Bryan Fischer: 14th Amendment, debt crisis: somebody needs to re-read Constitution
Monday, August 01, 2011 9:24 AM

By Bryan Fischer  

Follow me on Twitter:   @ BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”  

The 14th Amendment reads, in part: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law...shall not be questioned.”  

The Constitution here is talking about debt, not obligations, promises, commitments or buying chalk for America’s teachers. It is talking about debt, money that has been borrowed and must be paid back. That figure is currently $14.5 trillion and counting.  

And this debt must be “authorized by law.” Article I, Section 8 says, “The Congress shall have Power...To borrow money on the credit of the United States...” In other words,Congress and Congress alone has the power to raise the limit on the nation’s credit card. The president has no authorization whatsoever to increase the debt limit all by his lone, none, zero, zip, nada.   

Only debt that is authorized by Congress is “authorized by law.” So if the president were to raise the debt ceiling on his own, it would be both unconstitutional and flatly illegal. The president would be violating the Constitution and breaking the law on top of violating his oath of office in front of God and everybody.  

The federal government currently is receiving north of $200 billion every month. That money just keeps rolling on in. It requires just north of $20 billion a month to service our national debt and so avoid default. In other words, the Treasury is taking in ten times what it needs to service the debt. Default is both unnecessary and inexcusable. In fact, only President Obama can plunge us into default by refusing to allow the Secretary of the Treasure to satisfy our debt obligations as a first priority.  

It’s important to note that Social Security and Medicare obligations, as important as they are, are not debts. We will not go into default if those payments are adjusted or even suspended. In fact, these programs are not even “entitlements” since the laws that created them allow Congress to change them anytime it chooses. Nobody is “entitled” to anything under Social Security and Medicare.  

But the straight truth is that there is enough money in that $200 billion a month to service the debt, honor Social Security and Medicare commitments, pay active duty military, and have billions left over. We might be forced to live without the shrimp-on-a-treadmill studies, but something tells me we will survive.  

Democrats are trying to pull a linguistic sleight of hand and confuse the American public. The president and other Democrats have been substituting the word “obligations” for the word “debt,” and warning us about defaulting on our “obligations,” such as Social Security and Medicare. But “obligations” are not “debt,” and default is only default if it is a failure to service debt.   

An increasing number of Democrats and liberal bloviators in the media are urging President Obama to invoke this grossly distorted reading of the 14th Amendment (substituting “obligations” for “debts”) and unilaterally, on his own recognizance, raise the debt limit of the United States.  

This act would be so brazen, so unprecedented, and so wrong that it would be an impeachable offense.  

Nevertheless, it is a move the president is likely to make. And worse, he’s likely to get away with it. The House should impeach him for shredding the Constitution and violating his oath of office, but it won’t. The Senate should convict him, but it won’t. For the first time since the days of King George III, America will have a de facto king who has arrogated to himself the liberty to impose unconscionable financial burdens on us and our posterity at will.  

The chances are high that Congress will stalemate on the debt ceiling “crisis.” I put “crisis” in parentheses because the Aug. 2 date is arbitrary, a date manufactured to put pressure on fiscally responsible Republicans to fold like a cheap Bedouin tent in a stiff desert breeze.  

The chief economist at Wells Fargo thinks that Treasury could string things out as far as November, the markets have not tanked as everybody warned (which is bugging the Washington politicos who want shear, unadulterated panic sweeping Wall Street), and Treasury has admitted it has a plan for who gets paid on Aug. 3.  

In other words, the Aug. 2 deadline is a manufactured deadline. The world will not end on Aug. 2. Timothy Geithner is the Chicken Little and Harold Camping of economists rolled into one.  

The state of Minnesota shut down for almost three weeks, and nobody noticed. You most likely did not read one, single solitary story about it. Why? Because Minnesota state government limited itself to “critical” state functions and prioritized payments. The closest thing to a crisis that occurred was that the bureaucracy that  permitted bars to buy more booze was shuttered.  

But if Congress does in fact stalemate, the president will somberly step up to the microphones on Aug. 3, and read what the teleprompter tells him to say. “These are extraordinary days in America, and extraordinary solutions are required. Congress has failed to do its job, so I must do mine. If Congress will not lead, I will. In order to avoid a catastrophic national emergency, gridlock in the markets, and to keep the Republicans from pushing your grandmother off the bus in her hospital bed, I hereby invoke the 14th Amendment and borrow umpteen gazillion dollars on the credit of the United States.”  

This would provoke a constitutional crisis of graver proportions than the financial crisis itself. For if the president does this, and gets away with it, we will no longer be a constitutional Republic. We will be under the rule of a tyrant.  

All hail, King Barack Hussein Obama I.   

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)