The General Welfare Clause

Peter Namtvedt's picture
Here are pulled together some facts and thoughts on 10 clauses in the U.S. constitution that have been ignored, misunderstood or misapplied. Some people merely want the correct meaning to be restored by educating the judiciary, others wish to amend the constitution so as to correct the way the constitution is applied (to repeal or correct the problem clauses), and yet others would like an entirely new constitution. The focus here will be on one of the 10 troubling constitutional clauses:
  1. The commerce clause
  2. The contracts clause
  3. The due process clause (amend 5 and 14)
  4. The privileges or immunities clause
  5. The equal protection of the laws clause
  6. The general welfare clause
  7. The necessary and proper clause
  8. The supremacy clause
  9. The takings and tax clauses
  10. The enumeration of rights clause (amend 9)

We have now come to the sixth of these clauses, The General Welfare Clause.

The General Welfare Clause.

The word "welfare" appears twice in the Constitution. Once in the preamble and again in Article 1, Section 8, as the introduction and purpose of the enumerated powers..

The preamble to the Constitution states:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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."

Article 1, Section 8 states:

"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."

Interpretation

The author of this article has split the "Taxing and Spending Clause" into two parts instead of treating it as one, as some people do, taking no issue per se with the power to spend. Separate treatment is being given in this series to the troubling items within the larger clause, spending for the "general welfare," and "taxing."

This article has a Libertarian take on the meaning of "general welfare." Some grounds for this interpretation can be found in history, but the argument boils down to the danger to liberty in government actions intended to help people through redistribution and projects that the private sector could very well accomplish.

The reason this author finds this constitutional clause to be troubling is that it causes confusion. The wording of this introductory statement in Article I, section 8 would have been more of a statement of purpose and the power to tax and spend had been separate, the meaning could have been more clear.

My wording might have been something like this:

"Congress shall have the following Powers in order to maintain the Union of the States, to pay the Debts incurred by the revolutionary War and providing for national Defense and the national Benefit using Revenues derived from making Trade regular by levying Taxes, Duties, Imposts, Excises and Tariffs for these Purposes: . . ."

then followed by the 16 specific numerated powers, followed by the grant of power to make laws to effect these powers, limited by true necessity and propriety, taking into account the presumption of liberty. The "general welfare" clause was not an independent grant of power.

But I did not get a say in the matter. And we have to live with the confusion that resulted from the clause as written. But perhaps we will benefit from understanding how we got to where we are today.

First, what did "welfare" mean in the age of the Founders? From the Free Republic Web Site:

We all know the meaning of words can change over time. In order to more accurately assess the meaning of the word "welfare", with respect to its use in the Constitution, I consulted a source from that period. I happened to own a reprint of the 1828 edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language. Here is how the word "welfare" was defined 40 years after it was written in the Constitution:

WEL´FARE, n. [well and fare, a good going; G. wohlfahrt; D. welvaard; Sw. valfart; Dan. velfærd.]
1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.
2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applies to states.

A clear distinction is made with respect to welfare as applied to persons and states. In the Constitution the word "welfare" is used in the context of states and not persons. The "welfare of the United States" is not congruous with the welfare of individuals, people, or citizens.

See Free Republic dot com for more on their viewpoint.

The preamble of the constitution establishes no powers or rights. It merely states the purpose of the constitution. No further development of what "general welfare" means can be made based on the mention of it in the preamble.

The heading statement of Article 1, Section 8 confers on congress powers to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises. It then states the purpose of this in broad terms, to be expressed in detail in the list of 16 powers that follows. This purpose is that the funding placed at congress' disposition is to be used for federal and state debts due to the revolutionary war and for future defense and for the "general welfare of the United States." It concludes with limiting the duties, imposts and excises to amounts that would be uniform among the states.

It is wrong to read more than a basic power to tax and spend into this, to see any other power being granted here. All other details, as to what, specifically, the tax revenue may be spent on follows in the list of 16 specific powers.

Despite the wishes of some to invoke "original intention" in interpreting the constitution, this author will only dare to the kind of originalism that looks at what the public thought that it meant, who would read this clause or hear about it, at the time it was written. At that time, it was clear that general welfare in this context dealt with the welfare of the Union, and excluded any individual or local welfare.

The intentions of the Founders varied, from Hamilton's "nationalist" position (advocating a strong central government that might be supreme in all matters and that could provide all manner of public goods) to Jefferson's night-watchman state, with Madison somewhere in between. The debates in the constitutional convention are proof of the varied intentions. And since the Founders all were human, their intentions probably changed during the process. "General welfare" was carried forward from the Articles of Confederation. Perhaps there was very little thought put into what functionality it would have in the new constitution.

But the meaning to the nation was plain: no local interests could be provided aid from the new federal government. The welfare concerned the wholesomeness of the Union, the federal level, the matter of binding the states together for mutual benefit, the health of the arrangement of the separated powers, the federalist structure, not the well-being of groups or individuals, whether travelers, farmers, manufacturers, shop-keepers, freight-haulers or consumers, etc. The strongest reading would be that the benefit of this "general welfare" had to be a benefit for all rather than some people, without it being a direct benefit to every individual. It seems it had to be limited to "public use" in the sense of the Fifth Amendment.

In the twenty-first century, however, the meaning has reversed. General welfare now covers all kinds of welfare. How has this come about?

