They’re some of my favorite words of the preamble, and as all words of our our founding document, they were carefully, purposefully, weighed before they were chosen by our forefathers.
It is included among other phrases in the preamble of the Constitution. Phrases not meant to be suggestions, not merely “guidelines”, but rather a command:
“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.”
These words mean to take care of the general public. Take care of your people. Take care of your nation. They are specific in their intent: the good of the most is an imperative goal, and burden for our sworn leaders. They’re part of the social contract, we elect and pay our representatives to speak for us and ‘promote the general welfare.’
They’re there for a specific reason: a healthy ‘most’ or middle class is directly reflective of a healthy economy, nation, and democracy. A sizable, vibrant middle class defines a nation’s culture, its trends, its innovations, its norms and standards. It keeps an economy robust and forces companies to be creative.
There’s a lot of negative rhetoric in the media right now surrounding the idea of the government “taking care of us,” or the “general welfare.” But it’s right there in the preamble of our Constitution, the very thing that every single congressperson and the President himself swear to uphold upon entering office – promote the general welfare.
Legislatures are matching their actions with the idea “the government shouldn’t take care of us” as the AHCA is being “rammed through” without debate or the thought of the general welfare of the nation. They know better and they’ve sworn better, but they’ve buried their conscious long ago and realize they can take advantage of this moment of shock where the public can barely get its bearings from one day to the next, when national security is no longer a consensus and the public lives in fear – thanks to a President, thanks to certain media – and manipulate it and swerve the tide of fortune to their greedy little hands. To hell with the general welfare.
Furthermore, there’s another bill that’s passed the House with even more terrifying consequences: The Financial Choice Act. It repeals Dodd Frank, AND, ties the feds hands to bail out a sunken economy. Should the FCA pass, the scenario would be something like: new cool economic bubble, crash that we all knew was coming, and then, well, nothing. There’s no help because the FCA actually makes it illegal to bailout the economy with any kind of stimulus such we had with TARP. We currently have a President who has been cavalier about declaring bankruptcy and would probably not be bothered one bit by doing so with the nation’s economy. There were Republicans calling for ‘austerity’ after the 2007/2008 crash (Have you kept up with how well that worked out for Greece?) so if the FCA becomes a signed gig then that’s a likely road we’ll be forced to take and we’re pretty much screwed. To hell with general welfare.
Keep calling, keep emailing, keep making noise. We are a democracy, but it only works, and can only be sustained, if we participate. And if ever there was a moment, this is it.