One has to wonder what the word "Welfare" means in the context of the United States Constitution. It is mentioned a couple of times. It does not mean food stamps and unemployment checks I am sure. With one out of every six Americans on food stamps it might be something to look at. The Preamble to the Constitution states as follows.
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.
Based on the Preamble, providing for the general Welfare is one reason the Constitution was created. It certainly must not have been Welfare in the sense it is understood in this day and age. Welfare in this day and age is almost a curse word. When people talk about Welfare they are talking about something low down and almost sinister and certainly not something our Constitution should be concerned with. Yet when you read the writings of Paine, Franklin and Jefferson it is clear they felt society had a duty to care for its own. Of course they lived in an era when everyone was expected to pull his own weight.
When I think of Welfare in the framework of my family it means providing shelter, education. clothing, food, safety, healthcare and any other of the necessities of life. It is a duty of a parent to provide for his family and those who fail to do so are looked down on. Is a nation any less responsible to its citizens. Why did the Founding Father's even mention Welfare if that is not what they meant. I have come to my own conclusions from what I have read of the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8 lays out the duties of Congress. The parts prior to Section 8 basically lay out who is to do what and how they will be appointed to the positions in Government. So what are the duties of Congress.
Section 8 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
Reading and applying what the Constitution says should be pretty simple. It says what it means and means what it says. The Congress is to handle the financial obligations, provide for the Defense and General Welfare of the United States. Notice they are all in the same sentence so they all have equal importance and obligation under the Constitution.
Based on that simple understanding Congress has failed the country and not done their job. They have definitely not managed the finances in a responsible manner. They have abdicated their duty to provide for the defense of the United States by allowing the Presidents to commit America's military. Finally they have also failed to provide for the General Welfare. If you read all the duties in Section 8 it is a Congressional duty to provide for the infrastructure and its upkeep.
The job problems we have today are because of the failure of Congress to perform its duties. If they were taking care of the "Infrastructure as they are supposed to, it would create jobs. Contrary to Mitt Romney's claim that government does not create jobs. He is full of nice warm fertilizer. The government creates thousands upon thousands of jobs. They are not directly created, but come from government duties and mandates. The military and the contractors that are jobs created by the government. The interstate and highway systems in America were created and funded by government mandate. So was the internet system that so many business participate in and which has created so many billionaires. No they are not government jobs, but they were created by government decree.
The poor in America today and the welfare programs are not the problem with America. The failure of Congress to do what it is suppose to do is the problem. Those who are suppose to be in positions of leadership in America have no clue what the Constitution says. They are to busy lining their pockets and trying to make sure they keep their jobs to worry about the citizens.
As for Ryan, and please note I am a Ryan also, is a nutcase from the same state as Joe McCarthy and makes about as much sense. The Republican attitude of stripping the poor of their benefits and ending social security as we know it are asinine. He says he wants to save his "Mother's" benefits as they are, but he wants to strip the next generation. My kids already accept that there will be nothing left for them unless things change and change drastically.
Do not think that I am for Obama just because I am not for Romney and Ryan. We have not had a true choice of a person to vote for since Reagan left office. The last several elections have been about choosing the lesser of two evils. The Democrats have never seen a program they did not want to adopt. They spend every cent they can get their hands on. Yet they at least appropriate the money to pay for the programs they create. The Republicans start wars and spend money like drunken sailors, but they then cut taxes and try to put the cost of their stupidity on the backs of the poor.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, over and over and expecting to get a different outcome. The Democrats do something and then the Republicans want to undo what the Democrats did. They do not want to create a better system. However, stupidity is not limited to the Republicans. The Obama administration says it is all for renewable energy and making it grow and creating American energy independence. Yet they have created tariffs and duties to keep China out of the American solar markets. Their efforts have almost put companies they showed off as examples of American enterprise out of business.
They supposedly want a level playing field, yet they are stacking the deck in favor of American companies. That is not a level playing field. Two of the largest companies in the world thrive on beating the competition through lower prices. Wal-Mart and McDonald's are both expanding while the world markets are on the verge of crashing. Maybe Congress needs to go to these companies and take some lessons. When politicians stack the deck in favor of American companies they are making American consumers pay the price for American businesses inability to compete.
