Democrats & Liberals Archives


President Barack Obama received a shellacking (his word) by Republicans. Now, Democrats are giving the president advice: turn left; turn right; go to the middle; be like Clinton; no, like Truman; no, like Johnson; no, like FDR; be more excitable; have more parties; fight; compromise……. Democrats who have no idea what Obama is about are giving him advice.

Republicans are not offering any advice, only threats: cut spending, repeal Affordable Health Care, shut down the government, gut financial regulation, investigate the EPA, stall all Obama initiatives........ Republicans are acting as goons.

Regardless of all the terrible things that are being said about him by both Democrats and Republicans, President Obama says his job is to work with all who want to help America get out of the economic slump we're in. Not only that, he wants to work with those who are trying to build an economy that provides jobs to all those who need jobs; not any old jobs but interesting jobs that pay well.

President Obama wants to produce SHARED PROSPERITY.

SHARED PROSPERITY means that all people share in prosperity. Since rich people are already doing well, the emphasis must be on helping other people in our society to do well, mostly small business people and workers of all sorts. However, SHARED PROSPERITY will definitely make the rich more prosperous too.

To achieve SHARED PROSPERITY, each Congressional bill should be subjected to the test: will it lead to or at least not hurt in achieving SHARED PROSPERITY? Will repeal of ACA lead to SHARED PROSPERITY? Will reducing financial regulations lead to SHARED PROSPERITY? Will preventing Obama from adding personnel or preventing him from making judicial appointments lead to SHARED PROSPERITY? Will reducing the deficit lead to SHARED PROSPERITY? Will giving tax cuts to the rich lead to SHARED PROSPERITY?

Instead of relitigating what was done last year, perhaps Congress should try something new to build the economy. The economy IS broken. Long before this recession crashed upon us jobs were disappearing, temporary jobs were proliferating, and those with jobs were making less. Today, big corporations are doing well with fewer workers while both professional and craft workers are languishing. Not only do we have a recession we don't know where we may even eventually find the jobs to sustain the people.

To fix the economy we need an import-reduction policy to bring back some of the jobs China has taken away, an industrial policy to encourage manufacturing that produces good jobs, and an export policy to sell what we make all over the world in order to increase and enhance American jobs. Do Republicans want to fix the economy so that there is SHARED PROSPERITY?

To achieve SHARED PROSPERITY we need to make investments in research, in technology, in innovation, in new start-ups. Perhaps we need an infrastructure bank, a public-private arrangement, to encourage new approaches toward developing the new industries of the future. An excellent target around which to build the future economy is new sources of clean energy.

SHARED PROSPERITY based on clean energy could drag America out of the doldrums and into a new world where all Americans could work towards achieving their dreams. Do Republicans want this or would they rather work to destroy Obama in order to take control of a dying economy in 2012?

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 9, 2010 7:12 PM
Comment #312833

While “SHARED PROSPERITY” sounds good in theory, IMHO the President and Domcratic Party would do better to expand their argument to include SHARED RESPONSIBILITY AND SHARED SERVICES. For though one can make the argument that if America does not do certian things who will, given the Status Quo of the Conservative and Republican Leadership in America I do believe their argument of Self Greed and Self Worth will keep many American Voters from listening to an reasonable approach to making America and Humanity a better place to live for every Human.

For example; clean renewable energy can offer every Human on Earth the opportunity to produce an income in the Spirit of Americas’ Founding Fathers and the Ancient Ones of Songs found in the Upanishads of Sanskrit; however, facing the political fact that Loyal Opposition will state it is not safe to allow a 10-year-old Child to own a Renewable power Plant in their bedroom or backyard and many Corporations over the next few years will be moving off the National Power Grid in favor of producing their own electricity and other forms of energy I do believe President Obama and the Democratic Leadership are going to have to make a better case than what they have for Americans sharing the prosperity and responsibility of making Americas’ Government and Society Energy Independent in the 21st Century.

It’s just to bad IMHO that the Conservatives and Republicans have boxed themselve into a corner by voting against Americas’ Energy policies (Cap and Trade) over the last two years. Yet, I guess the whole Republican and Tea Party Movement could do a Flip Flop on the issue over the next two years and still keep the support of Wall Street and their Voters. Either way Preseident Obama needs to make a better case than it is just the Right Thing to Do to gain Shared Political Support.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 9, 2010 7:45 PM
Comment #312835

A president who is not true to himself, can neither be true to the people or the Constitution he swore to uphold and protect. Democrats have a rare opportunity for inordinate unity, with the clean sweeping out of Blue Dogs this last election. But, the laughable thing is, Party Loyalists are not independent thinkers, and therefore, the opportunity, like so many others (Public Option) will pass them by untapped. (GOP Party Loyalists suffer the same problem). They united to win the House, and now dissemble over their victories.

Keystone Cops comes to mind.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2010 7:56 PM
Comment #312836

Imagine if the entire Democratic government in 2009 got behind the Public Option which 50% of Republicans supported, even more Independents supported, and more than 3/4 of Democrats supported. To be sure, it would not have passed due to the filibuster of Republicans in the Senate. But, think for a second about the relationship and position that effort would have created between voters and their Party, and how last week’s election outcome might have been different as a result.

Republicans having killed the Public Option would not have credibly been able to campaign on Democrats being out of touch and ignoring the will of the people. That shoe would have been worn by Republicans, instead.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2010 8:02 PM
Comment #312837

This concept of “shared prosperity” reeks of Marxism. Government should be about equal opportunities; not equal outcomes.

Posted by: Warped Reality at November 9, 2010 8:09 PM
Comment #312840

Warped Reality,

A society that truly provides equal opportunity is a society that is more likely to produce equal outcomes.

Posted by: Rich at November 9, 2010 8:38 PM
Comment #312842

Warped Reality, that may be how you see it. It is CERTAINLY not how the founders saw it. Of course, their prescription for government was not so simple minded as yours.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”

That bolded phrase was not referencing the wealthiest, or, the business community solely, or earth worms or some nebulous ethereal ideal. It was referencing the welfare of all in America who choose to abide the laws of this new nation and accept it as theirs.

General, meaning all, welfare, meaning well being as best can be promoted by both individual and collective effort. Constitutional Government as in a democratically elected Republic, is after all, by definition, a collective effort to insure all those things listed in the Preamble.

Such a system could not possibly exist amongst dog eat dog anarchists with no concern or effort expended save for them selves alone. United States. The very name of our nation defines collective effort to promote the general welfare for all, (save slaves), but, of course Americans finally eradicated that embarrassment from their Constitution, mindset, culture, and law. Our founders were not without their own hypocrisies, all that talk about liberty and slavery in the same Constitution. WOW! The Civil War was inevitable as a result of that hypocrisy and grand compromise of the ideals set forth in the Preamble.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2010 8:52 PM
Comment #312844

Warped Reality,
So since most Americans did not have air condition and central heat 30 years ago are you saying under “Shared Prosperity” those Americans should still be living without these innovations?