History

Hamilton and Jefferson fought about the meaning of "general welfare" in several important cases:

  • "Opinion on the Constitutionality of the National Bank," to establish a national bank to handle taxes, borrowing and debt payments.
  • "Report on Manufactures,'' seeking government support for industry to keep the economy strong and well-supplied in case of war.
Chief Justice John Marshall strikes the decisive blow. It fell to John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835, to ensure that the Hamiltonian view was established as our fundamental law. Marshall's 1819 opinion in the case involving the National Bank, (McCulloch v. Maryland,) is a milestone for the confirmation of the national government's exercise of its implied powers -- and, it is also clear, to carry out its Manifest Destiny as a Continental Republic, "from sea to shining sea."

Lincoln - to me the obvious solution to the problem of slavery was buying out all the slaves. I don't believe the president would have done so, for ending slavery was not his mission. And when he did comment on that before the War Between the States, his wish was to be able to ship all African-Americans back to Africa. His mission seems to have been to use whatever stratagem he could to prod the belligerent southern states to secede and then for the "general welfare of the United States" force them to remain in the Union, thereby strengthening the central government. See Alexander Hamilton Institute dot org. In the final analysis, he only started the tortuous liberation of slaves, and considerably strengthened the federal government.

By the twentieth century, the expansionist or Hamilton ian view of "general welfare" was promoted by the Progressive movement and then by Franklin D. Roosevelt. His "New Deal" used the "general welfare" clause as a distinct enumerated power, trying to shoehorn in a Second Bill of Rights. The supreme court resisted at first, but swung around, and as a result our country gradually became a welfare state.

Hamilton is vindicated with the welfare state. And the chickens came home to roost. A government strong enough to do as much good for disadvantaged people would turn out to be a government strong enough to do much harm as well. What you see is the promised good of providing a living to the hungry and poor. What you don't see is the expropriation of resources from those who are productive. What you don't see, until later, is the encroachment of growing government power on your freedom.

Conclusion

Should the General Welfare clause be defined without any shadow of doubt to provide a clear understanding of what it entails and what is not included?

Unfortunately, you cannot put the lid back on Pandora's box....

Let's say we narrowly define the General Welfare clause to include only general improvements to the welfare of the country (i.e. nothing to individuals).

Would every law on the books which benefits individuals directly then become un-Constitutional? They would. They would all be stricken down. The US would instantly become a place that it was not yesterday.

What we need is a strong leader (in Congress or the White House) to define, publicly, what the General Welfare clause will be interpreted as. Then, enforce lawmaking decisions in line with that definition.

It will never happen though. The government is politics first and running the country second, which means no politicians will nail themselves down on an issue like this.

Another problem is that the definition of "General Welfare" changes over time. Certainly, insurance programs like Medicare/Medicaid or Social Security never existed (even as ideas) in the the late 18th century. Technology and social philosophy change over time. What might be considered a good and exact definition now may be inappropriate or, worse, incorrect in the future.
America's Debate

Until some amendments can be made, we are stuck with the confusion and the financial burden of the welfare state. Let us hope it does not end with national financial collapse.

"general welfare" vs "general welfare of the United States," etc

I notice you did make the distinction, but I have a few thoughts, anyway.

Whereas in the first case, where "general welfare" isn't modified, it is preceded by the term "promote," whereas in the second case the term "provide" is employed.

Before proceding, I note that the term "general" is used in both cases, and it would seem this is in order to instruct us that it applies to the benefit of all citizens equally, without singling out any individuals or groups - no favorites, everyone is equal.

More specifically,...

....it would seem that the first case is more general than the second, and so since one cannot "provide" for every circumstance that will ever occur, one is merely required to be responsible for "promoting" the general welfare of states and their citizens as befits the times and circumstances, in whatever ways such that each person has an equal potential for benefit, with no prejudice against anyone. Even more specifically, it seems that this refers to ensuring laws that protect members from anything depriving them of their freedom or the fruit of their labors.

...and in the second case, where the govt is to "provide for" the "general welfare" it is here limited to "the United States," a term not used in the first case. what this could mean is suggested by...
(1) - the proximity to "defence" and
(2) - the meaning of "provide" as defined by how it is used in all other occurances of it's use.
{Also, It seems that, since the term "general" is also used here, the Fed govt., may not seek to benefit any individuals or groups more than any other.) Rather, it would seem that the term "provide" means to have in place a well staffed and funded readiness plan so that if any state (not individual or group of same) is in need of assistance in case of invasion or natural disaster, or any other situation beyond it's ability to cope, then that plan could be acted on to assist said state(s) in managing the situation. But, it doesn't at all suggest Federal obligations to "provide" for the needs of individuals or groups. If anything, that could be something a state might decide it needs to do, but not the Fed Govt.

Also, since it is necessary to finance such efforts, we find that requirement in proximity to taxation, which also is modified to make it fair to all the states.

Some people I've seen discussing this in the case of "provide" for the "general welfare" they ignore the fact that in that case the term "the United States" comes to tell us which "general welfare" we are "providing" for, as opposed to "promoting." I notice that you don't make that mistake, though I would argue that we can't invoke, as you seem to be doing, "of the United States" in the first case, because in that first occurance of "gneral welfare" the term "of the United States" is omitted. BUT, in that case the term "promote" is used instead of "provide" in which case it seems to be dealing with the right of equal protection of every individual under law in order not to limit their initiative and productivity, and nothing more.

If you have any additional thoughts and/or good references on this, I would appreciate it.

Regards

P.S., with regard to recent revelations that Obama said that the Constitution is "deeply flawed" because the framers were "blind" and that the "constraints" they placed in it are impeding "spreading the wealth," it seems his goal is to rewright the Constituion or at least to "reinterpret" it out of existence.

Please G-d that doesn't happen.

Think Again!

THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE

Welfare: Financial or other assistance given to those in poverty
Charity: Donations or generous actions to aid the poor

If you believe one thing in your life, believe this; the federalist debated the broad or narrow interpretation of power, they never debated Christian charity.

