Imagine this, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner read from the U.S. Constitution as he sat onstage for an interview with Politico's Mike Allen at the Newseum in Washington May 25, 2011. Not to uphold the constitution, but to make a case for raising the U.S. national debt limit.
A bitter partisanship is escalating between the White House and Congress over raising the national debt ceiling. Republicans want to cut spending, while Democrats and the White House want more government.
So the Treasurer to make his point utilizes the U.S. Constitution.
Holding up a U.S. Constitution pocket-book to his audience, he began to read from Section 4 of The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV), adopted on July 9, 1868.
"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, 'This is the important thing,' Geithner interjects, shall not be questioned," Geithner read.
Then the treasurer gave his own rendition of the reading, speaking of the House Republicans.
He commented, "So, as a negotiating strategy you say you're going to go say, 'If you don't do things my way, I'm going to force the United States to default,' not pay the legacy of bills accumulated by my predecessors in Congress. It's not a credible negotiating strategy and that's not going to happen."
He continued, "Leaders (Congress) understand that they have to do this (Raise the debt ceiling). They also understand as we do (the FED) that we want take advantage of this moment to try to get people to do things that they may not have otherwise been comfortable doing, to again put these steps on a long term path that's more sustainable."
The last part of his sentence invokes the Obama administration's mantra, "Never waste a good crisis." It begs the questions, “What things do they want us to do that we wouldn’t be comfortable doing? and How much control of our lives do they want?"
Geithner is trying to make the case to the public why raising the U.S. Debt Ceiling is critical to keep us out of a depression. Last weekend he called House Speaker Boehner’s bluff on the Republican threat to withhold support for raising the debt ceiling unless they see substantive commitments to cut spending and reform the budget.
As expected, last night, the proposal to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion ceiling by another $2.4 trillion failed by a wide margin. Bipartisanly, 82 Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the increase. Just 97 were in favor of the measure and 318 against.
Experts say this vote is meaningless and that the debt ceiling will be raised in spite of it. After this seemingly decisive vote, House Republicans will meet with President Obama Wednesday for budget negotiations.
The record of raising the debt ceiling stands. We've increased it twice already and it has not solved the nation’s economic problems: Today our Debt Ceiling is $14.3 trillion, increased from 12.4 trillion in 2009 and $6.4 trillion in 2002. Printing money to pay our own debts is not a common sense solution.
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