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WHAT DO AMERICANS REALLY THINK ABOUT THE ECONOMY?
"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned," reads the 14th Amendment.
Right. The actual public debt. A number you, incidentally, can get daily right here:http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np
See the number $9.738 trillion? That's what's covered by the text of the 14th Amendment.
Explicitly NOT covered is the "intra-governmental holdings", otherwise known as Social Security and Medicare. Politically it would be difficult (if not impossible) to refuse to convert that to public debt, but constitutionally there is no infirmity on repudiating it. Incidentally, if you're curious, that $4.6 trillion would cover Medicare and Social Security for about three years. Then it's gone too (absent further tax collections) - so the premise that "there's all this money in the trust for my benefits that I paid in" is yet another convenient political lie.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said that the constitutional solution puts the question in its proper context -- that the debate is over paying past debts, not over future spending.
If I am standing in the gas station with the nozzle in my hand, I have not yet incurred a debt. It is only when I pump the gas without paying for it first that I have incurred a debt.
Congress has, on its own initiative, set forth a limit to which it can spend without first acquiring the money via taxation. There is not only nothing unconstitutional about this, there is no conflict with the 14th Amendment either.
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