Oh My Aching Back

Georgia has put tough immigration laws into effect and as a result, many immigrants, both legal and illegal, are refusing to work in the fields picking crops.  It is estimated that up to 40% of Georgia’s produce will be left to rot in the fields.

The governor of Georgia created a plan to help with the labor shortage.  Probationers are encouraged to work in the fields.  Unfortunately, it is not working out so well for the growers as these new workers quit half way through the day.  Productivity is low and is not sufficient to complete the harvest.

Mendez put the probationers to the test last Wednesday, assigning them to fill one truck and a Latino crew to a second truck. The Latinos picked six truckloads of cucumbers compared to one truckload and four bins for the probationers.

“It’s not going to work,” Mendez said. “No way. If I’m going to depend on the probation people, I’m never going to get the crops up.”

Conditions in the field are bruising, and the probationers didn’t seem to know what to expect. Cucumber plants hug the ground, forcing the workers to bend over, push aside the large leaves and pull them from the vine. Unlike the Mexican and Guatemalan workers, the probationers didn’t wear gloves to protect their hands from the small but prickly thorns on the vines and sandpaper-rough leaves.

Be careful what you wish for.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 6, 2011: Harrumph Day

An argument has been put forth that the 14th Amendment allows the President to continue to pay the country’s bills even after the debt limit has been reached. The relevant portion of the 14th Amendment states:

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.

This was, in the context of the Civil War, an affirmation of the debts incurred by the North, and a repudiation of the debts incurred by the South. It was saying to the countries and businesses that backed the South that they backed the wrong horse, and would not be reimbursed. It also told those that previously owned slaves that they would not be compensated for their loss of “property.”

But does this grant the President the power to continue issueing checks when Congress has prohibited the government from borrowing funds to cover the checks?

No.

Article I, Section 8 states the Congress shall have the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. The Congress. Not the President. So, when the government has borrowed all that Congress has allowed, it can borrow no more. Government spending is automatically capped at the same level of government income. The President lacks the authority to incurr any additional debt.

Thus the 14th Amendment’s reaffirmation of the validity of the debts of the United States is not in conflict with the Article I, Section 8’s granting of authorty to Congress to create the debt in the first place.

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