Chuck Klein © 2005

Attention teachers, members of the media -

special attention, President Bush.



Which of the following is the correct answer to the question:

Where, under our Constitution, is the mandate for the Federal Government to feed, clothe, evacuate, repair and/or provide money to victims of natural or other disasters?

THE BEST OF CHUCK KLEINa) Article I, Section 8 (Powers of Congress).

b) Article II, Section 2 (Presidential Powers).

c) Amendment XIV, Section 4 (Public Debt).

d) None of the above.

If you selected (d), go to the head of the class. It is NOT a function of the federal government to respond to natural or other disasters with food, water, shelter, evacuation, etc. Nowhere in the Constitution is it allowed, much less required, that federal money (taxes) or employees (military troops, et al) be used to "help" victims of disasters such as witnessed in the recent Gulf States calamity. Other than providing troops to maintain law and order, under martial law, there is no justification or expectation that our federal tax money be utilized for offering $2000 debit cards, transportation, direct payments to victims of 9-11 or anything of like value.

I'm outraged, not shocked or surprised, just angry that the media - and our President - has shown such ignorance during a time of catastrophe. The lessons learned by the younger set (to expect the government to "take care of them") will not be lost and this is the real American tragedy.

THE BADGEThe Preamble to the Constitution mentions "General Welfare" as a goal of forming a more perfect union. The Constitution then spells out exactly what powers, duties and controls this "more perfect union" has in attaining these goals. There is no empowerment, obligation or requirement mentioned in this, our rule of law, to feed, clothe, evacuate and/or conduct any other "general" much less specific welfare.

If the good people of America wish for its funds to be spent in such a way perhaps it is time to consider a constitutional amendment to cover these acts. But, until then, it is the sole responsibility of the individual states (see 10th Amendment) to decide if and how they wish to protect and care for their citizens. If you live in a state, or one of its political subdivisions, that is so incompetent as to leave you stranded during a catastrophic event (for example: school buses left standing), perhaps it's time to move or replace your elected officials - but your misfortune it is not the fault or obligation of the federal government.