Every single one of them were clear on banning Government from establishing religion or its exercises.

Thomas Jefferson; the (establishment) clause was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state. Reynolds v United States 98 U.S. 145, 164 (1879)

Madison; I cannot undertake to lay my finger on the article in the federal constitution which granted a right of the congress of expending on objects of benevolence the money of their constituents. Annals of Congress house of representatives 3rd Congress, first session, page170 (1794)

Try this
Welfare: Safety

Safety is Guaranteed in Article 4 § 4 from “invasion” and “domestic violence”

This satisfies the preamble of the constitutions General Safety as the reason for the constitution.

Article 1 § 8 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 safety of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

First Article 1 § 8 provide for the common defense; this was to meet the guarantee of Safety from invasion, then granted power to raise Army, Navy to secure the guarantee from invasion from Article 4 § 4.

General Welfare; this was to meet the guarantee of Safety from “domestic violence,” then granted power to raise a militia i.e. Coast Guard, National Guard, Police etc. to secure the guarantee of safety from domestic violence, from Article 4 § 4.

Welfare: “Care for the poor,” violates the first amendment
Welfare: “Safety,” Guaranteed in Article 4 § 4, and delegated to congress in Article 1 § 8.

Ye Gawds

Wow. You're wrong. I mean, on every single count, you're just flat, batshit crazy wrong. Providing for the General Welfare means just what it sounds like in plain language. The term hasn't really changed meanings since 1787. It means to identify "evil" and to lay and collect taxes to remedy it. Any other definition of the term is pure sophism designed to cloud the issue for ideological purposes. The founders believed in government as a force for good. That's why they founded it.

Really?

"The founders believed in government as a force for good."

Really? Where have they ever been quoted as believing that? I think the opposite is clear - they believed that government is a force that is often abused for the benefit of the few. That's why they founded it the way they did, with checks and balances not only laterally at the federal level, but also vertically from the individual to the states to the federal government. To claim that the founding fathers believed in the inherent goodness of government after just having dealt with the abuses of centralized power is, I quote, "batshit crazy wrong."

[so many comment, so little time to moderate them. thanks anon for the rebuttal. minor spell checking applied. --mj]

The definition of welfare

""... "promoting" the general welfare of states and their citizens as befits the times and circumstances, in whatever ways such that each person has an equal potential for benefit, with no prejudice against anyone. "

Except that we are not all created equal. Some of us are smarter, some are taller, more handsome, more clever...etc. Some are destined to succeed and others to fail. But all will pay their taxes.

What is the role of government? Since all individuals pay taxes, those taxes should benefit all taxpayers. The benefits are determined by the need. The government has an obligation to all those who pay taxes (of any kind), including an obligation to protect the hungry from starvation and the unemployed from penury. It is one government supported by all, obligated to all; even the sickest, the poorest, the least of us.

The libertarian view towards a smaller government can only work if all people are, in fact, equal in all regards. They are not and never will be, and it falls, therefore, to the government to protect those whose circumstances do not propel them to success.

[Nice try, the US government has no obligations to support any individual or special class. And if you're serious about suggesting that it's the government's responsibility to succor the weak, my suggestion is you go read Darwin, for the logic arguments as to why that is both futile and ignorant from the societal viewpoint. --MJ]

THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUE

OUTSTANDING WEB SITE.

OFFER "THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE"
TO BE FOUND LINKED TO SITE BUGLER.ORG
OR GOOGLED AT "THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE"

PRESENTLY WRITING A SMALL 90 PAGE TREATMENT ON THE SUBJECT.

UNTIL 1937 WE HELD TO THE ORIGINAL INTENT.

THEN CAME THE SECOND WORLD WAR. THEN CAME STRICT CONSTRUCTION COALITION OF CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS AND BOB TAFT REPUBLICANS.

THEN CAME IKE.

THEN CAME JFK WHO WAS A FISCAL CONSERVATIVE.

THEN CAME LBJ.

THEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

THIS NATION UNTIL 1965 WAS BASICALLY THE ONLY NATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD WHICH HELD ITS NATIONAL POWER TO AN ENUMERATION OF 18 POWERS TO TAX AND SPEND.

THE REASON WE BECAM THE NUMBER ONE ECONOMIC POWER ON EARTH WAS BECAUSE THE CONSTITUJTION PRECLUDED THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FROM PICKING OUR POCKETS CLEAN.

NOW OUR POCKETS ARE CLEAN.

WHY?

BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS SOLD US OUT THAT IS WHY.

WE HAVE NO WHERE TO GO NOW.

HOW CAN I IN 2010 WHEN I MAY RUN FOR CONGRESS [ MY THIRD SHOT]
CALL ON THE ELECTORATE.

HOW CAN I RALLY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AROUND THE FLAG OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS GIVEN A MANDATE WITH THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA.

AND WHAT DID THE DO.

THEY WENT TO WASHINGTON TO CLEAN OUT A SWAMP THEY TOLD US.

AND WHAT HAPPENED.

THEY BECAME PART OF THE SWAMP.

WHEN I QUESTIONED THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN THE YEAR 2000 THEIR REPLY WAS THAT THE SWAMP WAS REALLY A HOT TUB .

GOD HELP US.

JOHN W. BUGLER
BUGLER.ORG
631-589 7017

The politicians who sold us out.

Hey Johnny,
We the people won't be too hard on you for your ignorance of American economic history. We will even smile and humor you as you run again.

Preamble

A "PREAMBLE" is nothing more than a summary of, or introduction to, what is to follow. If the idea is not in the context of the Articles, then it is not in the preamble. The meaning in the preamble must be defined by what is in the context of the articles, not the other way around.

