Quantcast

Comments about ‘Letters: I will take Alexander Hamilton's views over Mike Lee's’

Return to article »

Published: Sunday, Sept. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "When it comes to the Founders' intent, I will take Alexander Hamilton's views over Mike Lee's."

No doubt.

But, of course, Hamilton was a radical outlier, one who unapologetically urged an American monarchy, and nearly unlimited monarchical power, to the end of his life.

Hamilton's view is, though, entirely consistent with modern American liberal dogma -- anointing a liberal president as monarch-for-life, with dictatorial power to impose socialism on America, even in cases in which the large majority of Americans oppose, as in Obamacare, such imposition.

We've come to expect nothing less from liberals, but real Americans favor Mr. Lee's approach -- actually listening to the voice of the people.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Excellent letter. The general welfare clause has always proved a stumbling block to those (e.g. Mike Richards, J. Thompson et al) who argue that this or that exercise of congressional power is not within the enumerated powers and therefore not constitutional. I have a question for you: If Art. I, section 8 absolutely limits congressional power to only those specific things enumerated, then why did the founders find it necesssary or appropriate to include Art. I, section 9, which specifically denies certain powers to Congress? Wouldn't that be an exercise in redundancy?

Winglish
Lehi, UT

I really liked your rationale and alternate perspective. Thank you for writing a well-reasoned letter. I also prefer Alexander Hamilton's Constitutional interpretation to Mike Lee's version.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

For the record --

Mike Lee can have all the opinion he wants.

BUT

His trampling of the Constitution by use of extortion [defunded and shutting down the Federal Government] against a law already passed by the House, and the Senate, and signed by the President and upheld the Supreme Court is a mockery of not only our Democratic process, but a mockery of the very Constitution itself.

let alone his mis-understanding the General Welfare" clause.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Great Letter.

Alexander Hamilton was a patriot.
Mike Lee is acting like a cartoonish caricature of a patriot.

watchman
Salt Lake City, UT

Good letter, Breck, but my problem with it is that your rationale of Hamilton's comments would support almost anything that congress deems to be 'general welfare' to be fair game for the federal government to become involved in. This shoots a big hole in the idea that one of the main purposes of the Constitution was to maintain a limitation on federal powers.

This is similar to how some interpret the feds involvement under the commerce clause to be so broad.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

The specific powers and duties of the U.S. Congress are enumerated in several places in the Constitution. The most important listing of these powers is in Article I, Section 8. The last paragraph grants to Congress the flexibility to create laws or otherwise to act where the Constitution does not give it the explicit authority to act. This clause is known as the Necessary and Proper Clause.

The Necessary and Proper Clause allows Congress "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the [enumerated] Powers, and all other Powers. It is also sometimes called the "elastic clause." It grants Congress the powers that are implied in the Constitution, but that are not explicitly stated. The powers derived from the Necessary and Proper Clause are referred to as implied powers.

The correct way to interpret the Clause was the subject of a debate between Hamilton and Jefferson. Hamilton argued for an expansive interpretation of the clause. Jefferson was concerned about vesting too much power in any one branch of government. He argued that "necessary" was a restrictive adjective. Jefferson's interpretation would have strengthened States' Rights. Washington and Madison favored Hamilton's more flexible interpretation.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

What gets considered as an 'enumerated power' is fairly subjective. There's nothing in the constitution about porn or casinos.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

It's very sobering to realize the very same clash of viewpoints about the role of government was prevalent among our Founding Fathers as we see today. In effect, the Founders are telling us we need to work it out ourselves.

Anyone who claims to speak authoritatively about the intent of the Founders is probably cherry-picking historic views to support their opinion today. This is very common, but ultimately it's disingenuous.

The Founders amply demonstrated the way to govern: compromise. If these great Americans were unable to compromise, there would be no America today. They compromised on slavery, they compromised on states rights, they compromised on many things, otherwise the USA would never exist.

We need to follow their example, but many seem unable to realize this.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Excellent letter! And Hamilton's comments clearly show that 'limiting federal powers' was NOT one of the Founders' intentions. The doctrine is separation of powers. Which suggests broad powers to be separated.

one old man
Ogden, UT

An absolutely excellent letter. It's refreshing to see some well thought writing once in awhile.

And thanks to DN for apparently allowing this writer to exceed your normal word limit in letters. Apparently your opinion editors recognized the value of this one.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "We need to follow their [compromise] example, but many seem unable to realize this."

Yeah, we call them Democrats. Their "my way or the highway" approach to their lame-duck Obamacare scam will shut down the government, maybe America.

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

I am having a hard time seeing how causing employers to reduce their full-time employees to part-time hours, taxing/fining companies and individuals for failing to buy a commercial product, turning our medical records over to the IRS and systematically plotting to destroy privately owned health insurance companies fits into General Welfare.

