Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional?

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by Witch Doctor 01, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    interesting reading....

    Is the debt ceiling unconstitutional?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" />

    By Jeanne Sahadi @CNNMoney June 30, 2011: 9:39 AM ET

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Amid fears the United States risks default if lawmakers don't raise the debt ceiling on time, some are suggesting President Obama could save the day by big-footing Congress.
    How? By invoking the Constitution anddirecting Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to keep borrowing even if it means going past the statutory borrowing limit.
    Really? They say default -- and by extension, the debt limit -- violates the 14th Amendment.
    The amendment states: "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."
    Debt ceiling: Just do it
    The idea first gained currency when legal scholar Garrett Epps and fiscal expert Bruce Bartlett asserted that the president could invoke the 14th Amendment.
    Epps, writing in the Atlantic magazine, noted the amendment's stark language. "It's not hard to argue that the Constitution places both payments on the debt and payments owed to groups like Social Security recipients ... above the vagaries of Congressional politics."
    He concluded: "If Congress won't pay them, then the executive must."
    Bartlett, in a Fiscal Times column, noted that much of the public debt is held by foreign investors, meaning a default would global ramifications. And he cited warnings from top officials that it's a threat to national security.
    0:00 / 4:20 Sen. Durbin: Adopt Bowles-Simpson plan now<SCRIPT type=text/javascript>vidConfig.push({videoArray: [{id: "video/news/2011/06/29/n_durbin_romans.cnnmoney"}]});</SCRIPT>
    Invoking the 14th Amendment to prevent default "is no less justified than using American military power to protect against an armed invasion without a congressional declaration of war," Bartlett argued.
    Even Geithner, at a Politico breakfast last month, whipped out a copy of the Constitution and read the 14th Amendment aloud. "This is the important thing -'shall not be questioned,' " he said.
    The president himself has been silent on the issue, dodging the question when it was asked at a press conference on Wednesday.
    Not everyone is convinced that the 14th Amendment would be the best rabbit to pull out of the hat if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling in time.
    For one thing, doing so could run counter to Congress' constitutional role.
    Just because the Constitution directs the president to "safeguard the national debt" doesn't mean he can go "snatching the power of the purse" from Congress, wrote Michael Stern, who specializes in congressional legal issues, wrote in his blog
    And when it comes to national security, where the president has broad powers, "it is recognized that he must rely on Congress for funding," Stern added.
    Then there's the issue of precedent.
    "All administrations have acted and assumed the debt ceiling is a statute that has to be obeyed," said Jay Powell, a former Treasury undersecretary for finance under President George W. Bush who co-authored a report showing the negative fallout if Congress doesn't raise the ceiling.
    As a practical matter, if the administration were to invoke the 14th Amendment, the markets could push the cost of borrowing higher as the move could spark a controversy, further dividing Capitol Hill.
    Epps made clear in an email to CNNMoney that he's not recommending that the president treat the debt ceiling as something he can just disregard.
    "I think ignoring the debt ceiling would and should be at most a last-minute thing, like a tourniquet on a wound, where the choice is between losing a leg and losing a life." <?xml:namespace prefix = v ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml" /><v:shapetype id=_x0000_t75 stroked="f" filled="f" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" o:preferrelative="t" o:spt="75" coordsize="21600,21600"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"></v:stroke><v:formulas><v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"></v:f><v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"></v:f><v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"></v:f></v:formulas><v:path o:connecttype="rect" gradientshapeok="t" o:extrusionok="f"></v:path><o:lock aspectratio="t" v:ext="edit"></o:lock></v:shapetype><v:shape style="WIDTH: 5.25pt; HEIGHT: 5.25pt; VISIBILITY: visible; mso-wrap-style: square" id=Picture_x0020_2 href="" o:button="t" alt="Description: To top of page" type="#_x0000_t75" o:spid="_x0000_i1026"><v:fill o:detectmouseclick="t"></v:fill><v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\WCANUE~1\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:title="To top of page"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Opinion, mine only. The ceiling is a target that both Congress and POTUS can't hit with either or both hands; it is there because someone wanted a target set at some arbitrary max debt sustainable with the income known at the time, not because it's Constitutional. There is no Constitutional restraint on spending either other than the 14th, and then only because it implies that what is owed is of paramount importance to the US as a trusted nation. The risk for dot gov is the same as for us individually, spending more than we take in is, ah, extreme in many ways. You and I can go to bankruptcy court and get some protections against predators. Where does a nation go for protection? It don't. Economics takes over, and the predators feed well on the carcass.

    Methinks the 14th is due to be rescinded and replaced with a balanced budget amendment. The freebies must end.
    Cephus likes this.
  3. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    The point is moot. They will raise the debt limit probably to 20 trillion.

    Right now there is a lot of showboating for the constituents but they will all fail to make hard choices and just keep on keeping on.

    Hey they want to collect their pensions and be covered by health care paid by us too.

    Just as soon as the Chinese can convert enough of their debt over to hard assets like our properties,businesses,gold, silver etc. They just won't care what happens to the USD. That is when we should be worried.

    for now our elected officials are just doing the FEDs bidding.
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

  5. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Too much momentum in the Goobermint Juggernaut to slow it as quick as we need to. So, we will give more land and assets to China to keep them 'buying' our debt......

    Meanwhile, they keep the shiploads of lead-tainted Barbie Dolls and Tickle-Me-Elmos coming over to WallyWorld........
  6. dewber

    dewber Monkey+

    They don't raise the debt ceiling = default = recession and market collapse.
    They do raise the debt ceiling = Moodys downgrade = recession and market collapse.
  7. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    That sure sounds gloomy ;)

    I dunno. I think this is a no-win. I think debt is unconstitutional. (Well, maybe that's an a bit of a stretch, but I don't fundamentally believe in any out of control budget.)
  8. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    Debt Ceiling Primer
    Updated January 21, 2011

    The debt ceiling has been getting a lot of attention recently. A new Congress filled with lawmakers who promised to bring fiscal order must grapple with raising the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.294 trillion, when the limit is reached sometime this spring. The Treasury Department projects the ceiling could be reached sometime between March 31, and May 14, 2011

    Following is a short primer on the debt ceiling.

    What is the debt ceiling?
    The debt ceiling is the legal limit on the gross level of federal debt that the government can accrue. The limit applies to almost all federal debt (a small amount of total debt is not subject to the limit), including the debt held by the public, and what the government owes to itself through various accounts such as the Social Security trust funds.

    When was the debt ceiling established?
    The first iteration of the debt ceiling was established in 1917 and set at $11.5 billion under the Second Liberty Bond Act. Prior to this, Congress was required to approve each issuance of debt separately. The ceiling was enacted to simplify the process and enhance borrowing flexibility. In 1939, Congress created the first aggregate limit covering nearly all government debt, and set that at $45 billion, about 10 percent above the total debt at that time, which was $40.4 billion.
    Debt Ceiling Primer | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

    How much has the debt ceiling grown?
    Since it was established, the debt ceiling has been increased nearly 100 times. During the 1980s, it increased from less than $1 trillion, to nearly $3 trillion. Over the course of the 1990s it doubled to nearly $6 trillion, and in the 00’s, it doubled again to well over $12 trillion. In February of 2010, it was raised by $1.9 trillion, bringing the debt ceiling to its current level of $14.294 trillion.
  9. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    Although the Founders did borrow money; I doubt the Founders borrowed money to give to Foreign Nations or Illegals as aid or entitlements.
    radpug likes this.
  10. radpug

    radpug Monkey+

    I think your right, the debt itself is unconstitutional.
    Congress had the power to issue bonds to borrow money in times
    Of war.

    Debit for social programs and eduction programs were never for the
    Federal goverment to fund and dictate. Those and many more powers
    Have been usruped from the states.

    As far as social security it should never ended up in the condition it is in.
    The program is and has always been funded by the people.
    Its not our fault the piggy bank was looted and worthless iou's were
    Placed in the place of the money that was take out of our wages.
  11. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    They don't even hesitate to think they just spend and continue to spend.

    On Saturday 0bama said ending tax breaks is required to reduce the deficit; but he never mentions reducing the wanton spending.
    Supposedly the Repubs walked on when 0bama demands included "demands to raise spending and taxes"
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