The relevant Supreme Court

The relevant Supreme Court ruling to this effect is Jacobson v Massachusetts 1905

"The United States does not derive any of its substantive powers from the Preamble of the Constitution. It cannot exert any power to secure the declared objects of the Constitution unless, apart from the Preamble such power be found in, or can properly be implied from, some express delegation in the instrument."

re:General Welfare

Thanks for the English language lesson!

First, I can see and distinguish between providing for the common defense from providing for the general welfare. They share a common foundation in that they are focused on the United States as a whole and not the individuals who make up the United States per se. However, I do have a question on the term welfare.

Welfare as described in the 1828 dictionary states:

1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.
2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applies to states.

What intrigues me is the first meaning where exemption from sickness is acknowledged. Of course, calamity could be assumed to include sickness as well.

My point is if, by this definition of welfare from a period in time near to when the Constitution was written, is acceptable for the meaning and intent in the Constitution, then I could see where it would be possible to successfully argue the intent of the framers was to allow future Congress's to enter into the area of general welfare so long as they make their intrusion universal, to all citizens, while at the same time giving respect to the Tenth Amendment by consulting with all States so as to keep the power of the Federal government in check, similar to the check and balances in Congress.

Frankly, I find the founders to be quite adept at the use and intent of language. And the way in which they weaved the Constitution makes me think real hard not only about what they are saying, but take in context the wording used before and after keywords. That makes it a document opened to interpretation if one is able to grasp the essence of what the original intent was - it's a maze of knowledge.

"What intrigues me is the

"What intrigues me is the first meaning where exemption from sickness is acknowledged"

The problem is you are applying the definition of welfare as applies to the INDIVIDUAL; the constitution is a document about the powers of the STATE:

"Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applies to states"

I find it difficult to believe that the framers of our constitution wanted to grant government the power to interfere as it saw fit for "the greater good". As we know, the road to hell...

As you stated, the founders were very adept with language, and anyone of that generation would undoubtedly know that in the instance of the constitution that the "general welfare" clause meant for the good of the STATE, not the individual.

General Welfare Clause

Before I begin I read "yonason's" comments which I thought were quite good and useful.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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 Constitution of the United States of America

A distinction has been made between promote and provide.

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;

- Section 8.

In the Preamble, promote refers to the individual states. They were certainly not in any position to provide for the general welfare. The states were to promote their own legitimate ends which end is the common good or general welfare of the state. But the states were to promote their own general welfare even after the Constitution was written. The states were still seperate and didn't become the United States until after the Constitution had been written and ratified. Then they became the United States. So we have two different meanings to "United States" in the Preamble. In the 10th Amendment United States refers to the federal government. Just another meaning of which there are many.

What does "provide" for the general welfare mean? It simply means that when a state or states cannot promote their own general welfare or maintain the common good that the federal government will come to the rescue and once that is achieved they should get out. But of course before one goes to the federal government one should see if his neighbor can help meaning a neighboring state or even a distant one. This is the "principle of subsidiarity" and is a natural law principle. The federal government has annihilated this which is an immoral act and which I consider a criminal offense. They are in control of the money which they dole out to the states through pork added to good bills or bad ones.

Taxing and spending under the general welfare clause is criminal and Congress, with the help of the courts, has brought this country to its knees and has mangled the Constitution so it is no longer capable of being recognized.

To provide simply means that the federal government gives aid to the states in need or dire need to promote their general welfare and get them back on their feet. But as you know the whole government is in a mess and is corrupt and irresponsible with taxpayers money.

As you said there is no putting Pandora back in the box and certainly when our debt is 100 trillion dollars

[Formating fixes. No other changes. --MJ]

provide

I believe "provide for the general welfare of the United States" is exactly what it means, given the 1828 definition. The key being the "United States" as a nation...to provide for the safety and security of the nation AS AN ENTITY, not the individual states or the people!

As Madison said in 1792, if that clause was meant to allow Congress to pass anything it wanted to ensure the CREATURE comfort of all citizens, then you might as well throw the Constitution into the fire!

The fact that the framers were careful enough to insert "of the United States" was brilliant and by no means an accident.

Health care, along with Social Security, Medicare, etc. is NOT therefore authorized by Article I, Section VIII as an area within the power of the Congress to regulate and/or legistlate.

Unless and until an Amendment to the Constitution is passed, and if health care is passed, states should explore "nullification" whereby they are not required to assist the federal government in implementing federal laws. In addition, I hope and expect that many Constitutional challenges to the law will be filed.

Anyone reading this: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WHAT THE CONSTITUTION IS!! Schools will tell your kids "it made us free". No, the Declaration and war did that. The Constitution kept us free FROM OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!!!

- a concerned attorney and Patriot

Simple really...

"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;"

The power: "to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Exices"

The PURPOSE of the power: "to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States"

The power is NOT to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare...the power is simply to tax. This is written in clear, easy to understand language. If this were, in fact, a "tax AND SPEND" clause, there would be no need for the subsequent enumerated powers. It would be redundant to say that taxing power is where power to spend on common defense is derived and then list the specific areas below it. It is a sham. The subsequent powers that "provide...for the...general welfare" follow:

"To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;"

The powers that provide for the common defense follow:

"To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

Finally, the necessary and proper clause power is specifically in reference to making law concerning the previously mentioned powers.

So the question is, is it We the People who are insanely idiotic or is it our elected legislators and appointed justices? Perhaps, if this is really a subject that needs to be debated, All of the above...

welfare and working backwards

Full disclosure: I write as a political liberal and am attempting to comment on the discussion of "welfare" in the Constitution in general rather than any on any specific argument...

