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  • The Left's Desperate, Devious and Dangerous 14th Amendment Ploy

    Seeking to make virtue out of vice, the political Left has launched a desperate, devious and dangerous ploy to prevent the spending cuts that the public demands.

    They are laying the groundwork for President Obama to bypass negotiations and to ignore the $14.3-trillion statutory ceiling on federal debt.  They want him to instruct the Treasury to borrow whatever it needs to satisfy grandiose spending designs, by claiming that the borrowing limit is unconstitutional.

    If this happened, it would add a constitutional crisis to our economic crisis.  And it would worsen our economic problems.

    The Left bases their plan on a dangerous misreading of the 14th Amendment.  They employ deceptive rhetoric to depict the big spenders as the saviors of the Constitution.  They claim it’s the Constitutional remedy to protect our economy from the supposed alternative Armageddon’s of defaulting on debt or devastating reductions in spending.

    The Left adds that this also would save us from the evil Republicans who won’t go along with job-killing tax hikes.

    Declaring the debt ceiling unconstitutional and void would be a course reversal for Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner, who have been claiming that doom is around the corner because of the debt limit.  But a reversal would not be the first time Obama has declared his position is “evolving” to match his political interests.  Nor would it be the first time Obama claimed a Presidential prerogative to ignore laws that he finds inconvenient.

    Twice offered a public opportunity to repudiate this horrid idea, Obama has twice refused to do so.

    The 14th Amendment idea began quietly percolating on the Left a few months ago.  As it became clear that they were losing the fight over deficit spending, the Left last week began to unveil articles by cooperative law professors, economists, columnists and pundits, covered by CBS News, MSNBC, USA Today, The Washington Post, and numerous other outlets.  The Huffington Post has been the biggest cheerleader for the plan.

    The proponents base their false claim on a selective reading of the 14th Amendment’s statement that, “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law . . . shall not be questioned.”  The language was adopted after the Civil War.  Because the adjacent passage of the Amendment expressly disavows any debts of the former Confederacy, the drafters needed to distinguish this from the valid debt issued by the Union.

    Nobody is questioning the validity of our legally-issued debt, nor should they, but the President has no authority to create additional debt that Congress has not approved.

    As noted by The Heritage Foundation’s Andrew Grossman, “it does not follow that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional. . . . Indeed, unilateral action by the President to borrow money would be an unconstitutional usurpation of the legislative power.  The Constitution [in Article 1, Section 8] vests the power to ‘to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States’ and the power ‘to borrow money on the credit of the United States’ in the Congress, not the President.  The President lacks the authority to, on his own accord, make expenditures which have not been authorized by Congress (because Congress has imposed a debt ceiling that supersedes any such authorizations) or to undertake borrowing that has not been authorized by Congress.”

    Constitutional expert and former federal appellate judge Dr. Michael McConnell sums up quite simply the notion that the 14th Amendment invalidates the debt ceiling.  McConnell eloquently says, “Bunk.”

    Since 1917, Congress has exercised its control over debt by placing a statutory cap on the total amount that can be borrowed.  This is an exercise of Congress’ explicit and exclusive Constitutional authority—as opposed to a drummed-up misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to create some new Presidential power to issue unlimited debt.  As noted by the Congressional Research Service, “The debt limit also provides Congress with the strings to control the federal purse, allowing Congress to assert its constitutional prerogatives to control spending.”

    To sum it all up:  As the 14th Amendment states, debt must be “authorized by law.”  As Article 1 states, only Congress can do that authorizing.

    The Left’s effort to reverse this is desperate, devious and dangerous.  They have seen polls showing 60 to 70 percent of the public oppose an increase in borrowing, so they are desperately trying to preserve big government.  Their twisting of the Constitution is devious.  And ignoring the debt ceiling would be dangerous to future generations and to today’s economy.

    Imagine the chaos in financial markets if they could not distinguish Congressionally-approved and valid Treasury notes from Presidentially-authorized and questionable debt.  The Left has a bad answer for this:  Get the Federal Reserve to buy the new debt.  That would mean printing more currency, inflating our money and further devaluing the dollar.

