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"Pretty soon, "right now" will be a long time ago..."
All to often, the "General Welfare" statement is used to justify unlimited potential power in the Federal Government.
If such an interpretation were valid, why would we have a Constitution at all? Why would we "enumerate" any powers? Why would we have multiple branches of government?
If this were right, we would simply be a tyranny of the powerful. That almost happened - starting when Woodrow Wilson, a man beloved by Benito Mussolini and who spoke in very Communist terms (before it was cool!) used those words to twist the State to his will.
In those days, with war and confusion run amok, one can almost excuse - and at least understand - why people could be capable of making such a critical error. The rise of industrialization made everything seem possible. Communism, Fascism, the "Total State" as expressed through War and Propaganda, seemed to have unlimited potential power.
So, why not throw away the founding wisdom in favor of a new ideal? Hundreds of millions of deaths and hundreds of millions of lives lived under oppressive regimes should be proof enough of the wisdom of our Founding Fathers to never place such power in the hands of the State.
James Madison stated in Federalist 41 that Wilson's interpretation amounts to "stooping to such a misconstruction" of the notion of "General Welfare" and found it absurd that anyone would consider such a clause to provide unlimited powers. He expresses the same logic I spelled out above...
Had he only known the death that laid ahead, would he have argued for the clause to be admitted? One can only speculate. However, it is no speculation at all to say that the words were never meant to provide unlimited power. Now here's Federalist 41, by James Madison: