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The Trail to Tyranny

Though the Independence Day fireworks in Washington have ceased, the real firestorm to protect America’s freedom is just beginning. As the battle over raising of the debt ceiling is raging, the Obama Administration is, once again, toying with the idea of subverting the US Constitution to pursue its ideological agenda.

Amid the stalemate in the debt ceiling talks, brought about by the Democrats’ insistence on including tax hikes in a debt ceiling deal, the President is trying to cut Congress out of the equation. As the August 2nd deadline for raising the nation’s debt limit looms, the Administration and its Congressional allies have insisted that an over $2 trillion increase in the national debt ceiling is an imperative; however, they’re offering no spending reduction plans that would reduce the out-of-control deficit.

Republicans aren’t willing to sign on to a debt ceiling deal that doesn’t include dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, which is a reasonable position.

As Obama has a way of getting his way, regardless of legality, his Administration is now seeking a loophole in the 14th Amendment which would allow him to unilaterally increase the country’s credit limit.

The 14th Amendment, passed in 1866 as part of the Civil War amendments, was structured to grant citizenship to all naturalized citizens of the United States, thereby freeing previously bound slaves. This begs the question: How does this provides Obama an opportunity to exploit its wording to single-handedly increase the debt limit?

The answer is lies in a section of the Amendment that states “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.”

The Administration is claiming that this gives the President the power to avert a debt default at all costs, even if Congress doesn’t approve the increase in the debt ceiling. That logic is not only constitutionally flawed, but historically flawed as well.

There was no such thing as a debt ceiling in 1866; the United States simply didn’t have one. The first ceiling was implemented in 1917 to prevent the U.S. Government from borrowing more on bonds to pay for the war efforts during World War I.

Since that time, the United States has increased the debt limit 74 times. The limit has been increased over $10.1 trillion since 1990, with over $5 trillion being authorized since September, 2007. In 1866, however, the concept of a national credit limit simply didn’t exist.

As such, using the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to subvert the Constitutional separation of powers is dangerous and devious. Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution assigns the power of the purse strings to the U.S. House of Representatives. No spending measure, or borrowing on the nation’s public credit, can take place aside from Congressional authorization.

The caveat of the 14th Amendment was to ensure that bonds issued to pay for Civil War efforts were paid. The language actually states that all “legally authorized” debt in the name of the United States would not be questioned. If Obama authorizes Treasury Secretary Geithner to borrow on the public credit, without Congressional approval, he will have violated Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. As such, any debt incurred by the Obama Administration would not be “legally authorized.”

It is time for the American People to stand up and be heard in the hallowed halls of Washington. The latest move by the White House to circumvent Congress is escalating this debt ceiling crisis to a whole new level – a Constitutional crisis.

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