Whose Fault Would Default Be?


obama biden

President Obama is trying to establish the idea that any default on the national debt will be 100 percent the fault of the House Republicans. He has said, for instance, that Congress must “remove the threat of default and vote to raise the debt ceiling.” The treasury secretary, Jack Lew, said on Sunday that the administration would have “no option” to prevent a default.

But this is nonsense. The president is bound by his oath to uphold the Constitution and, as the distinguished–and liberal–historian Sean Wilentz points out in the New York Times today the 14th Amendment says that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law” is sacrosanct and “shall not be questioned.” He
points out that the language was put in the 14th Amendment precisely to prevent Congress from welching on the enormous debt run up during the Civil War.

In an emergency, the president can certainly act to prevent a default, and thus uphold the constitutional mandate. Indeed, he would be violating his oath of office not to.

Default is nothing more than a failure to pay the interest and principal due on a debt in a timely manner. According to figures in a Power Line post, right now the government is spending about $17 billion every business day. It takes in about $14 billion in revenues. Thus it needs to borrow about $3 billion every business day to make up the difference.

A failure to raise the debt ceiling would prevent the government from borrowing that money. But it would not prevent the government from paying the interest on the debt, which amounts to only about 8 percent of revenues. Nor would it prevent the government from rolling over existing debt, which it does routinely.

What it would have to do is prioritize what bills it pays, leaving some unpaid. Families often have to do this to cover temporary cash shortfalls and there’s not a reason in the world the treasury can’t do the same. It would be embarrassing, to be sure, for the richest country on earth to have to stiff a few creditors for a while, but it would not be a default and would have few if any global financial consequences. States often do this, including Obama’s Illinois, which has debt problems that make the federal government’s look like a day at the beach.

So if this country defaults on its debt, it will be 100 percent the fault of President Obama. He has the power to prevent it. He needs only to exercise it.

Source: John Gordon


  1. “In an emergency, the president can certainly act to prevent a default, and thus uphold the constitutional mandate. Indeed, he would be violating his oath of office not to.”

    So, if POTUS acts, the CCO will support the action, and if he fails to act you will call for impeachment?

    • barry hussein has no creditability now……he cannot do as you say the borrowers will not accept it the courts will not accept it……yet one more ignorant dishonest comment……

    • The CCO is an insignificant player in such decisions. On first blush I would say citing the constitution to pay the bills would show non-partisan leadership and it would avert a financial crisis that both sides are predicting. Failure to act in the face of a real crisis on the other hand may well be impeachable. I think it is worth a legal review but from my perspective the President has a duty to uphold the constitution and would be authorized to act to prevent default. Presidents are supposed to lead. Lets see if this one does.

      I am not certain on the magnitude of any crisis yet. It is interesting that paying the interest would keep the government from defaulting and that it seems as though that is possible without exceeding the debt limit. Its not like some punk on the other end of the phone will raise interest rates to 30% if some bills are a day or two late.

  2. Obama is being set up to be impeached.

    There will be a default(blame whomever you want)

    If he pays the bills he will be impeached for exceeding his constitutional authority.

    If he doesn’t pay the bills he will impeached for reckless endangerment or some other charge for not protecting the American people or the constitution or some other charge.

    It’s just that simple.

    • That’s how I see it. The house will impeach, but the Senate will not convict. When the far right loses its dream of “erasing” him from history, I think things may get really bad.

      • Things are bad now. As for impeachment, how he responds to this looming default would be just another reason and he is not alone in that category.

        But in the end I think you are right. The Senate would not just like they did with Clinton have the stomach to truly uphold their responsibilities defined in the Constitution.

  3. It is really bad now. But with blinders on you cannot see it. There is no lawful money. The United States federal municipal corporation has been in bankruptcy since at least 1933. You people are as dumb as they come. You are being poisoned to death but hey that is no problem.

    • I’m talking about an armed insurrection. We just all can’t be as billiant and informed as you!

    • Renegad is absolutely right. The United States officially went bankrupt in 1933 when FDR confiscated all the citizens’ gold, a little fact FDR worshippers like to downplay as ‘necessary’ or overlook completely. We weren’t alone though, the entire world’s monetary system was in trouble at that time and it was largely due to the reliance on central banks.

      In 1971 we were completely taken off any semblance of a gold standard when the gold window was closed by Nixon. “We are all Keynesians now” was his famous quote at the time.

      Now our money is nothing more than glorified toilet paper. It is supported solely by the fact that every barrel of oil sold worldwide is priced exclusively in US dollars and our willingness to use our military to enforce its acceptance as the world’s reserve currency.

      Folks, if you want to understand the true history of the last 100 years, you must first grasp the above. Our actions as a nation only make sense when view through this lens.

      • Agreed. FDR laid a serious land mine when confiscating the private citizens possessions (gold). Just to note, confiscate *is* the correct term, if you refused you faced jail time.

        While WWII is denoted as the major reason for the the end of the Depression (which it was) it hides one nasty thing; FDRs economic policies prior were the reason for the the Depression lasting as long as it did.

        Obama is doing the same thing with his economic policies. The only potential saving point is his limit of two terms. I shudder to think how worse things could be if he had four terms.

  4. Open invitation to any and all.

    Please explain/list out all the things Democrats get in this PHONY AS HELL “compromise”. In a real compromise each sides gets somethings they want and gives up something they wanted NOT something they already have.

    What do Dems get? Universal background checks? A ban on assualt rifles or whatever term you want to use? An infrastructure/jobs programs? Elimination of the massive oil and gas subsidies and other corporate welfare? An increase in the minimum wage?

