[In] an interview with the Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano, [Texas Governor, Rick] Perry makes his most outlandish claim to date — Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional:
The Constitution says that “the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes… to provide for the… general Welfare of the United States.” But I noticed that when you quoted this section on page 116, you left “general welfare” out and put an ellipsis in its place. Progressives would say that “general welfare” includes things like Social Security or Medicare—that it gives the government the flexibility to tackle more than just the basic responsibilities laid out explicitly in our founding document. What does “general welfare” mean to you?
[PERRY:] I don’t think our founding fathers when they were putting the term “general welfare” in there were thinking about a federally operated program of pensions nor a federally operated program of health care. What they clearly said was that those were issues that the states need to address. Not the federal government. I stand very clear on that. From my perspective, the states could substantially better operate those programs if that’s what those states decided to do.
So in your view those things fall outside of general welfare. But what falls inside of it? What did the Founders mean by “general welfare”?
[PERRY:] I don’t know if I’m going to sit here and parse down to what the Founding Fathers thought general welfare meant.
But you just said what you thought they didn’t mean by general welfare. So isn’t it fair to ask what they did mean? It’s in the Constitution.
Perry’s reading of the Constitution raises very serious questions about whether he understands the English language. The Constitution gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes” and to “provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” No plausible interpretation of the words “general welfare” does not include programs that ensure that all Americans can live their entire lives secure in the understanding that retirement will not force them into poverty and untreated sickness.
Given his rampant misinterpretation of the bible and absolute disregard for science to achieve right-wing evangelical legislation in the culture-warped republican wasteland of Texas, I’ll just say I’m not too surprised that Mr. Perry (Parry) would make up his own interpretation of the constitution as well, which, of course, must be the correct one.