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The Truth About The Welfare Clause

Published in Blog on December 28, 2018 by Keith Bessette

The Letter to the Editor below was published in the southeastern Florida "Stuart News" printed paper and online at the Treasure Coast Newspapers' "" website. From the Stuart News Opinion page, 12/21/2018:

The truth about the 'welfare clause'

A Nov. 27 letter “The US Constitution favors the liberal left” was wrong. It claimed federally funded social programs are constitutional because of the General Welfare clause. It listed programs including food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.

The Welfare Clause in the Preamble of the Constitution states “We the People of the United States, in order to … promote the General Welfare …”.

The Preamble defines why the federal government was created by the states. It defines why the powers delegated in the following articles are desirable.

The Welfare Clause by itself confers no power. It does not authorize the federal government to use public funds for benefits to an individual. Federally funded social programs such as welfare are unconstitutional because nothing in any article expressly delegates the authority to fund and manage them. Therefore these are either individual state functions or not a government matter.

The first attempt at federal welfare was a proposal to give some of the firewood purchased for Congress to the poor. It was properly shot down for being unconstitutional. No authority was granted to give away taxpayer’s wood to an individual citizen. The general welfare use was to keep Congress warm. Congressmen who wished to provide wood to the poor were told they should donate personal funds.

When the federal government favors certain individuals at the expense of others by pretending it is legally in the charity business we get corruption and endless bickering over who gets the handouts.

Returning the federal government to the expressly delegated authority in the Constitution and returning the rest to the states and people were it belongs will resolve the arguments on the Welfare Clause. Please see for how the people can do this.

     Keith Bessette, Stuart

An online version is available at the Treasure Coast Palm News Website.

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