Another site, "Yahoo answers" billed as the Best Answer - Chosen by Voters, to the question at hand was the following:

"Promoting the general welfare" is just a fancy way of saying that we will do things like increase public safety, improve health, and progress the country. "Promoting the general welfare" = "Taking care of every citizen"

Doesn't this suggest that the Constitution is viewed by each of us in a different way, based on our own study, prejudices, etc. The government already provides health insurance to millions, and a new program to cover everyone is not a major change, given Social Security, Medicare, the VA, highway system, Food Stamps, etc. Has anyone challenged these programs based on your interpretation of the Constitution? What have the courts held?... it seems that the Constitution, for better or worse, means what the Supremes say it means, according to 200 years of jurisprudence. Even if this interpretation is wrong and much of what I read in this discussion is correct, dont you think that if, say, Medicare were deemed unconstitutional, there would be an amendment to make it so within a year. These programs are successful and popular, and if we have a national character, it's pragmatism.

Popular programs and pragmatic governance

The previous writer suggests that since Medicare/Medicaid, et al, exist they are, therefore, an expression of constitutionality. The writer bases this conclusion on the fact that the nation is continuing down this path, without constitutional challenge.

To continue down a path laid out by recent forebearers, when that path leads to death, is not pragmatic. Rather, getting off that path and pursuing that which leads to freedom is the pragmatic choice. I choose freedom over death.

General Welfare

Dear All:

According to Madison in Federalist #41, the statement of the power to tax and spend serves as the general statement with the manners in which that general power is to be exercised explicitly enumerated thereafter.

For example, if the portion of the clause "to provide for the common defense" was indeed a standalone power, why would the founders then explicitly list a power "To raise and support armies"? It would be redundant. Does providing for the "common defense" exclude the raising and supporting of armies? Absolutely not. Therefore the only reasonable construction is that the power to raise and support armies is the explicit enumeration of the manner in which the general power to provide for the common defense is to be carried into effect.

We can then deal with the "promote the General Welfare" portion of the clause in a similar manner. An example of the manner in which the General Welfare is to be promoted can be demonstrated by the power "To establish post offices and post roads". Again, any alternative construction renders the enumerated power redundant.

Lastly, the founders were very precise in their wording. They used the words "person" or "citizen" when speaking of individuals and the phrase "United States" or the word "union" when referring to the federation of states. The general power to tax and spend in Article I, Section 8 clearly states that the powers are directed at the "United States" not "persons" or "citizens" therefore the power applies only to objects which will promote the solidarity and prosperity of the union of states, not its citizens.

It is beyond comprehension that any court could so disastrously misinterpret an entire section of the Constitution. As Madison predicted in Federalist #41, just such a construction has led to a Congress limited only by its own imagination rendering the Constituion itself completely irrelevant.

The US Supreme Court ruled

The US Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v Massachusetts that the Preamble to the Constitution does not confer any legislative powers -- so you cannot use the words of the Preamble to infer that the Federal Government has any power to do anything.

The relevent clause is the spending clause -- Article I, Section 8 where it states "to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States". As the author has so ably pointed out, this applies to the United States as a whole, not individual citizens or certain States over others.

General Welfare Clause

It seems to me that the issue regarding the meaning of the general welfare clause can be solved with Justice Marshall's argument in Marbury v.. Madison.

It cannot be presumed that any clause in the Constitution is intended to be without effect, and therefore such construction is inadmissible unless the words require it.

To argue that the general welfare clause grants some unnamed powers to Congress would in effect nullify the 10th amendment and the enumerated powers. Therefore, the clause cannot be interpreted to grant any powers other than those enumerated in the Constitution.

The problem for me arises because of the authorization given to Congress to enact legislation in support of the enumerated powers granted to it by the Constitution. I sense that there is alway a danger here that a law so enacted could go beyond the limits intended by the framers of the Constitution.

How General The "General Welfare" Clause?

Question: When confronted by the indisputable facts, what excuse do those in Washington use to justify actions that factually exceed enumerated constitutional limits? Answer: They hide behind that ubiquitous General Welfare Clause. And what is the General Welfare Clause?

Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution: “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;”

Now we’ve argued about the definition of this for over 200 years in the courts, in the congress and on the streets and you can reference almost any opinion you like because most will seek out the interpretation that justifies their action. Given the difference of opinion over the years, whose opinion really counts? Whose view is definitive? Speaking as a simple solider, I’d say it would be the folks that wrote the original document even more so than the subsequent courts that bastardized it.

What did the Founders really mean? After all, they’re the ones that can actually answer questions first hand concerning original meaning/intent and not be speculative or twisted politically by the passage of time wouldn’t you think?

OK, let’s see what they had to say and put this question to rest. Let’s ask James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Could they possibly shed any light on this?

“With respect to the two 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 its creators.” – James Madison in letter to James Robertson

“[Congressional jurisdiction of power] is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist 14

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” – James Madison, Federalist 45

“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.” – James Madison, 1792

“The Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient,’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed” – Thomas Jefferson, 1791

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1798

There you have it. James Madison, the Constitution’s author and Thomas Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence, specifically say that Congressional powers are to be limited and defined – unlike most modern interpretations!

Admittedly, Jefferson and Madison were not our only Founders. These two were strict constitutionalists who feared the potential strength of any government. So let’s look at another Founder’s opinion—Alexander Hamilton who historically saw it in a somewhat looser vain.

“This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 83

Hamilton uncategorically states that all congressional powers are enumerated and that the very existence of these enumerations alone makes any belief that Congress has full and general legislative power to act as it desires nonsensical. If such broad congressional power had been the original intent, the constitutionally specified powers would have been worthless. In other words, why even enumerate any powers at all if the General Welfare clause could trump them?