    The entire 14th Amendment ploy needs to be shot down and denounced for what it is—another liberal maneuver to bypass both the Constitution and public opinion and to protect big government at all costs.

    Adding a constitutional crisis on top of our economic crisis would only make things worse.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    39 Responses to The Left's Desperate, Devious and Dangerous 14th Amendment Ploy

    1. Stirling says:

      This administration wants to create a "United States of welfare." out of the 14th Amendment. This is what you get when someone (progressives) are elected to office. No respect for the Conistitution or bill of rights. We can't afford annother 4 more of this.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Just think how strong the people and this country would be had we a president that comprehended the founding documents, values and principles of the peoples constitution with positive respect to humanity!

      The government's role regarding the people's constitution has to be explained in simple terms with the address of all obama's violations of limitless overreach into our freedoms creating neglectful spending, causing the crisis the people are forced to endure. Also address the time and money it costs, he takes in covering up, fabricating, spinning his faults and all the people he pays to hide his facts!
      This man's words and actions can't be trusted at any cost.

    3. George Colorado says:

      Besides the comment "authorized by law", Section 5 of the 14th Amendment states "The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." The debt is now authorized at $14.3 trillion. If it is construed that the President can increase that debt, what would be the limitation to instructing the Treasury Dept. to increase tax rates so as to "generate" more funds to pay debts?

    4. guest says:

      If that is the case mabye he should raise it to 50 trillion or more then he can just spend to keep up with the flotus.

    5. guest says:

      If that is the case mabye he should raise it to 50 trillion or more then he can just spend to keep up with the flotus.

    6. Linda says:

      This is a disgrace as this Administration makes each day worse then the last day. The Debt Ceiling needs to stop. Tired of Our Nation being led into a Third World Country. American's need to start getting angry and fight, fight, fight.

    7. Richard Brammer says:

      Man….. I am one who does not know what to do except for my "VOTE". I am awsy from home, working, and can not seem to get in a steadily with a group who has Americas interest at Heart.
      Oh… How I listen to the interpretation of others whats going good, but mostly "bad". But I can not find the niche to where I can be a "Force"!!! I want to be a "FORCE", not an "idealist".
      I truly wish for each person in America would put Party Affiliatiom, Race, Socio-Economics and Religion asside, for what is good for America is good for the World!!!!
      Please, Stop thinking of Party, and do whats right for America.

    8. GFY100 says:

      Sure he does, he'll go on vacation and rent half of HA. While we go on diets to pay for gas, Mortgage, utilities and food. Lets get this man out of office! We need to take back our country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • loganis509 says:

        I couldn't agree with your statement more. He needs to be gone, NOW!! and and the debt ceiling froze. Mtbe we should all bend over and kiss our butts goodbye. I hope not.

    9. @Conan776 says:

      Congress passed the spending in the first place. The 14th amendment resolves which law (the budget or the cap) the President should listen to.

      • Barry says:

        This was the beginning of many misunderstandings. First (liar) Pelosi and company (prez included) did not pass a budget which is why this fiscal year is a month to month budget battle. Since her control in 2007 the deficits have risen to unprecedented levels. Next we have a POTUS who only quotes the constitution (questionably out of context) when it suits his purpose, otherwise he totally disregards it.

    10. John says:

      What next?

    11. richard storti says:

      Why hasn't someone started the process to impeach Obama? He should be impeached before he does more harm to our freedom. America is a beautiful country, I'm so proud that I grew up in American and always knew freedom. Please save our country.

    12. Lawrence Kallus says:

      I believe that one of the best explanations of the present budget dispute is to compare European type democratic socialism with our "free enterprise" democracy. Look at what percent of gdp is spent by government as opposed to private spending. There is much talk about a balanced budget amendment, but a different approach might be to limit ALL spending, no matter what for, to a fixed percentage, say 20%. By all spending, I mean ALL, of every type whatsoever. No exceptions!!!!! If it is necessary to increase military spending,then something else must be reduced. If medicare costs increase, then social security payments are reduced. Our elected representatives can fight it out, after all that is what we are paying them to do. European countries government spending is much higher as a percent of gdp. We should adopt such a limit then let congress negotiate who gets how much of a pie whose size is fixed. This would give them an opportunity to fight for their constituents or special friends, get lots of publicity, keep their jobs even if their individual fights are unsuccessful. I live in Alabama where we have something called proration. It is a fancy word for: there's no more money. The screaming is very load, but somehow life goes on.