For it is through Shared Responsibility that those units built today are more energy efficient than those produced 30 years ago. As well as made these comforts lower in cost and a Stabdard of Living.

However, did the government 30 years ago tell us that you had to go buy these products? Did they mandate all new buildings have these products installed? So who is willing to give up their Central Air and Heat Units today?

No, the opportunity to produce safe units for sell to the general public was given to the American Business Heating and Air Industry. And through certian assistance was provided by Americas’ Institutions over the years. If it was not for the Shared Prosperity of Labor and Management from Corporation profits, would Americas’ Heating and Air Industry enjoy the Shared Responsibility of maintianing these Service Jobs of the 21st Century?

BYW, care to tell us how many heating and air units would be sold a year if their costs started at $500,000.00?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 9, 2010 9:13 PM
Comment #312849

Henry, I have to question how many all Electric cars are going to be sold with a price tag over $40,000. Is this another deliberate attempt to insure failure in the non-oil based transporation industry, like the recall of the EV-1. One has to wonder.

And why are those compact flourescent energy saving bulbs still 3 and 4 times the price of regular incandescent bulbs with a working life of 1 bump or shake or three months, whichever comes first? The market is not working for energy conservation. One has to wonder why that is.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2010 9:41 PM
Comment #312855

Actually the price tag of $40,000.00 for an electric car is not that far off considering these cars can keep pace with most sports cars today. Nevertheless, I do see where one would draw the idea that the high price tag was to keep most Americans from purchasing new electric vehicles.

Nonetheless, like most new products the cost of innovation will quickly come down once the Market creates a new standard of transportation. And while that may take a few years if not decades left up to the supporters of No Cap and Trade. I do believe the Democratic and Republican Leadership on Wall Street and in Washington will hand the Independent Party an excellant issue to run on in 2012.

For whay better way to create jobs, lower the cost of government, and promote energy independent than exchanging the current oil burning fleets of Government and Big Business with new Electric Service Vehciles? Wonder, if Boehner or Pelosi has the education to see how they can take advantage of the issue over the next two years.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 9, 2010 10:34 PM
Comment #312876

David Remer defined his understanding of promote the General Welfare, by writing; “General, meaning all, welfare, meaning well being as best can be promoted by both individual and collective effort.”

That is a good definition. The problem lies with who pays for the General Wefare. Few dems/libs talk about “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity” also found in the same sentence.

And so, for years we have battled over what welfare should be provided, who should be the recipient, at what cost, and who should foot the bill.

Somehow, the Blessings of Liberty seem to be ignored by some when discussing the general welfare.

We were promised individual liberty, not collective happiness. The founders were not keen on using government funds for welfare as we understand it today. The founders placed individual liberty above all else and expected each citizen, capable of doing so, to provide for themselves.

Could David explain where my individual rights end and the general welfare begins?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2010 1:09 PM
Comment #312882

Follow up question for Mr. David Remer. Can you describe how far you beleive the “General Welfare” description you provided should go to help those who refuse to help themselves and other categories that many consider welfare?

For example…how much general welfare do you propose for those who;

1) Are unemployed and refuse to take a job paying less wage than that received when they were employed or lower than their unemployment benefit?

2) Are on welfare and continue to have more children?

3) Had the ability to do well in their own education but failed to apply themselves?

4) Have a job and ability to pay for employer provided health care insurance but refuse to spend their own money for insurance?

5) Purchased homes they knew they could not afford expecting to resell them for a quick profit.

6) Expect the transfer of huge sums of federal money to individual states to fund their overspending on general welfare.

7) Expect that private corporations should be bailed out with federal money rather than allowing bankruptcy and restructuring or sale of assets to those who can better manage those resources.

8) Expect the general welfare provision to include those here illegally.

9) I will give more examples if you wish.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2010 2:21 PM
Comment #312885

Royal Flush said: “And so, for years we have battled over what welfare should be provided, who should be the recipient, at what cost, and who should foot the bill.”

Yep. That lies at the heart of the political rhetorical debate. You pinned it precisely.

The irony is, There IS NO solution to those policy questions. It doesn’t matter which direction on any of those issues, the government chooses to go, there will be strong and adamant opponents. Which tells me, there is no right or wrong general principle on these questions. There is only what is pragmatic and in demand by the voters in any given election cycle.

In answer to your specific questions:

“1) Are unemployed and refuse to take a job paying less wage than that received when they were employed or lower than their unemployment benefit?”

Not the current issue at hand. The vastly larger and more important issue before the government and people today is the unemployed who compete 4-1 for job openings and find themselves in that 75% who CANNOT be hired because there is only 1 job for every 4 applicants. Don’t you think those out there putting in applications should have a safety net to keep them from losing their homes (hurting the economy further) and filing bankruptcy (hurting the economy further)?

“2) Are on welfare and continue to have more children?”

That was resolved as best it could be by public policy in the late 1990’s with welfare reform. Again, that is a straw man political argument to distract from the really important reform issues pressing on the parties and politicians which they are political scared shitless to address.

“3) Had the ability to do well in their own education but failed to apply themselves?”

That group is very small in number. The bigger public policy issue is the vast amount of sociological and psychological research that indicates there are a host of reasons why students are failing in school and chief among them is that their schools are failing them. That is the issue that has to be addressed, before you can even separate those who fail out of choice and those who fail due to circumstance outside their control.

“4) Have a job and ability to pay for employer provided health care insurance but refuse to spend their own money for insurance?”

That question entirely IGNORES the extremely high cost of insurance premiums, especially for families, regardless of whether a person has a good paying middle class job or not. Every person has to prioritize their spending, and in all too many cases, the price of insurance premiums requires foregoing a number of other priorities. In simple math, one cost item equals many other cost items, ergo, the greatest bang for the buck is to forego the really expensive one item to buy the many other items. There is some outstanding research done on how the human brain is wired to make decisions in just this manner.

And your question again, ignores the greatest challenge of all, health care cost inflation and Medicare unfunded mandates which, the majority of the public that votes refuses to give up. That is the public policy issue of the day and future, threatening to bankrupt our government and destroy our economy, which must be addressed, not how an individual prioritizes their family budget, which, if you believe in liberty, is really none of the government’s business, is it?

“5) Purchased homes they knew they could not afford expecting to resell them for a quick profit. “

Bogus question. False premise. The vast majority of people who bought homes which ended up being upside down in equity value by the rapid drop in home property values, bought those homes during a period when the entire banking sector, mortgage sector, rating agency sector, and Republican government with their Ownership Society program and artificially too low interest rates, assured those home buyers that they COULD afford those homes. They were the experts on credit and mortgage consumption, weren’t they. Not the high school grad working at GM and supporting a growing family. Don’t try to shift the blame of the entire financial/government sector onto the individual home buyer who NEVER got ANY education in finance in America’s failing education system.

“6) Expect the transfer of huge sums of federal money to individual states to fund their overspending on general welfare.”

