The Idiotic 14th Amendment Argument
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2023-05-22 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 698 references Ignore this thread
The Idiotic 14th Amendment Argument
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Can we stop with the crazy?

Here's the clause that has CNN and a bunch of other wide-eyed nuts salivating:

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.

Key: Authorized by law.

All spending must originate in the House (per the Constitution.)  However, Congress is the source of such limitation as well, and nothing in that clause -- or anywhere else in the Constitution says that Congress may not bind the execution of said spending based on the receipt of taxes to offset any debt that may otherwise be required.

This is the same thing your bank does.  You have $100,000 of income.  You also have a credit card with a $20,000 credit line.  If you keep invading it on the premise that you expect to earn $110,000 this year, because you are paid partially on commission or bonus, the bank can refuse to increase the line if that income does not materialize.  Thus, when you reach the $20 large that's all there is.

Likewise you can execute a Will that says "you get $1 million dollars provided you take care of my dog, including anything it may require to be healthy and live its best life, until its natural death."  This a two-part test and it is perfectly legal.  This sort of clause is literally all over estate plans and business contracts: You get X provided you do both Y and Z.  If you do not wish to do either of Y or Z then you don't get X.

Congress has done this by enacting the debt ceiling.  Neither Congress or the Executive can accurately predict how much tax revenue will come in.  Taxes, of course, come from economic activity; no activity, no taxes.  The CBO projects that revenue will be "X" and so does Treasury, but those are guesses because they rely on things that have not yet occurred and as such are inherently inaccurate.

Congress has set in place a two-part system for this.  The first is Appropriations, which are authorizations to spend and levies to be taxed.  The second is the debt ceiling, which is a hard limit on the difference between the two over time.

No, Treasury cannot go around this by claiming something in the 14th Amendment makes the Appropriation sacrosanct.  Congress has the authority under the Constitution, and has exercised it, to control the purse.  To be enabled by law and thus immune from being questioned debt that is issued by Treasury must be (1) issued for an appropriated purpose AND (2) be within the debt ceiling in effect at the time of said issue.

If it is then under the 14th Amendment it is valid.

This is no different than a whiny 18 year old screaming that Grandpa said he'd give said 18 year old $20,000 conditioned on him going to college and maintaining passing grades, and now he's pissed off because he went, got drunk every day chasing girls and when he flunked out Gramps cut the money off.  What we are seeing now, and have in the past, is exactly the same thing: Petulant, infantile arguments by politicians that they "deserve" to do that which they law does not permit.

Any bill, bond or other indebtedness, now matter how done via whatever means of manipulation, incurred by Treasury that results in a level of debt beyond the ceiling is not valid and to the extent that Treasury tries to conflate that they are violating the Constitution and risking the entire world declaring that none of the issued debt is in fact good as they are ignoring the predicate requirements in our prime directive founding documents.

Oh, by the way, no, refusing to raise the ceiling is not a default.  Treasury has the funds to pay the principal (or roll it) and interest since rolling said debt does not increase the ceiling and the money is there to pay the interest.  Those payments have legal priority so the claim that refusal to raise the ceiling would result in a "default" is a lie.  What would occur is that Treasury would be unable to spend that which it does not tax first, after deducting said interest payments.  That would piss off plenty of people who otherwise believe they will get said funds and who also think they're entitled to provide good and services to the government (and then would have to choose between not providing them and not getting paid for them) but it is not a "default."

That's the beginning and end of it folks until and unless Congress repeals the debt ceiling entirely.

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Comments on The Idiotic 14th Amendment Argument
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Blanca 558 posts, incept 2020-07-25
2023-05-22 07:54:22

This idiotic argument and threats by Biden to use it can be stopped immediately if the Rs had any guts. Simply state that there will be NO debt ceiling negotiations and we will impeach you if you try. Parents threaten their children using this mechanism often - "I don't want to hear one more complaint about taking out the trash or you can't drive the car for the next month."

If Biden tries to raise the debt ceiling through this illegal mechanism, then impeach him. Sure he won't be convicted, but who cares. It'll make for some great drama and tie up the Senate for a while. And impeach Yellen too.

