Tag Archives: balanced budget amendment

Tea Party Conservative Senator Mike Lee interview

Tea Party Conservative Senator Mike Lee interview

Here is an excellent interview above with Senator Lee with a fine article below from the Heritage Foundation.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) came to Washington as the a tea-party conservative with the goal of fixing the economy, addressing the debt crisis and curbing the growth of the federal government. It’s an uphill battle for the youngest member of the U.S. Senate, but one he’s prepared to fight.

Lee’s recent book, “The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government,” outlined his goals for changing Washington. (Listen to our recent podcast.) Yesterday at Heritage, he delivered the annual Helms Lecture, detailing his opposition of the Law of the Sea Treaty — a measure supported by the Obama administration that awaits Senate ratification.

Lee spoke to us afterward about President Obama’s jobs plan, the mounting federal debt and his solution to saving Social Security.

In the days following Obama’s speech to Congress, Lee sharply criticized the president’s ideas for raising taxes and hiking spending to spur economic growth. As he explained to us, “We need to not be doing more of the same things that made the problem worse. We need to refocus on getting the federal government out of the way rather than making the federal government part of the problem.”

The interview runs a little more than 4 minutes. Hosted by Rob Bluey and produced by Brandon Stewart, with help from Hannah Sternberg.

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A way to understand the current federal budget

I got this off the internet.

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cut: $38,500,000,000

Now, remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget

Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on credit card: $142,710
Total budget cuts: $385

Sort of brings the true issue “home” doesn’t it?

Related posts:

Tea Party Conservative Senator Mike Lee interview

Tea Party Conservative Senator Mike Lee interview Here is an excellent interview above with Senator Lee with a fine article below from the Heritage Foundation. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) came to Washington as the a tea-party conservative with the goal of fixing the economy, addressing the debt crisis and curbing the growth of the federal […]

Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? (Part 8 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 http://www.HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, […]

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 48)

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 48) This post today is a part of a series I am doing on the 66 Republican Tea Party favorites that resisted eating the “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal. Actually that name did not originate from a representative who agrees with the Tea Party, but […]

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 46)

  Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 46) This post today is a part of a series I am doing on the 66 Republican Tea Party favorites that resisted eating the “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal. Actually that name did not originate from a representative who agrees with the Tea Party, […]

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 44)

Sixty Six who resisted “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal (Part 44) This post today is a part of a series I am doing on the 66 Republican Tea Party favorites that resisted eating the “Sugar-coated Satan Sandwich” Debt Deal. Actually that name did not originate from a representative who agrees with the Tea Party, but […]

Dear Senator Pryor, why not pass the Balanced Budget Amendment? (Part 7 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 http://www.HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com I took you at your word and sent you over 100 emails with specific spending cut ideas. However, […]

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 11)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

____________________

Mark Pryor will not be re-elected in 2014 in part because he voted for a 900 billion stimulus bill in 2009. SENATOR PRYOR DOES NOT WANT THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT BECAUSE IT WOULD MAKE FUTURE STIMULUS BILLS UNLIKELY. BASICALLY PRYOR BELIEVES THAT GOVERNMENT IS THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS. WHY ELSE DID HE VOTE FOR THE FAILED STIMULUS IN 2009?

I have included an article below that makes a very good point about the Balanced Budget Amendment and the stimulus:

Lee believes there are several key components to a balanced budget amendment which he outlines in his book, including making tax increases contingent on a two-thirds vote in Congress so that the option to increase taxes is not the default maneuver to balance a budget. He believes the amendment should require Congress spends no more than it takes in, and in fact should cap the spending at a fixed percent of GDP (the proposal submitted in the Senate caps it at 18 percent of GDP, just about the historical average). There would also be a supermajority vote required to raise the debt ceiling.

And for those who argue that stimulus packages wouldn’t have been possible under the amendment, Lee sees little difficulty responding.

“That’s exibit A for why we ought to have it,” Lee said of the Obama stimulus package.

That is a very good point in favor of having a balanced budget amendment in my view. I have been critical of Pryor for supporting the stimulus in the past.

Lee Makes His Case for a Balanced Budget Amendment

By Elisabeth Meinecke

7/18/2011

As Washington spends the summer arguing over its spending addiction, GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has a solution to help prevent the same crisis for future generations: a balanced budget amendment.

