President Monroe’s Response to Obamacare
by P.A. Madison on March 23rd, 2010
Excerpts from President Monroe’s Special Message on Internal Improvements, May 4, 1822:
If, then, the right to raise and appropriate the public money is not restricted to the expenditures under the other specific grants, according to a strict construction of their powers respectively, is there no limitation to it?
Have Congress a right to raise and appropriate the public money to any and to every purpose, according to their will and pleasure? They certainly have not. The government of the United States is a limited government, instituted for great national purposes, and for those only. Other interests are committed to the states, whose duty it is to provide for them.
Each government should look to the great and essential purposes for which it was instituted, and confine itself to those purposes. A state government will rarely, if ever, apply money to national purposes, without making it a charge to the nation. The people of the state would not permit it. Nor will Congress be apt to apply money in aid of the state administrations, for purposes strictly local, in which the nation at large has no interest, although the states should desire it.
The people of the other states would condemn it. They would declare that Congress had no right to tax them for such a purpose, and dismiss, at the next election, such of their representatives as had voted for the measure, especially if it should be severely felt. I do not think that in offices of this kind there is much danger of the two governments mistaking their interests or their duties. I rather expect that they would soon have a clear and distinct understanding of them, and move on in great harmony. . . .
My idea is, that Congress have an unlimited power to raise money, and that in its appropriation, they have a discretionary power, restricted only by the duty to appropriate it to purposes of common defence, and of general, not local, national, not state, benefit.