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Today’s Welfare-State “Conservatives”

Laurence Vance has this terrific article on what Americans should know about the Constitution. He describes what’s actually in the U.S. Constitution, and what is not in the Constitution.

As far as what is not in the Constitution, he lists the many programs and policies currently imposed by the U.S. government that are not in the Constitution. For example,

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with education. That means no student loans, Pell Grants, math and science initiatives, school breakfast and lunch programs, bilingual-education mandates, Head Start funding, Title IX mandates, teacher-education requirements, teacher-certification standards, school accreditation, educational vouchers, Common Core, standardized-testing requirements, or special-education mandates, and no Department of Education.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with medicine. That means no Medicare, Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), vaccination programs, HIV/AIDS-prevention initiatives, federal laboratories, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Health and Human Services, and no regulation of medical schools, drugs, hospitals, nursing homes, medical devices, or physicians.

And there are several more examples he gives. Also, Dr. Vance notes that some commentators, academics and politicians bring up the “general welfare” clause, that many people use as an excuse to impose one program after another by the government that were best provided by private businesses or organizations.

He cites James Madison who notes that the “general welfare” clause is followed by specific enumerations of powers given to the government in Article I Section 8. Vance quotes Madison as writing, “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.”

Which brings me to today’s conservatives, many of whom claim to believe in limited constitutional government and also who cite the limited enumerated powers in Article I Section 8. But for most of them, including the talk radio personalities, Republican Congressmen and Senators and their supporters and voters, that is just not the case. As Dr. Vance wrote in a previous article, “Republicans believe that they have a moral obligation to continue a New Deal, intergenerational, income-transfer, social-engineering, wealth-redistribution program,” known as Social Security.

Republicans and conservatives also support Medicare, Medicaid, the Medicare Part D prescription drug handouts, and other similar programs. Republican Congressmen and Senators continue to vote for all those redistribution-of-wealth schemes funded via taxes which are seized involuntarily from American workers. None of those programs are enumerated in the powers of Congress in Article I Section 8. But generations of Americans are indoctrinated early in their lives to believe in these socialist schemes are legitimate. With much cognitive dissonance, today’s conservatives are in denial as they have convinced themselves that these socialist schemes are not examples of socialism, yet they continually criticize “socialism.”

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