"How can the general welfare be promoted by taxing the whole community, to make up the losses of any individual who chooses to employ his time and money in a losing concern? … How; can the community be benefited by paying a manufacturer a bounty at my expense, taken out of my pocket, not for my benefit but for his? … But ignorant and selfish legislators have gradually assumed this power, under pretence of promoting the general welfare: a pretence that would equally justify transferring the young wife of an elderly man to a younger man, as transferring the money of A into the pocket of B, without a satisfactory equivalent.
Where will you limit the all‐devouring pretence of the general welfare? Napoleon Buonaparte pretended it was for the general welfare of the French nation that he should repudiate Josephine and take to wife Maria Louisa. I suppose it was for the general welfare that Caligula appointed his horse to the consulship… I know of no pretence, no motive that can be set up, so Well calculated to cover and protect every possible fraud on the peopleʹs rights, as the General Welfare. It has no limitation: it extends to all things, to all times, persons, places, and proposals. There is no tyranny that it will not authorize."
— Thomas Cooper, ‘Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy’, 1826 (via no-belgium-no-problem)
speaks so beautifully and directly to Congress’ persistent abuse of the “general welfare” phrase in Section 8 of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution