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Constitutional text[ edit ] The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, DutiesImposts and Excisesto pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; Background[ edit ] One of the most often claimed defects of the Articles of Confederation was its lack of a grant to the central government of the power to lay and collect taxes.
Without the power to independently raise its own revenues, the Articles left Congress vulnerable to the discretion of the several State governments—each State made its own decision as to whether it would pay the requisition or not. Some states were not giving Congress the funds for which it asked by either paying only in part, or by altogether ignoring the request from Congress.
The Congress recognized this limitation and proposed amendments to the Articles in an effort to supersede it. Powers granted[ edit ] The power to tax is a concurrent power of the federal government and the individual states.
Butler stated that the clause also granted "a substantive power As argued under the Articles, the lack of a power to tax renders government impotent. Typically, the power is used to raise revenues for the general support of government.
But, Congress has employed the taxing power in uses other than solely for the raising of revenue, such as: The Court had previously held that Congress did not have the power to directly regulate labor, and found the law at issue to be an attempt to indirectly accomplish the same end.
This ruling appeared to have been reinforced in United States v. Butler in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the processing taxes instituted under the Agricultural Adjustment Act were an unconstitutional attempt to regulate state activity in violation of the Tenth Amendment.
However, despite its outcome, Butler affirmed that Congress does have a broad power to tax, and to expend revenues within its discretion. Implicit power to spend[ edit ] With the power to tax implicitly comes the power to spend the revenues raised thereby in order to meet the objectives and goals of the government.
To what extent this power ought to be utilized by the Congress has been the source of continued dispute and debate since the inception of the federal government, as will be explained below. However, interpretations recognizing an implicit power to spend have been questioned. In South Dakota v. Dole the Court upheld a federal law which withheld highway funds from states that did not raise their legal drinking age to Limitations on taxing power[ edit ] Several Constitutional provisions address the taxation and spending authority of Congress.
These include both requirements for the apportionment of direct taxes and the uniformity of indirect taxesthe origination of revenue bills within the House of Representativesthe disallowal of taxes on exports, the General Welfare requirement, the limitation on the release of funds from the treasury except as provided by law, and the apportionment exemption of the Sixteenth Amendment.
Additionally, Congress and the legislatures of the various states are prohibited from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax by the Twenty-fourth Amendment.
Origination Clause[ edit ] The Constitution provides in the Origination Clause that all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Representatives.
The idea underlying the clause is that Representatives, being the most numerous branch of Congress, and most closely associated with the people, know best the economic conditions of the people they represent, and how to generate revenues for the support of government in the least burdensome manner.
Additionally, Representatives are regarded the most accountable to the people, and thus are least likely to exercise the taxing power abusively or injudiciously. General Welfare Clause[ edit ] See also:The phrase "provide for the common defense," which is written in the preamble of the U.S.
Constitution, grants the federal government authority to maintain a military for the defense and protection of its people.
Reading the words "provide for the common defense" as permission for the federal government to do anything and everything related to "defending" the U.S.
destroys the foundation of the Constitution every bit as much as progressive bastardization of the general welfare clause. The Congress has the power to "provide for the common Defence" Art. 1, Sec. 8, US Const. That is the drafters spelling, etc.
Congress also has the corresponding power to pay for this "common Defence". 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.
As in "provide for the common defense?" It means the defense of everyone, in common. Just as you can hold goods in common - if it's our house, we hold it in common, a town or a nation can be held in common, and if it needs to be defended, it would be defended in common.
The Congress has the power to "provide for the common Defence" Art.
1, Sec. 8, US Const. That is the drafters spelling, etc. Congress also has the corresponding power to pay for this "common Defence".