    13. NoMoreKoolAid says:

      This Administration and the Liberals in office, as well as the Federal Reserve are out of control and need to be stopped. What can we do that we aren't doing to stop this runaway government?

    14. George Colgrove, VA says:

      We are taking in an average of $185 billion each month. Our debt service is an average of $34 billion each month. We have the cash to pay the debt service. The problem with the way the federal workforce is managing the debt is that the total debt expense is over $400 billion annually and we are only budgeted to pay $280 billion of that interest – meaning that $120 billion of that interest is rolling back into more debt. The basic reason why the federal workers want to increase the nations debt is that they would have to cut at least $120 billion in annual expenses – or $1.2 trillion in 10 years, just to service the debt with real cash. This does not count for the additional $1.5 trillion in annual cuts ($15 trillion in 10 years) that have to be made just to balance the budget. The federal workforce and congress are both saying that we need to use debt to pay off debt. This is crazy! What is also on federal worker's minds is that the Dept of Treasury hocked their pensions which are already unfunded (remember that $61 trillion of unfunded mandates?) They desperately want to drive the country in debt so they can walk away with these egregious benefits that in themselves will default.

    15. Amazed says:

      When is the Congress going to initiate proceedings for Treasonous acts by our sitting President?

      • Redfray says:

        They can not, because they would recieve the same judgement. We need to replace all of them! Most all of them are irresponsible of the constitution making them all treasonous subjects in the courtroom.

      • Tim Az says:

        Certainly not before the 2012 election.

    16. Mark C says:

      If the Constitution or rule of law gets in the way of this administration they just ignore it or reinterpret it to allow the pursuit of their agenda

    17. Jax Tico says:

      This president, or any other, can't do anything by himself. He will need people who will obey his orders to do this or any other unconstitutional act. The Thief-in-Chief has a talent for having others do his dirty work, so he can sidestep blame. Jail or some greater punishment has got to be on the table for the people who knowingly follow and implement unlawful orders. Sedition is a real crime that is not prosecuted even thou it is committed regularly by our government officials in DC.

      Bureaucrats and libtards that say they were just following orders must be held accountable for their actions. It is time to take the gloves off, so all who actively seek to subvert the constitution will know that it is not only unacceptable, but unlawful.

      • George Colgrove, VA says:

        Fully Agree – these bureaucrats need to stop hiding behind themselves. The federal government would be nothing if these people did not comply with the illegal activity they do every day. A TSA agent molesting airline passengers are federal workers "complying". These people need to be held just as responsible as the politicians. They need to stop hiding.

      • Steve says:

        AMEN! All in favor of initiating criminal investigations of all those seditious individuals (BHO, Geitner, Reid, Duncan, Sunstein, et. al) please raise your hands.

    18. June says:

      Obama was elected as the President and took the oath to follow the Constitution. He hasn't done that and that should mean impeachment. I am tired of this administration making its own laws and doing everything behind closed doors and lying, cheating and doing their best to ruin our country. We do not want to be socialists, have a one world government, or no longer have America. They have done so much damage to us and plan on more. This is our country, not just theirs. The Constitution works very well for everyone, if it is followed and held up as the law of the land. Just look at what a mess everthing is when it isn,t followed.

    19. Tim Az says:

      I agree Jax. If we don't make an example of them by charging them with sedition. Then we might as well grab our ankles and prepare for the worst and hope it's over quickly every time they want to take us for a ride. Had enough yet?

    20. @SpecKK says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoJ3Zgk8fEU&fe
      Senator Lee used a public question session on Cut, Cap Balance to smack down 14th amendment abuse. He used the 14th's language to show that Secretary Geithner would be failing his constitutional oath if he failed to pay debt service from incoming funds first.

