The United States Constitution gives the Congress the power to levy taxes to pay the debts and for the defense and general welfare of the UNITED STATES, not the individual citizens of those States. That responsibility lies with the States themselves as evidenced by the similar wording in the State Constitutions. Maine’s reads, “the legislature ….. shall have full power to make and establish all reasonable laws and regulations for the defense and benefit of the people of the State”. In both cases it is a police power that is referred to and not welfare per se but as a compound requiring the defense to be beneficial or contribute to the wellbeing of the States and in the case of the States, to defend the people’s ability to live, be free and to acquire property.
Taxes then have to be raised in order to pay for this service. In addition to this service the federal and State governments have undertaken tasks that are not covered by the charters given the Congress or the State legislatures, that is welfare entitlements, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the numerous other programs paid for with EBT cards. That these programs are not fully paid for is evidenced by the $20 trillion federal debt and the States about $5 trillion. Not included in these totals are the unfunded pension liabilities of government to its employees that will continue to add to the debt and the treasury prints (borrows) more money to pay them. It is in effect a death spiral that is a characteristic of an economic system where the means of exchange is not consumed but accumulates. This is evidenced by the fact that it now takes about $23.39 to purchase what $1.00 bought in 1914, about the time the former backing of the currency (gold) cost as much to produce as was its imputed value.
Trump’s administration may not introduce more currency into the system through borrowing as did the previous one’s but he will not balance the budget and deficit spending will continue to a point where the amount being doled out in welfare payment is insufficient to purchase the necessities of life which are shelter, clothing and food, in that order as the dollar decreases in value. That time will come when the thing that actually backs the currency, the production of the kcal or the energy value of food is equal to its consumption. The earth’s population continues to increase while the production of kcal continues to decrease. The United States reached its peak production in the mid-1980s and since then it has been in decline. For every individual added to our population, at least 1 acre of land must be converted to food production in order to supply the necessary kcal for life. The event described is already occurring in Africa and the Middle East and even in Latin America. In many areas it is exacerbated by the lack of an adequate welfare system that accounts for the current migration of millions around the world to where welfare states exist.
There is an answer to this dilemma but the politicians will never employ it because it is government itself that determines the distribution and its inequality is affected by the politicians who have the power but not the will to rebel against those who gave them that power.