You mean like the 10 new Republican Governors are going to do? Federal aid to the states is one of the few bi-partisan issues Republicans and Democrats are going to compromise on and agree to going forward. The nation cannot survive the wholesale bankruptcy of the States. And the States cannot survive the wholesale bankruptcy of the federal government. That is why our nation is called, The United States.

If you are asking me for a political solution to this issue, I don’t have one. My limited education in public policy economics does not prepare me to offer one. But, that is one of those issues I, and 100 million other voters expect the experts to solve in return for our vote.

I will tell you this with absolute certainty: Government, by definition, provides social services, whether those be the security services in a standing military defense, or food stamp services for those with no income for food, or homeless shelters which prevent the bankers from having to step over their bodies in the streets to get to the front door of their banks. Government is, by definition, in the business of providing services to the people living under and supporting that government.

So, how the States and Federal Government resolve their both being on a path to bankruptcy at the same time is truly one of the greatest challenges facing America. Part of the answer will have to be in finding ways to dramatically lower the cost of health care in America. It is the single fastest growing obligation of all governments, state and local, in America. Democrats tried to address the issue and failed. Republicans never even tried. Time to vote out incumbents of both parties, as far as I can see, in the hopes that such a move will force them to put their ideological school yard tiffs aside and resolve this growing crisis.

“7) Expect that private corporations should be bailed out with federal money rather than allowing bankruptcy and restructuring or sale of assets to those who can better manage those resources.”

Simple MINDED question and false premise as a result. The goal of the Bush and Obama administration in rescuing the banking sector and auto manufacturers was not to rescue their shareholders or CEO’s. The goal was to keep 10’s of thousands of Americans from being thrown out of work and ONTO those welfare rolls you seem to be so concerned about, as well as to avert another 1929 Stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression as a result of a deeply entrenched credit and business capital liquidity freeze up. And they were successful.

“8) Expect the general welfare provision to include those here illegally.”

What can I say, except that BOTH political parties had their motives for allowing illegal immigration to continue. And, both Parties still do. It is a political hot potato with both parties at fault and both parties reluctant to enforce a solution for differing campaign donation and voting special interest constituents. Another reason to vote out incumbents of both parties, until their chance of being reelected is so low, that they view solving this issue as a real priority and path to getting to reelected.

Now, Please respond to each of my responses on what you agree and disagree with in their construction. Thanks, RF

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 3:36 PM
Comment #312888

1) How many unemployed people are refusing to take a job paying less?

2) How many children are welfare recipients allowed to have before benefits are curtailed?

100) How about adding some genuine figures to your right wing talking points?

You mention the Bush coalition to bail out the to big to fail banks but did not mention the corporate welfare. How much do we spend on corporate welfare? What about the Military Industrial Complex?

By all means, supply more examples and the figures to go with them.

How many pork barrel projects will have Rand Paul’s name on them?

This was the Dudley Do Right vs. Snidely Whiplash election cycle.

Boehner didn’t waste time in announcing that pork is still good and McConnell has announced that the Republicans in the Senate will continue waging all out war on Obama rather than helping to solve problems.

By the way, some of our Founders were far more concerned about their own individual liberty than the general population at large. If their overriding concern was individual liberty and personal responsibility why did they not immediately free their slaves?

I am not trying to belittle the accomplishments of the Founders, they did a truly remarkable job of compromising to accomplish their goals. But, they were men, not gods and each of them had different motivations for promoting a revolution and a new government; and each of them had different ideas of how the government should be devised and what would follow afterwards. Example, one faction felt that a bill of rights was totally unnecessary while others refused to participate further unless a bill of rights was incorporated.

The best thing to say about our Founders is that accomplished great things by compromising and that they gave those that followed the ability to amend what they had done.

Posted by: jlw at November 10, 2010 4:50 PM
Comment #312897

First of all if you are surviving from a paycheck given to you by someone esle than your argument of Liberty is limited as we have seen just in the last months. So before you start talking about General Welfare of the Poor let’s talk about the General Welfare of the Rich and see how much they are willing to give up or pay full price.

1) Clothing; without the ability or capability to grow their own raw material or turn it into fabrics than how much a yard should the manufacturors charge to cover the increasing expenses like healthcare and taxes?

2) Food; Again without the ability or capability to grow their own food how much should you pay for a loaf of bread or an ear of corn? And than there is eating out which has increased to the point most couples don’t know how to cook at home. Should the real cost of a meal be paid? For from the Chef to the Dish Washer needing to recieve their income from the Shared Prosperity with the owner/stockholders to meet their obligations as citizens, how much should the meal you get today really cost?

3)Shelter; Again not having the ability or capability to design, build, and supply oneself with even the basic structure which is envirnomently positive should you pay for the full price of adding to the burden of the community you wish to live in. In fact, considering one cannot help but to use the lessons learned from the General Institutions and Population should you be subject to pay full price for the reports and studies needed to make a shelter safe.

Yes, it is easy for the Conservatives to point out how the General Welfare clause is used to set up programs which help the Poor; however, look at the programs under the General Welfare clause that prottects and serves the Rich in America that the Wealth still has to pay for.

Besides, if the Republicans were really looking to solve the problems you listed than;

1) Unemployment: They would gear unemployment insurance to help the individuals start their own business or Coop in order to eliminate the inability or capability of the Corporation to provide livable wages and full time employment.

2) Welfare: Again, a program could be designed to provide Community Improvement Jobs which would help raise the Standard of Living for all residents. Thus, in keeping with the Work-fare program of the 1990’s the recipents would not get paid more for having extra childrem

3)Healthcare: This one is simple. If you don’t want to pay for insurance than Commerce needs to provide an alternative healthcare system for those who don’t need to run to the doctor everytime they have a headache or running nose. Especially since one who uses the hospitals and medical facilities are already paying for the Health Advancements learned from Specialized Medicine.

4) Purchasing homes with the intent of reselling them is not covered by General Welfare unless the Conservatives are now telling us we have to pay for a business expense (which we alreay do). In fact, why the republicans have never done nothing to fix this problem, one could call the IRS and have them bring charges against such filings.

So please keep listing what you think falls under the General Welfare Clause in America, but before you start on the Poor you need to know how much of that General Welfare Clause helps the Rich keep their Standard of Living. For how many millionaries would be broke today if “We the People” did not pay to keep the Poor from asking for higher wages. Does $10.00 for a Happy Meal keep McDonalds in business?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 10, 2010 5:57 PM
Comment #312904

The comments so far on “General Welfare” are running much as I expected. So far, no one has commented on the rest of the sentence in the Constitution, that being, “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,”

Somehow, the Blessings of Liberty seem to be ignored by some when discussing the general welfare as witnessed by the comments so far.

We were promised individual liberty, not collective happiness.

No one has answered my question…”Where do my individual rights end and the general welfare begin.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2010 6:57 PM
Comment #312907

Royal Flush,
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were influenced by the French Revolution and the French ideals of “liberte, egalite, fraternite.” The Constitution is filled with talk of “We, the People,” and virtually nothing about the rights of an individual. Count how many times a direct reference to the “people” occurs, and then count how many times a direct reference is made to the individual.

