Sunday, September 04, 2011

When It's Not Your Money

You can rationalize all kinds of activities to be for the general welfare, or for that matter to be charitable -- when it's not your money you are spending on them.

Just a further thought on this post.


philmon said...

Thing I Know?

jeffmon said...

When someone hauls out the General Welfare excuse, look closely. It's usually (that's really closer to always than it is to sometimes) Specific Welfare. If it's not truly General Welfare, the federal government has no business doing it.

jeffmon said...

...And by the way, it's promote the general welfare. Not provide, not guarantee, not enforce.

Cylar said...

As should be obvious to everyone by now, "promote the General Welfare" isn't a catchall for "the federal government may do whatever it likes." (Neither is the Commerce Clause, but that is another story.)

James Madison, principal author of the Constitution:

- "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."

- "With respect to the words general welfare, 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."

But hey, what did Madison know about the Constitution? It's not like he wrote it or anything. Oh, wait...