      A quick reading notes debt "authorized by law", and section 5 re-emphasizes congress's power to enforce the 14th amendment. Any debt above congress's statutory debt ceiling is not authorized by law and is unconstitutional.

      Since the 14th explicitly calls out pensions and military service, our social security withholdings and active duty military salaries are first in line after debt service. I don't even care if the Liberal executive exercises prerogatives on where to spend the rest of our money. They end up either publicly stinting popular government services, or demonstrating that we can live on a balanced budget without growing government 1 step further. This would even give the markets some stability as opposed to tax laws changing drastically every year.

      Aside from living within our means, Ron Paul took a swipe at the Fed by suggesting they could forgive over a Trillion in debt to the US Treasury to keep us spending in the near future (decreasing the amount of interest we pay to the Fed and the amount of power they have fits with Paul's biases).

    21. guest says:

      Your Graph Isn't Inflation Adjusted. Of course it's going to look like that

    22. TJ Parker says:

      Naughty naughty. Don't you know how to use log-scale charts? Innumeracy runs wild.

    23. Chris says:

      It appears to me that it is time to do what it is our duty to do. . .replace this government.

      We do not have the luxury of leaving this country for a new land. This government is indeed broken beyond repair. It is corrupt, completely disregards the Constitution, and expects that it is us who are subject to it. WE THE PEOPLE do not have to give up our power, and the states do not have to cow to the federal government. Nothing has changed, and nothing will as long as we keep the same two-party system, with the same politicians. It does not matter whether they are Republican or Democrat. They do not listen to the voters, they do not uphold the Constitution, and they definitely do not put this country before their own devious agendas, PERIOD!

    24. Sam in Nokesville says:

      The power to execute actions base on the 14th Amendment are clearly stated in it's final section, Section 5: "The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." The Congress and not the Executive Branch is deem the custodian of actions and not Cass Sunstein and his goons. Elite Americans don't want us being a nation under God and now they don't want us to be a nation under the Constitution! The battle for the soul of America is being waged between Heaven and Hell and in the end, Heaven shall triumph even if it means the end of the U.S. as prior governments learned when they thought they could mock God with impunity. May God Save America!

    25. Chris says:

      This is an echo chamber of unoriginal thought.

    26. Pingback: La Decimocuarta Enmienda: El truco desesperado, taimado y peligroso de la izquierda | Heritage Libertad

    27. charles says:

      In response to "Sam in Nokesville" Dear Sam: When you present a political viewpoint, please don.t invoke God. (1) It does not impress that you are a religious person, and therefore more likely to be correct. (2) If you know God and have a special relationship with Him, He will hear you even if you pray or speak to Him quietly in your mind. Again, let your arguments stand on their own merits. The way that you try to present your arguments seems to assume that God agrees with you, is on YOUR side, and will do your bidding. Keep your relationship with God special and private. We have not asked you to share it with us. It would seem to me that God would find it offensive for some to say what he will or will not do, what side he would take in political arguments, and what he, in general, should and should not do. Talk to Him in private.

    28. Charles says:

      In general, God should not be invoked when presenting political arguments. To give a quick example, consider the following: 1st party: "God swore that He was giving this land to me forever". 2nd party: "That may well be true, but in a dream last night, He spoke to me and said that because of your evil ways He was taking it back and giving it to me. I would greatly appreciate it if you would vacate immediately. Let your arguments stand on thier own merits. Thanks, Charles

    29. gDog says:

      Interesting how this buffoon conveniently ignores WHO has raised the debt ceiling in the past. So many inconvenient FACTS are ignored too. So much easier to cling to beliefs than learn, than understand. This ass does nothing but stir the emotions of the ignorant who will surely repeat their rhetoric to any fool who will listen.
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/wh

    30. gDog says:

      Interesting how this buffoon conveniently ignores WHO has raised the debt ceiling in the past. So many inconvenient FACTS are ignored too. So much easier to cling to beliefs than learn, than understand. This ass does nothing but stir the emotions of the ignorant who will surely repeat their rhetoric to any fool who will listen.

    31. James Monroe says:

      This mis-reading of the 14th Amendment is so pathetic it can not be made with a atraight face. … And the President's supporters claim he is a Constitutional law professor!

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