Remember your history. The French fought alongside Americans during the Revolutionary War, and even ceded the US an enormous amount of territory through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 in exchange for cash to fight the European royalists.

Of course, there were no such ideas as Marxism or socialism or collectivism at the time, although Americans practiced versions of these ideas in various communal and idealistic utopian communities.

So, I would argue “the people” enjoy liberty from royalist tyranny and other forms of oppression such as taxation without representation, and per the Preamble, it is the responsibility of the government to promote the general welfare among the people. The rights of the people quite naturally find their application on an individual level, but nevertheless, it is the right of the people.

Also, no one suggests “collective happiness” is possible, only “the pursuit of happiness” as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Sadly, happiness is not included in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. :-(

Collective prosperity would be entirely consistent with the wording of the Constitution.

Posted by: phx8 at November 10, 2010 7:41 PM
Comment #312911

jlw asks, “1) How many unemployed people are refusing to take a job paying less?”

Here’s an interesting take on that very question. I will answer your other questions later as right now I am signing off for the day.

“Even the knowledge of a potential extension in unemployment benefits might put off the acceptance of a job offer. An unemployed person might wait (we would) until after he knows whether or not he will receive extended government benefits before taking a job with pay equal to or lower than his benefits. Thus as job openings rebounded, as shown in the middle chart above, many Americans may have decided to hold out due to hopes of extended unemployment, thus keeping unemployment high despite a rebound in job creation.

In this fashion, the ‘Beveridge Curve’ chart above might visualize how America’s extended unemployment benefits have distorted the employment recovery during this cycle. Basically — One reason that the unemployment rate has remained high for an abnormally long time is that unemployment benefits have been extended for an abnormally long time during this cycle.

This doesn’t mean that extending unemployment benefits is necessarily ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in terms of policy, we’ll let others debate this further. We’re just saying that extended unemployment benefits could be a major factor behind America’s perplexing-ly high unemployment rate right now. This is because if we didn’t have extended benefits right now, suddenly a lot more of the unemployed would be accepting positions from within the rising number of job openings. The job openings rebound would translate into employment.

The current distortion means companies might need to hike their salaries… or we could see a sudden and sharp drop in unemployment ahead. From this perspective, America’s high unemployment is less of enigma. Jobs are being created, it’s just that unemployment benefits are out-competing them so far. Maybe companies need to hike their salaries, maybe they are unrealistically low… or perhaps we’ll see a sudden drop in the unemployment rate once waves of Americans become unqualified for further unemployment benefits. Unless of course they are extended yet again.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2010 7:48 PM
Comment #312912

““secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our posterity,”

Unless you are willing to say Individuals are the same as Ourselves than the answer should be self-evident; however, to make it easy let me ask you if it would be ok for Labor to go on strike today and demand Corporations give them a 500% wage increase?

Knowing Consumers make up 70% of the market and realizing that Individuals would stop purchasing goods and services. How long would it take before the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posperity become unsured?

Yes, Big Business might hold the money belt of Wall Street and Washington; nonetheless, Individuals have proven they will act against their best interests just as their Corporate counterparts. So how can an Individual work to unsure their Blessing of Liberty?

1) Keep allowing their wages to purchase less and less

2) Allowing healthcare to become so expensive that they can no longer access hospitals and medical facilities.

3) Keep allowing the top 2% of the population to make the vast majority of the profits from their Labor and Management Skills.

Yes, all these things the Individual has the Right to do; however, will they lead to securing the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Prosperity?

In fact, a Business has the Right to charge $25.00 for a gallon of gas or price a shirt at $15,000.00 dollars; however, will those actions lead to securing their Blessings of Liberty theirselves and their prosperity?

So why is General Welfare important to ensuring Domestic Tranquility and providing a Common Defense?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 10, 2010 7:49 PM
Comment #312913

“No one has answered my question…”Where do my individual rights end and the general welfare begin.””

I think Harry Truman had the correct test: “Government run for the benefit of the few will inevitably destroy all. Government run for the good of all will benefit all.” Harry Truman, 1948.

Truman applied the general welfare test to government policies.

Posted by: Rich at November 10, 2010 7:50 PM
Comment #312914

phx8 writes; “The Constitution is filled with talk of “We, the People,” and virtually nothing about the rights of an individual.”

I have had this discussion before and proved the “We” refers to us as individuals.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 10, 2010 7:52 PM
Comment #312915

Royal Flush, quite right! “We” does refer to BOTH we as a United States collectively, and each individual citizen of these United States. Phx8 is missing the forest for the trees. The entire Constitution in total, to include the Bill of Rights, is a design of checks and balances against the potential abuses of all powerful government rendered upon non-powerful individual citizens, as was the case with King George and the Colonialists who had no rights to private property or assembly, speech, or even choice regarding who resided under their roof when the British soldiers came to town or farm.

The main purpose of elections and representatives and the courts was to insure the individual’s voice asking to be heard and for redress of grievances could, and would, be heard. No guarantee their grievances would be redressed, or counsel adopted, but they would be heard. There has been a serious erosion in these purposes, partly due to the fact that the House of Representatives was stopped from growing in size with the population as the founders proscribed in the Constitution.

Not all change has been good. Not all change has been bad. But, we can ill afford to have that debate today, with national bankruptcy well above the horizon. All efforts to distract from that national emergency underway demonstrates no love nor care for America and her preservation going forward. The riots in Great Britain are a wake up call as to what we face here if either Party refuses to compromise with the other to address the national debt issue in a way that does not drive the citizenry to the streets and riot, and insurrection.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 8:30 PM
Comment #312921

Royal Flush wrote: “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity,””

In great part, that passage refers to self-governance, the freedom to self-govern. Which means rules, regulations, and enforcements which take liberty away. It also refers to due process and representation, safeguards against arbitrarily taking away freedom to act in anyway one chooses.

That passage never meant everyone gets to do whatever the hell they feel like without obligation and responsibility toward others in their nation. That is anarchy, and the founders attempted to establish the exact opposite of anarchy. Which means everyone sacrifices some for the good of the whole, while reserving certain inalienable freedoms as rights enforceable under rule of law.

These principles were laid down in two literary works most of the founders of letters were well versed in. The Author’s name was Adam Smith, and the works were Theory of Moral Sentiment, and subsequent book, Wealth of Nations. But Wealth of Nations was not published until 1776, so the founders had not read that one prior to their deliberations over the Declaration of Independence. But they surely had read it by the third writing of the Constitution in 1787.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 9:03 PM
Comment #312922

Rich, great answer. I tip my hat. I was unaware of that from Truman. Appreciate it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 9:04 PM
Comment #312926

David and Rich,
Thanks for the info. Because while I have known the Individual must realize that it is the Family and Friends who govern the idea of a Lady and Gentleman, I have found it hard over the years to find where the Founding Fathers and Our Ancestors proved the point.

