Drawing Default Lines
The United States of America will not go into default any time in the near future.
That's a pretty strong statement to make, but it's true. Why? Because we have a lot of money with which to make good on our loans.
As I noted in yesterday's Update, our government collects, on average, $206 billion a month. The average per-month interest on our debt over a 12-month period is $35 billion which is all that the federal government is paying as it pertains to our nation's debt. The math is pretty straightforward: We will have more than enough to service our national debt and pay for other essential obligations.
President Obama has the ability to prioritize which bills to pay first and a constitutional obligation to pay the debt first. As attorney John Hinderaker notes, "Constitutionally, the federal government must pay its debts. The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, 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' ... the federal government must pay its debt obligations, both principal and interest, even if that means prioritizing debt service over other government spending. So the question is, if Congress does not raise the current debt ceiling, will the federal government run out of money needed to pay its existing debts? The answer is clearly No."
In addition to scaring the public with talk of default, the Obama Administration is now warning the public that it cannot guarantee full social security benefit payments without an increase in the debt ceiling. Is the Administration simply trying to spark a stampede of the public in order to trample Republican's effort to corral the President's profligate spending? Even the Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, Jason Furman, acknowledges that "failure to raise the debt limit wouldn't cause the U.S. to instantly fall off the proverbial cliff."
No reasonable American would want to see the federal government default on its debt, and there is no reason to do so. But the real lesson today is that now is the time to restrain deficit spending and rein in the ever increasing and burdensome federal government. If not now, when?
Billy Graham, Just As He Is
The Rev. Billy Graham has never been an overtly political figure. He counseled Presidents, yes. But it wasn't until last year's marriage debate in North Carolina that the popular evangelist waded into the cultural battle to stay. In endorsing the state's marriage amendment, Rev. Graham said he never thought he'd live to see the day that he had to defend marriage as the union of a man and woman. Since then, his profound concern for our nation has only deepened.
In an interview last weekend with Newsmax.com, he addressed America's moral decline. Rev. Graham said, "Hope and change has become a cliché in our nation and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great, but far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought; He knows our hearts need transformation." That's what he and the entire Graham family are praying for: a contrite America, where revival -- the kind sparked by the messages the Rev. Billy Graham delivered all over the world -- is possible. Rev. Graham is right that religious freedom is under greater attack in this country than ever before.
Over the years, I've had other Christian leaders tell me that they want to avoid the controversy of political issues and "just preach the Gospel." Well, over the last five years many of these leaders are beginning to wake up to reality. There is a growing understanding that even preaching the Gospel is being threatened under an administration that is redefining religious freedom. Religious freedom has always been defined as the right to live out one's faith in every area of life, but this administration wants to redefine it to mean what happens within the four walls of the church which they call freedom of worship. It's the Gospel that's at the heart of the controversy -- and the freedom to preach and live your life according to that message that is at stake! I applaud Rev. Graham's boldness and pray that each of us is inspired to vote our values, speak the truth in love and live out our faith.
This is why religious freedom will be a major topic at this week's Values Voter Summit. We are hosting two general session panels featuring those who have suffered discrimination because of they have stood firm in their religious beliefs. Panelists include Craig James, a football analyst who was fired from Fox Sports after the network learned that he had expressed his marriage views during his race for the U.S. Senate and also Senior Master Sergeant Phillip Monk, a 19-year active duty airman who was recently read his Miranda rights after telling his lesbian commander that another service member shouldn't be punished for promoting natural marriage.
Summit Across America
If you can't make the 8th annual Values Voter Summit in person, don't worry - we're offering a live broadcast of the event for free at valuesvotersummit.org. In addition to the video stream of the speakers, our website will feature a select group of friends on Twitter who'll be offering real time commentary on the event. To join the conversation on Twitter, use #VVS13, and be sure to participate in the Congressional Town Hall on Friday afternoon at 2:50 p.m. EDT by Tweeting your questions to @TPerkins using #VVS13. In addition to live Tweeting the event, we'll be covering the event on our Facebook page, sharing photos, quotes and updates. Help us share the faith, family and freedom message by liking and sharing the good stuff with your network.
*On Tuesday's edition of "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins," FRC's Executive Vice President, Jerry Boykin joined Tony to discuss the recent raids in Libya & Somalia. The senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, Jack Hibbs, will be on to talk about his efforts regarding a "bathroom" bill in California. Also, Congressman Doug Collins (R-Georgia) joins Tony to discuss protecting religious liberty in the military.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.