Ailitardif, Star Breaker wrote:
Yup. Now show me the amendment in the Constitution which changed the meaning of "general welfare" to mean that we can seize property from those who earned it
I'm not sure to what context you are referring to with "seize property", but the fifth amendment covers eminent domain. If you are not talking about eminent domain, then I apologize.
I was speaking of Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution, since that's where the whole "general welfare" phrase comes in:
US Constitution wrote:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
While the list is not intended (nor interpreted) to be an enumeration of all the things Congress can do, with all others prohibited. It is clearly intended to be a guideline of the types of things the writers of the constitution felt the government should be doing
. While there are lots of examples of protecting us from foreign invasion and internal rebellion, protecting the currency, creating roads and otherwise promoting commerce and communication, there is absolutely zero mention of "provide food for the poor" in there, or anything even remotely similar.
But since you mentioned the 5th amendment, it does sorta touch on this issue:
5th amendment wrote:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Now this is more specific to the idea of having property taken via either criminal proceedings or eminent domain, but the principle is pretty clear, especially that last part. We're not supposed to have property (which includes income btw) taken from us for "public use" without just compensation. Now, in most of the examples given in the list from Section 8, the public use is also a "common use". Everyone benefits from roads, postal services, defense of borders, protection of currency, etc.
Taking money from one person purely because he has it, and giving it to another purely because he doesn't is so far outside the bounds of what is written that it's laughable. Somehow we've managed to stretch and twist and bend the rules until most people think that it's not just normal to do so, but to fail to do so is somehow a violation of rights "owed" to the people.
It clearly was not intended to be interpreted that way, and they clearly intended private property to be protected from public seizure and allowed only for things that benefit all in common. There is simply no way to justify direct individual assistance from the federal government using public moneys under the constitution as it was written. There's nothing that even hints at such a thing being expected much less required, and quite a few references which strongly suggest that they were opposed to the idea entirely.
So yeah. I think it's relevant to ask where the amendment that says that our property rights end when the government decides that someone else needs our property more than we do. Doesn't that effectively mean we don't have any rights anymore? What if someone else "needs" all of what I have? Can you justify taking some of my property for this reason but not all of it? And if you can't draw a clear dividing line, then isn't the principle you're operating on incredibly dangerous? Edited, Apr 21st 2011 3:38pm by gbaji