Sometimes you simply know something, yet haven’t the words to help others understand. I have been beating myself up about how to put in words that the “General Welfare” clause of the constitution did not mean wholesale permissions for congress to enact whatever law it may “for the good of the people.” Williams does a pretty decent job of explaining:
I’d bet the rent money that they would say that their authority lies in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that reads: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Impost, Excises to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” They’d tell you that their authority comes from the Constitution’s “general welfare” clause. James Madison, the father of our constitution, explained, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.” He later added, “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.”
Take THAT to the bank, then add the “interest” of Thomas Jefferson’s point cited later in the paragraph:
“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” That means only those powers listed.
The good lord works in many wondrous ways. The brilliance of Mr. Williams is certainly a testament to that truth.