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If congress got rid of all funding for all social programs, which actions would be unconstitutional?

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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 04:59 PM
Original message
If congress got rid of all funding for all social programs, which actions would be unconstitutional?
Is there an obligation of the government to provide food stamps or social security or Medicare or Medicaid that is in the constitution itself? Or is that purely legislative?
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Purely legislative
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. It's kind of scary to realize how dependent we are on the current crop of legislators.
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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
22. Correct. Only legislation listed above. n/t
-Laelth
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. SCOTUS says govt is not obligated to protect an individual against attack by a criminal so it should
Edited on Mon Jan-17-11 05:05 PM by jody
follow that government is not obligated to protect an individual against hunger, illness, etc.

See "Duty to Protect?"
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. Who cares? Is torture constitutional?
:shrug:
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Well we are supposed to be protected from cruel or unusual punishment.
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Diamonique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Cruel or unusual punishment by the government... not by other people.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. SCOTUS says govt must protect individuals in custody, not free citizens. See DU
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WinkyDink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
6. The Executive Branch must faithfully execute the laws. Congress would need to pass LAWS, not merely
Edited on Mon Jan-17-11 05:10 PM by WinkyDink
"de-fund."
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. True.
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. If it rained meatballs and sauerkraut ...
I mean, what is the point of asking this ... because this is not going to happen.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. I'm just wondering what are the obligations of the Government toward it's citizens.
What things are inviolate...

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. I do not believe so.
The country had no food stamps, social security, Medicare, dept of education, etc for the decades.

Not saying it would be a good idea I just don't think there is a Constitutional requirement.

The Constitutional only REQUIRES the federal govt to do a limited number of things. Namely provide for national defense, handle imports & tariffs, regulate commerce between the states, conduct census, etc.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. So completely defunding defense would be unconstitutional?
Funny that.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
32. Completely. Yes. But the founding fathers believed in no standing army.
So essentially a militia force only used for defense not for offensive wars. They warned future generations of the dangers of entangling alliances. Likely could cut DOD by 90% and still provide a credible defense.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. Well without any military bases outside the US that would be a chunk gone.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
40. delete
Edited on Tue Jan-18-11 04:04 PM by onenote
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
13. What constitution?
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
15. wars that are fought/funded without a declaration of war by congress?? nah... nt
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SoCalNative Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
16. I would think that
"promote the general Welfare" would pretty much cover it. Hard to say that you are doing that if people are left to starve and die on the streets.
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Hmm that could cover practically anything.
I wonder how often it is used.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. You might browse Cornell Law School's "SPENDING FOR THE GENERAL WELFARE" at
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. This is really interesting stuff.
The taxing powers are not to be used in any manner as pleased but strictly to fund. Yet we use tax policy to influence behaviour. I have to admit I don't understand how these types of things translate. I wonder what the founding fathers would think if they saw how we interpreted and used their words.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Its individual/state rights versus omnipotent federal govt. Suggest you read Jefferson & Madisons
Kentucky/Virginia Resolutions in Wikipedia and their arguments for 10th Amendment powers retained by states and individuals.

Recall that Jefferson and Madison created our Democratic Party and both opposed Hamilton's all powerful central government with a president elected/appointed for life.

You might also browse some recent articles and books on nullification.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. That's "general Welfare", not "individual Welfare", not "corporate Welfare". nt
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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Interesting discussions on the General Welfare clause.
This is from wikipedia...

"Shortly after Butler, in Helvering v. Davis,<13> the Supreme Court interpreted the clause even more expansively, conferring upon Congress a plenary power to impose taxes and to spend money for the general welfare subject almost entirely to its own discretion. Even more recently, the Court has included the power to indirectly coerce the states into adopting national standards by threatening to withhold federal funds in South Dakota v. Dole.<14> To date, the Hamiltonian view of the General Welfare Clause predominates in case law."

The Hamiltonian view also from Wikipedia...

"Alexander Hamilton, only after the Constitution had been ratified, argued for a broad interpretation which viewed spending as an enumerated power Congress could exercise independently to benefit the general welfare, such as to assist national needs in agriculture or education, provided that the spending is general in nature and does not favor any specific section of the country over any other.<10>"

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Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. "Promote the general welfare" is in the Preamble, but the Preamble is not binding law.
States have police power and can legislate for the general welfare. The Federal governmet was never supposed to do that. Many have argued that the very programs listed in the OP are unconstitutional.

-Laelth
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Wrong, "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;"
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 08:46 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. Good cite however the OP was asking if it would be Unconstitutional if the govt didn't.
Section 8 merely gives the govt authority but not requirement to do so.
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Gaedel Donating Member (802 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. "promote" versus "provide"
All of the various safety net laws are constitutional under the "promote" clause, but there is no minimum requirement as there would be if the word was "provide". Promote allows but doesn't dictate.



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JoePhilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
21. My reply ...
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
28. None of them would be unconstitutional.
General Welfare Clause.

Makes right wingers' heads explode. Ka-BOOM!!!

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Forkboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
29. Empathy wasn't included in the Constitution, that's on us.
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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
30. Read Article 1 Section 8 and decide for yourself
It says to PROVIDE for the common defense and general welfare



To remove all funding for social programs is exactly the same as removing all funding for defense.


Would that be constitutional?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
34. Section 8 says the govt has the authority to collect taxes, etc TO PROVIDE.
It doesn't indicate a requirement rather that the govt CAN collect taxes to provide for general welfare.
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Imajika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 07:53 PM
Response to Original message
31. All of those programs are constitutional...
..but none our mandated by the constitution.

The Supreme Court can't order the government to provide food stamps any more than they can just dream up their own program and order the government to provide it.

We are completely reliant on our current crop of legislators to keep these programs going. Thankfully, between inertia, divided government, checks and balances, and high public support for all of these programs, it will continue to be very difficult for the Republicans to dismantle any of them. Americans overwhelmingly support a social safety net. Period. And actually, surprisingly enough, the Republicans actually ADDED to the safety net with Medicare Part D (prescription drug program) under the Bush Administration/Republican Congress.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
35. There is an obligation of a people's government to serve the needs of the public .... not the few...
Edited on Mon Jan-17-11 08:50 PM by defendandprotect
which is what has been going on --

We also have the right to overturn government when it is not serving the needs

of the public -- it's our inherent right --



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dkf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. "Overturn" as in vote out right?
Gotta do it nice and legal and nonviolently of course.
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jody Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. Abraham Lincoln said "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it.
Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it."

Ulysses S. Grant said The right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of oppression, if they are strong enough, whether by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable.

Theodore Roosevelt said "'Behind the ostensible Government sits enthroned an invisible Government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.... This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest.' This assertion is explicit. We say directly that 'the people' are absolutely to control in any way they see fit, the 'business' of the country."
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. Think the Founders confirmed we needed a revolution every 20 years ...
I have no problem with revolutions -- they just need to remain non-violent --

Like the Youth Revolution of the 1960's ....


Here ya go --

"I realized that in this country we had a revolution--of housing, food, hair style, clothing, cosmetics, transportation, value systems, religion--it was an economic revolution, affecting the cosmetics industry, canned foods, the use of land; people were delivering their own babies, recycling old clothes, withdrawing from spectator sports. They were breaking the barriers where white and black could rap in 1967. This was the year of the Beatles, the summer of Sergeant Pepper, the Monterey Pop Festival, Haight-Ashbury, make your own candle and turn off the electricity, turn on with your friends and laugh--that's what life was all about."

http://maebrussell.com/Mae%20Brussell%20Articles/Ballad%20of%20Mae%20Brussell.html
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