Did James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution, consider it constitutional for the federal government to create social welfare programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security?
Madison wrote that the powers of the federal government to "provide for the common Defense and general Welfare" are restricted to the 27 specific powers that follow this phrase in the Constitution (like coining money, raising armies, issuing patents, and enacting immigration laws). These powers do not include social welfare programs. Madison also wrote that it would be "an absurdity" to interpret the Constitution in a way that would allow the federal government to create such programs.
DocumentationHistory of Social Spending