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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: How blogger Duncan Black made expanding Social Security respectable (149 comments)

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  •  The Townsend Club was unsustainable. (0+ / 0-)

    You need to read what is written, before you comment.

    It's not the job of government to "transfer wealth back down", either.   By your logic, everyone should get a subsidy to "stimulate the economy" and social programs are the highest form of economic stimulus.   Please.  

    Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

    by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:30:13 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  If 'the general welfare' of the people is not one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      of the central purposes of government, I don't know what is.

      It is undeniable that we have a vast trove of evidence that economic inequality is horrible for the health of a country, and its people.  So yes, 'transferring wealth back down', or reducing economic inequality created by the concentration of wealth through capitalism is central to government.

      And you have certainly incorrectly followed my logic if you believe I'm saying 'everybody should get a subsidy'.  The more income someone has, the less impact on the economy giving them subsidies have.  That's why I specifically used the words 'the poorest among us'.

      You need to read what is written, before you comment.

      •  Not here, it's not. (0+ / 0-)
        'transferring wealth back down', or reducing economic inequality created by the concentration of wealth through capitalism is central to government.

        Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

        by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:15:48 PM PDT

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        •  And we have dysfunctional government here now. (0+ / 0-)

          The country thrived, and government worked when we worked to reduce economic equality.  When politicians took it upon themselves to enact policies that increased, rather than reduced economic equality, the country grew more polarized, government began to function ever more poorly, and we began to move from economic crisis to economic crisis, and having to devote ever more resources simply to keeping citizens alive.
           

        •  Reading the Constitution w/one eyed closed (0+ / 0-)
          "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."
          Because the Right and Libertarians (not TOTALLY cross overs) each find vindication for their view of limited government in the 'provide for the common defence' clause but tie themselves into knots insisting the 'general Welfare' clause doesn't actually mean anything at all about government. Despite their fealty to those same Founders who straightforwardly explain that 'this Constitution' was ordained and established to do just that.

          Plus they seem to have that same eye closed and be squinting with the other when reading Article 1 Section 8

          Section. 8.

          The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

          Because you can't be any kind of 'Originalist' and still claim that 'taxation is theft' or even argue that it was supposed to be limits to tarriffs. Because the distinction between 'Taxes' and 'Duties, Imposts and Excises' is pretty clear to those who are not willfully blind.

          It is also worth noting that Congress in providing for the 'Common defense' is OBLIGATED to provide and provision a Navy. But PROHIBITED from establishing a Standing Army. Which to people with powers of thought would suggest a new reading of the intent of the Second Amendment, since for the Founders the Militia is clearly the Army in Reserve. And not some counterforce to Executive Power as the Tea Tards would have it.

          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;

          Originalists like Biblical Literalists are more interested in proclaiming fealty to the text than actually reading and heeding it. Both prefer to work from a text of their own imagination. That oddly happens to match their own preferences.

          SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

          by Bruce Webb on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:16:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The General Welfare clause is limited by the (0+ / 0-)

            Tenth Amendment.   That's why we have the Tenth Amendment.  Otherwise, the General Welfare clause would mean whatever a new Congress says it means.  

            The Army limitation just means that Congress gets to pull the plug every two years if it feels threatened by the Army.   The Navy was not so limited only because it takes several years to build and deploy one.  

            Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

            by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:32:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where in the text do you find THAT (0+ / 0-)

              Mr. Originalist

              Amendment X

              The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

              First you would have us believe that the Founders ratified the Constitution with not one but two references to the 'General Welfare' and then immediately turned around and amended it. And in fact suggest that the PURPOSE of the 10th Amendment was to gut the 'General Welfare' clauses.

              But where would you actually find that in the text? On a plain reading the Congress accepted and mandated some responsibility for the 'General Welfare' right along its right to tax. It then laid out some more specific powers in the rest of Section 8.

              That the 10th Amendment means that all Powers NOT laid out in Section 8 as "delegated to the United States" is a plausible one. But exactly how do you razor blade out the 'General Welfare' clause and ONLY the 'General Welfare' clause out of Section 8 and leave the rest.

              I know that State's Rights folk are ready and willing to read 'enumerated powers' into this language, and maybe have some justification for that in the later writings or hell maybe even the earlier writings of Madison, but it just isn't in the plain text. Still less in a way that justifies claims "That's why we have the Tenth Amendment".

              And your Army argument is frankly silly. If the Congress really felt threatened by the Army then moving to cut off FUTURE supplies wouldn't do much. The Third Amendment explicitly and the Fourth Amendment implitictly are direct reactions to the previous policy of the British government in establishing and quartering troops on the soil of the colonies. And it is just as plausible to read the restriction in Article 8 as an attempt to assure the States that there wouldn't be a similar standing Army ready and able to suppress their rights, something REINFORCED by the 10th Amendment. And that they were right to do so is proved by the occurance of the use of Federal Troops against our own people in the course of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791.

