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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/30/11

The American Public Debt Crisis: What Would FDR Do?

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WW-FDR-D?  What would FDR do, in the present public debt crisis?  While I am not an expert on the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, I was born during that presidency.  I well remember listening to the Fireside Chats of FDR on our old Air King radio (my father was an Air King executive, and I still have one of those radios.)  In our household, there was God and there was FDR, and sometimes the two were confused, as it seemed both could work miracles.

I am firmly convinced that, in the ongoing public debt crisis, FDR would not hesitate to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which requires that the validity of the public debt never be cast into question.  That means that any President has the unilateral right and duty, in honoring his Oath of Office to our Constitution, to prevent any action, or inaction, which might invalidate our public debt, as a default surely would.

The above proposal was sent to President Obama and Vice President Biden a week ago, and finally our President has reacted to it, by stating that his lawyers advise against any unilateral presidential action to resolve the public debt crisis without Congressional consent.  So now our nation is being run by attorneys, with Barack Obama as the Attorney-in-Chief.  As a Constitutional lawyer himself, our President well understands that were he to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment, the matter would properly end up with the Supreme Court -- but here is the mystery: Why not take that action, why not honor his oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution including all of its Amendments?

Apparently, once more, President Obama prefers endless wrangling with the Grim Weeper and his Tea Party colleagues in the House of Representatives to a real solution to an urgent problem which may well result in our defaulting on our Public Debt.  That would have untold consequences, beginning with a massive upswing in interest rates on Federal obligations such as Treasury Bills and Bonds, which will ironically raise our public debt even further. Not to mention that the drastic decline in the U.S. dollar and our stock markets would wipe out considerable American wealth and property.

It has become very unlikely that any Congressional solution will emerge before the August 2 default date, which might be briefly extended if the U.S. Treasury can manipulate some funds and escalate the receipt of other funds.  FDR would have had the courage, not to  mention common sense, to seize a proper Constitutional remedy available to him in such a public debt crisis.  Apparently, Barack Obama does not have that same courage.  Our President needs to be reminded that public officials who violate their Oaths of Office can and should be impeached.  Perhaps Barack Obama can run that issue of impeachment past his attorneys -- and get some good advice from them, this time, to honor our Constitution.
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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)

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