“We Will Take Action”

So says “Cowboy” Carney

Oh really?

I’m sure that I don’t need to go over this given that we have such a Noted Constitutional Scholar as President, but we are a nation ruled by law and out Constitution has very specific guidelines on what each branch of government can and can not do.

Here are the sole powers of the President

Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3 – State of the Union, Convening Congress

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

The threat of default I think certainly falls under “extraordinary Occasions” it seems to me, and note that the Constitution the only power he has is to “convene both Houses.”

In other words, in effect lock them in Congress and say “y’all ain’t leaving until you solve this.”

There is nothing, absolutely nothing in the President’s delineated powers that give him the option or ability to bypass Congress on fiscal matters.

Now, let’s look at Congress. What is their responsibility?

Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Section 8 – Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9 – Limits on Congress

…No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

It is exceedingly clear that there is nothing that Obama can legally do, other than exhort Congress to actually do their job (which they have been miserable failures at). Now, he certainly can help matters by presenting a plan of his own that bears some semblance of reality to it but he CAN NOT unilaterally issue some degree to raise the debt ceiling. No way.

The 14th Amendment argument is specious. Here’s the relevant clause

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.

There is nothing here that gives the President some Caudillo-like power to over-step Congress and unilaterally spend more money. It says “the debt shall not be questioned.” This means that we can not disavow it and say we don’t owe it; not that we “can never be late on a payment.” Look, being late on a payment would have enormously deleterious effects on our credit rating and thus on our economy but that is simply NOT the same as “questioning” the debt and in no way can that even be possibly construed as an excuse for the President to assume in effect a dictatorial power over another branch of our government. If Congress royally screws the pooch and doesn’t do their jobs then it is OUR job to get rid of them and put in people who will.

As clearly stated above only Congress can “coin money”, so this idea some people are floating about Obama instructing Noted Tax Cheat Geithner to mint a couple of trillion dollar platinum coins to use as collateral is simply unconstitutional.

“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Is that so hard to understand?

On August 2nd we’ll pay the interest on the debt and decide what other bills we can pay, and the world’s credit markets will roast us. Interest rates will rise and our deficits and debt will really explode as we are forced to refinance our $20 some-odd trillion in liabilities at every higher cost.

Congress needs to pass something, and for God’s sake people we need to hold them all seriously accountable in the next election. But we also need to hold ourselves accountable, because we have all in our own way to varying degrees allowed this to develop.

We have to have a smaller government that spends a lot less money.

Or we will be bankrupt in a short period of time.

One Response to ““We Will Take Action””

  1. Gary from Jersey says:

    This has been going on for two years. Has anyone thought of, you know, actually challenging these evil bastids in court?

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