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19 January 2013

14th Amendment Gives President Authority to Raise the Debt Ceiling: Another Socialist Taradiddle

Bill Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin, Representative Peter Welch, and numerous Progressive Elitist columnists have called upon Obama to raise the debt ceiling himself using the 14th Amendment as the basis for his power to do so.  Examining this claim of presidential power by the socialist left will inform us greatly about their values and how seriously they take the Constitution.

In Article 1, Section 8, the Congress is given its powers.  It says:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; ....

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, ...

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States; ....
Section 8 also goes on to describe its role in the defense of the country, including that of providing for military forces and placing a two-year appropriations limit on its doing so.

The powers of the President are given in Article 2, Section 2.  There is no mention of any power to appropriate money, to issue debt, to issue coin or bonds, or any other power pertaining to the use of the People's money.  This is not surprising given that control over money, taxes, and debt were the primary powers that the Congress was invested with for the purpose of limiting the power of the Executive.  We have to remember that Americans had just fought for their independence from a much too powerful King of England.  They had also faced too powerful governors in the colonies in most cases who ruled those colonies for the King's advantage, not the People's welfare.  The Executive under the Articles of Confederation had been nearly non-existent and was much strengthened under the Constitution, but was still subject to great distrust.  Were we as wise today, we would still view the Executive with great distrust.

The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 to deal with issues resulting from the outcome of the Civil War.  In Section 4, it 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 or 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 the emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Section 5 of the 14th Amendment says "Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

So whatever power is granted here is granted to Congress.  There is no mention of the President.  What is more, the debt to be honored without question, was only such debt as had been authorized by law, which only Congress can do.  One can go further in understanding this amendment's requirement about the debt.  It is clear that it imposes an obligation upon Congress to pay its debts in full and without dilution.  A rational person would question repayment of a debt with a devalued currency, for instance.  Therefore, if Congress, or in our present condition, the Federal Reserve is printing money to make up the difference between tax revenues and government spending, then Congress itself is in violation of the 14th Amendment.  Any rational broad interpretation of the 14th Amendment would note that Congress is constrained in its spending to a sustainable debt.  It cannot default on the debt, but it also cannot allow the debt to rise to such heights that a rational person would question that it can be repaid in full with a fully valued coin.

As we see, it is a ludicrous taradiddle that the President can raise the debt ceiling without an act of Congress.  There is no such power in the 14th Amendment.  This is why even Obama has been disinclined to claim this power.  Even though he dislikes the Constitution and holds it in low regard, even he dares not traduce it is such a blatant manner.  Not only would he have to assert a power he clearly does not have, but he would also have to violate multiple acts of Congress, duly passed.  First, he would have to break the law setting the current debt ceiling, as Congress has been doing since 1917.  Second, he would have to violate the Antideficiency Act which states that the President or any government official must have an appropriation from Congress before he can authorize payments.  It could not be more obvious that the power of the purse belongs to Congress, not the President.

This being such an open and shut case, it is very revealing that so many of the top leadership of the Democrat Party are so eager to subvert the Constitution and support such an egregious taradiddle as the claim that the 14th Amendment gives their great socialist leader the power to raise the debt ceiling by himself.  This is an attempt to claim dictatorial powers.  If Republicans had made such a claim when the Democrats controlled one of the houses of the Congress, you can be certain they would have been screaming in opposition.  It is way beyond time for the American People to understand that their dominant party is one eager to subvert the Constitution and thereby the control the people exercise by choosing their representatives to the Congress.  There is an eagerness for dictatorship, so long as the dictator is a Democrat Socialist.  This is a predilection to be feared and against which we must stand in firmest opposition.

taradiddle: 1) a trivial or childish lie, a fib, or 2) pretentious nonsense.

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