If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.
If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
at least under the Hamiltonian view:The two primary authors of the Federalist Papers essays set forth two separate, conflicting theories:
the narrower view of James Madison that spending must be at least tangentially tied to one of the other specifically enumerated powers, such as regulating interstate or foreign commerce, or providing for the military, as the General Welfare Clause is not a specific grant of power, but a statement of purpose qualifying the power to tax; and
the broader view of Alexander Hamilton that spending is an enumerated power that Congress may exercise independently to benefit the general welfare, such as to assist national needs in agriculture or education, provided that the spending is general in nature and does not favor any specific section of the country over any other.
Alexander Hamilton, Report on ManufacturesTo date, the Hamiltonian view of the General Welfare Clause predominates in case law.
the power to raise money is plenary, and indefinite; and the objects to which it may be appropriated are no less comprehensive, than the payment of the public debts and the providing for the common defence and "general Welfare." The terms "general Welfare" were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those which Preceded; otherwise numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a Nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union, to appropriate its revenues shou'd have been restricted within narrower limits than the "General Welfare" and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.
It is therefore of necessity left to the discretion of the National Legislature, to pronounce, upon the objects, which concern the general Welfare, and for which under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt that whatever concerns the general Interests of learning of Agriculture of Manufactures and of Commerce are within the sphere of the national Councils as far as regards an application of Money.
The only qualification of the generallity of the Phrase in question, which seems to be admissible, is this--That the object to which an appropriation of money is to be made be General and not local; its operation extending in fact, or by possibility, throughout the Union, and not being confined to a particular spot.
No objection ought to arise to this construction from a supposition that it would imply a power to do whatever else should appear to Congress conducive to the General Welfare. A power to appropriate money with this latitude which is granted too in express terms would not carry a power to do any other thing, not authorised in the constitution, either expressly or by fair implication.
Last edited by reefedjib; 11-18-09 at 06:38 PM.
http://www.debatepolitics.com/polls/...post1058374255 (Do you support single-payer health care?)).
It is not enumerated, it is up to the legislature to decide. The way this will work is that the legislature will pass legislation spending tax dollars. People that don't like this will bring a suit against and try to get it to the Supreme Court. If the SC hears the case, this argument will be attempted, that it is not an enumerated power. The SC will reject this argument based on prior case law and their interpretation of the "General Welfare" being met by the legislation. So sorry.