I welcome seeing what would happen if there is no debt ceiling extension. The government will be forced, for a while, to live within its means, until the ceiling is raised. Big deal. Maybe they won't send any more money to that grifter Zelensky. Ultimately, this is where we are headed anyway. May as well do a test now.
Tritumi 1k posts, incept 2008-11-29
2023-05-22 07:54:33

I double dog dare the demented Dems to press the button that initiates a Constitutional Crisis.

Many will be educated thereby.
Calrissian 163 posts, incept 2021-04-12
2023-05-22 08:40:44

The political freakshow never fails to disappoint.
Thelazer 1k posts, incept 2009-05-11
2023-05-22 08:51:45

On one hand these idiots are all for there college debit being forgiven, but default at the gov't debt? Oh that's off limits!

Liberal Logic, makes no sense.
Jesjohn94 1k posts, incept 2019-05-07
2023-05-22 08:51:52

Both parties love the debt ceiling. It is pure WWF. I don't doubt in future the Republicans will threaten the 14th amendment too. There is zero chance the ceiling won't be increased. If either party was serious we'd see a genuine attempt to reduce deficit spending. Ain't going to happen voluntarily.
Ronniemcghee 410 posts, incept 2012-07-28
2023-05-22 08:59:12

You will know how badly you've been pranked when there is no reduction to the IRS budget ~

Bluto 2k posts, incept 2021-07-10
2023-05-22 09:01:48

This regime has a penchant for doing the unconstitutional:

- Clot shot mandates for federal workers
- Clot shot mandates via OSHA
- COVID restrictions
- Extension of rent moratorium
- Cancellation of student loans
- Use of race to determine preference in federal benefits
- And many more

Do they cross the line again here, with the understanding that the Court will very likely invalidate it?

The potential payoff, in their mind, is to blame the Republicans for all the fallout.

The flip side is the fallout might blow back on them.

But does the regime really care anymore?

"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end -- which you can never afford to lose -- with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2023-05-22 09:02:29

The fallout deserves to fall on all of them, and it will @Bluto.

Which is, IMHO, just fine.

The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Cmoledor 2k posts, incept 2021-04-13
2023-05-22 09:29:33

So the media and gubmint ( I know, theyre the same mouth) are lying again?? Say it aint so!

The whole world is one big fucking scam
Full throttle till the end. Ocdawg
Take the stick you tried to beat me with and go fuck your own face. Ishmael
Ndp 148 posts, incept 2021-04-21
2023-05-22 09:29:44

What I don't understand is why we are even discussing this ridiculous 14th amendment BS. There is absolutely zero doubt that the debt ceiling will once again be raised, just as it has been every single time we've hit it in the past. The debate, such as it is, is just a chance for each side to posture a bit for their respective bases.

In the end there will be a meaningless spending concession, or there won't. The limit will get raised. Life will go on until some day an actual inflection point is reached and the whole thing collapses under is own weight.
Twainfan2 1k posts, incept 2018-12-04
2023-05-22 09:29:54

This ranks right up there with the idiotic notion they can mint a 1 trillion dollar platinum coin and deposit it at the FED and take cash against its value. The inmates are running the asylum.
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2023-05-22 09:30:24

These are unserious people folks.

They live in a world where that which is fact is a mere "suggestion."

It isn't.

The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Parabarbarian 53 posts, incept 2013-06-05
2023-05-22 09:56:16

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment specifically who has the power to enforce it:

"The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article."

That's "Congress." Not the President. Not the Federal Reserve. Not some hack judge beholden to Biden for his office. It is pretty plain to this non-lawyer that only Congress was granted the power to enforce the 14th Amendment.
Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2023-05-22 09:56:32


The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Shadowmask 5k posts, incept 2021-05-24
2023-05-22 10:09:57

Tin warning: Is this whole fiasco to distract us from the goat rodeo that is Ukraine, or kabuki theater as normal?

The learning curve for being dead is steep, but everyone gets it down pat on the first go usually.--Thystra, March 28, 2023
Greenacr 804 posts, incept 2016-03-15
2023-05-22 10:10:12

I am 100% in favor there being no debt ceiling resolution between the R's and D's. All we have heard for years is that it is apocalyptic and they uses this as a sword over the populace. My guess is that America in general will be just fine and TPTB will find a resolution to raise the debt ceiling because they can ill afford for the populace to find out this is nothing but Kabuki Theater.

