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Does the US Constitution Say "Provide for the General Welfare""?

Does the US Constitution say Provide, Promote (or both) for the General Welfare


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NolaMan

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There seems to be a whole lot of arguing the point over whether the Constitution used the language "provide" or "promote."

So, without going to check, what do you think the Constitution says? Provide, promote, or both?
 

American

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I there anything else, are you just checking for wording?
 

NolaMan

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I there anything else, are you just checking for wording?
I just get tired of the this typical exchange:

Person 1: "The Constitution says we can provide for the general welfare."
Person 2: "You are an idiot, it says 'promote' and that does not mean 'provide.'"

I have found that in many cases those arguing about what the Constitution says and does not say have not actually read it.
 

bhkad

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Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare.

From memory. I did not check first.
 

Your Star

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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.
 

bhkad

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NolaMan

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As I said.
Article I 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;
I don't think anyone can argue that this phrase, also found in the Constitution, says "promote" rather than "provide."

Not that I love the idea of welfare programs, but the argument that the Constitution does not say "provide" is a losing battle in my mind.
 

The_Patriot

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I give you the words of James Madison, the author of the Constitution, regarding what general welfare means from the Virginia Resolution of 1798 and the Tenth Amendment.

That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.


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.
 

rivrrat

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Article I Section 8:



I don't think anyone can argue that this phrase, also found in the Constitution, says "promote" rather than "provide."

Not that I love the idea of welfare programs, but the argument that the Constitution does not say "provide" is a losing battle in my mind.
What you quoted said "general welfare of the US" in conjuction with "common defence", which speaks to the US as whole, as opposed to the "general welfare of every citizen within".
 

NolaMan

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What you quoted said "general welfare of the US" in conjuction with "common defence", which speaks to the US as whole, as opposed to the "general welfare of every citizen within".
I don't disagree, but then it just becomes the whole back and forth of "the general welfare of the country is based on the general welfare of its people" type argument. My point is just that the argument can be made that it does say "provide" and "promote" and it is not just one or the other, as everyone seems to be going back and forth on.
 

cpwill

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What you quoted said "general welfare of the US" in conjuction with "common defence", which speaks to the US as whole, as opposed to the "general welfare of every citizen within".
exactly, it's a key distinction: the federal government is to provide the conditions in which general welfare can increase, they are not to provide that welfare directly unto the individual itself.
 

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I just get tired of the this typical exchange:

Person 1: "The Constitution says we can provide for the general welfare."
Person 2: "You are an idiot, it says 'promote' and that does not mean 'provide.'"

I have found that in many cases those arguing about what the Constitution says and does not say have not actually read it.
I get tired of hearing people say that provide, promote or whatever means Welfare checks for the poor.
 

American

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Article I Section 8:



I don't think anyone can argue that this phrase, also found in the Constitution, says "promote" rather than "provide."

Not that I love the idea of welfare programs, but the argument that the Constitution does not say "provide" is a losing battle in my mind.
If you don't love them, then why did you start this thread to make that very point?
 

NolaMan

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If you don't love them, then why did you start this thread to make that very point?
Because they are never going to be eliminated with the back and forth of "provide vs promote." The more people understand what is actually written, then the better arguments they can formulate.
 

Objective Voice

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I think the "...promote the general welfare" clause has been misinterpreted by the people and to a degree Congress as well. It doesn't mean to enact laws that stand to benefit one state or segment of the country over another. It means enact laws where the whole of the nation can benefit from it. In the case of welfare itself, I think it was originally intended to help keep people out of poverty, but instead has become a crutch for alot of people much as Medicaid has today. I would much rather see the Welfare system changed to a "work-fare" system where those who are on it know going into it that they will be granted benefits for a limited period of time. Furthermore, in order to remain on the system throughout this benefit period the individual MUST undergo job (re)training and job placement (or seek same on their own).

For example:

If states would tie an education system to welfare (minimum job certification training, maximum 2-year associates degree), I think the country would be better off. Granted, you'd then have women getting pregnant strictly to have the government pay for the education, but the payoff would be a 2-year miximum on welfare, job placement assistance (maybe with a 6-month extension depending on the circumstances surrounding why the person couldn't complete the training in the prescribed period of time) and a one-shot benefit no matter how many additional kids she may have. Once you've applied and been granted such assistance, you can never come on the program again because you've maxed out your entitlement. To me, that's a win-win for the individual, the state and the country because you've:

1) provided financing and subsistance for the poor and/or down trottened;

2) provided the opportunity for the individual to get a quality 2-year education through re-training;

3) limited their exposure to the welfare system - one-time only.

4) place the individual on a stronger footing to be a contributing member towards the workforce and the tax base.

