The forefathers had quite spirited descussions on exactly this clause. A lot of text was taken out of the constitution to keep it a lot simpler. One example is the bill of rights. The constitution originally included these, but they were taken out, because it was thought that they did not need to be there, they were understood. The God for those states that forced them back into the document. The original clause for "general welfare" means nothing like what we have today. Today it means everything from "welfare" handouts, to funding abortions. It has been used for the federal government to dictate to states exactly what they can and can do on items that the states clearly have the constitutional right to decide. One example is highway taxes. Federal money for raods that are used for interstate commerce has turned into the states bieng dependant on the federal govenment for the money to maintian the majority of their roads. Federal government wants lower speed limits or higher drinking age? Threaten to withold federal funds to those states who refuse to get with the program. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to set state speed limits, however it has been ruled constitutional for the federal government to withold the money if they don't. I don't see the difference. Read the federalist papers. Read what was really intended by most of the phrasing in the constitution. You'ld be amazed. Of coiourse, this doesn't address the "living document" doctrine, but we will save that for later.