The 17 Powers of Congress, The First 3: Taxes, Debt & Commerce

What powers does the Congress have? Section 8 of Article tell us.

Section 8. 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;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Right off the bat, the Congress was giving the ability to tax. Also

  • Duties: Which are taxes on goods coming or going into the country.
  • Imposts: Taxes collected in Customs
  • Excises: A internal tax on certain commodities, their manufacture, sale, or consumption within the country.

We have taxes to provide the common defense, which is everyone in the country’s borders should be protected by law and police and invaders. On a side note…government has failed on that. Anyway, Section 8 speaks again of the general welfare of the U.S. I explained in the very first essay on the Constitution that the word meant, and I quote…

A very contentious line in the Preamble. So let’s look at the origin and context of the time. Between 1275-1325 from the phrase wel fare. The old definition of Well is ‘in a good and satisfactory manner.’ Then we have Fare, which means ‘state of things’ in the first definition. Context is important. Together that is ‘a good and satisfactory state of things’. Not a monthly check or subsidized anything. That definition of welfare came from the church and philanthropists in the form of charity. Which is voluntarily funded.

And then that paragraph finished with all taxes being equal. Not this group pays more than that.

Then the next line gives it the ability to borrow money on the credit of the country. Boy wasn’t that power abused, especially within the last 50 years.

Then we have…the commerce clause, which has been twisted to justify almost everything. Lets look at it, with highlights…

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Regulate, not require. The regulations were for protection of fraud and protectionism among the states. Its why goods coming across state lines aren’t taxed by state governments before they’re allowed in or out.

We are just getting started folks, more coming next week.