U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment, Sec. 4: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned." Congressional Democrats argued Wednesday if "public debt" cannot be questioned, the debt ceiling debate is a total charade, outdoing other GOP frauds.
Read the text, Tea Baggers! Public debt, authorized by law, which "shall not be questioned" -- not just unambiguous but appropriately referencing the suppression of emboldened "insurrections" that defy federal authority! How can Obama miss this bountiful double-bagger -- like Lincoln, he'd be defending the Constitution and taking down a rebellion.
Were President Obama to abide by the letter of the Constitution and take the 14th (instantly, like taking the 5th), he'd solve the whole debt problem in one fell swoop -- pleasing Wall Street, Democrats, Republicans, pensioners and Medicare doctors alike, including, by my own statistical count, 92% of Americans ready for the next melodrama over symbolism. Of course, that much courage takes more backbone than yet revealed by this wariest of presidents, but my audacity of hope springs eternal. "Yes, you can" read the Constitution, Mr. President, with the strict literalism of bible-bangers. Just do it.
Right off, all federal obligations would be covered, our enormous paper debts redeemed by our most sacred document. No mess, no fuss, no clean-up. The Treasury would have more way more law on its side than 9/10s of what presidents do, even were goofy libertarians to rush into court. At the worst, way in the future, the Supreme Court might whine about ignoring precedent (though debt ceilings arrived after WWI, not with Founding Fathers). But what do you do about bills paid years ago -- ask for your money back? Right! You can, as they say, take the 14th all the way to the bank, any bank, any time.
Terrorist Republican baggers would love such presidential boldness because they could rear up spouting impeachment chatter. They'd continue their anti-government death trip while slobbering over Tea Party terminators. Citing Obama's own skepticism about invoking the 14th, hear the wingnnut screams, "No president can just pay absolutely legal obligations -- Congress controls all the purse strings." Rightwing whackos with visions for years of impeaching this illegitimate leader will seize his first ex-cathedra violation, but to no avail.
Establishment Republicans would sigh in relief since they they'd escaped the deep quicksand on Social Security and Medicare from years of negligence and the hated Ryan budget. Fretting Repugs already fear a Gingrich-like tsunami if blamed for shutting down the government. Sure, House fat cats would cry and moan, but not for long. The president will have taken them off a wriggling hook, all their own doing.
Wall Street would surge, not giving a hang why federal cash keeps coming, as long as the status quo remains status and quo. If Washington ideologues had overturned the subsidy-laden pork barrel of federalism today, then unpaid powerful and punitive corporations would take GOP hides. Default would give reactionary corporate hooligans such heartburn, they'd declare Armageddon, scaring the bejesus out of the bond vigilantes, which in turn spooks the stock market, that depository of Republican wealth. So the moment the president confirms the Constitution rules and debts will be paid, who cares what the Congress says or does? Not lobbyist moneybags. What's Congress to do -- send its Sergeant of Arms to arrest bill-paying Treasury clerks?