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View Diary: More on Section 4 of the 14th Amendment and the debt ceiling (45 comments)

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  •  So the president could redirect Federal spending (7+ / 0-)

    ... to make sure the debt is paid?  I imagine an executive order suspending payments to defense contractors, members of Congress, big corporate vendors to government and the like while Congress dithers about the debt ceiling.

    Is this a feasible course of action?  Don't pay people who'll bring heat on Congressional Republicans?  It might not cover the nut, but would be a way to tell the Visigoths to back away from the city gates.

    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:24:42 AM PST

    •  It is more than feasible (6+ / 0-)

      It seems mandated by the 14th Amendment.

      •  So not paying Federal workers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Armando, J M F, nextstep

        ... including the sainted troops, could be an emergency measure the president would be forced into if Congress tries to take the debt hostage again.  Wonder how that would play out in public opinion?

        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

        by Dallasdoc on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 06:31:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point is (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, J M F, furi kuri, profh

          the unconstitutionality of the game the GOP is playing and what the Constitution would require the PResident to do in response should be a part of the conversatio right now.

          The President's team is misplaying this point imo.

          •  You're right, but only to a certain point. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cynndara

            Faithfully executing the provision of the 14th Amendment that you cite is somewhat of an esoteric issue shrouded in legalese to the common folk. Not having money to pay the troops, or send out SS checks, because of a R tantrum, not so much.

            Rather than hanging our hat on legal principles, I like your "line item veto" analysis of the situation:

            Debt limit not increased? Fine. Prioritize payments from the money we do have - pay troops, SS recipients - stiff weapons manufacturers, agribusiness welfare, oil and gas subsidies. "Poke" the crisis by shutting down public access to parks, for example, or mail service over a period of time.

            That'll bring them back to the table agreeing to pay the bills they themselves approved, imho.

            “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Dreamer.

            by chuco35 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:05:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Congress is in the habit of passing (0+ / 0-)

            un-Constitutional laws. Think DOMA and DADT, just recently.

            I suspect that one reason they can be so cavalier about the Constitutionality of the laws they pass is that they don't expect the law to be enforced against themselves and their friends. It's only sucker Democrats, goodie-two-shoes that obey the law, regardless. In other words, the law, by the "rule of law" gang, is just another mechanism to insure dominance. The law is their familiar because it lets them deprive others of their welfare and even their lives without leaving any fingerprints. The law is just another tool in their aresenal of weapons to subdue people they don't like.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:43:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which is exactly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hannah

              why the rank-and-file Republicans, Tea Partiers, and rednecks are all for drowning the government in a bathtub.  They KNOW that the law is a tool of dominance by the rich bastards, so they'd just as soon be rid of it.

        •  It wont be popular. But that is the law. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Armando
          •  Look It Badman. (0+ / 0-)

            There is indeed a shit load of fat in our budget, from aircraft we don't need, to checks we write to big business for stuff we can do without. As Armando well points out, freezing the debt ceiling would give Obama a free hand to direct the use of federal funds as he sees fit, only to those targets that are worthy, for example,  and not to those that are nothing but sops, or to use against scumbag Rs -- such as freezing funds for projects in KY, TX, parts of IL.

            Line item veto in the hands of Obama? With the justification of saving the country from an R tantrum? Hard for me to ask for more.

            “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Dreamer.

            by chuco35 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:15:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It would crash the bond market (0+ / 0-)

        immediately because you now have introduced uncertainly into the equation since all of this will depend on the resolution of a lawsuit.  

        It might make sense as a legal strategy - but as an economic one it is a terrible idea.  

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:40:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By the time you consider this (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuco35, nytcek

          option, the economic damage will have been done.

          This would be a salve.

        •  I think what Armando proposes, paying our debt (0+ / 0-)

          by increasing the limits through executive fiat, is better for the markets than O simply stiffing creditors by declaring a default and stating the debt (or a specific portion of it) will simply not be paid unless and until the Rs change their votes.

          “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Dreamer.

          by chuco35 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:21:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I get that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elmo

            but no US Debt holder is going to like the uncertainly introduced by an almost certain lawsuit.

            It would tank the Treasury Market.

            The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

            by fladem on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:23:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think what would tank T Market, and tank it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara

              big time, and maybe for a long time, would be Congress defaulting. That would end the uncertainty -- Congress saying "we ain't going to pay you back as we agreed".

              The lawsuit would be filed to stop O from paying current debt in default by borrowing more money despite Congress' objections. That would help the market, because it would give T-Bill holders hope of getting paid, despite getting stiffed by the Congress.

              “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Dreamer.

              by chuco35 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:35:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If we went there (0+ / 0-)

                it would cause a global depression.

                The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                by fladem on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:48:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You don't get to a default (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cynndara

                before going through significant pain in other segments. Shutting down the government, ending Social Security checks, etc.

                Politically, that would create so much pressure on the party that is causing the bottleneck, I sincerely doubt you would ever get to the point of a default on treasuries.

                Point of trivia: did you realize the U.S. already did default on treasuries through inadvertence once?

                http://www.mentalfloss.com/...

            •  Good. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chuco35

              Tanking the Treasury market would lead the US into the realization that it doesn't need to borrow money through Goldman Sachs at all.  The US PRINTS money.  The entire business about borrowing is a fiction going back to the times when we borrowed against gold reserves that actually backed the currency.  A fiat currency doesn't need to be borrowed from third parties.

              It's time for some serious re-organization and re-conceptualization about the entire US monetary system.  Tank the bond market.  The world will go on, the US government will still exist, and the only people too much terribly poorer will be the big money-center banks.  Oh, the HORROR!

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