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Jeff
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Re: Alright, so I admit...
Reply #40 - Apr 8th, 2014 at 9:09am
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Liberalterian wrote on Apr 7th, 2014 at 6:27pm:
Don't get me wrong, I think that Social Security is a terrible idea and ought to be gradually phased out (let people opt out freely).

That said, the courts don't change the constitution. They are simply interpreting the phrasing of the constitution differently than you or people in the first hundred years did. The Courts also used to say that Separate but equal is completely constitutional, then they found that it could not be equal if separate thus they ruled down the legality of separate but equal segregation laws.

Basically, you can interpret the same sentences totally differently. Take the sentence Josh posed: The courts could either read that as all social programs must be illegal/unconstitutional or they could read the exact same sentence and see: Well it says right here, without the due process of law. Thus they could argue that the legislators used the due process of the law (a legal vote, rather than some central dictate) and so the programs are fine.

In any case, I am opposed to most all programs at the Federal level. When it comes to Social Welfare I think there's a perfectly acceptable place for it at the state level (Again, if the majority of representatives vote for this). This is constitutional so long as the states use the due process of law (no dictates by a Governor, for example) and according to the tenth amendment the states have the power to do such programs.

Beyond that though, the constitution also expressly talks about furthering the general welfare. So wouldn't this allow for a Federal Citizen's Dividend? After all, everyone would get the same amount of money. Thus the general welfare is benefited as opposed to just a few people getting money (being qualified) such as with the current welfare programs like Food Stamps.

I believe the general welfare clause is also a justification used by some for Federal grants to independent research/science. Since everyone benefits from, for example, a cure for cancer.

Let's see, if you take $20,000 each from half the people in the U.S., then you give everybody $10,000, is the general welfare served? After all, everybody GETS the same amount...
Foolish and evil propositions like this were a main reason for the limitations on the taxing power. Apportioning direct taxes and keeping indirect taxes uniform was designed to ensure that everybody paid the same amount into the treasury. None of this Marxist "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" nonsense.

The early history of our country is filled with conflicts about the Constitutional authority for the national government to fund what were then called internal improvements. Things like canals and roads. The people who believed the Constitution meant what it said argued that there was no grant of power for such things. In the end they lost the argument to the 'progressives', who held that industrializing the country (polluting it along the way) and  expanding it into an empire were more 'important' than following the Constitution.

As I've said, the Constitution was presented to the people for ratification with the arguments in the Federalist Papers, where it was repeatedly and clearly asserted that the Constitution granted absolutely no General powers to the national government.

The power to legislate for the general welfare is a general power, as is the power to legislate for the common good and the power to control trade, commerce and everything remotely related to trade and commerce.

If these general powers in fact are granted by the Constitution, there was absolutely no need to include specific powers such as the power to regulate weights and measures, establish a post office or control the value of money. All of these are certainly covered under the (nonexistent)  general power to legislate for the general welfare.

But there are, in fact, as the Federalist Papers asserted, no general powers granted. They have been usurped. The Supreme Court helped in the usurpation by 'interpreting' the Constitution to give it a meaning it doesn't have and to grant powers that were never granted by the People.
  
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