Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Liberals Cheer Imperial Presidency

Nancy Pelosi was on Face the Nation this past Sunday, advising President Obama to break the law to counter the upcoming fight over the debt ceiling. Not only was she advising him to violate his oath of office to “uphold the laws,” but she was urging him to abrogate the authority of the very Congress of which she is a member and move yet closer to an Imperial Presidency.

“If I were president I would use the 14th amendment,” she said, “which assures that our debt must always be paid.”

Firstly, the 14th amendment does not do what she claims. The amendment was passed following the Civil War and had to do with settling issues revolving around the abolition of slavery and the readmission of the rebel states back into the Union. The whole purpose of the debt clause was to assure that the US would pay the North’s costs of fighting the war but would not pay the costs incurred by the states that rebelled.

It reads, in part that, “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.” That is the part that assures that the costs incurred by the North in fighting the Civil War will be absorbed by the government. It goes on to say that, “But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States,” which is to assure that the costs incurred by the southern states which had rejoined the Union would be written off.

The wording and meaning of those statements is utterly clear. It talks about validity, "the validity of the debt shall not be questioned," but it says nothing about how, when or in what manner any of those debts will be paid.

The debt ceiling law may be stupid, it may be illogical, it may even be philosophically wrong, but it is the law. It was passed by Congress and signed by the Executive, and the sitting President is bound by the oath of his office to abide by it. If he does not he should be impeached, and it is a member of Congress who is advising him to break that law.

If Pelosi, or anyone else, thinks that the debt ceiling law is unconstitutional, then they should take that challenge to the Supreme Court with the 14th Amendment as the basis, but the solution is not to tell the President to simply ignore it in violation of his oath and to the detriment of the balance of power in our government.

Paul Krugman has come up with several methods for Obama to circumvent the intentions of Congress, including a $1 trillion platinum coin and, today, some silly fantasy called a “moral obligation coupon.” Pelosi wants him to simply break the law to do so, despite being a member of Congress herself.

Why are today’s liberals so enthusiastic about an imperial presidency?


bruce said...

Because it's their side that is the Imperium. When it is the opposition, they cry foul and usurper and " Bad Imperial President" and so on. It's okay when they do it.

By the way, wasn't it Pelosi who said "this will be the most ethical Congress ever" or somesuch when she became Speaker? I think I broke a rib laughing, and I have no ass after that either.

bruce said...

And Paul Krugman's arguments are ludicrous. Ok, I'm not any kind of economist, except the normal kind - I can't borrow money to pay the bills I've already accrued. My outgo has to be equal or less than income. Oh and my bank doesn't take funny money or coupons. I guess PK is a different kind of economist.

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