To Promote the Common Welfare

Old fogies like me enjoy reminiscing- probably because we’ve lived more days than we have left. I’ve lots of fond memories stored in my cranial neurons, but I’ll spare the readers the trivia, although I cannot say the same for my grandchildren who, at least while in earshot, do not often complain of my trips down memory lane.

Who remembers why the United States of America was founded? Ah, yes, that memory. Fourth grade? Earlier for the bluebird reading group. Some years after that document was presented to the king, we, the People, figured out what we were going to do with our newly formed nation.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Yes, that idea. Fifty-two words.

Remember when the phrase, promote the general Welfare,  was a guiding principle of those charged with the governance of our nation? Clearly, we all know that both providing for the common defense and the establishment of Justice have been key elements in sustaining our nation as they continue to do so today.

Yet, the promotion of the general Welfare has not fared as well. The current rise of ‘rugged’ individualism has fenced-in that ideal, ostensibly strangling and choking the life out of it. The use of the word, rugged, was, of course, in jest.  Remember a few years ago when those dressed-up clowns masquerading as historic Bostonians demonstrated and showed that perhaps they were the antithesis of rugged individualism? It was at best a B-Movie and, at worst, disgusting. Taxed enough already! Pathetic pap sopped up like dry bread in a bowl of pig gravy.

Remember when Republican president Theodore Roosevelt, the self-proclaimed  “steward of the people,”  reduced the control of “big business” over the U.S. economy and workers? To promote the common Welfare. Remember when this Republican president signed the Meat Inspection and the Pure Food and Drug Acts in 1906- the laws requiring the government to inspect meat and protect consumers from food and drugs that might be dangerous? To promote the common Welfare. Remember when this Republican worked doggedly for the preservation of our natural resources-  over 125 million acres in national forests were set aside under public protection. TR also established the first national wildlife refuge. To promote the common Welfare. A Republican president, mind you.

Remember when Republican president Dwight Eisenhower proposed to Congress the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 – laws he signed into effect? To promote the common Welfare. Remember when this Republican president, in his first State of the Union message in February 1953, said that he was going to ‘end segregation in the District of Columbia, including the Federal Government, and any segregation in the Armed Forces.’ To promote the common Welfare. Remember when this Republican championed and signed the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956? To promote the common Welfare. Remember when he appointed liberal Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren to the high court?

Who can remember when Republican president Richard Nixon signed into law The National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972? To promote the common Welfare.  The same year, the Republican president established the Consumer Product Safety Commission; he also supported the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To promote the common Welfare. This Republican president also Nixon proposed a health care plan which would provide insurance for low-income families and require that all employees be provided with health care. To promote the common Welfare.

None of these three Republican presidents would fare well in 2012. They would be castigated and scorned as socialists by those currently holding power in the GOP. Each of these Republican presidents expanded the role of the Federal government- to promote the general Welfare. In 2012, that is taboo in GOP circles. Today’s Republicans want ‘to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,’ as the pompous Grover Norquist once quipped.

Rugged individualism? Anarchy? Idiocy?  Take your pick.

Do run-of-the-mill Republicans remember when there were Republican presidents who actually believed in that line in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution? Who actually fought for The People- We, the People?

Or has narcissism seriously infected the once-Grand Old Party? Is it now all about the individual and to hell with The People?

I think so. Sadly, I do remember when…


31 thoughts on “To Promote the Common Welfare

  1. It is not even about the rugged individual. It is about their silly self-image and fantasy of themselves as rugged individuals.

    These are crabby flabby old white guys who are mad at the world, and who want their dominance back (real and imagined). They have a hero fantasy relationship with their guns, and they think they are tough when they are not, and they think they are self-reliant when they are not.

    They spend way way way too much time on their butts in a recliner in front of the television, watching Faux news, failing to recognize that their glory days, back when they were still not as tough or self-reliant as they want to remember it, are long gone.

    It is why every time I do a post identifying the pro-gun typical NRA demographic as old white flabby and crabby they get mad — the truth hurts.

    Stings like the dickens, which is what makes it so much fun to tell it.

    They all think they are military and economic Rambos, when in fact they are less than pleasant Dumbo-s in the sense of being elephant like in form, and Dumb.

