Tag Archives: debt

No budget, no pay? No thanks, no constitutional!

The US House of Representatives recently passed H.R.325, the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013.

The No Budget, No Pay Act passed by a vote of 285-144 with 86 Democrats joining 199 Republicans to support this measure, 33 Republicans joined 111 Democrats in opposition. Good bills are rarely passed with bipartisan support, this bill is an exception, right?

The legislation temporarily suspends the debt ceiling and states, “If by April 15, 2013, a House of Congress has not agreed to a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2014” the payroll administrator shall hold the salary in an escrow account, which will only be given to the Representatives after a budget has been passed OR “on the last day of the One Hundred Thirteenth Congress.”

This is not a good bill. It does not actually withhold the pay of any member of Congress if a budget is not passed, it simply delays payment until a budget is passed or the term expires. It should more accurately be called the “No Budget, Delayed Pay Act of 2013.”

Aside from no doing what it claims, Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor reported on another issue with the bill. Greir wrote “It is quite possible that the ‘no pay’ part of the bill is unconstitutional.
Why is that? Because of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, that’s why.”

The 27th Amendment reads, in part, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of the Representatives shall have intervened.”

Despite the fact that the compensation is not changing, the bill could still be unconstitutional as it alters the scheduled dates of pay, which would be “varying the compensation.” It is unlikely any of the Republicans will challenge the bill, and the Democrats reportedly see “the legislation as a white flag on the part of the GOP, something that allows Congress to skirt the debt limit issue and move on to other fiscal arguments.”

Walter Hickey of BusinessInsider.com points out, “According to subsection (b) of section 2 of the bill, nonvoting delegates and resident commissioners will be subject to the same rules. So, despite the fact that the delegates can’t actually vote on a budget, they still will not be paid.”

It’s possible that if No Budget, No Pay is signed into law, that one of the six non-voting Delegates will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Of course, the bill must first pass the Senate.

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X Date: The new fiscal cliff

ZeroHedge.com reports X Date is approaching, that is “the day past which the US government will no longer be able to rely on ‘extraordinary measures’ to delay the day of reckoning, and will be unable to pay all its bills without recourse to additional debt. It is not the day when the US defaults, at least not defaults on its debt. It will begin ‘defaulting’ on various financial obligations, such as not paying due bills on time and in full, but since this is something Europe’s periphery has been doing for years, it is hardly catastrophic.”

This may come as a surprise to those who still believe the Republican wing of the Republicratic Duopoly supports fiscal responsibility; in mid-January former Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan told reporters that the GOP would agree to a short-term increase in the debt-ceiling.

ZeroHedge also reports, “the US hit its debt ceiling on December 31, and has since been utilizing some $200 billion in Extraordinary Measure to stave off X Date” which is expected to come sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.

What does this actually mean? The Treasury has approximately $201 billion in “Extraordinary Measures” available to spend.

Once the $201 billion, consisting primarily of plundering the government retirement G-fund, runs out, the Bipartisan Policy Center says, “There is no precedent; all other debt limit impasses have been resolved without reaching the X Date.” Which means, the Treasury has never failed during a debt limit impasse to meet a payment obligation, so no one really knows what will happen if the X Date is reached.

The Bipartisan Policy Center also reports, “Treasury will not attempt to ‘firesale’ assets during a crisis.” A firesale would be great! Imagine how much better run the various national parks would be if they were operated by private organizations. Just imagine visiting Yellowstone or Yosemite Park if they were being operated by the Audubon Society with voluntary funding. In total, the federal government owns approximately 635 million acres of land. If the land were to sale for as little as $10,000 per acre, the federal government would bring in $6.35 TRILLION for the land! Of course, there are many more ways the federal government could raise revenue or cut spending that do not involve threats of violence, unfortunately they’re not interested in peaceful solutions.

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Questioning the validity of the national debt*

On July 9, 1868 the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution was officially ratified. Hidden within this amendment is wording that enshrined the federal government with perpetual debt.

In recent years, partly in response to the growing federal debt, people have begun protesting in opposition to the debt racked up by Congress. In late 2008 a group in Phoenix, AZ began the “It’s not my debt” campaign. In response to this campaign a small political party passed a resolution that reads: “The national committee of the Boston Tea Party hereby calls upon both houses of the US Congress to promptly pass,and calls upon the state legislatures to ratify, a constitutional amendment repealing section 4 of the 14th amendment, prohibiting future indebtedness and deficit spending on the part of the federal government, and repudiating all federal government debt and debt service obligations accrued prior to the ratification of said amendment.”

The federal debt gained some mainstream media attention last year when Congress was debating whether or not and by how much to raise the debt ceiling. As predicted, Congress did not say, “No, we will not raise the debt ceiling.” Members of Congress came to a compromise that increased the debt ceiling, further inflated the currency and has continued to enslave tax-payers with a perpetual debt that will never be paid off.

In the 144 years since the ratification of this amendment, I don’t know of any attempt to hold a national rally to publicly question the validity of the national debt. On the anniversary of the enshrinement of the national debt, activists from across the country will gather in public to question the validity of the national debt.

It is past time for Congress to admit publicly the debt will never be paid off and repudiate the debt, because it is invalid. An alternate proposal for eliminating the debt, is to eliminate the federal government that created the debt. Again, not an easy task, though one that will likely occur at some point in the future; either being replaced by a new national government or with a total collapse of these United States of America. There are many theories of what a post USA North America would look like, though most agree that there will be at least 8 new nations. I’d prefer to see a peaceful split of the country rather than a violent rebellion.

*In violation of Section 4 of the 14th Amendment

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