July 25, 2011

Handy Debt Ceiling Facts

Sam Smith

That 14th Amendment line about not questioning the validity of the public debt is a pretty lame excuse for presidential solo action on the debt ceiling, but bear in mind that it would buy time. By the time the courts had ruled against it being used, Boehner and Barack might finally have worked things out.

The Congress doesn’t have the right to rewrite the Constitution and create a little super Congress that would limit the real Congress’ ability to review and amend. Reid and McConnell should be ashamed of themselves.

The debt ceiling is not a constitutional requirement, but a piece of legislative persuasion that has been ignored repeatedly since it was first dreamed up in 1917. This would be a good time to ignore it again.

Both Boehner and Obama like to come up with deals that involve rules for the course of our society over, say, the next ten years. There are two problems with this. First, no one has been able to predict what America will be like ten years in the future. Second, any given Congress or any given day in any given year can say, forgetaboutit.

As a general rule, while political posturing is routine behavior in Washington, it is generally not wise to use it when the whole economy is at stake.