  2. Hello Muddy,
    As the youth say today, you “NAILED IT!!!!” Good writing that all should read and take note. NO thinking person would ever sign onto the Teabaggers rhetoric compared to this posting. Of course key word here is THINKING.

  3. gawd, M_R, did I really inspire you for this post?…Well, you know,
    you have to watch out for “the ____kid.” LOL!

  4. I like this blog and the blogs of many of the commenters here. I just wish The Blade would just once in a while print some of your postings in the guest editorial column. So many people could use the history lessons included in your posts. At the very least, they might actually understand what they’re voting on.

    (Off topic and kind of mean: Ole Sepp posted a piece about the defeat of a child labor protection law, including all the associated falsehoods. I just pictured his grandkids or even TGP’s kids working under those uncontrolled conditions.)

    1. Sounds as if Ole Septic is still stepping on his tail dragging between his legs, and can’t get out of his own way. I guess he’s too ashamed to show his face here any more. The man was not merely an idiot, but a lying idiot. I regard him with contempt.

  5. The quote I gave from TR not only inspired you, M_R, but his
    quote and your accurate historical analysis in response to it has
    caused me to think again why the warnings and actions of such Presidents as TR, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, and LBJ
    have been and currently are being undermined by Republicans
    and Democrats. However, I have a distinct disadvantage in presenting my thoughts as I can’t post like the others. My computer
    knowledge and wordpress seem to conspire against that endeavor, lol….Therefore, my thoughts will have to be presented in comments to your posts which may or may not concide with the thread of the post. Although an historian, my thoughts are now in the field of
    economics and finance and the influence of political actions on
    the losing of the American Dream that the above Presidents tried to
    enhance and to prevent the large gulf of income inequality that we have today.

    If the above Presidents attempted to make a fair economy as summed up in the shibboleths of their Presidencies, as in the Square Deal, the New Deal, and the Fair Deal, or LBJ’s Great Society, why
    has the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans become so much richer? Even under Obama the top 1% have continued to increase their wealth. Why has the 99% lost 30-40% of our wealth since just 2008 and the wealthy have not?The one percenters children and grandchildren will never be poor, it is those of the 99% who will be poor.

    1. why has the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans become so much richer? The one percenters children and grandchildren will never be poor

      Why? Surely you know, my friend. Let’s start with privilege. Those at the top ‘pal around’ with those at the top and therefore share information and tactics that maintain their privilege. Their children attend the best schools and, at the end of their college years, slide into a job opening/career path forged through the tight-knit elite privileged relationships. Each of the Romney boys and both Obama girls will have no trouble finding good positions in well-run corporations. What doors were opened to us, my friend, when we walked out of our graduation ceremonies?

      The other [but not only] reason is that the ‘system’ is carefully honed [read: rigged] to benefit those who already possess the wealth; thousands of Congressional rules and regulations are already nicely in place on the books to insure their continued prosperity. Each rule or regulation was inserted after a healthy re-election contribution was given to the congressman- the best government you can buy.

      Then there is the effect of propaganda. Down in Mississippi- a deep red state and secure for Romney- you are not aware of the barrage of propaganda we Ohioans receive on TV and radio. Romney has smooth TV spots that lure many uninformed voters to his economic message. I cringe when they are on, knowing that thousands of 99-percenters are mindlessly absorbing the propaganda: ‘you too can get a job if only we give more tax breaks to the corporations and allow less regulation of their industries.’ They believe that trickle-down is manna from heaven instead of yellow ‘rain’ dripping from their chins.

      Finally, there is the ‘christian’ element. Fundamentalists/evangelicals are wide-spread in Ohio and are generally a safe bet for the GOP because they ‘believe’ that the GOP is God’s Own Party. They have the Catholic bishops in Ohio already fighting for the GOP. The right-wing bishop of Toledo is holding a public ‘rally’ June 7 to demonstrate against the Affordable Care Act. Tell me- where does the line between church and state lie? ‘Devout’ Catholics will mindlessly vote for the GOP because [fill in the propaganda lines].

      1. Rally for Religious Freedom
        Friday, June 8 at Noon
        Lucas County Courthouse Lawn
        700 Adams St., Toledo, OH

        I can’t walk that well, but I do have other Roman Catholic friends who can. I think they should attend and hand out leaflets containing information on the United States Constitution, especially the Johnson Amendment.

