Monday, July 11, 2011

The 14th Amendment

There's been lots of talk lately about the 14th Amendment vis-a-vis the Congress and the intense argument over raising the debt limit.
The 143-year-old clause, written to address still-potent divisions after the bloody Civil War, has been dredged up by legal scholars as well as the US Treasury secretary to suggest how a debt debacle might be avoided.
King Obama is pressuring Congress to raise the debt ceiling (like raising the limit on your credit card) at a time when we are already unable to pay back our debts. Printing more money would be disastrous - not paying our debts would be disastrous - and this is why we must cut spending. We cannot kick this can down the road, as there is no more road to kick the can down.

So now, the Treasury (AKA Timmy Geithner) is saying that Congress must take extraordinary measures to make sure the US can pay its bills - and some are even invoking the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and saying that Congress has an obligation to ensure we are able to honor the obligations of the United States. In other words, screw you Congress, we (Obama and the Treasury) are going to ignore you and do what we want anyway. It's a tortured interpretation of the 14th amendment, to say the least.

So let's look at the 14th Amendment particularly Section 4:
Section 4.

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any state shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment was added in the aftermath of the Civil War as a means to settle any debts between the federal government and the states that wished to leave the Union - it has nothing to do with the Bush/Obama spending spree, or the limits Congress wishes to put on spending.

That being said:

"The validity of the public debt... shall not be questioned."

So what the Obama administration and certain "Constitutional Scholars" that support them, are saying is that the government's obligation to make payments cannot be abrogated by some "arbitrary limit". In other words we cannot have a debt ceiling limit. Therefore King Obama is seeking to ignore an arbitrary debt ceiling limit and just continue to spend.

The purse string tussle is clearly in view - and a Constitutional crisis (yes, another one) is in the making. Just who -- the Congress or the White House -- controls the power of the Federal purse with regard to the public debt?

Obama cannot take the law into his own hands - and if he does then he is truly in dictatorship territory and ought to be impeached. Clearly the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with our current public debt ceiling limit and it certainly does not authorize or otherwise give power to King Obama to totally disregard the Constitutional authority and power that is given expressly to Congress "to borrow Money on the credit of the United States."

Good try though.
(Well, honestly, not even a good try)

Note to Speaker Boehner - Let's see some spine! Don't you dare agree to raise the debt limit! - don't you dare raise taxes! - CUT SPENDING NOW! Start with abolishing the Department of Education - The Department of Energy - The Department of Homeland Security and the TSA. Stop aid to foreign countries and bring our troops home and end these idiotic wars. Stop taking your marching orders from the UN - the EU - the IMF and NATO. Deport illegal aliens that are taking advantage of social programs and causing healthcare and education to skyrocket. Bring manufacturing back to the states and revive a true free market economy. Restore the Republic - honor your oath of office and adhere to the Constitution!



1. Cut - Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
2. Cap - Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
3. Balance - Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.

It's clear that President Obama has made the recovery worse. And there are, in fact, many economic indicators that are demonstrably worse since Obama took office. Here are a few...:

There are 2 million fewer private-sector jobs now than when Obama was sworn in, and the unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points higher.

• There are now more long-term unemployed than at any time since the government started keeping records.

* The U.S. dollar is more than 12% weaker.

• The number of Americans on food stamps has climbed 37%.

• The Misery Index (unemployment plus inflation) is up 62%.

• And the national debt is about 40% higher than it was in January 2009.

In fact, reporters who bother to look will discover that Obama has managed to produce the worst recovery on record.

By this point in the Reagan recovery after the 1981-82 recession, for example, unemployment had been knocked down to 7.4% from a peak of 10.8%, and quarterly GDP growth averaged a screaming 7%. .. READ MORE