The General Welfare Clause and the Public Trust: An Essay in Original Understanding
56 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2012
Date Written: 2003
This paper examines the original understanding behind the U.S. Constitution's controversial "General Welfare Clause." Based on Founding-Era word usage, public representations by advocates of the Constitution, and other historical evidence, the paper concludes that the General Welfare Clause is a limitation on the taxing power. The position of the modern Supreme Court --- that the Clause authorizes spending for the general welfare --- is based on insufficient research and an anachronistic understanding of language.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation