There seemed to be growing calls for President Obama to end the debt ceiling crisis by invoking the 14th Amendment. http://salon.com/a/swz8fAA However, I still believe this is an unlikely approach for a few reasons.
Legality aside, using the 14th would be a bold move. President Obama is getting better at talking tough, but his actions are far behind. An end-round the debt ceiling law using the 14th Amendment is just too bold for this guy.
If he were to grow a spine, using the 14th while probably legal in fact, would still be controversial enough to cower said weak POTUS. First, the tea party would get enraged and probably march on Washington, this time with nooses on full display. Michele Bachmann has the fuse ready, saying Obama would be a dictator if he used the 14th.
Dusting off my old law degree, I see the legal issue is just cloudy enough to drag it through the whole process up to the Supreme Court. Judges are increasingly partisan, yet still intelligent. You can find one somewhere that will grant someone standing on the issue.
When the case reaches the Supremes, all bets are off. These guys have become the masters of backwards reasoning: Pick an outcome, then fill in the legal contortionisms you need to justify it and write an opinion. Heck, you can make another one-time-only, this-doesn’t-count-toward-future-cases decision like Bush v. Gore. The Republicans on the court would find a way to decide against (and weaken) Obama, even if they have to turn their backs on principles they used to hold dear (just for this one case, they’d say).
Here’s the part of the 14th Amendment at issue:
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.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Off the top of my head, there seems to be plenty of wiggle room for them in “authorized by law” and “Congress shall have power.”
Even if President Obama were bold enough to do it (which he’s not), there is a way for his opponents to confound an attempt to use the 14th Amendment to solve the debt ceiling crisis.
“House passes GOP bill to raise the debt ceiling” declares the mainstream media, as if it does anything to help move us toward a resolution of the debt ceiling crisis. They spent at least the last 36 hours treating this vote as if it was the final vote on a bill to raise the debt ceiling. Everyone knows it will not pass the Senate or be signed by President Obama.
All this really is, is the Republicans setting up an argument to use later after the economy crashes. They will say, “It’s not our fault. We passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling. It was the Democrats that didn’t do their job.” Do they really expect anyone who doesn’t wear teabags to buy this?
The cost of this stunt is it shut down negotiations on a real solution for many days. On Tuesday, these will be days that we all wished they would have spent more wisely.
My first question is where does the money come from. If you can pay them just from money brought in by their sport (tickets, concessions, merchandising), it could work. However, it cannot come at the expense of the non-athlete students.
How about paying all players half the pro league minimum. Pay it out of a separate fund raised by donations from boosters & other sponsors. Also if you want to hold onto the illusion of student-athlete, tie the salary to academic performance: “Don’t make the grade; don’t get paid.”
On a side note, when I hear about this debate I don’t like the implication that because the athletes are from poor backgrounds that they are more tempted to cheat the money rules.
Paying the athletes might make the stars stay in college longer before turning pro. That would be better for fans. It might be a good deal for the ones that don’t make the pros. They will have a free degree and maybe some seed money for a business or down payment for a home. That’s a nice consolation prize.
This week the “children” in Washington are about to run the country off the rails with this phony debt ceiling crisis. Last night I listened to both speeches. I didn’t sleep well. (I couldn’t turn the brain off, then WiseBoy decided to wake up at 4:15). My first reaction during President Obama’s speech was that he seemed to be fed up and finally ready to take a strong stand. (And, yes, I noticed he chose to give the speech from the “I Shot Osama bin Laden in the Eye” memorial podium). On second thought, he’s done this before. He has given tough speeches where he seems adjacent to anger, then followed up by caving in later.
Speaker Boehner repeated the implication that the current deficit was caused by spending by the Obama administration and has nothing to do with a lack of revenues do to high unemployment and a continuation of tax cuts for those who really did not need them. (Also, we now have just started to count what we spend on increasingly pointless wars as part of the deficit). I found it laughable when he said the president “would not take yes for an answer.” It really is the Republicans that are not taking yes for an answer as President Obama gives up more every day. Then he said Obama wants a blank check! How can he say this when Obama has already caved in by offering to match the increase with billions in cuts? When I heard “the crisis atmosphere that he has created” I tuned out.
It is about beating the other guy, not solving the nation’s problems. These are difficult times and now they are playing the blame game on this phony issue.
Ignorance really is bliss. I get angry about what’s going on because 1) I have real knowledge based on a foundation of intellectual honesty; and 2) I care. Put them together and you have some raging wisdom to share.
The truth can be very frustrating. It is much easier to just coast along every day. In The Matrix, Neo has to choose to take a red pill or a blue pill: The red pill opens his mind and lets him see the truth of the world he is living in. The blue pill lets him continue to live on in peaceful ignorance.
I’ll try to pass out some red pills here, but coat them in humor so they taste like candy and go down a bit easier. Of course, there are some people so steeped in (and proud of) their own ignorance that they gleefully cede power to those who use it against their interests. It is almost to the point where they need to be chased down, tackled, and have the red pill jammed down their damn throats. If only it were that easy to convince them that they are being fooled.
A lot of the people choosing ignorance are neither stupid nor evil. I think they can be reached. The problem may be that often their hearts are preventing them from using their minds. It is not that they are too loving, but that they are too loyal. I’ll develop this theme more in future posts, but for now consider how loyalty has led some people to honestly believe that waterboarding is not torture. (The “thinking” goes: “My team says it is not torture, therefore I will agree.”)