What did the Founding Fathers mean by including the phrase “General Welfare”? If you look up the word general in the dictionary you will find the following meaning: pertaining to all persons or things belonging to a group or category. It is pure and simple, what pertains to all.
The Founding Fathers wanted the Federal Government to promote the GENERAL welfare. If they did not want it to be general then they would not have included the word general in the preamble to the Constitution. The Founding Fathers never intended for the Federal Government to get involved in any specific welfare or welfare for a certain group of people that didn't include all Americans.
The government is involved in so many specific welfare projects today that is hard to name them all. Here are a few: food stamps, housing, farming subsidies, student loans, unemployment insurance, medicare, retirements, grants, disability, and so on. Do some of the people on these programs need help? Yes they may, but it should be done through private organizations or churches, not the federal government. Help for the unfortunate is always done better through private individuals or businesses. Government types of programs will always corrupt the people and the government.
I learned a political lesson from dividing a family farm. I know of a situation where a small group of people were going to divide up a family farm. As they were dividing up the farm each of them wanted the general farm account, which belonged to all of them to pay for some expenses. There were those who wanted their fences fixed, others needed a water line fixed, and others wanted a road build. There was no end to the things each wanted to use the general farm account for. However to solve the problems, it was decided that if the expense involved the whole group then it could be paid out of the general farm account, however if it pertained to only the part each one owned, then they would have to pay for it themselves It was the only fair and right thing to do. It is called justice. This principle should apply to our government as well.
When the Federal Government is involved in trying to help specific groups, these people become dependent on the government and the following will result:
1. It invites in the criminal element. There are those who are undeserving of the handout but have found ways to milk the system. They end up corrupting themselves and the government.
2. It creates bad habits. It creates bad habits of idleness, laziness, slothfulness, greed and etc. These bad habits are passed on. Welfare doesn't stop with the parents but continues on through generation after generation.
3. It destroys initiative. It makes individuals dependent on government hand-outs when they could have developed their own skills to provide for themselves.
4. It deprives people of their good character. People may feel less of themselves knowing others are supporting them when they should be supporting themselves. Their self-worth is diminished. In my growing up days people were reluctant to accept welfare. They did everything they could to avoid it. Today it is a different story. My Mother raised six children alone without welfare. She refused it. She worked as a cook to provide for her family and we were well taken care of.
5. It can create problems associated with laziness and boredom. The crime rate goes up because an idle mind is the devil’s work shop and many will find themselves engaged in activities that invite crime.
6. It destroys the economy. It puts a burden on the rest of the people who have to pay for all the welfare. There is not such a thing as a free lunch, someone always has to pay sooner or later.
As you can see, specific welfare does more harm than good. Call your Representative and tell them it is time to stamp out welfare before it stamps out society and it will when those who take outnumber those who give.
Linda N. Hackett
To learn more about the United States Constitution purchase our book: The United States Constitution in a Nutshell.