              Feel free to counter this argument however you will. But your plain assertions are not particularly convincing and if anything reinforce my opionion that so-called 'Originalists" are some of the most creative post-facto readers out there. Behind perhaps those who manage similar selective reading of such Books as Leviticus. (Where it appears that Capitalist Jesus gave a dispensation to the lobster eating bankers but left the Gays to burn).

              SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

              by Bruce Webb on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 04:15:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Read a book. (0+ / 0-)
                'But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.

                But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter. The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are "their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare. '' The terms of article eighth are still more identical: "All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury,'' etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever.

                But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare?
                I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!

                - PUBLIUS

                Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

                by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:34:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That is a lot of weight (0+ / 0-)

                  resting on a semi-colon and a Pseudonym. Plus the core argument rises to the status of a strawman. Because it is the very illustration of a rhetorical question and one designed NOT to have an answer.

                  For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.
                  Because here is a purpose. What if the counterargument for the claim of any specific power was that "well that cannot be considered inherently part of the 'general welfare' based on (insert one) Natural Law". By DOUBLING down and listing SPECIFIC powers as part but not necessarily the whole of the GENERAL power one would and I argue does add clarity.

                  But Publius (which from my dim memory is actually Madison) is making essentially a grammatical argument that clauses following a general one can only limit it and not clarify or expand it. Well I am not sure this comports with usage in the 18th century or now, nor am I willing to throw the welfare of millions of people under the bus because some logical grammar chopping 'makes' me do so. I don't expect you to agree but to me that is a perfect example of the kind of post facto reading back of conclusions into presumed logical premises that I refered to in passing before.

                  "Taxes bad. Therefore let us find reasons why the 16th Amendment doesn't mean what its plain text says it does. Or at least doesn't apply to Sovereign Citizens"

                  Well most people think that kind of logic is between silly and very dangerous, the kind of thing that applies deep meaning to gold fringes on U.S. flags in courtrooms. From where I sit the main difference here is that 'enumerated powers' fanatics just have a longer and deeper pedigree.

                  "Because what Publius has put forth let no man put asunder". Wait! What? Who is Publius and why should that be dispostive? And "convincing to me" is not really an answer. Except of course to the answerer.

                  SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                  by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 06:02:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And please "Read a book" (0+ / 0-)

                  First of all that is quite the dick move. I mean I don't even accept that when it is "Read the Book" and still less when it means "Read MY reading of THE Book".

                  Second I have read books. And then thought about them. Rather than just blindly following the opinions of Authority. Not that one should discard informed and expert opinion, because that is the road to crankdom, at a minimum one should take it into account and think about IT.

                  But the flip side of being a solo Crank is being the True Believer. Who generally always have a book that becomes THE BOOK. Whether that be Mao's Little Red Book or ElRON(sic) Hubbard's Dianetics. I don't have a lot of patience with people who treat the Federalist Papers as having the same authority as the Talmud in relation to their Ur texts. Or the Christian Fathers in interpreting the Bible. Because that all stretches the concept of Revelation to the snapping point.

                  'But, but PUBLIUS! In a BOOK!!!'

                  Whatever.

                  SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                  by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 06:15:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I answered your question. (0+ / 0-)

                    You didn't like the answer.  

                    I am pretty sure I understand what the Founders meant the "general welfare" language to mean.   It's not what you think it means, IMHO.  

                    Try the decaf.  Then read a book again.  

                    Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

                    by SpamNunn on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 02:27:15 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You didn't answer the question (0+ / 0-)

                      You gave someone else's answer to the question.

                      And I don't care much that you are "pretty sure" because you show no particular evidence of having a single original contribution to make here beyond aping talking points you lapped up from 'books'.

                      Plus I don't drink coffee.

                      So three strikes on you.

                      SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                      by Bruce Webb on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 05:03:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  insuring that money circulates through the economy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      is part of the government's overall mandate to "provide for the general welfare", its about stewarding the economic system.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:05:40 AM PDT

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      •  Even Justice Brennan never read the (0+ / 0-)

        General Welfare clause this expansively.    It's not carte blanche for anything that you can argue is a cure of a societal or economic ill.  It's certainly not justification of a "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" wealth redistribution scheme.  It's just not.  

        No one understands the limits of the Federal system anymore.   Just as long as "it's good for the people", people think that the Federal government can do whatever it wants to.   That's not the case, and it never will be, unless they change the Constitution.    

        Self awareness is one of God's greatest gifts. Don't waste it.

        by SpamNunn on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:14:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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