Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? ( “Thirsty Thursday,” Open letter to Senator Pryor)

Dear Senator Pryor,

Why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? As you know that federal deficit is at all time high (1.6 trillion deficit with revenues of 2.2 trillion and spending at 3.8 trillion).

On my blog I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, I did not see any of them in the recent debt deal that Congress adopted. Now I am trying another approach. Every week from now on I will send you an email explaining different reasons why we need the Balanced Budget Amendment. It will appear on my blog on “Thirsty Thursday” because the government is always thirsty for more money to spend.

Huntsman Supports Radical Balanced Budget Amendment

Huntsman Supports Radical Balanced Budget Amendment

Brian Beutler | June 20, 2011, 20digg

Jon Huntsman
In a private conference call with a handful of university students across the country, GOP Presidential hopeful — and President Obama’s former Ambassador to China — Jon Huntsman argued in support of one of the most far-reaching, controversial elements of the conservative political agenda.

As first reported in a broader piece by theHuffington Post, Huntsman argued in favor of a constitutional amendment requiring the federal government to maintain a balanced budget — an innocuous-sounding, but radical plan pushed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and numerous other congressional conservatives.

“We’re going to have to fight for a balanced budget amendment,” Huntsman said. “Every governor in this country has a balanced budget amendment. It keeps everybody honest. It’s the best safeguard imaginable.”

At its core, a balanced-budget amendment would make it unconstitutional for the government to spend more than it collects in revenue — a requirement that, without safeguards, would make stimulus and emergency spending impossible.

Faced with a similar requirement, states responded to the recession with budget cuts that exacerbated the downturn.

But Republicans on the Hill have taken the idea a step further to the right by including a provision that would make it functionally impossible for the government to raise taxes. The goal, then, is to force future Congresses to slash or eliminate federal spending programs — which disproportionately benefit the needy and elderly — to bring them in line with a revenue base that’s likely to shrink over time.

It’s unclear whether Huntsman supports this version of a Balanced Budget Amendment, or a less extreme one. But the nature of the idea is such that it allows conservatives to signal their support for slashing programs without providing the unpopular details. And in the GOP primary, this will likely be a key test for candidates hoping to curry favor with influential conservatives like DeMint

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