|The 14th Amendment, Giving The GOP The Right To Sit Down And STFU!|
Often the case, we hear the GOP complaining about two amendments, the first and the second - as if these where the only amendments to the United States Constitution.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and house teapublicans have made it clear of their intent to, once again, hold our country hostage, with future debt ceiling deals. The last time they did this, in August 2011, it resulted in the downgrade of the credit rating, and huge losses in the stock market.
Lying within this next major battle is one simple solution, the President's ability to use the 14th Amendment to declare the debt limit unconstitutional. This constitutional right is a welcome development in a debate too often characterized by fly-by night economics and outright demagoguery from the radical GOP. If the President seizes the moment, we could not only end this damaging political grandstanding, but redirect the national conversation to what really matters: fiscal policy that addresses the needs of ordinary Americans.
Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan admin official wrote an essay on the subject, "The Debt Limit Option President Obama Can Use," which of late has started to gain significant policy traction. More recently, Treasury Secretary Geithner has made much the same point:
The budget/debt ceiling negotiations have focused on spending cuts and tax hikes which are neither necessary nor desirable at this juncture. This is not the time to invoke reduced government spending, especially when our economy is nowhere near operating close to full capacity. Progressives need to stop accepting the false logic that we "need to be responsible" and "deal with the budget deficit at some point in the future" on the spurious grounds of "affordability", solvency", or "because the bond markets won't fund us any longer." That's all malarkey!
Here's an idea; Invoke the 14th amendment and then stop talking about the budget deficit altogether. The US is not broke and cannot go bankrupt. Let go of that myth. When invoking the 14th amendment, the President could argue that the deficit reduction principles embodied in the debt ceiling limit should never be an object of government policy. He can point out that non-discretionary elements of the budget -- the automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance -- will fall as economic growth resumes, thereby reducing the deficit. He can remind us that there is only one reason why growth slows relative to productive capacity: Some sector spends less than before while another sector does not plug the spending drain.
The American Taliban is trying to strap yet another bomb to the torso of America. The fourteenth amendment section four says:
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.
In Freytag v. Commissioner (1991), the Supreme Court held that the president has "the power to veto encroaching laws . . . or to disregard them when they are unconstitutional." The final word still may lie with the Supreme Court, but in the interim, the president need not wait for its opinion. "As a simple matter of constitutional logic, the president can refuse to enforce a statute he believes violates the Constitution," said Professor Barry Friedman of NYU Law School in a telephone interview with me...
It is also unlikely that the action would be successfully challenged in court. Only Congress would have standing to sue, but doing so would require a joint resolution, something a Democratic-controlled Senate would almost certainly block.
You know how you control overreaching radical congressmen and women? You give them benchmarks, guidelines, and requirements. You give them very little variance for screwing up. Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just
pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more
than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible
Defuse this bomb that the American Taliban has strapped on our country Mr. President, use the very documents that the American Taliban so profoundly misunderstands, and give them a dose of their own medicine….. Go “Constitutional” on them!
A petition is making its round this am, be a true patriot and send the American Taliban a message, “not on our watch”!