Robert Knight

When Tim Geithner whipped out his pocket Constitution in May to address the debt ceiling issue, the rivers in Hades must have been packed with ice skaters.

Consult the Constitution? The Treasury Secretary appeared to be out of order in an administration whose standard operating procedure is flouting the rule of law. Of course, even the devil can quote Scripture.

On Wednesday, Obama was asked at the Twitter news conference whether he could raise the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th Amendment’s Section 4, which says in part:

“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.”

The point of this passage was to clean up the Civil War’s fiscal mess, not to let a future profligate president off the hook. But liberals are suggesting it could be used precisely for that.

Standing seemingly above the clatter, Obama twittered:

“I don't think we should even get to the constitutional issue. Congress has a responsibility to make sure we pay our bills. We've always paid them in the past. The notion that the United States would default on its debt is just irresponsible.”

Sounds good, but we don’t have to default. We can pay our debtors first, and then whack away at spending. But while we’re on the topic, let’s recap the ways that the Obama Administration has exemplified irresponsibility and thumbed its nose at the rule of law.

First, the spending. If nothing is done to cut Obama’s Visa card in half, the total U.S. debt, now at $14.3 trillion, will rise to $20 trillion by 2020. As Peter Ferrara notes in his new book, America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb, “more debt will be run up in one term under President Obama than under all presidents in history – from George Washington to George W. Bush – combined.”

Here’s more, in no particular order:

Forcing people to buy health insurance. The most famous requirement in the 2,700-page Obamacare law goes beyond any previous federal claim to regulate commercial activity and extends it to merely being a living, breathing human being. Obama sold the law by saying it does not constitute a tax, and then his attorneys claimed in court that it is constitutional precisely because it is a new tax.

Launching a war in Libya. Under the War Powers Act, Obama had 60 days to get congressional approval after the bombs started dropping in Tripoli, but he didn’t bother.


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.