When then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was asked about the constitutionality of Obamacare, he argued that it was authorized by the General Welfare Clause of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.
As former Ohio state treasurer and secretary of state Ken Blackwell and constitutional attorney Ken Klukowski points out: “The General Welfare clause of the Constitution confers no power to the government whatsoever. It’s simply a phrase in the Taxing and Spending Clause that says Congress can tax and spend money ‘to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.’”
“The General Welfare Clause limits the federal government’s powers — it doesn’t expand them,” say Blackwell and Klukowski in The Blueprint, in which they argue for a resurgence of constitutional conservative principles for the economy, the government, and foreign policy. They explain that the General Welfare Clause is simply stating that “every budget item that Congress spends money on must be for the general welfare of the nation, and that every tax it imposes likewise must be imposed for the nation’s benefit.”
Using the General Welfare Clause of the Constitution to justify Obamacare would be like using your marriage certificate to justify putting your healthy wife into a medical facility without her consent, with the claim that it is for her “general welfare.”
In their latest book, Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America, Blackwell and Klukowski explain how important the concept of “enumerated powers” was at the time of the Constitution’s ratification. First of all, it was believed that “‘We the People’ vested certain powers in the federal government.” In other words, all federal powers were derived or delegated to the government by the people. Therefore, only those powers that were specifically listed in the Constitution would be granted to the new government. The 10th Amendment was added at the end of the Bill of Rights to reinforce this point. It 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.”
As Blackwell and Klukowski explain, “the American people were not willing to accept any charter of government that did not explicitly make the promise that the new national government would have only specific, delegated powers.”
What happened to break down the Constitutional boundaries that circumscribed the powers of the federal government? As the forthcoming book from Truth in Action Ministries, How Can America Survive? The Coming Economic Earthquake, explains, big government policies started with programs proposed by President Hoover and carried on by President Roosevelt. President Eisenhower simply rode the tide and by the time President Johnson proposed his “Great Society,” Congress had gotten used to the idea of spending taxpayer money for government programs that could not be justified under any of the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution.
Now, says Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in his book, Saving Freedom, “Most members of Congress view their job as doing good deeds with other people’s money. The boundaries of the Constitution are irrelevant.” And the problem is that every time Congress ignores those boundaries, it assumes it has a blank check to spend more money for whatever the favorite proposal of the current administration happens to be, whether it’s education, or green energy, or bailing out selected companies deemed “to big to fail.”
But all those blank checks have brought our nation to the point of bankruptcy. Senator DeMint says in his newest book, Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse, “The political establishment in Washington is destroying our country, and only a determined effort by the American people can stop them. We are in serious trouble and very close to economic collapse. This is not hyperbole; Americans have never been this close to losing all the freedom, prosperity, and opportunity that generations of citizens and soldiers have fought and dies to give us.”
Dr. Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries says, “We’re running out of time to prevent the financial earthquake that is coming our way.” In an interview for a recent ministry program, former U.S. Congressman from Indiana John Hostettler agreed. “We are heading toward a train wreck as an economy as a result of what the government has been doing for the last several decades,” he said. Then he summarized the root of the problem this way: “The folks in Washington, D.C. continue to spend more money because their constituents continue to desire perks from the federal government, programs that benefit them personally.”
The fact is that 48.5 percent of Americans now receive some form of government assistance, and 49.5 percent don’t pay any federal income tax. After this election, these numbers will no doubt go even higher, unless a dramatic turnaround takes place in the federal government come November.
As Senator DeMint explains, the voting patterns of recent elections show that “about half of Americans appear to believe in the centralization of power at the federal level. These voters are more likely to be government dependents and nontaxpayers. The other half supports the decentralization of power and individualism. These opposing worldviews among voters result in starkly different views about the fundamental role of the federal government.”
The crucial question for the 2012 election is which of these two worldviews will garner the largest number of voters.
Dr. Karen Gushta is research coordinator at Truth in Action Ministries, author of The War on Children, and co-author of Ten Truths About Socialism. As a career educator, Dr. Gushta has taught from kindergarten to graduate teacher education in both public and Christian schools in America and overseas. She has a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education and Masters degrees in Elementary Education and Christianity and Culture.
Publication date: March 24, 2012