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The plain wording of the Constitution requires unlimited levels of debt?

June 29, 2011

Is that really what HuffPo is arguing?

14th Amendment: Democratic Senators See Debt Ceiling As Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON — Growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for a deal that would raise the debt ceiling, Democratic senators are revisiting a solution to the crisis that rests on a simple proposition: The debt ceiling itself is unconstitutional.

…By declaring the debt ceiling unconstitutional, the White House could continue to meet its financial obligations, leaving Tea Party-backed Republicans in the difficult position of arguing against the plain wording of the Constitution.

Coming soon: setting federal spending levels in annual budget bills is unconstitutional!

Let’s not mince words: anybody pushing this line of argument is so full of it that no amount of mouthwash will ever make that smell better. No kidding, man, you’re going to have that taste in your mouth forever.

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.

“Authorized by law.” That’s the “plain wording of the Constitution.” And who authorizes the public debt by law?

Congress. That’s who. Borrowing money is actually one of Congress’ enumerated powers. That also implies – tell me if I’m going too far, now – that also implies that Congress can decide not to borrow money, or to borrow this much, but not that much.

So let’s recap: Congressional Democrats and the Huffington Post are pushing the idea that Congress performing its Constitutional duties is unconstitutional.

I suppose we should be glad they’re at least noticing the Constitution, even if they don’t understand it.

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