The House made news last week when, in the heat of negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, they announced a vote on a balanced budget amendment this Wednesday. Though the Senate GOP introduced a one earlier this year, President Obama has stated emphatically otherwise, telling Americans last week during a press conference that the country does not need a balanced budget amendment.

“Yes, we do,” Lee told Townhall when asked to respond to the president, adding later when talking about simultaneously raising the debt ceiling and cutting spending, “We can’t bind what a future Congress will do. We can pass laws that will affect this year, but there will be a new Congress that takes power in January of 2013, and then another new one that will take power in January 2015. And they will make their own spending decisions then — we can’t bind them unless we amend the Constitution to do so.”

Lee points out that the American people support the idea of a balanced budget – 65 percent, according to a Sachs/Mason Dixon poll from this year – but politicians have been reluctant to wade into the debate.

“The fact that we’re in this debate, the fact that we’re sort of deadlocked, or we’ve reached a point of gridlock in the discussions, is indicative of the problem that we have,” Lee said.

In fact, Lee thinks a balanced budget amendment is so important to the future of the country that he’s written a book on it: The Freedom Agenda: Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Is Necessary to Restore Constitutional Government.

Lee even takes the argument a step beyond fiscal issues, saying a balanced budget amendment safeguards individual liberties.

““The more money it [Congress] has access to, whether it’s through borrowing or through taxation, either way, that’s going to fuel Congress’ expansion, and whenever government acts, it does so at the expanse of individual liberty,” Lee said. “We become less free every time government expands.”

Lee believes there are several key components to a balanced budget amendment which he outlines in his book, including making tax increases contingent on a two-thirds vote in Congress so that the option to increase taxes is not the default maneuver to balance a budget. He believes the amendment should require Congress spends no more than it takes in, and in fact should cap the spending at a fixed percent of GDP (the proposal submitted in the Senate caps it at 18 percent of GDP, just about the historical average). There would also be a supermajority vote required to raise the debt ceiling.

And for those who argue that stimulus packages wouldn’t have been possible under the amendment, Lee sees little difficulty responding.

“That’s exibit A for why we ought to have it,” Lee said of the Obama stimulus package.

Lee also pointed out that his balanced budget amendment includes an exception to the spending restriction in time of war – “not a blank check, but to the extent necessary.” Congress would also be able to supersede the amendment with a two-thirds vote.

“We wanted to make it difficult, but not impossible, for Congress to spend more than it had access to,” Lee said, citing as an example a massive or immediate crisis created by a national emergency or natural disaster. “What this is designed to do is to make it more difficult – to make it impossible – for Congress to just do this as a matter of course.”

Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is Associate Editor with Townhall.com

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 10)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

____________________

Senator Mark Pryor will lose his bid for re-election in 2014 BECAUSE HE IS AFRAID TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT ENTITLEMENTS AND THEN TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEIR FUTURE WHICH WILL BANKRUPT THIS NATION IF LEFT ALONE ANY LONGER.

Balanced Budget Amendment: Cut Spending Later, Cut Spending Now

March 31, 2011

Two key principles should govern congressional consideration of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires the federal government to balance its budget:

  • First Principle: A Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) is important to help bring long-term fiscal responsibility to America’s future when the BBA takes effect after ratification by three-quarters of the state legislatures; it is equally important for Congress to cut spending nowto address the current overspending crisis.
  • Second Principle: An effective BBA will include three elements to: (a) control spending, taxation, and borrowing, (b) ensure the defense of America, and (c) enforce the requirement to balance the budget.

Cuts for the Future, Cuts for the Present

Federal spending is out of control—both obligations for the future and spending right now.

Congress must get spending under control in the long term. America cannot raise taxes to continue overspending, because tax hikes shrink our economy and grow our government. America cannot borrow more to continue overspending, because borrowing puts an enormous financial burden on the American children of tomorrow. A BBA will help address this long-term problem because, after the multi-year process for securing ratification of the BBA by three-quarters of the states, the BBA will keep federal spending under control in subsequent years.

Congress also must get spending under control in the short term. Federal overspending is not simply about the future, but also about the present. Under the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Submission, measured by the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government will spend $1.2 trillion more than it will take in, a gargantuan burden of additional debt forced on future generations to pay current bills.