However, I do believe the Conservatives and Republicans today have a problem with that idea even though they are the ones who promote Family Values as a whole. And while I do believe the Democratic Party has a fear in pointing out this flaw or exploiting it for political gain over the years. Yet, all one has to do is look at the Late 1800’s to see how Americans dealt with the Barons of Society during that time in order.

Thus, a Lame Duck Congress today and for the next two years is almost a sure bet since the Status Quo of the 20th Century must wait for the American Voters to demand the Instittional Elders address the flaws of 20th Century Political Thinking as well as Americas’ Corporations ability and capability to lead the world in building a Green Sustianable Government and Society.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 10, 2010 9:45 PM
Comment #312929

Royal Flush,
You ‘proved’ the third person plural is actually the first person singular? That’s quite an achievement. Any collective, any society, any concept of “the people” cannot exist without its individuals.

The subject of the Constitution and its context has been studied and debated to a great extent, to say the least. However, we tend to put on political blinders when the context doesn’t quite match up to the desired outcome.

It occurs to me that the same process applies to both the Bible and the Constitution. We hear all kinds of denunciation of Liberation Theology and the view of Jesus as a champion for the poor and an opponent of the wealthy, yet the message is clear; it’s just that the message does not fit thge desired outcome. The same happens with the Constitution. We hear very, very little about the influence of the French and their radical revolution and their ideals of ‘liberte, egalite, and fraternite’ upon our Constitution; we tend to ignore the fundamentally revolutionary aspect of our country’s seminal documents.

Posted by: phx8 at November 10, 2010 9:56 PM
Comment #312936

phx8, its called rationalization. If what Jesus said, does not comport with what a Christian believes, they change the ratio in their own mind to make it fit. Turn the other cheek except when slapped. Yeah, that’s the ticket. That’s surely what Jesus meant because that makes sense to me. Yes, I am sure that is right, because the Bible tells me so.

Well, yes, you are right, the same process occurs when folks read our founding documents. They read that bit about the obligation of the people to overthrow their government … and it scares the bejeezus out of them, so they quickly pass all kinds of laws injurious to liberty and freedom, like surveillance of citizens, and detention without representation, and insurrection and rebellion clauses to insure such an ideal can never become a reality.

The irony is, it was our Founders who were the first hypocrites and rationalizers. Compare the Declaration of Independence with the insurrection and rebellion clauses in the Constitution. They are entirely at odds with each other. Your are right to point out the fundamentally revolutionary aspect of our Declaration of Independence, but, remiss in pointing out how the Constitution turns right around provides government the means to prevent the people from ever becoming revolutionary again against their own government.

Below is the text from the Dec. of Ind.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Scary stuff, that.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 11:34 PM
Comment #312937

phx8, I should have added that there is perfectly logical explanation for this discrepancy between the Dec. Of Ind. and the Constitution.

The Dec. of Ind. was drafted and published during a state of siege by the British, and it was necessary to stir the passions and emotions of the colonialists to create and sustain an army to fight the British. The Constitution on the other hand, was a deliberative process of erecting a government with half a chance of surviving the contentions between the colonies and and their leaders and representatives to the Continental Congress. Cooler, less impassioned heads prevailed in the drafting and adoption of the Constitution, the War with the British having been won.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2010 11:41 PM
Comment #312940

Republicans want Americans who aren’t friendly as fundraisers to go it alone against the politician’s generous friends. They want investors to know less about the businesses they invest in, and nothing at all about the black box that is derivatives trading.

They want people to have to clean up the environmental messes left behind by their friends in industry, to be left paying the costs, both in healthcare costs and quality of life, that come from them.

On Healthcare, they want to deny you the ability to receive good quality healthcare if you were born with or acquired a pre-existing condition. They want to take you back to the day where an unreported breakout of acne could get your coverage cancelled, where your policy would run short on its funding if your healthcare costs ran over a certain amount, this even if you were in the middle of treatment. And to what end? The profit of the few.

Benefit the elite, give special rights to people in corporate groups to poison, cheat, deceive, and con people, and watch the economy still go off a fricking cliff when everything is said and done, despite the promises.

Me? I don’t think Government was put in place simply to be the reinforcer of the profit motivated short-sighted behavior of the few. Government is supposed to work for the good of society.

I believe government should make it easier for Americans to do the things that benefit America- like become more educated, create more inventions, do more basic research, etc., while discouraging the things that negatively impact society, like bigotry in hiring, fraud in business, or dishonesty among politicians.

And really, the main focus of government shouldn’t be helping those who are already prospering themselves, but those who aren’t. America is a consumer economy. Creating a floor for poverty is part of strengthening that economy, as you have fewer people unable to afford the products that drive the economy, and more business where it otherwise would not exist.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 10, 2010 11:51 PM
Comment #312943

Why should I worry about all Consumers when I have all the business I can handle today?

Doesn’t that go against securing My Blessings of Liberty and Prosperity?

Surely the General Welfare, Domestic Tranquility, and Common Defense of the Nation doesn’t require me to do more than just the basics?

Well, how do Democrats answer that typical conservative response to the questions. For why I know there are political answers to those questions, I do believe the Democratic Leadership needs to learn how to fight the Republican Willful Ignorance to the problems caused by such actions.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 12:31 AM
Comment #312946

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, as in succeeding or future generations collectively or all descendants of one person. not prosperity

Posted by: JOHN IN NAPA at November 11, 2010 3:11 AM
Comment #312949

John in Napa,
I think one of the Swamp People on the History Channel put it best. Passing on a Way of Life to their children that can enxure they can provide for their family and friends. For why many of men try to Dad, putting the interest of “I” above “We” leads to a lonely life.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 5:11 AM
Comment #312961

the best inheritance we can leave our children is the knowledge and skills to do it for themselves. handouts even by parents destroy self motivation.
perhaps my experiences are only anecdotal but i have seen a lot of people party themselves into their graves way too early just because mom and dad left them a million dollar life insurance dividend.

agree with ya Henry passing on a “way of life” is of the utmost importance, sadly though in our society parents often substitute cash for guidance.

Posted by: JOHN IN NAPA at November 11, 2010 9:55 AM
Comment #312966

phx8 wrote; “Royal Flush, You ‘proved’ the third person plural is actually the first person singular? That’s quite an achievement. Any collective, any society, any concept of “the people” cannot exist without its individuals.”

Some do have trouble reading “WE THE PEOPLE” and understanding it as referring to the entire body of “individuals”, and not the collective body itself.

If we look at the IV Amendment we read; The right of the people to be secure in ther persons, houses, papers and effects…”
If we look at the V Amendment we read; “No person…”
If we look at the VI Amendment we read; “…the accused…”
Amendment VII talks about “right of trial by jury”
Amendment VIII talks about “excessive bail”
Amentment XIV says “All persons born…”

These Amendments accrue “rights” to all the people (We the people) but apply to each citizen individually. These are guaranteed rights and recognized as unalienable.

