How can the debt ceiling be constitutional?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by appleisking, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    #1
    The 14th amendment sanctions all debt by the U.S as valid, so how can there be a limit on how much we can borrow if our borrowing power is inherently approved by the constitution?
    SECTION 4.

    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. 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, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    So what do people think? Do we really need congress to give the treasury permission to pay the bills, or can we just go ahead and borrow more and use the 14th amendment as an excuse?
     
  2. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #2
    It probably isn't, but nobody is going to call them out on it.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    lannister80

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    #3
    Yeah, I have to agree, it does not sound Constitutional.

    Just about every other country doesn't have a debt ceiling, because it makes no sense to incur debt and then have to argue about whether it should be serviced (of course it should).
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    #4
    I don't know about that. There are already clamors for the president to give the go ahead to the treasury using the 14th amendment.
     
  5. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    #5
    I heard it suggested (Maddow?) that this might amount to a Constitutional showdown between Congress—controlling the purse strings, and the President—protecting the full faith and credit of the United States.

    The speculation was that if it went to the Supreme Court, that they would rule in Obama's favor, but the House would seek to impeach nonetheless.

    If so, we could be looking at a ton of drama in the following months.

    Oh joy.
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #6
    Well, yes, average people will call them out on it. I'm talking about the fact that the Government won't do anything about it.
     
  7. macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    Location:
    CT
    #7
    Does it say anything about when we have to pay off our debts or can we just keep incurring them indefinitely?
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    May 24, 2013
    #8
    No mention of when as far as I can see just that the debt is valid
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    Sydde

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    Aug 17, 2009
    #9
    I think the key clause is "... authorized by law ...". Congress must act to authorize the debt.
     
  10. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #10
    Yes, and the law to authorize it is passing the budget.
     
  11. macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    #11
    It's been hashed out in a couple places that the pres really does have the power to raise the debt ceiling in spite of congress. I'm not sure how much I like that idea but at this point I think the only way were going to have a functional government is to effectively limit congresses sway.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #12
    Bad idea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Cornelius_Sulla_Felix

    The problem the U.S. now has, such as it is, is the system of "checks and balances". The President, the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court all are separate centers of power and there are frequent deadlocks.

    It could make more sense if the President and Senate became figureheads and the House/Speaker ran the government. Then it would like like a parliamentary democracy. Sometimes I think that would be a good idea, but, the U.S. hasn't had a real constitutional crisis since the Civil War-- not too bad a record so far.
     
  13. macrumors G5

    ucfgrad93

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    #13
    I love how Obama's position has "evolved" concerning the debt ceiling.:rolleyes:
     

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  14. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    #14
    And yet he's technically right in 2013.

    Raising the ceiling isn't about new debt.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    squeeks

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    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Florida
    #15
    No, raising the debt ceiling does not mean they will borrow more, only that they are allowed to... However, the whole reason they want to raise it IS to borrow more, so in this case YES it is about new debt.
     
  16. macrumors 65816

    citizenzen

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    Mar 22, 2010
    #16
    I think you have a fair point. But it wasn't just Obama ...

    As ye sow ...
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    Dec 11, 2010
    #17
    I'm not sure why they use the debt ceiling at all...if a sustainable budget could be passed, than why do you need to vote on something you've already agreed on? It seems redundant.
     
  18. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #18
    No, raising the debt ceiling means we're going to pay debts we already established.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

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    Jun 20, 2010
    #19
    That doesn't make sense. How is borrowing more money going to pay debts already established? Isn't that like borrowing from Visa to pay Mastercard?
     
  20. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #20
    That seems pretty irresponsible.
     
  21. AhmedFaisal, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013

    Guest

    #21
    <snip>
     
  22. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #22
    Chile has one of those too.
     
  23. macrumors 603

    Michael Goff

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    Jul 5, 2012
    #23
    No, the debt ceiling has nothing to do with borrowing money except it establishes a limit that we can borrow. The debt limit is not borrowing money, so your question makes no sense. It is more like how credit limit works on a credit card, if you want to go by a normal analogy.

    Not that you can, because the Government works differently.

    Every time we make a budget, we estimate how much it will be in terms of how much money we get. Sometimes we're wrong, often we're wrong. The extra that we spend has to come from somewhere. We already spent it. So we have to borrow to make up for that. And then we have a debt limit, which is the limit for what we can borrow.

    And if we pass that, we're telling people we won't honor the debt we just accumulated.
     
  24. macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #24
    The Govt seems to be stuck in in a loop of spend everything and more, borrow everything and more.Then spend everything and more... This math cant sustain itself and something is going to break. Its ridiculous. Both sides are responsible. Vote them all out start over. its the only solution.
     
  25. macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #25
    Except that between them the current lot have reduced the deficit at a record rate.
     

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