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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Original Intent

Several democrats responded to the question about the constitutionality of this healthcare bill by referring to the general welfare clause and the commerce clause. The general welfare clause is part of the constitutional Section 8 on spending and is called the Spending Clause.

“The Congress shall have 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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

Congress has the authority to spend monies on the general welfare of the United States. Not individual peoples or individual states. They were to consider factors that would affect several states thus the early congress voted to build a lighthouse in Savannah because it helped ships from everywhere not just Georgia. At the same time they refuse spending monies on dredging the Savannah River because it would help only the one state in particular. They spent money on the Cumberland Highway in one state because it helped commerce travel to and from several states. If the current congress held to this precedent of spending for the good of the nation as a whole then it would eliminate a lot of the problems we have with earmarks, vote buying and favoritism.

The second answer was the commerce clause. It states: “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

The original intent there was to regulate trade for the purpose of preventing limits on free trade. One state could not increase taxes or put tariffs on goods as to give favor to businesses in their states. The idea was to have, as mush as possible, free, fair and open trade. The constitution only gave congress the power to regulate for a specific purpose. The key word here is “regulate”, not take over and manage any part of the economy.

Today the opposite is happening, the government is not regulating businesses to allow free trade but taking them over (unconstitutional), removing management and setting salaries. The government is trying to take over healthcare, one sixth of the economy and to dictate what products we are to buy and not buy. Neither of the two clauses above justifies that. What this current administration and democratically controlled congress is doing is clearly unconstitutional.

Some states are pushing back. They are passing “tenth amendment” clauses that states the federal government has no power over the state where intrastate commerce is not involved. “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.” Therefore the areas where the president and congress are trying to take over are off limits to them. Nothing in the Constitution gives anyone in the federal government the authority to take over anything in the private sector. Shouldn’t any legislator or the president for that matter who is in willful violation of the constitution be removed from office? I think so.

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