Lloyd Bailey: Read the Constitution


Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 4:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 4:02 p.m.

Liberals love to cite the Constitution’s general welfare clause as if it were a grant of unlimited power to the federal government. Often left out in the liberal rant is the part referencing foregoing powers in the necessary and proper clause.

While general welfare is mentioned in the preamble, further instruction is provided in Article I, Section 8, where general welfare is listed again, followed by 18 enumerated powers that are granted to congress.

At the end of this article, it reads as follows: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers …” The uneducated and dishonest regularly leave out the part about “foregoing powers” that refers back to the 18 enumerated powers.

Further instruction is gained by reading Federalist No. 45 where James Madison, author of the Constitution and many of the Federalist Papers, wrote: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

Also, in Federalist No. 41. Madison had this to say regarding the general welfare: “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.”

If this were not enough evidence, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make clear the absence of any implied powers to the Federal compact. The Ninth Amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Tenth Amendment states: “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.

Those that want to defend the liberal view of the Constitution should read it first, but it will not go well to engage the debate when the truth is not on your side. Our Constitution is not one of feelings, entitlements and emotions; it is one of clearly enumerated powers.

While there are many degrees of socialism, federal government of the United States has no constitutional authority over domestic issues including health care. The federal government controls and owns significant portions of the medical profession, so it is no stretch to make the reference to socialized medicine that began with Medicare and Medicaid.

Lloyd W. Bailey Jr. lives in Gainesville.

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