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Congress Just Doesn't Get It - By Wes Alexander

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    The States can't do it. The courts won't do it. You and I are the only thing between socialist tyranny and liberty.
    -- 03/03/02

Democratic and Republican members of Congress just don't get it. They are slowly destroying our legacy. Heaven help us if their actions are intentional. This would mean that criminals are playing us for fools and winning mightily.

If you are fortunate enough to get a member of Congress to give you the constitutional authority for a given vote, they will tend to stand on the General Welfare clause in Article 1 section 8. The General Welfare clause was meant to serve as a brake on the powers listed in section 8. Section 8 powers are very specific, extremely limited, and include things like coining money and creating courts.

The spending associated with these limited powers was supposed to be for the country's general welfare. It could not benefit particular parties or sections of the nation. To paraphrase; the Constitution says that Congress was limited to a small number of powers, and those powers must be applied generally. They had to apply to all states and all people. It does not say, "Congress can do anything it likes to help the general welfare."

The Constitution and Bill of Rights acknowledged that all other powers belong to the states and the people. This view was clearly debated at the time of our founding, and is the same one held by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. I'm confident both would be shocked and saddened by the size and power of the current behemoth. Here are just a few Founding Father quotes that support this logic.

James Madison 1788 - "The powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction."

Thomas Jefferson 1791 - "They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider… {Otherwise}, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power do to whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please…Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect."

James Madison 1792 - "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."

Thomas Jefferson 1815 - "I hope our courts will never countenance the sweeping pretensions which have been set up under the words 'general defence and public welfare.' These words only express the motives which induced the Convention to give to the ordinary legislature certain specified powers which they enumerate, and which they thought might be trusted to the ordinary legislature, and not to give them the unspecified also; or why any specifications? They could not be so awkward in language as to mean, as we say, 'all and some.' And should this construction prevail, all limits to the federal government are done away."

Thomas Jefferson 1817 - "Our tenet ever was…that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money."

Chief Justice John Marshall 1819 - "The federal government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers. The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to now universally admitted."

James Madison 1831 - "With respect to the words 'general welfare', I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by it creators."

You and I must keep asking ourselves and Congress the same question over and over. This question must be asked on every single vote. The question is, "What was their constitutional authority?" If and when they ever respond, you can pound them over the head with the information and quotes above.

Congress is moving toward socialist tyranny. The states have abdicated their constitutional power, and Congress is following suit. Neither is willing to protect us from a federal authority that is and will continue to become more powerful and eventually oppressive. It is government's nature to accrue power and grow. Too many citizens, companies, and groups demand favoritism; and Congress is giving them what they want. Liberty's fate has fallen to pawns. You and I are the only ones that can stop it.

@ 1999-2009 Wes Alexander