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Although this may be old news to some, it was news to me, so I thought I would give it a post.

An article in the HuffPost has Geithner on record saying the 14th amendment of the Constitution requires the Federal government to honor its debts and thusly prevent default regardless of whether or not the debt ceiling is raised.

He says a USA default will not happen!  More after the jump /\

According to the article, on May 25 of this year Geithner said this when asked about the debt ceilig at a Politico Playbook breakfast by host Mike Allen:

"I think there are some people who are pretending not to understand it, who think there's leverage for them in threatening a default," Geithner said. "I don't understand it as a negotiating position. I mean really think about it, you're going to say that-- can I read you the 14th amendment?"

Geithner whipped out his handy pocket-sized Constitution. Allen tried to brush it aside. "We'll stipulate the 14th Amendment," he said.

"No, I want to read this one thing," Geithner insisted.

"It's paper clipped!" Allen observed, noting that Geithner's copy of the Constitution was clipped so that it would open directly to the passage in question.

"'The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for the payments of pension and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion' -- this is the important thing -- 'shall not be questioned," Geithner read.

And this:

"So as a negotiating strategy you say: 'If you don't do things my way, I'm going to force the United States to default--not pay the legacy of bills accumulated by my predecessors in Congress.' It's not a credible negotiating strategy, and it's not going to happen," Geithner insisted.

For proof, lets roll the tape:

This seems to add some cred to the possibility President Obama will use the 14th amendment option as an out to avoid default if the debt ceiling isn't raised, instead of folding to Republican demands that raising taxes on the rich not be a part of the deal.  At least I hope so!

Originally posted to Doctor Who on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:37:31 PM PDT

  •  It sure feels good having a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    confitesprit, whaddaya, shantysue

    constitutional scholar as POTUS every once in a while.

    This comment may not be reproduced or excerpted on other sites without my express written permission.

    by psilocynic on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 01:59:25 PM PDT

  •  I'm fairly confident (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    confitesprit, whaddaya

    in Geithner's regard for the 5th amendment, too.

    Probably keeps a copy in his back pocket.

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:00:25 PM PDT

    •  Actually, I'm more concerned with Holder's regard (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Edger, whaddaya

      for the 5th, as opposed to Geithner's.  I keep a copy on my desk, myself.

      •  That too... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        confitesprit

        But it's remotely conceivable there might still be some hope for Geithner to see reality before his wall street employers run out of customers.

        Holder? He's beyond hope now. He convicted himself a long time ago.

        Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

        by Edger on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:23:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very nice work, thanks for pointing me there. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Edger

          Yeah, I believe I know what you mean, and I seriously don't get that. I had similar feelings about Powell when he was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  More conservative than I, surely, but at least honest and with integrity.  That's what I thought about both of these guys (I sent off emails to both my Senators, Cantwell and Murphy, stating my unequivocal opposition to Mukasey when he was nominated for AG).

          I just do not understand what forces must be in play to get people to seemingly sell their souls like that.  I just don't.

          Point very much taken.

          •  Like Obama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            confitesprit

            Holder and Geithner are both highly intelligent very capable men who set very high goals for themselves and achieve the goals they set out to achieve.

            None of the three is incompetent at all.

            If they keep on accomplishing kinds of results they keep on accomplishing, it's because those results are what they set out to accomplish.

            People go into politics and high office for the same reason people go into any other 'industry', I think.

            To make money and/or accrue power to make money.

            All three of them will have high paying jobs or businesses after they leave office.

            Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

            by Edger on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:07:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, I certainly get that, but do you really think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Edger

              that is the main driving force here?  Their financial position after government?  That doesn't strike me as that big of a motivator, myself.  I mean, as you say, these are all incredibly capable people, that should be able to pretty much create their own future as they want.  No matter what that is, it will be very lucrative and likely high-profile.  And again, as you point out they're doing these things because they want to be doing these things.  No, it just doesn't add up to me that way, I'm afraid.

              Geithner will stay in banking and finance, and will continue to get obscenely rich.  That's obvious, even to me.  But Holder?  Serving on boards, being a partner in some big lobbying law firm; he's not going to go the way of Gonzales unless it's your position that he would if he stuck to his principles.

              Of course, the big mystery to me is Obama.  I do not get those positions from him, and he is obviously the one keeping Holder from pursuing these cases, at all.

              Just don't get it.

              Oh, I added a shortcut to your site.  Lots to read there.

              Thanks.

              •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                confitesprit

                I don't ascribe any higher motivations to them than I do to most other people.

                I don't think any of them "need" money now. They all probably have more than enough by your and my standards.

                They're after continuing to be "successful", that's all, I think.

                The world they live in, the world most of us live in, defines measure success by how much money a person makes - but after some point it becomes all about staying "there" - and "there" is a world of continuing to make money almost effortlessly, as an afterthought.

                In their own minds I'm sure they congratulate themselves and each other on having "served" their country. And they don't think of that as having "served" their country up to the plutocracy that employs them and allows them to be successful.

                There certainly not after becoming "losers", which is also defined in our society by how much money a person has, and none of them are monks or spiritual seekers after enlightenment.

                Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

                by Edger on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 03:47:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Follow Up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    confitesprit, whaddaya

    Apparently Red State says Republicans should pursue impeachment if President Obama orders that US debts be paid without a Congressional increase to the debt limit.

    To that I would respond:

    "If the President allows the US to default on its debt, might that not be a Constitiutional violation based on the wording in the 14th amendment, and might that not be an "impeachable offense"?

    Just pondering!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Thu Jun 30, 2011 at 02:09:16 PM PDT

  •  Interesting development. Thanks for posting this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya

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