America can compete on world markets. That can be proven by looking at all the foreign car manufacturers that have moved their plants to the U.S.A. Sure they did it to avoid tariffs and taxes, but they use American labor. There is nothing wrong with American labor. The problem is with American management and American government. Having run my own business I know that the government regulations are a burden that many small businesses do not have the means to cope with. Regulations create hardships that cost more than many businesses can charge and still be competitive.
The only thing I hear either party saying that is right, and that is not from the ones still standing, is that we need to reform the tax code and make a level playing field. No business should get a tax break or a subsidy. If they can not compete with the world markets they need to go out of business and start something that can compete in the world markets. Innovation and creativity are the hallmarks of America. We have always rose to the challenge and if the government would get out of the way or lead by creating infrastructure jobs we can be leaders again.
At the start of the Great Depression the National Debt was only 38% of the GDP. Yet America failed to stay in business. It was a cycle that had reached its peak and we are in the middle of another cycle. Yet at the end of World War II the national debt had risen to 122% of the GDP. The economy did not collapse when the World War ended. It took off. All the damaged infrastructure overseas needed rebuilt and the only ones who were still in a position to supply the materials to rebuild was America. That carried us clear up into the seventies. Then the balances started to shift. The key to surviving and bringing America back is restructuring and rebuilding American industry and infrastructure to compete in the 21st century.
The solution is not starting wars. Which seems to be the mindset in this day and age. The wars today do not cause enough destruction to justify the cost. That may sound crude but it is the truth. As I said earlier foreign car manufacturers have moved their plants here to get a piece of our market. It is their financial war strategy. The shooting war may be over but they are still trying to destroy us. Many American businesses have moved manufacturing out of the country trying to increase their profits. They have unwittingly or intentionally joined the enemy. My last few years in trucking I hauled many factories to the Mexican border and the plants were taken into Mexico. The irony was that just before I retired many of the same factories were coming back north because they could not get the quality of labor they needed to run the equipment or manage their plants to be competitive.
It is my opinion that the renewable energy industries offer great opportunities to compete in world markets. Just take a trip to You Tube and look at renewable energy projects, fish farms and gardening. Americans are moving toward self sustaining industries that may not get them rich but will enable them to survive. Anytime the economy creates hardship it creates bartering and off the grid enterprises that sustain those who can not make it in the regular markets. After awhile it becomes a lifestyle. In my estimation that is a part of where the several hundred thousand people have gone that dropped out of the job market. Thanks to America's experience in the Great Depression many people have learned to take care of themselves. That is why the recession does not feel as bad as it sounds.
Many people are paying off their debt and accumulating no knew debt. They have awakened to the fact that if you have no debt, you do not need as much to get by. They no longer want to be bled by the system. They no longer want to support those who are bleeding the system and it is slowly creating a very divided and different America. The sad or good part, depending on how you look at it, is that the politicians and leaders do not have a clue as to what is going on.
They do not understand that economic slowdowns do not start from the top down. They start from the bottom up. Those who have the least learn to adapt and get by on what little they have. They suddenly quit spending and buying in the markets. Why not trade or barter for a second hand item instead of spending what little you have. As long as both parties are happy. When the lower end consumers quit consuming things start slowing down. It is a fact of life.
The one truth in the whole political and economic picture that is a fact is that without jobs there will be no recovery. So the government better start making it attractive to start a business and hire a person. They better start giving incentives and tax breaks. Not to big business, but to the little businesses that create the majority of the jobs in America and that make the wheels of commerce spin. If they do not take some kind of action America is headed for the recycle bin.
The average American will learn how to survive and provide for his own and his families welfare. It is an American tradition. The failure of the government to provide for the Welfare of the nation will determine whether we stand or fall as a nation. The only solution I see that may save the day is a Constitutionally based third party or it may turn into a nation of anarchy. That is a scary thought but we may find out which way it is going by the time America gets to the edge of the financial abyss in January or February of next year.
If you would like to see a way jobs could be created and a possible worst case scenario you might read my blog of 4/25/2012 America Under A Threat Worse Than Katrina. It is not meant to be scary. It is meant to show how preparing can save lives and help the economy at the same time.