ACA/Obamacare as passed was never the will of the majority. It was passed using sophistry and chicanery theretofore unseen in the congress. As the facts have been exposed to the public there is an outcry to stop this disaster before it fully unfolds. Rewriting the law a little at a time will take years, and probably won't produce any better result than the Internal Revenue code. Stopping funding now and repealing the law later is the best hope for the US economy and the General Welfare of the population.

Lee, Cruz and the other true conservatives are doing the right thing.

bill in af
American Fork, UT

Excellent letter. I have taught the concepts of the Constitution for over 30 years and find it incredible that Mike Lee ,who claims to know the Constitution, can be so narrow in his understanding of what Congress can and cannot do. I give him a vote of no confidence. It is time for him to stop listening to the tea party and listen to his Utah constituents. Obama Care has been decided. Stop holding the nation hostage over this and start doing something constructive.

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

@LDS Liberal:
"His trampling of the Constitution by use of extortion [defunded and shutting down the Federal Government] against a law already passed by the House, and the Senate, and signed by the President..."

It's not Lee that's defunding/shutting down the government. You'll notice the Constitution assigns all money bills to originate in the House. And the House funded all of the government... except Obamacare... which the House apparently judged we could do without, since we are in the hole to the tune of $17 trillion national debt. That is hardly shutting down the government.

And, if the object of Obamacare is to reduce the nation's healthcare costs, why does it need any funding in the first place?

"... and upheld the Supreme Court, is a mockery of not only our Democratic process, but a mockery of the very Constitution itself.

The Supreme Court did not hold that Obamacare falls under Article 1.8. In fact, the Court said it didn't. What the court did was merely hold that a penalty for not getting health insurance can be collected as a tax under the Congressional taxing authority.

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

@bill in af 3:03 p.m. Sept. 29, 2013

Excellent comment. You are very, very right. Lee claims to understand the Constitution, but proves every time he turns around that he doesn't understand what it says, doesn't understand what it means or understand how it works.

----------------------

@procuradorfiscal 11:35 a.m. Sept. 29, 2013

Actually we call the obstructionists the far right authoritarian wing of the Republican party. Their "my way or the highway", scam approach to their lame opposition to the Affordable Care Act will shut down the government, maybe America.

---------------------

@No One Of Consequence 1:16 p.m. Sept. 29, 2013

In truth, Lee, Cruz and the other obstructionists are not true conservatives. They are far right extremist fringe-dwellers who are NOT doing the right thing for the country and its citizens. If they don't like what the affordable Care Cast is doing, they should propose an alternative method of providing universal health care which is structured the way they deem appropriate. Instead, they are trying to destroy instead of build. Sad.

Mr. Bean
Phoenix, AZ

@Curmudgeon:
"If Art. I, section 8 absolutely limits congressional power to only those specific things enumerated, then why did the founders find it necesssary or appropriate to include Art. I, section 9, which specifically denies certain powers to Congress? Wouldn't that be an exercise in redundancy?"

Good point... and would the author please enumerate the powers not granted to the federal government but to the states and to the people (Amendment X)?

@watchman:
"... but my problem with it is that your rationale of Hamilton's comments would support almost anything that congress deems to be 'general welfare' to be fair game for the federal government to become involved in."

Let's see if we can list a few...

- Make possessing and consuming alcoholic beverages illegal (wait, we did that but it later got repealed).
- Make manufacturing of fatty, sugary foods illegal.
- Make eating them illegal, as well.
- Make consuming of 32/64 ounce soda drinks illegal (seems like that was recently tried).
- Make consuming of hard drugs such as cocaine and marijuana illegal (wait, they now are... but we're working on getting that changed).
- Require everyone to exercise for one hour per day.

Spoc
Ogden, UT

James Madison, author of the constitution and the bill of rights:

"With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, every thing, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare."

Phred
Ogden, UT

Senator Lee did not invent the concept of enumerated powers nor did he write the 10th amendment that limits the authority of Congress to the powers listed in the 8th.

James Madison did, as a protection against the unlimited powers of the monarchy they had just overthrown. He recognized that there were a certain number of necessary functions of government that could not be performed by individual states and would require the coordinated efforts of the states at a federal level. These enumerated powers were the tools the Federal government was to use to promote the welfare of the country as a whole. Anything else was reserved to the more local levels of government where individual citizens would be able to control the excesses of power that are so pervasive at all levels of government.

Hamilton of course disagreed as he was a monarchist and probably today would be derided as a fat-cat banker. Hamilton and Madison wrote a series of articles collectively called the Federalist Papers that expound on those two views of the role of government but both were strong proponents of the efforts to unify the states under the constitution.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Hamilton and Madison disagreed totally, but both their signatures are on the constitution. Just shows that Mike Lee can't appeal to the founding fathers to justify his opinion.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments