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Welfare Clause Art I Sec 8

The USSC has not been interpreted to promote/provide for the “general welfare” to justify expansion of Federal Government power.

The Constitution Preamble reads: “WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.” The USSC  held the mention of the clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution "has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments."[2][3]

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution refers to the “general welfare” thus: “The Congress shall have the 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. . .”

This has been interpreted in accordance with Jefferson's and Madison's restrictive view, that the phrase is a limitation on Congressional taxing authority, not a grant of general powers.

The Constitution promotes the “general welfare” by ensuring a free society where free, self-responsible individuals - rich and poor, bankers and shopkeepers, employers and employees, farmers and blacksmiths - would enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

These clauses, called the General Welfare Clause or the Spending Power Clause, do not grant Congress the power to legislate for the general welfare of the country; that is a power reserved to the states through the Tenth Amendment. Rather, it merely allows Congress to spend federal money for the general welfare.

In United States v. Butler, 56 S. Ct. 312, 297 U.S. 1, 80 L. Ed. 477 (1936), the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a federal agricultural spending program because a specific congressional power over agricultural production appeared nowhere in the Constitution. According to the Court inButler, the spending program invaded a right reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment.

In South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203, 107 S. Ct. 2793, 97 L. Ed. 2d 171 (1987), the Court reviewed legislation allowing the secretary of transportation to withhold a percentage of federal highway funds from states that did not raise their legal drinking age to twenty-one. In holding that the statute was a valid use of congressional spending power, the Court in Dole questioned "whether 'general welfare' is a judicially enforceable restriction at all."

 In New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 112 S.Ct. 2408, 120 L.Ed.2d 120 (U.S.1992), the Court held  that the regulation was an attempt to "compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program." Such attempts to compel state behavior, the Court said, violate the federal structure of the government as embodied in the Tenth Amendment.

Wikipedia gives the following background on the language:

 the Supreme Court held the understanding of the General Welfare Clause contained in the Taxing and Spending Clause adheres to theconstruction given it by Associate Justice Joseph Story in his 1833 Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States.[4][5] Justice Story concluded that the General Welfare Clause is not a grant of general legislative power,[4][6] but a qualification on the taxing power[4][7][8] which includes within it a federal power to spend federal revenues on matters of general interest to the federal government.[4][9][10] The Court described Justice Story's view as the "Hamiltonian position",[4] as Alexander Hamilton had elaborated his view of the taxing and spending powers in his 1791 Report on Manufactures. Story, however, attributes the position's initial appearance to Thomas Jefferson, in his Opinion on the Bank of the United States.[11]

As such, these clauses in the U.S. Constitution are an atypical use of a general welfare clause, and are not considered grants of a general legislative power to the federal government.[12]

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