ASPIRE Act Would Inspire a Madison Veto

I recently read about a bill – which hasn’t been introduced this Legislative term, but has been introduced in the past – called the ASPIRE Act (America Saving for Personal Investment, Retirement, and Education) which would open a savings account for each child with an initial amount of $500, with children in low-income families receiving additional money. Parents can add funds to he account, but no withdrawals would be allowed until the child is 18 years old; and then there are limited uses allowed for withdrawal, education, first-time home purchase and/or retirement. However, the bill calls for a minimum of $500 to be held in the account until retirement.
It seems, like most everything the Congress proposes, there is no discussion about the Constitutionality of this proposed legislation. Only talk about how “good” the bill is and that it’s “worked” in the United Kingdom. The last time I checked Congress wasn’t supposed to pass laws because “other countries are doing it, too.” Is our Congress a teenager? If other nations jump off a bridge would ours do the same? But I digress.
The United Sates of America needs another President like James Madison. “Why Madison?” you ask. Because he was one of the last Presidents to truly understand the limited role the federal government was supposed to have.
When he vetoed a federal public work bill he wrote, “The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation with the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States…
To refer the power in question to the clause “to provide for common defense and general welfare” would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them…”
A view he held consistently, as shown when in Federalist Paper #45, he wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

The ASPIRE Act would most certainly inspire a veto from a President that recognized and understood the enumerated powers of the Congress, but with Congressmen like Jim Clyburn who said, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do.” we can only hope that this bill gets tied up in committee.