The Constitution reads…”Promote the general Welfare…”
There is no promise of welfare for individuals or groups of individuals and no guarantees or recognition of Welfare being an Unalienable Right. The General Welfare speaks to those actions by government which benefit all. Certainly roads, rails and airports benefit all in some way. Safe food and medicines benefit all. Not having citizens starving, unclothed and unsheltered benefits all. Educating citizens benefits all. Regulated banking and other public service entities benefit all. But none of these are enumerated in the Constitution as “rights”, but rather, that which should be promoted (with consent of the governed)

Promotion of the General Welfare is a nebulous idea and can, and has been, applied differently at different times. But it should never be confused with an Unalienable Right, conferred to We The People as individuals.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 1:18 PM
Comment #312967

Good point “The Constitution reads…”Promote the general Welfare…” so why does it sems the conservatives are always at war with the liberals over such an idea?

Could it be that both have a flaw in their political thinking that makes them want to believe it is the other person who is being outrageous?

No, I do believe the fact that both Democrats and Republicans have come out strongly against the “Debt Commission” chairmens recommendations shows that why they may have different agendas they both in their own way want to look out for the general welfare of individuals and not “We the People.”

For faced with a debt created by those over the age of 50, wouldn’t the Adult thing to do is make them pay the debt in full instead of passing the problem on to their grandchildren?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 2:15 PM
Comment #312969


Article [II] A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of the free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

A ‘well regulated Militia’, to you and the SCOTUS, means each individual can carry an arsenal of supercharged weaponry, anytime, anywhere.

So if you insist on saying the Constitution was written for each individual citizen, rather than as a set of laws by which to govern a NATION, who am I to argue?

Poor, poor, pitiful me…it is hard to cipher, that which scholars have been stumbling over for two and a half centuries. Surprisingly, I thought that the reason we had a SCOTUS was to arbitrate when the meaning of the Constitution was foggy. I must just be an old foggy, as the way you put it, we don’t really need a SCOTUS at all, we can just go by your interpretation.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 11, 2010 2:21 PM
Comment #312973

dude comments; “So if you insist on saying the Constitution was written for each individual citizen, rather than as a set of laws by which to govern a NATION, who am I to argue.”

Sorry dude, the Constitution was written to govern a nation of individuals with “rights” guaranteed to those individuals. I don’t beleive anyone has a lock on the meaning of “General Welfare”, not even the SCOTUS, and certainly not me.

Henry comments; “For faced with a debt created by those over the age of 50, wouldn’t the Adult thing to do is make them pay the debt in full instead of passing the problem on to their grandchildren.”

I agree with what you wrote except for limiting the responsibility for debt to just those over age 50.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 2:44 PM
Comment #312975

Why not those over the age of 50. Are they not the Adults and Parents who by Right of Passage should have been building a Better World?

Yes, it may seem harsh to put the burdern of the Nation upon their shoulders; neverteheless, giving the opportunity by their parents and Grandparents some 40 years ago to change the world I do believe they were warned about the dangers we face today. So why shouldn’t they take responsibility and pay for the debt they created?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 3:12 PM
Comment #312976

‘Promote the General Welfare’…perhaps to work as individuals and as a nation toward the common good? Unlike obstructionism in Congress, wherein the work is actually nonexistent or at direct odds with the common good? Gee, I’m soooo puzzled by it all. I sure am glad I’ve got you to keep me straight on the matter.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 11, 2010 3:19 PM
Comment #312978

Sometimes being an obstructionist is the proper thing to do exspecially when it is about slowing down the converasation long enough to help the ill and uniformed keep up with what is going on. Sort of like explaining to Management why their experts are wrong when you are forced to stop production.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 3:27 PM
Comment #312979

Henry asks; “Why not those over the age of 50.” Please read my response again, I said we should not limit it to just those over age 50.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 4:10 PM
Comment #312982

But why? Should I be rsponsible for your child actions? No, I holf firm to the Principles and Standards that those over the 50 was given the opportunity to build a Better World with money in the bank so shpouldn’t they take on the Duty and Responsibility to pass onto their children the same opportunity even if it means living on less?

Otherwise, let’s continue the debt and allow the next generation of Elected Officials figure out how to pay for the overspending and consumption of the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s.

PS. I do understand whu one would say differently.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 4:34 PM
Comment #312984

Henry, arbritarily picking age 50 has no basis in reality and is based upon nothing more than a neuron firing in your brain.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 4:50 PM
Comment #312988

Without you supporting your point with anything else than “I don’t think we should limit it to those over the age of 50” I would point out tha I have atleast attempted to hold those in Society who wish to claim they are Adults and Parents accountable considering those under the age of 35 have no true respresentation in Congress.

So again, at what age would you limit the burden to since my first thought are those between the age of 55-75. Because wasn’t it that age group who said they could build a Better World than their parents?

Posted by: Henry Svhlatman at November 11, 2010 4:58 PM
Comment #312990


Every generation thinks they can build a better world for their progeny. Not all of them do. This current one for example, but they all would do so if they were able and did not slip up.

When times are good, and there is plenty of time to react and respond to critical situations, obstructionism is sometimes an okay thing. Not often even then. Communication and compromise are better almost every time. In crisis times, as when the bottom dropped out of our economy, obstructionism actually harms and cannot help. In other words, it is better to ‘pick your battles’, so that winning is actually winning, and not jack-knifing the semi on the freeway at rush hour.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 11, 2010 5:11 PM
Comment #312991

Henry…sorry, when you write something that I can understand I will reply.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 5:12 PM
Comment #312994

So are you saying that you dob’t understand why those over the age of 50 should be held accountable as Reponsibile Adults and Parents?

If that is the case than maybe we should take away their ability to make the hard choices that will need to be made and allow the Children of the 21st Century (those citizens under the age of 18 to once again teach their Parents Right from Wrong.

Sounds to me the conservatives and libeerals of the 20th Century are scared to admit they screwed up just like President Bush.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 11, 2010 5:44 PM
Comment #312996

Royal when you asked the question securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity the following portion of a speech came to mind.

“The basic things expected by our people of their political
and economic systems are simple. They are :
Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.
Jobs for those who can work.
Security for those who need it.
The ending of special privilege for the few.
The preservation of civil liberties for all.
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a
wider and constantly rising standard of living.
These are the simple, the basic things that must never be
lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of
our modern world. The inner and abiding straight of our
economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree
to which they fulfill these expectations.

