Sending wrong message on debt
To the editor:
One of your readers (Oct. 22), who previously alleged my “profound ignorance,” now falsely accuses me of not even reading the 14th Amendment that, I said, requires the prioritization of the payment of Treasury obligations before other federal obligations.
The Supreme Court has already concluded (Perry vs. U.S., 1935) that the 14th Amendment represents a “broader connotation” than merely settling the validity of Civil War debt to “whatever concerns the validity of public obligations.” Legal experts (e.g., Michael McConnell, Laurence Tribe) have subscribed to the prioritization interpretation I expressed that your reader pretends is evidence of my supposed irresponsibility. So your reader was wrong to make his accusation. His red herring on Social Security debt is wrong too. Those are non-marketable securities and, thus, not “public”: no obligation with any investor, foreign or domestic, is at stake. Furthermore, like it or not, Social Security is a promise, not a legal obligation. Congress can end it at any time. Not so the public debt.
Whether law or not, it’s just common sense: failure to prioritize payment of our public debt above all other obligations tells the world we can not be trusted with their money. This has already raised our borrowing costs and could result in the dollar being supplanted as the world’s reserve currency, destroying its value and plunging us into depression as import prices skyrocket.
The President pays the bills. His threats to not prioritize payment of the public debt is a violation of his oath of office that he will “faithfully execute the office of President” and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”