In the early days of the Republic, patriotic Americans rallied around the cry of "Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute" in response to French efforts to extort money from the infant United States. Yet sadly, we today find America led by a President who would prefer that we spend our budget on transfer payments and social programs rather than upon the clearly defined constitutional duty to defend the United States.
"A lot of the spending cuts that we're making should be around areas like defense spending as opposed to food stamps," President Obama told in an interview with NPR.
"What is true is that given the rising number of seniors and given the huge escalation in health care costs, that if we don’t structure those programs so that they are sustainable, then it’s going to be hard for the next generation to enjoy those same kinds of benefits. And so we are going to have to make some modest changes that retain the integrity of the program, but make sure that they’re there for years to come. And that’s not even just a deficit problem, that’s a step that even if we were all Democrats up here on Capitol Hill, we’d have to start making to make sure the integrity of those programs are preserved," Obama also said in the interview.
Got that? Obama's priority is taking money from working Americans and giving it to the non-productive -- and making sure that such programs are sustained, grown, and expanded in the future (remember -- ObamaCare kicks in with the 2014 budget). And if that means cutting back on national defense, then so be it.
What does the Constitution say about the relative priorities that should be assigned to these two budget areas?
Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 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. . .
Article I, Section 8, Clauses 11-16
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
And the following are the constitutional provisions regarding programs like Medicaid, Social Security, and ObamaCare.
Yeah, that's right, folks -- there is no constitutional basis for those programs like there is for national defense. And before you try to make something of the "general welfare" language of the document, consider these quotes from two of the Founding Fathers.
James Madison said, in a letter to James Robertson, “With respect to the two 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.” James Madison also said, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” James Madison laid out what he saw as constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper Number 45 where he explained, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . to be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce."
Thomas Jefferson explained in a letter to Albert Gallatin, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
What's more, from the earliest days of the republic it was understood that there was no authority under the Constitution for Congress to appropriate money for charity, benevolences, or such expenditures.
And yet Obama would turn that on its head -- he would cut our defense spending in the midst of military conflicts (including his illegal, unconstitutional undeclared war in Libya) in order to continue the expansion of the welfare state.
Is it any wonder we need to stop him?