    Don’t see any offers on the table.

    What I hear is the RWer’s want Obamacare destroyed, Ryan’s Budget and all of Mitt’s crappy, steal from the poor give to the rich, turn America into a polluted pi**pot, economic ideas and plans and if they don’t get all of those things the American economy gets it.

    Anyone?? Bueller???? Anyone??

    • OK, we won’t force you to buy insurance you can’t afford if you agree to universal background checks, turn in your scary guns, stop subsidizing, and raise the cost of being poor by turning millions of low wage earners into minimum wage earners.

      These issues are not on the table.
      What is on the table is that medical devices are not taxed, the ACA is applied equally to all in the public and private sector, and enrollment is extend a year just like Obama did for businesses.

      What’s wrong with those requests? Why aren’t our leaders being the first to enroll rather exempting themselves and their friends?

      I see that hand in the back of the class.

  5. Wait till hyperinflation hits……..baby baby you ain’t seen nothing yet……..hell even the worst president in history till barry Hussein came along jimmy carter admitted after 5yrs under liberal commie policy the middle class in 2013 would be considered poor in 1978………for once I agree with peanut this is a disgrace done with intent by the commie left ………

  6. Everybody likes the National Parks but ultimately they don’t want to pay for it.

    Everyone likes the fact that the FDA tests our drugs for safety, but they don’t like to pay for it.

    Everyone likes clean air and water but they don’t like the EPA and think its a “job kiler”.

    Everyone thinks we should have some sort of safety net for the disenfranchised, the disabled, the handicapped, the mentally retarded, but no one wants to pay for it.

    Everyone wants our country to be safe but don’t want to pay for that either.

    Everyone likes that we get satellite pictures of hurricanes and other weather systems, but that is one of the things that will be cut first.

    It goes on and on and on and on. Since every system/business/bureaucracy has waste(guaranteed by the laws of nature) and since the federal government has been and always will be the largest bureaucracy on the planet it will by definition always be the biggest waster.

    So the federal government has a big fat target on its back ready make for the critics and haters to take aim at.

    So what if millions of middle class government workers go to work every day to make our lives better and safer and more pleasurable? The haters and critics have to get on with their demonizing and demogoguery!!

    • Everybody liked the idea of a downtown hotel but only a few wanted to pay $37.5 Million on it. Once the price dropped to a point that made sense both groups got on board. Support for federal spending is no different. When the benefits are worth the costs rational Americans always get on board. It is the fringe members of both parties that scream for austerity or full blown communism. Hopefully they will both shrink back to the 10% size they have traditionally been.

      • “The budget deficit was considerably larger in 2011 than it is currently, so the magnitude of the necessary spending cuts needed after 17 October is lower now than it was then.”
        That is from another article on this site. The truth is that we are much better off than we were, and the fringe that is “pushing the panic button” is not doing it for the betterment of the country. They do not intend to govern. It is their mission to destroy government, yet we have people hailing them as “patriots.”

        • We a drowning in a pool of debt. A deficit is like filling the pool rather than draining it.

          That we are filling it at a slightly slower rate is no help.

          That Obama is standing with the ACA firehouse ready to fill it even faster is alarming.

          That he has his foot on the necks of the people in a effort to make republicans open the hydrant is vindictive.

          The same math that applied to the down town hotel applies to our debt, deficit, and the ACA. Unless you were against the hotel because Winnecke was a republican.

  7. There really is not an escape hatch in the 14th because it would immediately be tied up in litigation.

  8. If we defaulted,to whom would we default? If I am reading this chart right, about 2/3 of the debt is to ourselves. http://www.mygovcost.org/2013/04/09/to-whom-does-the-u-s-government-owe-the-most-money/

    So who is defaulting on whom? It seems to me that when we say the United States is in danger of default, we mean the government not the people. So Obama is selectively locking us out of our property and threatening to default on us to scare us into allowing him to take more of our money to establish a healthcare system which will create more debt. That’s one confusing sentence.

  9. The following groups have sent letters to republicans asking them to vote for a clean CR:

    The Chamber of Commerce
    The National Federation of Retailers
    The National Association of Manufacturers

    Today the Koch brothers said to forget about defunding Obamacare and focus on government spending,

    THE KOCK BROS!!!!!!

    John McCain said the defunding of Obamacare was a fool’s errand.

    Yesterday the Tea Pary withdrew its support for Mitch McConnell!!!!

    Yep ‘ol Mitch is not conservative enough for these people or else he committed the ultimate crime of trying to work with the President, God only knows what their reasoning is.

    To say these people are delusional is putting it mildly.

    • Wasn’t the defunding of ObamaCare dropped last week? As I recall today it is only an attempt to delay the individual mandate. The websites aren’t working anyway so why wouldn’t the dems jump on this opportunity to avoid looking like bumbling idiots? It is one thing to argue. It is quite another to prove to all the world that you can’t execute. It is a good thing this group of hacks was not in charge of the Manhattan Project. If they were we would all be speaking Japanese or German nowadays.

    • The Koch’s letter to the Congress seems to be working. It looks as if the House will pass a temporary increase in the debt ceiling now. That will buy the TP “Sugar Daddies” time to make their minions aware that they are biting the hands that feed them. R
      I am interested to see if Boehner and the Kochs together can get a majority of the Republicans to vote for the extension. I don’t think they can, and if they wind up having to count on Democrat votes, that does not bode well for the GOP.
      Either way, the government shut down will soon be lifted, too. I expect the President will give the Republicans the tax on Medical Devices, and a few other things he was going to do anyway. The GOP is going to get a whole lot of “stick” and very little “carrot.”

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