Stoic 377 posts, incept 2021-09-12
2023-05-22 10:10:31

"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods." ~ H. L. Mencken

So many promises have been made. So many dependents on Uncle Sugar have been created. If these 10th promises become like the first 9 then the hunting of politicians begins. The politicians know this so once every ounce of Kabuki theater has been wrung out of this drama and both sides of the political spectrum have been sufficiently outraged by the other side, a "compromise" will be reached and the looting and pillaging will continue unabated. No invoking of The 14th. No actual spending cuts. Same path to destruction.

The can will be kicked until there is no can left.

Tickerguy 195k posts, incept 2007-06-26
2023-05-22 10:11:27

I'm not sure whether I would get more enjoyment out of the can being full of cement or contact explosive.

The difference between "kill" and "murder" is that murder, as a subset of kill, is undeserved by the deceased.
Greenacr 804 posts, incept 2016-03-15
2023-05-22 10:25:35

I like the can of cement because these assholes wouldn't learn from that pain and would just keep repeating it.
Shadowmask 5k posts, incept 2021-05-24
2023-05-22 10:25:45

I'm not sure whether I would get more enjoyment out of the can being full of cement or contact explosive.

Both for maximum shrapnel damage.

The learning curve for being dead is steep, but everyone gets it down pat on the first go usually.--Thystra, March 28, 2023
Jack_crabb 16k posts, incept 2010-06-25
2023-05-22 10:29:22

They live in a world where that which is fact is a mere "suggestion."

Well, all you really need to know is that said fuckers can't even agree with the FACT that there are only two sexes.

Molon Labe
Where is Henry Bowman when you need him?
How many are willing to pledge this? We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor
Mrbobo 158 posts, incept 2021-12-01
2023-05-22 10:42:40

The last of the competent people in the larger state apparatus seemingly retired or aged out with the Clinton era. We're well into the third decade of shite being led by these unserious people who at their best were B-teamers and are themselves getting old. Now we're dealing the C squad,and even worse, their spawn or proteges. For fucks sake, Biden was the definition of political mediocrity when he was sharp. I think he he is almost a perfect embodiment of a degenerate nation.
In this time frame, every time there has been some large crisis or the like, where you would think they will never do this, they do. As Bluto said, this regime has only reinforced the expectation that any course of action will be tuned for maximum orthogonality with reality and/or the law. We're in the "post" world; post-profit economy, post-constitutional republic, next stop is post-reality.
I am such a doomer; it's over. To the extent they are aware of the stupidity, they don't even care whether you know it's bullshit or not. What have we done to stop jingling the bell?
Lewfalo 60 posts, incept 2023-03-09
2023-05-22 11:18:51

"For fucks sake, Biden was the definition of political mediocrity when he was sharp."

LOL. That is so true, he was a joke for decades. He always had the same shtick of telling everyone how smart he was and challenging them to take an IQ test with him. I still remember the Clarence Thomas Anita Hill hearings he chaired telling Thomas how much smarter he was than him, and he could have been a SCOTUS justice if he wanted to. What a useless ass, criminal, pedophile, and everything else that's evil.

I totally disagree with the people that say running him now is elder abuse. That isn't even 1/1000th the abuse this demon deserves for the crap he's pulled his entire political career.
Happyapricot 135 posts, incept 2019-07-06
2023-05-22 11:19:00

This might be a bit of a naive understanding of history, so point me in the right direction if you will. But I think part of our debt problems are due to fact of a change in political philosophy.

I think after America won WWII we began to think of ourselves as a global superpower. We were not content to mind our own affairs but began trying to support or lead the countries of the world.

The problem is that there is not enough money generated by the US economy to rule the world. Thus war after war after war and propping up our economy and the economies of the world, the USA is now penniless.

There was also a change of national philosophy after The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl in regard to social sending.

I don't know what is right or wrong. But there is also not enough money in the USA economy to support the entire nation. Particularly when the Government writes to, for example, Colleges and Hospitals, a blank check. We now have runaway inflation in those areas.

I don't think you can balance the budget without a complete change in political philosophy because another Ukraine, Afghanistan war, or global economic collapse is just right around the corner. I would advocate for a return to the USA isolationist polices before WWI as the only way to save the country.
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