Ten Miles Square

Blog

May 27, 2012 7:55 AM Attack of the Giant Killer Debt Limit Tomatoes II

By James Wimberley

The White House and the House Republicans are shaping up for another game of chicken this winter over raising the debt limit.

I already offered My Plan in February, as part of a bracing short list: the Democratic platform for the November election should declare the debt limit to be unconstitutional under Section 4 of the 14th Amendment.

As well as a ridiculous third wheel: everybody else gets on without one. You vote the spending, you vote the taxes, you’ve already voted the debt. Wer A sagt muss auch B sagen.

An electoral mandate would short-circuit the legal arguments addressed in posts by Jonathan Zasloff here and here, with links to Bartlett, Adler, Balkin, etc.

A re-elected President Obama could politically ignore any legislation coming out of Congress purporting to impose such a limit, and would direct the Treasury to act accordingly.

The GOP could always try to litigate the issue to the Supreme Court. A ruling to reimpose the debt limit retroactively – itself a direct violation of the 14th Amendment, as it would invalidate some existing debt – would cause an instant global financial catastrophe. So the Roberts court would surely back plutocratic rather than Teahadi conservatism. They might even be spooked into not taking the case on standing grounds.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based community]

James Wimberley was head of the mutual assistance section of the department of education for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and secretary to the Councilís higher education and research committee. He is retired.
tags