The problem with our nation's current welfare system is it seldom, if ever, provides a means for the individual to get off the merry-go-round, but instead provides a means whereby Mary can stay on it for years! All at the expense of the tax payer. To me, that's wrong. However, I do recognize that some people by no fault of their own do need assistance. Nonetheless, I strongly belief that such state/federal assistance should be limited to "those who are truly working to help themselves" get off the system.
 
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Goobieman

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The power to lay taxes with the intent to create revenue and the power to spend that revenue in and of itself confers no power to create the legislation through which that revenue is spent.

Thats what the rest of the enumerated powers do. If the 'general welfare clause' argument were sound, there'd then be no Powers of Congress save the first and last.
 
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There seems to be a whole lot of arguing the point over whether the Constitution used the language "provide" or "promote."

So, without going to check, what do you think the Constitution says? Provide, promote, or both?
It says "provide for the general welfare" but if your asking if this justifies that public programs like welfare or national health-care are constitutional there's nothing in the constitution that supports this. Because this term will be thrown around to try and support there cause.

"The key is not the phrase "provide" the key is how is "general welfare" defined.

This clause is not a grant of power to Congress. It is a limit to a power given to Congress. It limits the purpose for which Congress can lay and collect taxes.

The Founders did not dare to leave the phrase “general welfare” for future power grabbers, as there is no telling what they could do with this vague concept if left undefined. They understood that it is the nature of all governments to grow. As a result, clauses 2-9 list 14 powers that comprise “general welfare.” Five deal with borrowing money, regulating its value, and dealing with counterfeiting. The other nine powers include naturalization, bankruptcies, establishing post offices, protecting inventors and authors, establishing “tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court” and “regulating commerce with foreign nations and among the several states.”

During the founding, some Anti-Federalists were concerned that this clause “amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare.” But James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” explained very clearly that it granted no power to Congress. If the “General Welfare” clause gives Congress the power to promote the general welfare, then why specifically list the other powers in Article I, such as the power to establish post offices and post roads, or to coin money? Wouldn’t it be redundant to list them?

In short, as Madison argued, Congress derives no power from the general welfare clause, which merely serves to limit Congress’s power to lay and collect taxes. Congress can only do so for purposes of common defense or general welfare, in the service of the powers granted to it elsewhere in Article I."

I hope this the definition and meaning of "provide
 

Joe Steel

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exactly, it's a key distinction: the federal government is to provide the conditions in which general welfare can increase, they are not to provide that welfare directly unto the individual itself.
Nonsense. Providing for the welfare of individuals promotes the general welfare.
 

Joe Steel

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During the founding, some Anti-Federalists were concerned that this clause “amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare.” But James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” explained very clearly that it granted no power to Congress. If the “General Welfare” clause gives Congress the power to promote the general welfare, then why specifically list the other powers in Article I, such as the power to establish post offices and post roads, or to coin money? Wouldn’t it be redundant to list them?
As you noted, the phrase is vague. This is deliberate to ensure the government could act in all cases. However, the Founders knew reasonable persons could have good faith disagreements about which legislation would serve the General Welfare. To ensure Congress would have the so-called enumerated powers, they listed them.
 
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Zyphlin

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Article I Section 8:
You shouldn't bold to change context. Lets look at the two of them.

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 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;
So in the first portion it says all the things the government should be doing individually, which includes "promote the general welfare".

The second portion is saying what it can use tax money for, in which it includes providing for the general welfare.

The second portion is not saying that "The federal government provides the general welfare". Its saying the tax money PROVIDES the funds for the governments duty of promoting the general welfare of the country. At least that is how I read it.

If the governments duty was PROVIDING for the general welfare they would've that wording in the section of the constitution that is explaining what the Government is meant to do....not in the section on what the Taxes can be used for.
 

Goobieman

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It, also, states that it can provide for the General Welfare in Article 1 Section 8.
The power to is lay taxes with the intent to create revenue and the power to spend that revenue in and of itself confers no power to create the legislation through which that revenue is spent.

Thats what the rest of the enumerated powers do. If the 'general welfare clause' argument were sound, there'd then be no Powers of Congress save the first and last.
 

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For the "welfare clauses" in the constituion to be used as an arguement for welfare, everyone in this country would have to be getting welfare.

Section 9 - Limits on Congress

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
The United States Constitution - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net
 

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How does that follow?
Do you know what a "Bill of Attainder" is?

In the context of the Constitution, a Bill of Attainder is meant to mean a bill that has a negative effect on a single person or group (for example, a fine or term of imprisonment). Originally, a Bill of Attainder sentenced an individual to death, though this detail is no longer required to have an enactment be ruled a Bill of Attainder.
The Constitutional Dictionary - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't you say that welfare for some has a "negative effect" on those that don't have that check coming in each month? Sounds unconstitutional to me. :mrgreen:
 
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