“No legislative act … contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78

In short, Hamilton tells us that since the powers of Congress are enumerated and limit Congress to those powers, any assumed authority outside those specified that don’t have a direct relation to those explicit powers must be contrary to the Constitution and therefore — unconstitutional.

From the proverbial horses mouths to your own eyes — the all-encompassing General Welfare Clause is not as all encompassing as our current “leaders” would have us believe. In no way does that one phrase grant unlimited power to the Federal government rather it pertains only to those enumerated powers that can and ought to be applied universally and in general to the several states.

Original meaning is not our main challenge

There is little reason to interpret 'general Welfare' any other way for our general government than something which benefits the whole of the states under enumeration. Beyond the often referenced quotes of Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson it was common for both our framers and founders to fully understand their meanings. Noah Webster, a prominent part of the founding generation, provides the following definitions (read the entirety of the definitions at; http://1828.mshaffer.com/ );

GEN'ERAL, a. [L. generalis, from genus, a kind.]

4. Public; common; relating to or comprehending the whole community; as the general interest or safety of a nation.

WELFARE, n. [well and fare, a good faring; G.]

1. Exemption from misfortune, sickness, calamity or evil; the enjoyment of health and the common blessings of life; prosperity; happiness; applied to persons.

2. Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace and prosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government; applied to states.

Noah Webster's examination of the proposed US Constitution (requested by Benjamin Franklin) allows us to take our eyes beyond the commonly known founders, as there were many who wrote in both support and opposition at the same time as the Federalist Papers were appearing in New York. You can view his insights here; http://studyourhistory.com/studies/2-good-reading/pamphlets-constitution-united-states

If we understand the intent was for our general government to work on matters common to all states while each state was dutifully required to focus on the life, liberty, and property of her citizens the logic becomes overwhelming. Any specific welfare, applied to persons, was to be the responsibility of the states or the people. (Consider the fact our republics were designed for lowest level solutions with a heavy focus on individuals, families, and communities (wards)).

Today we no longer accept such logic due to bad amendments, precedent and tradition. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was carefully crafted, by Thadeus Stevens, to allow the general government constitutional authority to apply the Bill of Rights to the states rather than the original intent of the Bill of Rights to further clarify and limit the general government. After coercive ratification sovereign states found their stance weakened.

By the time the 16th and 17th performed further blows our general branches of government were ready to completely ignore original meaning. Precedence took hold while people slowly turned from a firm affection for their states to an affection for, and expectations from, the national government. As the ideas of separation of powers, federalism, and personal responsibility were subjugated by the banner of democracy and national pride it became common for our general government to target specifics instead.

One of the key factors allowing this was a change in attitudes among the people. Today we battle a long line of tradition, imperial pride, a belief in democracy at the national level (a level our founders and framers understood to carry the evils of democracy), and reliance by a large number of our population. Majority rule is acceptable for the many at the expense of the few. Politicians at all levels are habitually dependent upon DC as the calls for our executive to 'do something about unemployment, economics, and more are considered normal in our daily life. Even those framers and founders who favored a stronger central government (like Hamilton and Marshall) would be shocked to see the embrace of democracy and the acceptance of general government expectations in dealing with specific items of life, liberty, and property.

We can easily lay out the case for original meaning in regards to "general Welfare" but our challenge lies deeper as we must alter tradition, revive federalism, and restore individuals' focus on local solutions for daily affairs. General government will always attempt to gather power to solve specifics as long as the 'people' demand it. This power will not be replaced in an election cycle or a decade. The founders invested over 180 years of pushing against tradition to get them in a position to implement our grand experiment. We have abandoned the experiment now for at least 135 years so we have a limited timeline to turn the tide on bad amendments, precedence, and the biggest challenge; accepted tradition.

Air Force

The founders made certain provisions in the Constitution vague in order to get the constitution passed. The intent was for future generations to sort out what vague terms such as "General Welfare" meant. If the Libertarian view is to be held correct, then I would argue that government spending for the Air Force is unconstitutional. Since under the Libertarian view, what is meant by common defense is listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution, and in nowhere in the list does the constitution say that Congress can raise money in order to raise and support an air force. It only mentions land forces and a navy.

[What a specious argument. --Ed.]

AIR FORCE

You could "argue" the government spending for the U.S. Air Force being unconstitutional but please remember that Prior to August 1, 1948, the USAF was known as the ARMY Air Force (Corps). You would also have to argue that any missile defense (aircraft or anti-missile) is unconstitutional also, since the weapons intercept above the land, and are under the command of the US Army. You would also have to argue that Naval aircraft/missile are unconstitutional. Remember "Provide for the common defense....." I think your argument would fall on deaf ears...

SPOT ON!!

Arguably the 14th and 13th amendment is unconstitutional too. Slaves are only 3/5 of a person. The constitution is a manifesto for WHITE male dominance too.

@Ed. Not at all specious.

@Ed. Not at all specious. This is just one more example where the Constitution must be interpreted in light of the times to be a living, breathing document.

I suggest below, that in the 18th century the state of the art in medicine, was leeching. The government could do little at the time to help ensure the health of its citizens (What encompasses one's welfare if not one's health?).

But, with modern medicine, now it can. So in order to ensure domestic tranquility and maintain justice, it may need to take on the responsibilities of ensuring better health for its citizens and a more livable wage for its working citizens and attempt to reduce income inequality. If it fails to do so, it puts domestic tranquility and justice at risk and even possibly the preservation of the union. So providing for the general welfare may of necessity means something different today than it did when the Constitution was written.

