According to Madison, no philosopher was more critical to the design of Constitutional separations than the French nobleman and legal expert Charles-Louis de Secondat, the Baron de Montesquieu.
Montesquieu had studied the rise and fall of the Roman Republic. He believed that a properly designed government, in order to prevent tyranny, would require three branches of government. He wrote, "If it is to provide its citizens with the greatest possible liberty, a government must have certain features. First, since 'constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it … it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power' . This is achieved through the separation of the executive, legislative, and judicial powers of government... [to prevent any one] from acting tyrannically."
THE POWER OF THE PURSEThe Constitution bestows upon Congress "the Power of the Purse". Indiana University's Center on Congress describes congressional power as:
...its ability to set the spending and taxing policies of the nation. Not one dime can be spent from the federal Treasury without the approval of Congress. The determination of the budget by Congress is usually the most important political process of any year, partly because of its size (approaching $2 trillion) and partly because it is the principal means by which government establishes its priorities.
No serious constitutional scholar would ever claim that Congress did not possess complete control over the country's taxing and spending policies.
Of course, this paragraph was written before the Harry Reid- and Nancy Pelosi-led Democrats took control of Congress and have steadfastly refused to pass budgets since the election of Barack Obama.
DEMOCRATS LOBBY FOR A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISISThe unofficial public relations agency for the Democrat Party is a website called Politico. A few days ago, it printed a letter from Democrat Congressional leaders that called for the president to unilaterally and unlawfully raise the debt ceiling, thereby precipitating a full-blown constitutional crisis.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Democrats are putting new pressure on the White House to circumvent Congress to boost the nation’s debt ceiling if no bipartisan agreement can be reached.
In a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama obtained by POLITICO, Reid and his leadership team argue that failing to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling would threaten the full faith and credit of the United States. Reid and Sens. Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray asserted that Obama “must make clear that you will never allow our nation’s economy and reputation to be held hostage.”
Of course, as anyone with an iota of common sense knows, the full faith and credit of the United States is not at risk should the debt ceiling remain at its current level.
THE MYTH OF GOVERNMENT DEFAULTWriting at Friday's Wall Street Journal, David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey explain "The Myth of Government Default".
Contrary to White House claims, Congress's refusal to permit new borrowing by raising the debt ceiling limit will not trigger a default on America's outstanding public debt, with calamitous consequences for our credit rating and the world's financial system...
[...Section 4 of the 14th Amendment] means that a failure to raise the debt ceiling—to prevent new borrowing—does not and cannot put America's current creditors at risk. So long as this government exists, and barring a further constitutional amendment, those creditors must be paid.
Nor are they at risk in practice, since the federal government's roughly $200 billion in tax revenue per month is more than sufficient to service existing debts. If the executive chose to act irresponsibly and unconstitutionally and failed to make any debt payments when they come due, debt-holders would be able to go to the Court of Federal Claims and promptly obtain a money judgment.
These basic facts should inform any credible decisions by credit-rating agencies in establishing the government's creditworthiness. Significantly, these agencies have traditionally acted favorably when heavily indebted countries have not defaulted on their debt but cut deeply their public spending.
In short, the Constitution does not authorize the president to borrow or spend a single dime without congressional approval and it requires the executive to service its debt first. And each month many times the amount needed for that purpose arrives in the federal government's coffers.
WHY PREPARE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT?On many occasions over the past four years, the President Obama has demonstrated a callous disregard for the Constitution.
The publication of a Democrat press release by Politico indicates that a full court public relations campaign is underway to market the idea that the president's unilateral action to raise the debt ceiling would be lawful.
It is not.
In fact, such an act would -- in one instant -- strip Congress of its primary power while simultaneously gutting a huge swath of the Constitution. It would eradicate the separation of powers and precipitate the most significant constitutional crisis in American history.
In 2006, the very same Democrat leaders who now advocate unlawful borrowing and spending by the President all voted against raising the debt ceiling just seven years ago.
On March 16, 2006, the Senate held a vote on a measure to raise the debt ceiling by $781 billion — the fourth such vote of George W. Bush’s presidency. Republicans controlled the Senate, and Democrats spent much of the debate railing against Bush’s spending. “When it comes to deficits, this president owns all the records,” said Reid. “The three largest deficits in our nation’s history have all occurred under this administration’s watch.”
Declaring themselves outraged by such spending, Reid, Durbin, Schumer, and Murray all voted against raising the debt limit. So did every other Democrat — including Sen. Barack Obama.
One can only imagine what would have happened had George W. Bush attempted to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval.
Should Barack Obama attempt such an unlawful act, the House of Representatives must act. It must protect its power of the purse, it must protect the Constitution, and it must put an end to this president's long train of abuses and usurpations.