13 January 2013

Uncommon Commentary #318: Drop Debt, Democrats!

Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution reads as follows:

The validity of the public debt of the United States [of America, presumably], authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection and rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States [v.s.] nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States [v.s.], or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations[,] and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Thus, the US government doesn't have to pay debts incurred by Confederates as a consequence of waging the war that ended three years prior to the ratification of this amendment (even though the Union forced the conflict upon the "Rebels", who had hoped that the former would allow them to secede peacefully), but it does have to pay that portion of the public debt—Democrats take note: not the entire "National" Debt, but only that part owed to the US public—accumulated in the course of driving ol' Dixie down. This amendment, therefore, is really only of historical interest; would some Dumbocrat explain to me just how it can possibly be interpreted as authorizing the president to raise the debt ceiling?