        I know it sounds lame, but we have to start the education somewhere. Even people overhearing others ripping the truth might actually investigate enough to learn the truth. I still have faith in the American poeple if they are given the truth.

  6. Heard. But, I think that I am coming from a different perspective.
    It seems to me that we have to look for a root cause(s) of the growth
    of income inequality. Privilege has always existed, hasn’t it? TR, FDR, JFK were all one percenters. But, they were not envied. Up
    to about 1970 Americans believed that they or their children had the opportunity to move up the social and economic scale. They would have the big homes on Kenwood Blvd and out West Bancroft or live in Ottowa Hills. That’s now become greatly less possible, and only the one percenters progeny will live there and in other gated commumities. Propaganda and religion have always been present as well, and both sides use them. The Catholic Church has been for national health insurance since the time of TR, but the issue today
    for them is this mandate to provide contraceptive coverage for
    their employees, of which they interpret as a prohibition on them
    to practice their religion freely. I do not find that interpretation in the First Amendment. I think that it is stretching the First Amendment way beyond what the Framers intended.

    In any event, these issues have always been with us from before the Founding and after the Founding, but the growth of income inequality has not. That is a recent development. This is an
    an entirely new issue, which, of course, propaganda and religion can be used to try and cover up that “muck”, as TR called it.
    Finally, we have to recognize that while TR coined the term “muckrakers”, it was a slang or critical epitaph for a grow
    of early 20th century social and economic writers critical of the political system. “Muck” was not the four letter word that he had in mind, lol. Therefore, it just seems to me that there are much deeper reasons for this re-growth of inequality. The above Presidents did
    not believe it was caused by propaganda or religion or privilege.
    These and other reasons attack, or can support, the more fundamental issue(s), which is kept below the surface. This is where my readings are taking me. You have seen it in my comments on group psychology and trust. Whoever thought I would be reading psych books? So, while history is my background, political science
    and psychology and economics are on my front burner. And, perhaps, this is what explains are failure to preserve the future of
    American society.

  7. The GOP is the anti-government Party. This is the story that has
    been put out from Sen. Taft of Ohio to Goldwater to Reagan and
    now to Romney. You know, “get government out of our lives” or
    “General Motors knows what’s best for the country” or “government
    is the problem” and many other slogans. Can any one else contribute some of those?
    However, is it true that the GOP is the anti-government Party?

    1. Many in today’s GOP [as opposed to the party formerly known as the GOP] ‘believe’ that a 21st century republic with +300 million people can operate without a strong Federal system. That belief alone ought to diagnose them as living in an alternate reality and a candidate for a bed in the county home.

      1. To be sure, the GOP has become reactionary compared to the former conservative GOP, and that is a considerable distance.
        However, I’m not sure that I agree that the “former” GOP believed in a strong Federal system. We have to keep a couple of things in mind. First, there is that realignment after 1965 with all of LBJ’s
        civil rights legislation. Second, is the fact that the basis of GOP strength to 1968 was the same as in the time of TR, the northeast.
        In certain circumstances a President like LBJ could call onDirksen and a few others to cast a vote his way, but for the most parft it seems to me an examination of these GOP politicians from TR to Dirksen would be on the side of a weak federal system, and of
        states rights. Your State of Ohio is a good case, as attested to in
        the Bricker Amendment and the Taft-Hartley Act which both hindered the development of national unions and collective bargaining. Under the present GOP it has become an ideology
        and there can be no compromises. We can see this in the recent GOP Senate election in Indiana where the tea party candidate said exactly that, no compromise. The problem is that in the last 30 years it is the Democratic Party that has compromised itself into moving Right. And, the question has become as I suggested above, how has this impacted income inequality…..

  8. Who wrote the following:

    “Wherever there is great property, there
    is great inequality…Civil government is in reality instituted for the
    defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some
    property against those who have none at all.”

    HINT: this is not TR.

    1. Nothing comes to mind, but I’ll take a guess that it was one of the Founding Fathers- perhaps Jefferson.

      The first part of the statement is historically true, PhD not required.
      The second part is equally true, but less obvious.

      How about we add a 3rd line?

      The 21st century U.S. tax structure was created to maintain the economic status quo, effectively cementing the current economic class divisions.

