Stop Me Before I Spend Again

Congress and the Biden administration are on a spending spree. President Biden’s unprecedented attempt to forgive student loans through “executive action” could cost as much as $1 trillion. Three new laws – the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Consolidated Appropriations Act and Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – impose massive spending on infrastructure. The legislation earmarks billions of dollars for purely local projects, including half of the $6.3 billion cost of adding 1½ miles to the Second Avenue subway in New York City.

Such spending would have once been considered unconstitutional. The Constitution authorizes federal spending on “common defense” and “common welfare”—first in the preamble and later in the clause establishing Congress’ fiscal authority. Before the New Deal, “general welfare” was limited to internal improvements, often associated with defense or territorial expansion. A later example is the interstate highway system built during the Cold War and known as Dwight D Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Miles of stretches can serve as emergency landing sites for military aircraft, and many military bases are nearby. Stop Me Before I Spend Again

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