But it is even questionable that it means that much different now than it did then. Maybe to the citizenry it meant personal welfare instead of the welfare of the state, or maybe the citizenry saw the two as being very intertwined.

Remember, the Constitution had to be voted on by the states and the people. Perhaps the ambiguity of the term "general welfare" led to the Constitution's passing because the people who voted for it interpreted it to mean something much more along the lines of personal welfare than the welfare of the state. We really don't know, despite what the framers may have written.

Air Force

Actually this point, in an unintentional way, provides yet another justification (amongst several) for placing the Air Force back under the jurisdiction of the Army, eliminating the Department of "Defense", and reconstituting the original Departments of War and the Navy.

The Constitution refers to the raising of "Armies", the maintaining of a "Navy", and the making of rules for the "land and naval Forces". However, none of these clauses preclude the supporting of "air forces" (e.g. aircraft, missiles, satellites, etc.) per se.

The Navy and the Marine Corps (a component of the Department of the Navy) each have their own "air force". The Army, even after the post-war establishment of the U.S. Air Force, has more aircraft under its command than any of the three other services.

Furthermore, since aircraft of any type by necessity must be launched from either the land or naval vessels (as were cannon balls in the 18th Century), there is no conflict with the application of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (the rules for the "land and naval Forces") applying to any of the "air forces" mentioned above.

Aircraft are simply a technological extension of what armies and navies have been doing for millennia - influencing human action over areas of land and sea. The creation of the U.S. Air Force was an unnecessary bureaucratization of one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government.

Eliminating the euphemistic Department of "Defense" and replacing it with the original Department of War may also have the added benefit of focusing the body politic's consciousness as to the true seriousness and purpose of that Department. This in turn may perhaps minimize the number of foreign wars this country has become accustomed to engaging in during recent decades, as well as reestablish a mindset on the need to obtain a proper declaration of war per the Constitution prior to embarking upon same.

General Welfare

Thomas Jefferson once warned, "The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield".

Constitution

Unconstitutionally Vague....is an often used term. Yeah, the Constitution IS vague. What is Franklin quoted as saying when they were done? I guess "they" all figured they could get around to cleaning things up later...obviously. We can research and write about and intellectualize about Original Intent forever.....and so what?! There were a lot of men involved in writing and ratifying....so HOW can anyone say what oRIGINAL iNTENT WAS? YOU CAN'T! lIKE cLINTON SAID: iT DEPENDS on what the meaning of Is...Is

We have argued over the

We have argued over the original intent of the Constitution since it went into effect. The problem with citing the Federalist Papers as authority on intents is that the papers were written by a limited number of framers who decided to give their spin on things.

It is no different than what happens today when legislators attempt to get into the Congressional Record the "intent" of a new statute.

I just don't think making a distinction between state and personal welfare makes much legal sense. At some point they are bound to overlap. How can a government have peace, domestic tranquility or justice, if a critical mass of its citizens are consistently deprived of reasonable health or consistently deprived of the ability to earn a living wage and then, as a result of these deprivations, ultimately revolt?

In the 18th century a government couldn't do much to promote the health of its citizens because the state of the art of medicine at the time was leeches and bloodletting. So does that mean that the government should do nothing for the health of its citizens today? I would hope the Constitution would be a little more flexible.

I made a post replying to

I made a post replying to Air Force's post above but it never posted; perhaps it had timed out. So I will re-post here.

Air Force's argument is not specious because it is one more illustration of how technology and science have impacted how we view the Constitution today. Just like the founders could not have envisioned the state of the art of medicine today and its impact on the health of the population, they could not have envisioned the necessity for air power in defending the country in the modern era.

One more important point about deciphering original intent. The Constitution, unlike statutes, not only had to be passed by Congress but it had to be passed by the general voting population of the states. I have serious doubts that the general voting population thought of general welfare in terms of the general welfare of the government. It seems much more likely that many, if not most, of the citizens who voted on its passage thought it meant their personal welfare. Since the citizenry got to vote on its passage, their ideas of what the general welfare clause meant should also be acknowledged when making a determination of intent. We decipher the intent of a law from the persons who vote on it.

Therefore, intent should not be deciphered just from what the framers thought the words meant, but also from the what the voters in both Congress and the citizenry thought it meant when securing its passage. If there was no consensus on its meaning, or if consensus can not be determined from the total historical record, then I would argue that the trying to decipher "original intent" is a futile exercise; so, interpretation based upon attempting to ascertain "original intent" is as likely to be wrong as it is right.

Moreover, the Constitution should not be viewed by legal scholars as if it were written in Latin. It is not composed of a dead language.

Misinterpreting interpretation

Air Force's argument is not specious because it is one more illustration of how technology and science have impacted how we view the Constitution today.

- davidgmills

That is an erroneous assumption. They have no impact on how we view the Constitution. The impact is the constitutionally treasonous legislation and court rulings that have perverted and violated the Constitution so broadly and deeply that a new bastardized national mindset has become entrenched. Even without science and technology, the same course could have come about because of the socialist mindset working its way into law and national tradition resulting from such institutionalized law.

One more important point about deciphering original intent. The Constitution, unlike statutes, not only had to be passed by Congress but it had to be passed by the general voting population of the states.

Your thinking is warped because you have a built in bias to justify your embraced political view even if it is contrary to reality. You say the Constitution had to be passed by Congress. By that it is taken to mean the United States Congress, and yet not only did Congress not exist, neither did the United States government, of which it is a part, and which was created only after the adoption of the Constitution. Duh!