      1. Well, you are in right century for you guess…Actually it was Adam
        Smith in his “Wealth of Nations” book. This is one of the authors that the GOP likes to cite and quote about the founding of the
        capitalist system. To be sure, Smith writes in favor of it. However,
        he does issue warnings, and the above is one. Americans need to know this, and they are not be told the entire story. You know, Paul Harvey’s, “Here is the rest of the story.” This is not what is
        getting out.. Instead, Obama gives the peopple Bain That does not connect. in isolation. It has to be tgied in with Smith, TR, and others.

        I basically disagree with your last statement. You’re close, but no cigar yet, lol….Maybe you would like to think on that and develop tthat a little more fully….

  9. Hello Uptheflag, Muddy, and All,
    What I remember the lesson being from Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” was that the country that does the “Value Add” industrial manufacturing to the “Raw Materials” obtained from other countries is what separates, “Those Who Have, and Those Who Have Not.”

    Just as the Industrial Revolution started in England making them the “Dominate Rich World Power” from such a little island country. All the raw materials that were shipped in, converted into products, and then sold back to the countries where the raw materials originally came from. The country supplying only raw materials are referred to as “Third World Status” stratification.

    I recently learned that most of the Stripped Mined Coal in the southern part of West Virginia is being loaded up on railroad coal trains, sent to Mid-Atlantic sea ports, loaded onto ships and sent to China. The U.S. has become a “Third World Status” country to the “Value Added Industry” of China.

    Much of the logging today in the North West of the country is cutting down Old Growth Forest, loading up the raw logs on Manufacturing Ships belonging to Japan and China. When the ships dock in their respective countries, finish products are unloaded in the sea ports with the saw dust just dumped into the ocean along the way. Once again our country is the “Third World Status” country to the “Value Added Industries” of China and Japan.

    Many of the Off Shore drilled wells in the Gulf, have foreign tanker ships, like from Japan, being loaded up directly from the wells and returned to Japan. No value added aspects at all. Just “Raw Material” being shipped. Once again “Third World Status” aspects. So much for the mindless screeching from Sarah Palin, “Drill Baby Drill!” Her chant should be, “Third World Status”, “Third World Status”, “Third World Status!” “WE’RE #3!”, “WE’RE #3!”, “WE’RE #3!”

    This is where the U.S.’s stratification station in the world is rapidly moving towards.

  10. Engineer, I have to disagree with your statement that the United States is”“Third World Status” country to the “Value Added Industries” of China and Japan.”

    We are the Saudi Arabia of Coal in the world. But, it is going no
    where in the United States as it is one of the worst polluters. Therefore, the industry is doing the natural economic benefit of exporting it to other countries. I believe that there are those nasty U.S. regulations on the timber and lumber industry, plus the glut
    of new houses. There is not the demand in the U.S., so therefore it
    becomes an export commodity. Oil is finite the world over.

    Another natural resource is United States Agriculture. Our exports are huge in food commodities. England had to import vast amount of naturl resources as it is a small island country. The United States is huge in comparison, and our natural resources are abundant. We sell them to the rest of the world, which is capitalism at work.
    Finally, Engineer, the United States because of its resources, of its
    entrepreneurial acumen, productivity, and financial capital still
    leads the world in manufacturing and that is exported to the rest of the world. The way that I look at it, Engineer, is that we need to
    do more of it

      1. The same that most liberals would have been screaming at President Goeorge Bush from their roof tops and street corner demonstrations of using drones to kill innocent civilians and United States citizens without a trial. Liberals have been giving
        President Obama a pass on Afghanistan, his increasing war
        poweers, and his violations of American civil liberties.

        The New York Times last week reported on how the President
        personally chooses who is to live or die. He sits once weekly in the security room at the WH and goes over a list of names the Pentagon provides as possible human targets to murder. One individual was a 16 year old U.S. citizen from, I believe, Maryland.
        His father was also a citizen and was taken out by a hit from a drone in Yemen. While the father had apparently broken U.S.
        law, the son had not, although the son was using his First Amendment rights to publish propaganda against the United States. What Obama has apparently decided, and his decision
        was made in early 2009, was to greatly increase the use of
        drones for the war on terror. According to reports, he decided that
        it was best to have a dead terrorist than a captured terrorist, no
        trial needed. Very disturbing facts, my friends.

