Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Monopoly Get Out Of Jail Free Card by dysamoria

The United State’s debt crisis, caused by the legally enforceable maximum “debt ceiling” in the United States is reaching a point where the USA could default on it’s national debt. An unimaginable situation. Financial Armageddon would probably ensue.

The failure by Congressional Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal on cutting discretionary spending and raising the debt ceiling means that President Obama may be placed in a position where he has to envoke the antiquated Section 4 of the 14th Amendment.

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment (ratified on the 9th July 1868) to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

The 14th Amendment would therefore allow, by virtue of the words “validity of the United States public debt….shall not be questioned” President Obama to raise the debt ceiling of his own doing, without Congressional approval.

To do so would be a bold step.

Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn, the second and third highest ranking Democrats in the House, and John Larson and Xavier Becerra, the chairman and co-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, have said they would support Obama if he uses the amendment to avoid a default.

Senator John F. Kerry and Bill Clinton, the former president, have also supported the idea, with Clinton saying he would use the amendment “without hesitation and force the courts to stop me.’’

International debt holders, in particular China ($1tn +) who are the largest holders of US National Debt have expressed concern at the political crisis which has engulfed Washington.

To invoke the 14th Amendment, and therefore bypass Congress would be a drastic measure which would deviate from a longstanding constitutional convention whereby the debt ceiling of the United States is raised by vote of both Houses of Congress.

The 14th Amendment, ratified during the Reconstruction to ensure that the North could overcome Southern opposition to paying down Union war debts, has never been invoked by a president and has rarely been tested in court.

As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

The 14th Amendment provides President Obama with a 143 year old “get out of jail free” card. Will he bold enough to use it?

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So here we have it; I have finally started a blog (well, actually writing it)! Writing a blog has been something that I have always wanted to do, as I feel that by writing about your political views you think about them in a much more meaningful way, and they mature and become more considered.

For my first blogpost, I want to start with some broad thoughts. For me, being active in politics is about making a difference in the world, now matter how big, or indeed small that difference may be. You should not be judged on where you come from, what background you came from, or the school that you attended. You should be judged on where you are going, and what you are going to do with your life

Indeed the change that you want to see in the world may be something that lots of people agree with; many, or even most people may disagree with you. But it is still your view, and it is precious for it. The Labour Party, both as an institution and as a set of values is something that is very important to me. The Labour Party, as a set of values grew out of the idea that by acting together we can be stronger than if we simply act alone, purely out of self interest. The “founding fathers” of our party were men like Keir Hardie and Ramsay McDonald. These were men who were guided by their principles. These are the principles that should guide us today. The Labour Party membership card has a passage from the Parties constitution. It states that :

“By the strength of our common endeavor we achieve more than we achieve alone”.

This has been a continuing theme throughout the history of the Labour Party, both in Government and in Opposition as we no find ourselves. From Party members all the way to the Shadow Cabinet and Ed Miliband it is these values which drive us. Our Party has had some of the greatest political figures in the World. Names such as Attlee, Bevan, Wilson, Gaitskill, Foot, Blair and Brown. These are all me who changed the face of Britain. Many disagree with some, or all of what they did, but they all created real change. From the National Health Service to the National Minimum Wage they started a revolution in Britain. If we did not have the NHS, we would probably have system similar to that found in America, where Healthcare is a reward, not a right. If we did not have the minimum wage people would still be earning 50p an hour.

During the 2010 election, the Conservative Party claimed to be the “Party of change”. We are the real Party of change. But we must not forget those people who entrust us with the near unlimited power that our Constitution gives to the Government. To make “change” we have to be in Government, we have to be in tune with the electorate. In 2010, we were not, as we had lost our radical edge that had swept us to power in 1997 to the strains of “Things Can Only Get Better”. After nearly two decades of Conservative Power, Britain was a country which had a shattered morale. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, between them, bought Britain back from the brink of becoming a two tiered nation. During the “Thatcher Years” people did become more wealthy. But it also divided the country, as people were seen less as Human Beings, and more as marketable assets. The Post-War Consensus – that the state should intervene in the economy, was torn up overnight as unbridled free-market control took over. This was even to the extent that some of the Tory Right wanted people to be able to sell their organs. This was clearly extreme. The market is now in control. But restrictions can be placed on it, to ensure that people are not exploited and are fairly rewarded for their labour. The lasting product of Thatcherism was that class has essentially been destroyed in this country.

A final thought – We now live in a country where it is possible for people to improve themselves. It is possible, but it is not easy. We should make it easy.

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