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View Diary: Public debt of the United States shall not be questioned: the 14th Amendment and the debt ceiling (304 comments)

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  •  Why is that? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, FLS

    The debt ceiling effectively throttles the pace at which the government can pay debts, it doesn't eliminate the debts.

    That would seem to have a lot to do with this post.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:03:49 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Social Security payments (8+ / 0-)

      are not subect to this issue and will not be unless the US defaults on its debts.

      •  That's my fault for not being more clear. (0+ / 0-)

        I am sorry that I mentioned Social Security.  I was trying to raise an example of altering terms, not necessarily something that is subject to the debt ceiling.

        The original question, if you'll recall, was "why either/or"?

        You seem to present the case as a simple binary matter, when, in fact, it's not.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:31:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  terms of programs (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rolfyboy6, ozsea1, vcmvo2, Mary Mike

          are not equivalent to public debt.

          In terms of the olegal issue, yes, I discussed the legal issue.

          In terms of politics, Spocial SEcurity does not contirbute to thenational debt.

          •  Of course it does. (0+ / 0-)

            You have to look hard away and avoid natural consequences to believe otherwise.

            Par for the course here, of course, as that is a natural response for partisan political animals.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:08:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whatever man (0+ / 0-)

              you and other commenters seem intent of building their own reality.

              •  I just avoid denial. Your comment on Social (0+ / 0-)

                Security is patently wrong, but is, of course, completely in line with Democratic Party talking points.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:20:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's not wrong (0+ / 0-)

                  Indeed, it is the law.

                  •  It is wrong, and the law doesn't do anything about (0+ / 0-)

                    it.

                    The Social Security Trust Fund does  not consist of gold or any form of negotiable instrument. It consists of non-negotiable Treasure bills, a debt of the United State.

                    So long as there is a surplus of Social Security payments, all is well.  More money gets paid in, and the pile of government debt grows bigger.

                    Why?
                    Because the money goes into the General Fund, with only non-negotiable government paper actually held in the Trust Fund.

                    And -- you're a smart guy, I don't need to tell you what happens to money in the General Fund: It gets spent.  The baby boom created a sort of giant federal credit card: years and years of surpluses.

                    As we Boomers retire, that surplus is turning into a deficit, those T-bills come due.  As you have so pointedly admitted, they are a debt of the federal government and must get paid.  If there is no increase in revenue to make up for the deficit in Social Security, more debt must be incurred to make up the difference, new revenues must be raised, or Social Security benefits must be cut.

                    There really aren't many choices.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 05:28:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Social Security didn't create that debt. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Conservative Socialist

                      Social Security created those huge surpluses that Congress then borrowed and spent.

                      The obligation--debt--is to Social Security. That is, it's to all of us who've paid in (and some others).

                      The notion that Social Security is the problem is a gross distortion; essentially a GOP lie. The debt problem isn't Social Security, it's TO Social Security, because Congress has been spineless for decades, borrowing money that a future Congress would have to provide for repaying.

                      But to suggest that Social Security is the problem is as inane as suggesting China is the cause of our debt problem because they bought our debt instruments, too (which is to say, they loaned us money. So did Social Security). Blaming Social Security is blaming the victim.

                      "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

                      by ogre on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:10:33 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Tomato-tomahto. (0+ / 0-)

                        The Trust Fund was designed to be a big credit card for legislators.

                        What's inane is pretending that Social Security cannot cause federal debt or deficits. Yes, it requires the complicity of Congress, but -- that's exactly what it was designed to do: let Congress spend money we don't have, transferring the debt to future generations.

                        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                        by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:53:45 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wasn't the SS "trust fund" designed to be a "lock (0+ / 0-)

                          ...box," to reassure recipients that their contributions and the employer match would be there when they retired, and to try to mollify Republicans that SS was not a giveaway program but a sort of savings plan?

                          Is there history of the time that shows - as it was being enacted - sponsors planned it to be a loan office for other spending or, as you call it, a credit card?

                          I grant you that's how legislators (of both parties) have regarded it over time, just as they regard pension plan funding as fungible and available for shorter-term totally unrelated spending.

                          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                          by TRPChicago on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:46:00 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The "lock box" was and remains pure PR (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't really blame them for that.  A little creative hyperbole is the norm in politics. And -- other approaches probably weren't much (or any) better.  If the government sits on the cash, it has a negative economic impact because money is taken out of the economy.  If the money goes into non-government securities, there is more risk, although the return (over time -- not in any given five year period) will be higher.

                            But claiming that Social Security can't/doesn't increase the debt/deficit requires a very blinkered view.

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:00:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Dino, for once, I agree with you! ; -) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dinotrac

                            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                            by TRPChicago on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:03:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's about damned time!!! ;0) (0+ / 0-)

                            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                            by dinotrac on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:38:57 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

    •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      All debts will be honored. That 'authorized by law' language is subject to interpretation. It is possible that a court can interpret this as congress ability to regulate the rate of spending. After all congress in other parts of the Constitution is also given controls the to $$$.

      "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, . . . shall not be questioned."

      May the Schwartz be with you! http://www.ebaumsworld.com/endofworld.html

      by FLS on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:29:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the problem wiht 'authorized by law' is that (5+ / 0-)

        Congress has repeatedly and still is authorizing sums to be used for particular purposes well in excess in the aggregate of revenues, most famously during the Reagan and Bush II deficit festivals, and also saying that the expenditures they authorized and which were expended cannot now be paid because of a debt celinig which they most emphatically did not take into account when authorizing the expenditures still unpaid. So in a way, the debt and deficit problem is one created by Congress, and specifically Republican congresses, not the President at all. A conflict of laws created by ideology, and not the President's.

        But I do not notice Rs taking responsibility for this conflict of laws, especially when they send disproportionate not revenue backed expenditures to red states in disproportionate amounts.

      •  "authorized by law" in this context means, (0+ / 0-)

        that Congress authorized spending on a program at whatever level in a budget or continuing resolution.  Once that's done, the spending is authorized, and becomes part of the public debt as it happens.

        (IMO, IANAL)

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