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That clause, with that interpretation, renders almost all the rest of Article 1 Section 8 utterly meaningless. And therefore, by longstanding precedent, must be considered invalid.

That is incorrect. The Spending Clause is an independent grant of power, one that is separate from and additional to the other grants of power in Art. 1, S. 8. Again, this was a subject of a lot of dispute between the Founders early in the days of the country. SCOTUS reviewed the debate about a hundred years ago, and unequivocally interpreted the Spending Clause to be an independent Power of Congress, and it has held to that interpretation ever since:

Since the foundation of the Nation, sharp differences of opinion have persisted as to the true interpretation of the phrase. Madison asserted it amounted to no more than a reference to the other powers enumerated in the subsequent clauses of the same section; that, as the United States is a government of limited and enumerated powers, the grant of power to tax and spend for the general national welfare must be confined to the enumerated legislative fields committed to the Congress. In this view, the phrase is mere tautology, for taxation and appropriation are, or may be, necessary incidents of the exercise of any of the enumerated legislative powers. Hamilton, on the other hand, maintained the clause confers a power separate and distinct from those later enumerated, is not restricted in meaning by the grant of them, and Congress consequently has a substantive power to tax and to appropriate, limited only by the requirement that it shall be exercised to provide for the general welfare of the United States. Each contention has had the support of those whose views are entitled to weight. This court has noticed the question, but has never found it necessary to decide which is the true construction. Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries, espouses the Hamiltonian position. [Footnote 12] We shall not review the writings of public men and commentators or discuss the legislative practice. Study of all these leads us to conclude that the reading advocated by Mr. Justice Story is the correct one. While, therefore, the power to tax is not unlimited, its confines are set in the clause which confers it, and not in those of § 8 which bestow and define the legislative powers of the Congress. It results that the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution.

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/297/1/
https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/essay/artI_S8_C1_2/...

Albaby
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