Chapter 33

Doug Casey on the U.S. Constitution

April 4, 2012

Louis: Doug, we got a lot of mail last week. I screwed up—I was thinking of the much-abused “general welfare” clause in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution when I said the “interstate commerce” clause was in the preamble. The power to regulate commerce between the states is indeed granted to the federal government in Article I, Section 8. Both the interstate commerce clause and the general welfare clause have been greatly abused, and I simply crossed those wires in my mind. I apologize to our readers for the error.

Doug: I didn’t catch it either. It pays to research everything, as opposed to relying on memory. But we’re not writing dissertations; we’re having informal conversations.

That said, I think the essential point we were making remains sound. If you look at that section of the Constitution, which lists powers given to Congress, it says: “To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes. . . .” This concept was aimed at a very high level, akin to dealing with foreign nations and Indian tribes. It was meant to keep the legislatures of the states from acting the way governments typically do: erecting barriers and putting on tariffs.
Also, I believe the connotation of the word “regulate” has changed considerably in the last couple of centuries; in those days it meant simply to “make regular” or to normalize. The idea, as I understand it, was to ensure a level playing ...

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