Many subjects connected with our social economy call for
immediate improvement. As examples :
We should bring more citizens under the coverage of old-age
pensions and unemployment insurance.
We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.
We should plan a better system by which persons deserving or
needing gainful employment may obtain it.
I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of
the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that
call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more
money in taxes. In my budget message I will recommend that
a greater portion of this great defense program be paid for
from taxation than we are paying for today. No person
should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program,
and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability
to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our

If the congress maintains these principles the voters,
putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their
In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look
forward to a world founded upon four essential human
The first is freedom of speech and expression —everywhere
in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his
own way— everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world
terms, means economic understandings which will secure to
every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants
—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into
world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to
such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation
will be in a position to commit an act of physical
aggression against any neighbor —anywhere in the wold.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite
basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and
generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of
the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators
seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception —the
moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of
world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.
Since the beginning of our American history we have been
engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a
revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself
to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the
quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is
the cooperation of free countries, working together in a
friendly, civilized society.

This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads and
hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith
in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the
supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to
those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our
strength is our unity of purpose.

To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

Posted by: j2t2 at November 11, 2010 5:57 PM
Comment #312998

j2t2 I fail to get the connection between what you wrote and the link to an FDR speech given in January 1941 which was primarily to prepare America for a long and just war.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 6:27 PM
Comment #313002

Sorry j2t2, I inadvertently connected your link with a different comment.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 11, 2010 7:21 PM
Comment #313003

Royal the blessings of liberty means different things to different people. I happened to think of FDR’s 4 freedoms and this speech when I saw the preamble to the Constitution.

Try googling “securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”

Posted by: j2t2 at November 11, 2010 7:30 PM
Comment #313007
When the Founding Fathers said that “WE THE PEOPLE” established the Constitution to “promote the general Welfare,” they did not mean the federal government would have the power to aid education, build roads, and subsidize business. Likewise, Article 1, Section 8 did not give Congress the right to use tax money for whatever social and economic programs Congress might think would be good for the “general welfare.”

James Madison stated that the “general welfare” clause was not intended to give Congress an open hand “to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.” If by the “general welfare,” the Founding Fathers had meant any and all social, economic, or educational programs Congress wanted to create, there would have been no reason to list specific powers of Congress such as establishing courts and maintaining the armed forces. Those powers would simply have been included in one all-encompassing phrase, to “promote the general welfare.”

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

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 11, 2010 8:02 PM
Comment #313008

Thanks, WatchBlog Editor.

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 11, 2010 8:17 PM
Comment #313009

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
-Thomas Jefferson
Author: Clay Bowler on October 22nd, 2009
The General Welfare Clause: The Two Most Abused Words in the Constitution

First, notice it says PROMOTE. It doesn’t say provide. There is clearly a difference between promote and provide. If politicians in Washington had the keys to the case the Constitution sits in, they would have already gotten the White Out out and reworded it for their convenience. Remember, it’s promote.
Posted by: Weary Willie at November 11, 2010 8:37 PM
Comment #313015

What’s wrong with that picture?

Posted by: Weary Willie at November 11, 2010 9:27 PM
Comment #313018

WW said: “When the Founding Fathers said that “WE THE PEOPLE” established the Constitution to “promote the general Welfare,” they did not mean the federal government would have the power to aid education, build roads, and subsidize business.”

Bogus argument WW. They also didn’t mean that we should get rid of slavery, obviously. They also did not mean we should explore Space. They also did not mean we should establish a national Center for Disease Control. In fact, precisely because they COULD NOT see into the future, they could not intend very much that has occurred over the last 150 years. But, THEY DID have the wisdom to provide future generations with the ability and means through Amendment and Judicial interpretation and new legislation by future generations to modify and adapt their constitution to meet those future times which would no longer resembled the late 1700’s.

The Founders CLEARLY never intended their Constitution to be static and set in concrete never to change and adapt for the future. If that were their intent, there would not have provided for judicial interpretation, nor a Legislature to create NEW law, nor an Amendment process to alter their original work.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2010 12:06 AM
Comment #313020

The first ten amendments is the best proof that the Constitution was not intended to be set in stone, but rather be flexible enough to sustain the pressures of maturing. The Constitution itself established governance. It could have been deemed whole in itself, but it was not. The founders knew the limitations of mere law.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 12, 2010 12:26 AM
Comment #313026

Royal Flush-
Are you that afraid of people being defined in a collective sense? Human beings are inherently social creatures, and no system of laws or market economic can function properly without it acknowledging that reality.

The Constitution is a charter between all of us, between the states. They don’t start off “We the people”, only to limit the intent of the constitution down to “he or she the person.”

Rather than running from the meaning in the constitution that doesn’t suit your radically individualized sense of government and public interest, acknowledge that the Framers intended social dynamics to be part of what drove the government, and part of what the government would shape.

You say that “promote the general welfare” does not enable the vision liberals have of government. Bull. I think it quite clearly demonstrates that part of the purpose of government is to do things on the big level, for the masses, that they could not do for themselves, and which would benefit the country. Hell, one of the first things that George Washington did was approve road construction, putting people to work. If you were to say that the Government shouldn’t provide jobs that work towards frivolous ends, fine by me. I like an efficient cost effective government because I’m results oriented. But if you’re saying that Government shouldn’t intervene on behalf of the country economically, or fiscally, then I think your approach is excessively narrow and ideological.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2010 8:46 AM
Comment #313030

Somehow, “I the Person”, does not do it for me as well as, “We the People”. “I the Person” might have worked if there were only one of us to begin with, but the founders wrote the Constitution in order to set up a governance of the people, and for the people, and by the people. I’m pretty sure there was more than one founder…:)

Isn’t ‘government’, by its very nature and cause, a ‘collective’? Some way to assist divergent peoples and groups of peoples to coexist? We ain’t all mountain men, or hermits, or…or…or…our individual survival depends on the survival of us all…which is the very essence of Socialism. Socialism in and of itself is not a bad (curse) word, nor is Democrat, nor is liberal. All those words can be misused and condemnation of them can be misdirected, but the words themselves are all rather lofty.

Conservatism is a good thing, but just as Socialism can be abused by folks who would turn it to Communism, so too can conservatism be turned into fascism, by the wrong use or in the wrong hands. In the present moment we should be more vigilant about the failures of conservatism than the other way around. There is too much zealotry, and righteousness on the side of conservatism today for it to be an effective tool in a quest for freedom.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 12, 2010 1:48 PM
Comment #313038

Mr. Daugherty wrote; “You say that “promote the general welfare” does not enable the vision liberals have of government.”

That’s correct. I didn’t expect you to agree. And, this is a contentious issue between liberals and conservatives. I expect that as liberals, when in power, continue to define “promoting the general welfare” as more huge entitlement programs and spending on favored groups of Americans that eventually the issue will come before the supreme court for their decision.

I believe the last election was refutation of your liberal view of how we should promote the general welfare. Until this issue is settled we will continue to have huge deficits and calls for more taxes to pay for it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 4:21 PM
Comment #313039

marysdude commented; “There is too much zealotry, and righteousness on the side of conservatism today for it to be an effective tool in a quest for freedom.”

Really? Care to give us some examples to respond to?

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 4:25 PM
Comment #313040

Here’s an interesting read in the NY Times.

