do what they damn well please? In others words they become Omnipotent?

August 18, 2009 11:35 PM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Chris: how true!  Interpretation of documents plays a major role in keeping people arguing, fighting, and divided at many levels.

Bonnie: I think you had an awakening.  We "supposedly" elect them, then, the majority are influenced by Corporate Lobbyists and International Banking interests.  Then it becomes all about money, power, and control.

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes the laws."  Mayer Amschel Rothschild

August 19, 2009 07:53 AM
Rainmaker
244,274
Bonnie Vaughan
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
Re/Max Home Team

Tony, Your blog did make me sit up and take notice. I had never dissected the Constitution.

Do you agree the elected officials should vote the will of the people?  Perhaps a vast majority of our country is having an awakening.  The way to get control of our country is by making our elected officials accountable?

Mayer Amschel Rothschild of the Nathan Rothschild Dynasty? Nathan Rothschild became the wealthiest man in England in one week.  The cartel - Captains and Kings.

August 19, 2009 08:17 AM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Bonnie, we elect officials based on what they say they are going to do.  This is an "in" for them and once they are on 'The Hill', everything seems to change especially their promises to "The People."

They better vote the will of the people.  They have not and now you see what is happening.  We are in the beginning of a new revolution backed by information and past experience. 

I have made friends over seas this year and they are desperately trying to wake the American people up.  I see it every day on Facebook, because what happens here in our country affects every country at some point.  Ever since 9/11, countries throughout the world have been slowly losing their freedoms as we are here.  Hint, hint!!!

The Federal Reserve and International banking usurps Gov't.  They are the true masters and control everything.  This was a cause of the Revolution...to get away from the Bank of England.  All money we use today is 'Fiat' backed by nothing.  It is worthless paper with pretty little designs on it.

August 19, 2009 08:50 AM
Rainmaker
367,811
Kevin Robinson
High End Vacation Homes

Good post Tony. Keep informing us.

August 19, 2009 09:03 AM
Rainmaker
244,274
Bonnie Vaughan
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
Re/Max Home Team

Tony - your message woke me up.  I'm going to re blog this.  Thank you for giving me a jolt.  I am as much a part of the problem as the problem itself.

August 19, 2009 10:03 AM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Kevin: you are very welcome my friend!

Bonnie: Glad to hear it!!!

August 19, 2009 10:48 AM
Rainmaker
244,274
Bonnie Vaughan
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
Re/Max Home Team

Tony, Re- blogging did not let me change the title. do you mind if I provide a link in my blog to your blog?

August 19, 2009 11:14 AM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Bonnie, Why do you want to change the title?

August 19, 2009 11:54 AM
Rainmaker
244,274
Bonnie Vaughan
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin
Re/Max Home Team

When I click re blog I am only able to add a comment to your post....I want to use your post as the basis for my own message.  Is that ok?  My spin on your message is that this whole state of affairs is rooted in our apathy.  I guess reblogging is not the right way to approach this.  do you mind if I use your blog in the beginning of my message - give a link back and give you credit?

August 19, 2009 12:04 PM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Bonnie, do whatever you have to.

August 19, 2009 12:24 PM
Rainmaker
205,109
Alice Linahan
Voices Empower

Tony and Bonnie,

I read your exchanges and had a huge smile. I love when smart people post and comment.

I learn so much!!

Thank you both.

By the way I went to to Pete Sessions town-hall this evening and had a chance to speak.

I addressed my question to the administration vs Congressman Sessions. I asked why is it that this Administration does not find it important to fill key government positions like the Director of CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service) and yet he had found the right people for 46 Czars positions whom most of which do not have to be approved by Congress. He ended the townhall meeting on that and said I had made the point well.

Just an FYI the Director of CMS, which runs both programs, provides health insurance to 98 million people, pays 1.2 billion claims a year and has an annual budget of more than $700 billion. More than that, it influences just about every hospital, physician's office, laboratory and private health plan in the country.


Read more: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/observers-puzzle-over-obamas-failure-appoint-cms-head/2009-08-18#ixzz0Oi4IjpOh

The sleeping Giant has awaken!!

Have a wonderful productive Thursday!!

Alice

August 20, 2009 03:21 AM
Rainmaker
205,109
Alice Linahan
Voices Empower

"If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."   Samuel Adams, 1776

The revolution has begun!!

 

August 20, 2009 03:52 AM
Rainmaker
671,973
Rob Arnold
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.

The preamble to the Constitution is just that, a preamble.  It's not the law itself. It's just a description of what the Constiution stands for.  Just like the Realtor Code of Ethics has a preamble, however that preamble does not contain any specific standards or articles in it. Kind of like the introduction to a book. 

August 24, 2009 05:03 PM
Rainmaker
318,661
Tony Toto
The Walking Traveler
Freelance Writer & Photographer - Travel

Rob,

1 : an introductory statement; especially : the introductory part of a constitution or statute that usually states the reasons for and intent of the law
2 : an introductory fact or circumstance; especially : one indicating what is to follow

Intent and indication of what is to follow spells out to me that everything will conform to the 'General Welfare' of the people.

Everything that follows the comment of 'General Welfare' pretains to General Welfare based on intent.

August 24, 2009 06:06 PM
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
318,661

Tony Toto

The Walking Traveler
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