The Instigator
wjmelements
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
bfitz1307
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points

The United States has constitutional authority to assist the less-fortunate.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
bfitz1307
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/5/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,740 times Debate No: 5280
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (11)
Votes (6)

 

wjmelements

Con

There are many constitutional bonds restricting the federal government from helping the poor. There is no power to create such programs even barely mentioned in the constitution. The neccessary and proper clausesays that Congress has the right "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." Welfare is not neccessary to carry out these foregoing powers, which do not even relate to welfare.

None of the other powers in the constitution allow for such use of the people's money. When the constitution was written, the poor were helped through the church, which ran off of voluntary donations. The seperation of church and state clause means that the government has no right to interfere in what constitutionally is left in the hands of the church.

The general welfare clause in the constitution is irreleva
bfitz1307

Pro

1. "There are many constitutional bonds restricting the federal government from helping the poor."

Please name one that specifically restricts helping the poor.

2. The constitution specifically says "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."

Now this clause does not specifically say that the welfare system we have today should be created, but it does give congress the power to create legislation to provide for the general welfare of the people of the United States. The constitution cannot be expected to specifically mention every situation encountered by the US for the next few hundred years so interpretation is necessary, and obviously the courts have upheld that this system is constitutional. You may not agree with it, but it's not unconstitutional.
Debate Round No. 1
wjmelements

Con

1.Because the constitution does not give the goverment the power to create welfare, the government doesn't have that power. The definition of welfare is different now than it was when the constitution was written. It meant prosperity and well-being when the constitution was written. Though the word has evolved into that, the old definition was meant.
2.You are correct that the constitution shouldn't be expected to predict possible situtations hudreds of years into the future, but it did prepare for such situations. The constitution has not been ammended to fit this duty, and congress does not have the the specific power to do so. As stated in the tenth ammendment, this power is then given to the individual states. Also, the courts do not have constitutional authority to ammend the constitution through their opinions. Despite what previous courts have said, this debate is about interpreting the constitution. I do not consider precedent as decent proof, only the proof of the precedent.
bfitz1307

Pro

1. We are all going to have to assume that you have retreated from your previous statement regarding the "...many constitutional bonds restricting the federal government from helping the poor." Since I challenged you to name one that specifically did that and you failed to do so.

2. The constitution says specifically that the government can collect duties and taxes to provide for "the common defence and welfare of the United States." This term "general welfare" leaves room for interpretation, and since 1937 apparently no court has felt that it is unconstitutional. Since 1937 the court has alternately been both liberal, and conservative and has been upheld since its inception. You may disagree with that interpretation, but ultimately it is the interpretation of the court that matters. Also the courts have not ammended the constitution through their opinion. All they have done in this case is interpreted a specific clause in the constitution.
Debate Round No. 2
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wjmelements 9 years ago
wjmelements
I understand we don't like comment debates.

The fact is, there will always be poor people.
And voluntary organisations tend to be more efficient than mandated ones.
And the more income that people get to keep, the less of it they need andthe more they can give to these organizations.
So, we can't go halfway.

It either has to be some massive welfare system or no government welfare system. Otherwise, there is no hope for the poor.

And what we tend to value and like about America is libetrty and choice, so I prefer it is done in the private sector voluntarily.

I don't want an extended debate through the comments, please.
Posted by JBlake 9 years ago
JBlake
Wjm...

Educating and teaching them is, of course, a better long term solution. But as I mentioned, this would cost more in taxes. Those that already complain about paying for welfare would also complain about this type of program as well (if not moreso). You point out that church does this. I point out that it does this *sometimes*. Obvously their efforts are insufficient because the problem persists.

Africa is actually an awful example on your part. If you haven't noticed, their political institutions are extremely unstable and there are often rebellions and coup attempts. You are correct in pointing out that they survive, but this is because they oftentimes take their survival into their own hands through violent means.

I didn't mean to provoke a new debate (I would accept a debate on this subject from you if you would like to continue). I meant to provide you feedback because you asked.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
"The charities can do the welfare better than the government can."

I am unaware of any faith-based charity that provides rent and utilities control, subsidizes food, and provides a monthly check for poor, single mothers of multiple children. Oh, wait - they don't have the authority to do all of those things. Also, did it ever occur to you that churches and the private sector can provide the help they do *because* government help already exists? The small charites and churches simply cannot handle the amount of needed. Differently, the church has existed since what might as well be the beginning of history. Government welfare is a relatively new concept. Now tell me honestly, who have treated the poor better and actually improved their lives -- the church at its strongest, which I would put in the late dark ages to Early Renaissance Era, or the government? Regardless of your opinion of the concept of welfare, this isn't even a choice at all.
Posted by wjmelements 9 years ago
wjmelements
But educating them or teaching them a trade solves the problem of them not getting paid much. Instead of constantly feeding them with fish, we can teach them to fish. And it doesn't take a government handout to do that. Everyday people can do that. That's what the church is. The charities can do the welfare better than the government can. End Hunger Now isn't a government program. Many local food pantryies can identify with people better than the federal government.

And people in Africa are usually porrer than what we conisder to be poor in our country, and they still seem to survive. And it isn't the federal government helping them. It is the private sector and churches.

The poorest in our country are unemployed, and giving them money just because they are unemployed doens't solve the problem, it doesn't give them a job, and it doesn't put them in the middle class.
Posted by JBlake 9 years ago
JBlake
I would prefer not to rely on the Church. I don't particularly trust their track record.

It is, in fact, better for the well being of the populace for a few reasons. People are much more likely to be violent when they are hungry enough. If their numbers are high enough it becomes called a revolution. Leaving them on their own hurts society more than providing enough for their basic survival.

Educating or teaching a trade to them would cost more in both the long and short run, and since I'm assuming you are against welfare because of its cost...
Posted by wjmelements 9 years ago
wjmelements
From another point of view, welfare doesn't lower the amount of poor people. It just helps them inadequately. Welfare does not educate the poor, or teach them any trade, so it does not improve their well-being. And crime rate is not neccessarily lower either. It is still the job of the Church to help the poor and it has always done a better job. When the poor people think that they can rely on the government, but they have to be poor to get that help, they become dependent on the government and dependent on being poor.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
Voted PRO

1. For reasons mentioned below
2. Ever heard of corporate welfare? I would say that's a pretty relevant issue concerning welfare, and it has nothing to do with the poor.
Posted by JBlake 9 years ago
JBlake
You can also term welfare as improving the general well-being of the people. This can be seen both as the well being of the poor, or as the well being of society in general. Less poor people equals less crime. For this and other reasons, one could easily view welfare as being an improvement to the general well being of the people.
Posted by wjmelements 9 years ago
wjmelements
Jblake,

It is important not only to note that that is in the preamble, which does not assign that power to congress or any particular branch, but also thatthe definition of welfare has changed over the hundreds of years. It meant when the constitution was written that the government was created to improve the general well-being of the people. Now, welfare is defined as the helping of the poor.

If everytime the definition of a word changed, the interpretation of the constitution changed, there would be unlimited government.
Posted by JBlake 9 years ago
JBlake
"and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States"

It is for supplying this portion of the statement that I voted Pro. A welfare program, or anything else helping the poor, could easily be interpreted to fit into this clause. Also, the constitution was meant to be flexible, this was the intention. I can provide ample evidence if it is desired.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by wjmelements 9 years ago
wjmelements
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