{Inline replies are in []. --MJ}

I have serious doubts [your doubts are like the doubts of the medical profession that didn't doubt that leeching was medically effective in purifying the blood] that the general voting population thought of general welfare in terms of the general welfare of the government. It seems much more likely that many, if not most, of the citizens who voted on its passage thought it meant their personal welfare.

That seems more likely through the distant ignorant view you hold over two centuries in the future, strongly bent by acculturation in a society that is waist deep in socialism. If you were honest with yourself, you'd acknowledge that you have no idea of what Americans thought about a powerful, potentially imperial general government that could choose to be lord over all of the otherwise sovereign states.

You clearly have no grasp of the power of the individual states' governments, and how Americans were firstly loyal to their homeland, the state in which they were born and raised. They had far more power than you can even imagine, including power over naturalization and immigration. No foreigner could become an American except by being naturalized as a citizen of one of the states of the Union. The 21 century glasses that you look through are clouded by ignorance of 18th century reality.

Since the citizenry got to vote on its passage, their ideas of what the general welfare clause meant should also be acknowledged when making a determination of intent. We decipher the intent of a law from the persons who vote on it.

That has to be as equally stupid as the Constitution having to be passed by Congress. You used the word "acknowledged" as if you have shown what exactly it is that should be acknowledged, when you have shown no such thing. You speculate that private citizens thought that the general welfare of the country referred to them as individuals rather than common members of a whole, and then you proclaim that that speculation is not speculation but in fact is fact, and a fact that should be "acknowledged"! Where exactly is the bridge that connects speculation to fact? I know. Only in your head.

But then you compound your error by declaring that original intent is synonymous with interpretation. So it's like you are of a mind that would therefore have to assert that everything that you've ever said was perfectly understood by everyone that heard your words, -there was never a misunderstanding due to misinterpreting your original intent, and even worse, your original intent can be deciphered from the presumed meaning in the mind of the hearer. Even a child wouldn't make a logic error that egregious.

Therefore, intent should not be deciphered just from what the framers thought the words meant, [first you have to show that they didn't know what their own words meant but were of many minds which never came to any consensus.] but also from the what the voters in both Congress [again, what Congress?] and the citizenry thought it meant when securing its passage.
If there was no consensus on its meaning, or if consensus can not be determined from the total historical record, [That is Two Big Fat Ifs!] then I would argue that trying to decipher "original intent" is a futile exercise; so, interpretation based upon attempting to ascertain "original intent" is as likely to be wrong as it is right.

speculation and conclusions based on double hypotheticals will not get anyone closer to reality because it is not effected by either. It is what it is, but if you don't know what it is, then laying out a conclusion as to reality when all that the conclusion is based on is compound hypotheticals, well that is easily more than likely to not be correct. You say that if A & B are true, then you would argue that..., but you don't and can't show that A & B are true, nor do you "argue" what is true if they are false, showing you are merely seeking to support one view and not reality whatever it happens to be.

Moreover, the Constitution should not be viewed by legal scholars as if it were written in Latin. It is not composed of a dead language.

Some things are not open to interpretation, nor re-interpretation because their meaning is crystal clear. The meaning of most words and phrases have not changed, but things can become bastardized or forgotten as the world changed and grew ignorant of the viewpoint of the Constitution's authors and their world. To argue that we should adopt any and all bastardized interpretations of the Constitution simply because one or two or three men in robes choose to alter the course of the nation without any authority to do so is a betrayal of fidelity to the document that the founders wrote with as much clarity as they could perceive was needed to understand it as written.

Since English is not a dead language, it can't be argued that the words of the Constitution can have a different meaning simply because of the passage of time. To take such a view is extremely dangerous because a totalitarian leaning government can decide to shorten the length of time between the old and the new meaning attached to its clauses, and make fundamental changes not over centuries, nor decades, but over mere years, with the un-affordable health care act individual mandate imposed with an unconstitutional threat of penalty suddenly overnight switched to being an individual tax.

Linguistic gymnastics were never intended to be the means employed by the general government to promote the general welfare. The general welfare was that of the country as a whole, -not individuals, not the individual states, and certainly not the general government. "General" means over-all, that which equally benefits all in a national sense, including reliable mail service, functioning ports, trade relationships, central government court systems, financial stability, and protection of intellectual property, among others.

To understand the welfare clause, one must grasp a very fundamental truth, and that is the government does not exist for the purpose of carrying out its sister explanations for the creation of the Constitution. It doesn't exist for the purposes of taxation and debt payment, nor of national defense. They are merely the means to the end, with that being the well being of the People and their country.

That end is not described by taxation or debt payment or military defense, but by some other description, and that description is the general welfare. It is everything else that isn't described by the other necessities of government which are needed to serve it.

The enumerated powers were written to shackle the yet to be created central government to not expand its power over and against the rights and powers retained by the semi- sovereign States what choose to allow a government to coordinate an alliance between them, an alliance which was only a true union in a limited sense because the States did not unite into one new single-state nation, as was the case in the other nations of the world. Rather it remained a coordinated alliance until the damage done to that original status by the massive power grab that resulted from the Civil War.

In a sense, the cost of eliminating slavery was the ruination of the original nation, just as the cost of Sept. 11, 2001 was the ruination of a once freer country that had much tighter limits on most things, including spending, and government invasion of privacy. Now those limits have been destroyed.

So in effect, slavery and Osama bin Laden, two insidious evils, both succeed in wreaking the country and putting it on a course from which there is no foreseeable rescue.

Adrien Nash May 2013
http://obama--nation.com

[Comment was so good, I re-formatted it for Adrien. And, if his/her website shed as much light on Republicans as it does Obama, I'd like it much better. --MJ]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Peter says:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

Peter also writes for Ada Byron's Blog.

breath