      2. The charges? Surely, you jest, M_R. How about murdering people in their beds? How about assassination without legal justification, which, my friend, many legalists say is an
        impreachable offense. The NYT broke this story last week, AND
        with the approval of the WH, as it is a top secret program. (This brings up another question, M_R, in that why would the WH
        release this information to the NYT. Think about that one!)

        The following is a qute from “The Guardian:

        “The sheer scope and breadth of Obama’s national security policy has stunned even fervent Bush supporters and members of the Washington DC establishment. In last week’s New York Times article that detailed the “kill list”, Bush’s last CIA director, Michael Hayden, said Obama should open the process to more public scrutiny. “Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a [Department of Justice] safe,” he told the newspaper.”

        Every Tuesday Obama personally with no court approval and in secrecy who will die in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. Moreover, he alone decides if family members should die or non combatants in these drone strikes.

        Strange ethics, isn’t it? So much for our Nobel Peace President!

        Assassination by remote control is unmentionable by liberals, the NYT is being roundly criticized for releasing the story by the liberal intellegentsia, but liberals didn’t hold back from attacking George Bush for his war tactics.

        We voted for a President to end programs as this. He promised us
        “change”, but what we have received is just more of the same but on an even worse scale. We have a President every Tuesday sitting in the Situation Room of the WH alone, making decisions on who to murder next. We now have a drone warrior President. Where is the liberal/progressive outcry?

        1. Aren’t applying historic rules of war to today’s terrorist threats the same thing as living by literal translations of the Bible? I don’t like some of the things we do today, I didn’t make it that way, I don’t want it that way, I try to change things, but for now we are compelled to live that way*.

          * After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, we used conventional prosecution. Only problem was that’s what they wanted and we got 9-11 because of what they learned.

          1. I can’t believe that you say that. Waging war was not the thrust of my comment. The thrust was of a U.S. President sitting alone making a decision on who and how many to kill. I understand that
            you have Obama in your hip pocket, but certainly you haven’t
            put your ethics and scruples in that same pocket with him. What did we say when Nixon attacked Cambodia and Laos during the
            VietNam War? Yet, the Left raises no hue and cry against this Democratic Pr3esident when he attacks Pakistan and Yemen.who attacks countries with no declaration of war.

            Now, how about answering the NYT criticism of Obama’s actions,
            instead of giving an answer defending the use of drone’s, which
            sounds to me as a red herring trying to deflate the charge. Sounds like a position that a neo-conservative would take. Talk about the country moving Right, your response seems to add credence to it.

  11. These goddamned deregulation-happy, tax cuts for the rich and to hell with everybody else Teapublicans will be the ruination of the country!

  12. I understand your comment, Jack, but the problem is that it’s just not the “Teapublicans” who are guilty. We have been betrayed by both the right and the left….

    1. I’m with Jack, UptheFlag. While there is politics on both sides, that waged by the far-right is much more destructive of ‘the common Welfare’ than anything the left has done.

      1. Now, M_R, please don’t put me in the reactionary Right camp. You know I’m not there…However, I do think that some balance is needed. FDR did a lot of good things, but he didn’t attack the German concentration camps at all during the war and he falsely
        imprisoned native born and naturalized U. S. Japanese during the war. The lost their homes, jproperty and businesses, only because
        they were Japanese. If we are to get anywhere, my friends, we have
        to be objective and call it as it is. Bill Clinton betrayed FDR and the New Deal. Your non-facts, M_R and Jack just don’t stand up to historical analysis……

  13. M_R wrote, ” To promote the common Welfare.”

    With a slight of hand and a nod of the head, the wording of the PREAMBLE is changed from “general welfare” to “common
    welfare.” Nice try, M_R, but we caught you, lol!

    First, we need to understand that what you were quoting from
    is the preamble to the Constitutiojn. It’s the Preamble”, and it’s
    just that. It is NOT the Ckonstitution. It has no force of
    constitutional law. There is no law in the Constitution saying that
    it will enforce a general welfare law. It’s the PREAMBLE, nothing but. It is superfulous to the Document itself. Moreover, there is a vast diference in the world “general” as the Founders used and
    the substitution of “common”. They chose “general” very pointedly and decisively. I know that you have Posted and Commented
    often on your belief that we need a new Constitution, but this is the
    one we have and so we have to remain within its bounds, not
    unilaterally muddying up the situation with a bogus term change
    from “general welfare” to “common welfare.”

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