Democrats, the Founders, Hurricanes, and the Constitution  

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I've been laying off the Katrina posts for personal reasons, but Walter Williams has put into words what has been my contention from the beginning.

What's interesting is that a good number of the quotes he uses to support his (and my) position come from Democrats:

In February 1887, President Grover Cleveland, upon vetoing a bill appropriating money to aid drought-stricken farmers in Texas, said, "I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit."

President Cleveland added, "The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."
This is what the Democratic party USED to belive. Here's more:
In 1854, after vetoing a popular appropriation to assist the mentally ill, President Franklin Pierce said, "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity." To approve such spending, argued Pierce, "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."
Franklin Pierce was also a Democrat.

It is important that we recognize that the Constitution was written as a statement of the Founders' vision so that it could be implemented according to their wishes.
James Madison, the father of our constitution, irate over a $15,000 congressional appropriation to assist some French refugees, said, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
Modern Democrats and the rest of the socialist movement in America try to use the General Welfare Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment to justify expenditures like that inappropriately outlined by President Bush on the object of benevolence we know as New Orleans.

Williams appropriately addresses the issue of the General Welfare Clause by bringing the words of the Founders to light:
Here's what James Madison said: "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."

Thomas Jefferson explained, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
In other words, there is no justification for such expenditures under the General Welfare Clause.

As to the Fourteenth Amendment, here is its text in full:
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,(See Note 15) and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
You will be looking for a long time for the words that justify this because they are not there. The federal government is not authorized to spend taxpayer dollars in this fashion.

Other quotes on the matter, which shed a lot of light on this (quoted from Williams' piece):
In 1796, Rep. William Giles of Virginia condemned a relief measure for fire victims, saying that Congress didn't have a right to "attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require."
In 1828, South Carolina Sen. William Drayton said, "If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?"
The American people are themselves responsible for the recovery efforts in New Orleans, not the American government. If state constitutions allow agencies like FEMA within their governments, then so be it. Every penny the federal government spends outside its constitutional authority is an infringement on the very rights the Constitution was written to protect.

It is high time Democrats and Republicans alike took the time to study the foundations of our great nation, and put their quests for power aside in the interests of a strong populace and a government that serves only to defend and secure the rights of the people. American government is not a means of providing for people. In America, we provide for ourselves.

There is a move on within the Republican Party that seeks to bring the federal government within its constitutional restraints. The New Federalist platform outlines what needs to be done to achieve this goal. If neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party will choose to serve the Constitution, then the New Federalists have a responsibility to take their place as defenders of the Constitution and the philosophy of the Founding Fathers.

I only hope that the Democrats' demise into oblivion is complete before it happens. Socialism must be defeated before any of this can happen.