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At the founding of our great nation a resident of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin what type of government the delegates have created? Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.” However, as August 2nd looms ever near, and negotiations over the debt ceiling seem to be at a standstill, proponents of big government have urged the President to invoke the 14th amendment. Thus wrestling powers away from the people and placing it into the hands of one individual.
The amendment states in section 4 that, “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.” These progressive activists have interpreted this to mean that the president can side-step congress and increase the debt ceiling. Despite the cries of progressives and their claims of Tea Party hypocrisy, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ‘s own lawyer has said that the President cannot do this, and reaffirms that Congress still has the “power of the purse,” as established in Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution. Furthermore, Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has said that to do so would be an impeachable offense. The purpose of the amendment was to abolish slavery and establish citizenship for freed slaves. The provision that these progressives favor was added to the amendment to ensure that southern states, after being brought back into the Union, could not try to deny the national debt in an attempt to protect their citizens from having to pay back the debt. This part of the amendment merely reaffirms the national debt.
So now we must ask ourselves this very sobering question, can we keep our republic? This 14th amendment argument does not have the backing of logic, legality, and basic economics. Those who make this argument seek to wrestle power away from the Congress, thus shifting us further from what the founders had envisioned our nation. As the left continues to make this argument and people start to believe this lie more and more, one may start to doubt whether we can.