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

Thomas Sowell – Growth Of Government

Uploaded by on Sep 23, 2011

Professor Sowell comments on how the Founder’s vision of limited government transmogrified into its present state.


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.

We got to prevent tax hikes and the Balanced Budget Amendment does a good job on that front.

Top 10 Reasons to Support the Lee-Walsh Balanced Budget Amendment

1. It Would Require the Federal Government to Balance Its Budget Every Year.

The federal budget deficit is a record high $1.6 trillion—more than 10 percent of the nation’s entire ouput, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We face such an enormous deficit because we spend too much, not because we tax too little. The Lee-Walsh Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) would force Washington to live within its means.  

2. It Would Prevent Tax Hikes.

The Lee-Walsh BBA would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers to raise taxes, which would help prevent the prosperity-killing tax hikes that years of trillion dollar deficits, as proposed by President Obama’s budget, would surely bring. The Lee-Walsh BBA would achieve a balanced budget by cutting spending instead of raising taxes.

3. It Would Make it More Difficult to Raise the Debt Ceiling.

The Lee-Walsh BBA would require a three-fifths majority vote in both chambers to raise the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling has been raised ten times in just the past decade. It’s clear that we need to make it more difficult to raise the debt ceiling. The Lee-Walsh BBA does this to ensure that Congress cannot raise the debt ceiling so carelessly.

4. It Would Limit Spending to 18 Percent of GDP.

Congressional spending currently consumes approximately 25 percent of GDP. Federal revenue from taxes over the past 40 years has averaged about 18 percent of GDP, making 18 percent a reasonable limit for spending if Congress is in fact interested in balancing the budget for the long haul.

5. It Would Reduce the Size and Scope of Government.

If we want economic growth to return and be a permanent part of American life, it is imperative that we dramatically reduce the size and scope of government. The Lee-Walsh BBA would put real restraints on the amount of money Washington can spend.

6. It Has a Good Chance of Passing.

The Lee-Walsh BBA has a very good chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. In the Senate, the BBA has unanimous support from all 47 Republicans. It’s likely to gain bipartisan support in both chambers.

7. The Lee-Walsh BBA Has Teeth.

Some proposed BBAs have numerous loopholes that make it easy for Congress to override the amendment. The Lee-Walsh BBA has real teeth that would require Washington to balance its budget each year.

8. Americans Overwhelmingly Support Balanced Budget Amendments.

Balanced Budget Amendments have always been popular with the American people. By 72-20 percent, most voters favor a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to a Fox News poll.

9. It Would Prohibit Congress from Perpetual Deficit Spending.

Deficit spending is simply a hidden tax on future earnings. It is irresponsible for Washington to continue to borrow now and tax us more down the road. The Lee-Walsh BBA would help end our deficit spending and our debt culture.

10. It is a Good Start to Restoring Fiscal Sanity to Washington.

A Balanced Budget Amendment may not be a cure all. But it’s a step in the right direction to rein in excessive spending. Enactment of this amendment will go a long way in ensuring Washington never gets so carried away with reckless spending again.


Thank you again for your time and for this opportunity to share my ideas with you.


Everette Hatcher

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