“In a memo released before the election, Third Way, a group of centrist Democrats, predicted that liberals would try to pull Mr. Obama in their direction after the election. But they warned that doubling down on liberal policies would have dire consequences for the Democratic Party.

“By rejecting the big-tent coalition that brought them power in the first place, the only things Democrats will accomplish are permanent minority status and the frustration of their legislative priorities,” wrote Jon Cowan and Anne Kim, the authors of the Third Way memo.

In his comments to The Huffington Post, Mr. Axelrod appears to have heard that argument.

As he told the Web site’s reporters, his bottom line is: “We have to deal with the world as we find it.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 4:33 PM
Comment #313043

“Isn’t ‘government’, by its very nature and cause, a ‘collective’?”

It is such an obvious point that it is hard to understand the debate on this thread. The fact that the Constitution provides limitations on government power and internal checks and balances does not negate its general purpose of providing a mechanism for the governance of the nation and its citizens as a whole.

Posted by: Rich at November 12, 2010 5:21 PM
Comment #313044

Marysdude, I would think that socialism, trends towards totalitarianism rather than communism when those who are responsible for control and oversight of the actions of leaders are apathetic or become fictionalized by philosophical differences.

RF, I believe that Henry is making a valid argument. There is a correlation between the rising deficits, national debt,and the rise in political power of the babyboomer generation. It got so bad that we even had Republican politicians promoting policies based on the principle that deficits don’t matter. The People have learned the hard way that deficits do matter when the policies being promoted and followed have the effect of doubling deficits rather than halving them.

For at least two decades, babyboomer voters have been primarily responsible for the government we have been subjected to.

Now the right, which has more support from babyboomers than others, are saying we need to lower taxes and cut spending.

What are some of their proposals? Lower taxes, especially for upper middle class babyboomers (tea party) and the wealthy, raise the retirement age for those under 50, cut medicare for those under 50, reduce wages for those under 50. Seems like a theme in recognition of voter participation.

Posted by: jlw at November 12, 2010 5:34 PM
Comment #313046

We were promised individual liberty, not collective happiness thru welfare. The founders were not keen on using government funds for welfare as we understand it today.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 5:40 PM
Comment #313050

Royal Flush said “We were promised individual liberty, not collective happiness thru welfare.”

In truth, the founding fathers accepted limitations upon their individual liberty and their states’ power, for the collective benefits of a central government. It should be remembered that the Constitution superceded the Articles of Confederation that were discarded in favor of a stronger central government.

Agree that the Constitution does not promise collective happiness through welfare, as we know it today. But it does provide that one of the central missions of the federal government in the preamble is “…to provide for the general welfare..” It gives the government the power to levy and collect taxes to provide for the “general welfare” in Article I, section 8. It is a broad term. It is a broad power. It is undeniably a collective term.

Posted by: Rich at November 12, 2010 6:31 PM
Comment #313051

Rich wrote; “It gives the government the power to levy and collect taxes to provide for the “general welfare” in Article I, section 8. It is a broad term. It is a broad power. It is undeniably a collective term.”

Agreed. And the “general welfare” is expected to be in agreement with our individual rights and not an infringement upon them. The “unalienable rights” in the Declaration of Independence of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness are narrowly defined by some in contrast to the general welfare which many wish to define broadly.

These rights include property rights and many liberals are only too happy to ignore or deny that.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 6:57 PM
Comment #313053

“These rights include property rights and many liberals are only too happy to ignore or deny that.”

Royal, It seems the founding fathers also had an issue with property rights as they thought people were property. What are you calling property that you would think we would ignore or deny those rights?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 12, 2010 7:25 PM
Comment #313055

j2t2, are you going on record as a liberal? Take a day to consider what you consider your property and read my answer tomorow. Time to eat.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2010 7:32 PM
Comment #313056

It was the right leaning SCOTUS and conservative leadership that allowed emanate domain to expand for civil use.

I’m not sure where the current argument went astray about this ‘welfare as we know it today’ is concerned. Governor Clinton instituted a Welfare to Work program while Governor of Arkansas. He hadn’t been President all that long when the same program (with variations) was instituted at the national level. Even in the 90’s that old conundrum about the ‘Welfare Queen’ was put to rest. Welfare as we know it today has more to do with farm subsidies, oil and energy subsidies, business bailouts, etc., than it does Welfare that you speak of. Far more dollars have gone to business in the form of subsidies and tax breaks than is ever used to help support the poor.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 12, 2010 7:33 PM
Comment #313059

Karl Denniger has an interesting take on shared prosperity:

BTW, for those that don’t know him, he is a former fund manager who founded a tea party group.

I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but many issues like this one he makes some good points.

Posted by: gergle at November 12, 2010 7:49 PM
Comment #313060

Royal Flush,

I don’t think that anyone argues that the “general welfare” clause trumps any individual or property rights provided for in the Constitution.

It should be noted, however, that the founding fathers evidently felt that property rights are not absolute. In the 5th Amendment, the Constitution implicitly recognizes the right of the government to appropriate private property for a public purpose conditional upon paying just compensation.

Posted by: Rich at November 12, 2010 7:50 PM
Comment #313067


It’s called Eminent Domain, and is now, and for the last several years, been used to claim property ‘for the public good’, even if the property is turned over to a for profit developer who enhances the property so that the local governments can get a higher tax return on it. At one time it was used almost exclusively for government use, ie, military bases, federal buildings, and for roads. Not any more…

Posted by: Marysdude at November 12, 2010 10:13 PM
Comment #313075


I mentioned the “Takings Clause” of the Constitution only to further illustrate that the drafters understood that by establishing a central government that certain individual rights, including property rights, would become subservient to the interests of the group (nation). In the case of property rights limited only by a showing with due process of a “public use” and “just compensation.”

Posted by: Rich at November 13, 2010 6:36 AM
Comment #313078

Thanks because that is exactly what I mean. Yes, Royal Flush and others can talk about what General Welfare means; however, looking at the General Welfare of the Children of the 21st Century as Individuals and a Collective I don’t see how given the leadership of their parents and grandparents are going to be able to do what is necessary to secure the Blessings of Liberty and Prosperity.

For example; Everybody wants to extend President Bush tax cuts even though those tax cuts were made at a time when we thought there would be a governmentt surplus. And that is not to say we don’t need the extra money now to help grow the economy. Can a tax cut designed to return a surplus ever help Individuals and a Nation who needs tax cuts which will help reduce the debt and grow the economy?

No, IMHO both the Democrats and Republicans; Conservatives and Liberals; and Left and Right is looking for Washington to take the easy way out instead of standing up like Adults and Parents. For though it would mean Congress would have to allow the Bush Tax Cuts to expire and completely write a new bill for President Obama to sign.

Since IMHO a tax cut that would create jobs, lower household bills, move America toward enrgy independence, and promote investment into Americas’ Infrastructure would at least show the Youth of Today the Babyboomers are doing what they can to prevent the Children in the year 2050 from having to face the Burden of Overconsumption and Self-indulgence.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 13, 2010 8:12 AM
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