View Poll Results: Are Social Security and Medicare Constitutional?

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  • Medicare ONLY Is Constitutional

    0 0%
  • Social Security ONLY is Constitutional

    0 0%
  • BOTH Medicare and Social Security are Constitutional

    13 52.00%
  • NEITHER are Constitutional

    12 48.00%
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Thread: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

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    Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    When asking this, I am not inquiring on whether a court ruled these programs Constitutional.

    Rather, using your knowledge of the Constitution, do you believe one or both of these are Constitutional?

    The outcome of this poll will be interesting. I hope for a good discussion below.
    "I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money." -Thomas Sowell

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Helvering v. Davis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    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

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Well, I assume you would say that Social Security is Constitutional because of the "general welfare clause"?

    According to the opinion in your link:

    "Congress may spend money in aid of the 'general welfare'...There have been great statesmen in our history who have stood for other views...The line must still be drawn between one welfare and another, between particular and general. Where this shall be placed cannot be known through a formula in advance of the event...The discretion belongs to Congress, unless the choice is clearly wrong, a display of arbitrary power, not an exercise of judgment. This is now familiar law."

    I would have to disagree with the Court's view of this clause. Notice that the general welfare phrase is in the first line. Using the standard of the court, that phrase can mean just about anything Congress wants it to mean. But that would make the rest of Article 1, Section 8, illogical and pointless. I don't think the wise writers, being the sharpest lawyers in the country, would be so foolish. For if Congress receives a broad grant of limitless power, what is the point of the following enumerated points? For example, establishing post offices and post roads furthers the general welfare. Therefore we can infer and understand that the first line is not a grant of power, rather a directive of how to use the powers immediately following. In other words, the patent office would be eligible for the general welfare of the whole country, and not just Virginia. Social Security isn't one of the enumerated powers, even if it does further the general welfare, though I don't believe it does.

    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.
    I defer to James Madison:

    It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.” But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

    [...]

    But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare?
    And George Mason:

    "I will suppose a case. Gentlemen may call it an impossible case, and suppose that Congress will act with wisdom and integrity. Among the enumerated powers, Congress are to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, and to pay the debts, and to provide for the general welfare and common defense; and by that clause (so often called the sweeping clause) they are to make all laws necessary to execute those laws. Now, suppose oppression should arise under this government, and any writer should dare to stand forth, and expose to the community at large the abuses of those powers; could not Congress, under the idea of providing for the general welfare, and under their own construction, say that this was destroying the general peace, encouraging sedition, and poisoning the minds of the people? And could they not, in order to provide against this, lay a dangerous restriction on the press? It appears to me that they may and they will. And shall the support of our rights depend on the bounty of men whose interest it may be to oppress us? That Congress should have the power to provide for the general welfare of the Union, I grant. But I wish a clause in the Constitution, with respect to all powers which are not granted, that they are retained by the states. Otherwise, the power of providing for the general welfare may be perverted to its destruction... Unless there be some express declaration that every thing given is retained, it will be carried to any power Congress may please.

    ~George Mason, June 14, 1788
    "I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money." -Thomas Sowell

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Likely not, in reality, if the letter of the Constitution, as preceded by the Articles of Confederation, was followed.
    "God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse."
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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Taxation for the general welfare. I am a republican and I do not like these programs (I think thy should be heavily reformed, not repealed, as the republicans have no alternate solutions), but I think they are constitutional. I guess you could call me a Justice Roberts.

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Absolutely yes both are constitutional. However, one can certainly express other solutions to the programs.

    Would anyone decide we should tie the gray haired citizens healthcare payor to working FT at fast food into their 90's to secure health insurance?

    - Google Scholar

    Read the ruling ... it will not be reversed.
    Last edited by Turin; 07-12-12 at 01:56 AM.

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dagger View Post
    Taxation for the general welfare. I am a republican and I do not like these programs (I think thy should be heavily reformed, not repealed, as the republicans have no alternate solutions), but I think they are constitutional. I guess you could call me a Justice Roberts.
    "General welfare" was a term that applied to the separate states as a "friendship", if you will, and did not imply that federal monies would or should be used for federal social welfare programs. The powers delegated to the feds were defense/ declaration of war, and regulation of commerce. The *general welfare* of the states was to insure equal treatment and liberties of all who lived within the union, but travelled from state to state.
    "God is the name by which I designate all things which cross my path violently and recklessly, all things which alter my plans and intentions, and change the course of my life, for better or for worse."
    -C G Jung

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzie View Post
    "General welfare" was a term that applied to the separate states as a "friendship", if you will, and did not imply that federal monies would or should be used for federal social welfare programs. The powers delegated to the feds were defense/ declaration of war, and regulation of commerce. The *general welfare* of the states was to insure equal treatment and liberties of all who lived within the union, but travelled from state to state.
    When I said general welfare I wasn't talking about the welfare of the recipients of these programs I was referring to the taxpayers who are paying more because of the people who do not have healthcare.

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfoot 88 View Post
    When asking this, I am not inquiring on whether a court ruled these programs Constitutional.

    Rather, using your knowledge of the Constitution, do you believe one or both of these are Constitutional?

    The outcome of this poll will be interesting. I hope for a good discussion below.
    by virtue of the fact that both are taxes.

    the expenditure in Medicare... I'm not sure I would argue for that. Regardless, some form of it is here to stay. SS benefits are really just a negative tax rate.

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    Re: Are Medicare and Social Security Constitutional?

    While I see there has been much good in both SS and medicare, there has also been plenty of bad.
    Our Federal Government is in no way chartered to engage in charity!
    As good as any of the results may be, they are still acting outside their charter.

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