The Great Debate

Tea Party zealots hold the public debate hostage

By Robert L. Borosage
October 15, 2013

This year’s contrived budget crisis is headed to its climax, as the date for defaulting on the nation’s debt approaches.

A 14th Amendment for all centuries

By Garrett Epps
October 9, 2013

During the 1980s, a colorful Washington figure used to stand in Lafayette Square near the White House holding a sign: “Arrest Me. I Question the Validity of the Public Debt. Repeal Section 4, Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” That section reads: “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.” As far as I know, the whimsical “protester” was never arrested; he wasn’t breaking any law. Congressional Republicans, if they force the United States into default on its debt, will be.

Greece should default and reschedule

February 15, 2010

The drama unfolding in Athens contains all the usual ingredients for a modern crisis. Poorly disclosed derivative transactions. Inadequate accounting for off-balance sheet liabilities. Investment banks eager to structure complex transactions in return for fat fees. And a furtive but gullible government that thought it could get something for nothing.