Thus, America needs both a Balanced Budget Amendment for the long term and deep cuts in federal spending starting right now, without waiting for a BBA to take effect. As Congress considers budget resolutions, appropriations bills, appropriations continuing resolutions, and debt limit bills, Congress should take every opportunity now to cut federal spending, including for the biggest overspending problem: the ever-growing entitlement programs.

Congress should recognize that the best way to encourage state legislatures to ratify a BBA is to demonstrate, through consistent congressional cuts in spending, that the American people have the will to accept spending cuts to balance the budget.

Elements of a Successful Balanced Budget Amendment

A successful BBA will:

  • Control spending, taxing, and borrowing through a requirement to balance the budget.The BBA should cap annual spending at a level not exceeding either: (a) a specified percentage of the value of goods and services the economy produces in a year (known as gross domestic product, or GDP), or (b) the level of revenues. To ensure that Congress cannot simply balance the budget by continually raising taxes instead of cutting overspending, the BBA should require Congress to act by supermajority votes if Members wish to raise taxes. Any authority the BBA grants Congress to deal with economic slowdowns, by waiving temporarily the requirement that spending not exceed the GDP percentage or revenue level, should specify the amount of above-revenue spending allowed and require supermajority votes.
  • Defend America. The BBA should allow Congress by supermajority votes to waive temporarily compliance with the balanced budget requirement when waiver is essential to pay for the defense of Americans from attack.
  • Enforce the balanced budget requirement. The BBA should provide for its own enforcement, but must specifically exclude courts from any enforcement of the BBA, so unelected judges do not make policy decisions such as determining the appropriate level of funding for federal programs. A government that spends money in excess of its revenues must borrow to cover the difference. Therefore, to enforce the requirement to balance the budget, the BBA should prohibit government issuance of debt, except when necessary to finance a temporary deficit resulting from congressional supermajority votes discussed above.

America is in a fiscal crisis. Our government spends too much. Overspending must stop immediately. Overspending will stop only if Congress cuts spending now, including with respect to the ever-expanding entitlement programs. For the future, Congress and three-quarters of state legislatures can adopt and ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to anchor the American willingness to live within a balanced budget.

David S. Addington is Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy, and J. D. Foster, Ph.D., is Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy, at The Heritage Foundation.

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 7)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

____________________

Over and over Senator Mark Pryor has told us that is an empty solution BUT HE WILL GET BEAT IN 2014 BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT HE JUST DOENS’T WANT A BALANCED BUDGET BECAUSE HE LIKES GIVING OUT PRIZES TO HIS VOTING BLOCKS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT HIM. FURTHERMORE, THE STATE OF ARKANSAS HAS BALANCED THE BUDGET EVERY YEAR BECAUSE THEY HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT!!!

Bruce Bialosky puts it in a simple wayand Senator Pryor should tell the people this too:

The jig is up and we need to reverse course. You cannot have everything you want. You can have Social Security, but you should expect less and start saving for yourself more. Medicare will help with your retirement healthcare, but you should have something saved for that as well.

The Case for a Balanced Budget

By Bruce Bialosky

12/20/2010

 

No objective is more important for the new Congress than putting America on course toward a balanced federal budget. We used to balance our budget regularly but, except for a short period during the late 1990’s, Congress has been unable to accomplish what should be a clear-cut mission. Americans understand that deficit spending may be unavoidable in wartime or in a Katrina-like emergency, but we also believe that in the absence of these events, there is no excuse for irresponsibly increasing our national debt.

Unfortunately, our national agenda no longer seems to include a balanced budget. President Obama established a national debt commission (whose report I will address in a future column), but that was only after cranking up federal expenditures and deficits to previously unseen levels.

We all know that the big enchiladas in the Federal budget are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and national defense. That still leaves a lot of money to be saved elsewhere, yet even these opportunities are far too often belittled by elitists. For example, Jackie Calmes, a New York Times reporter, wrote that while there is general agreement on an earmark ban, “… [it] would hardly dent the projected annual deficits.” Paul Krugman, her colleague at the Times and the current economic guru of the left, routinely dismisses any savings at all, his most recent tantrum being Obama’s proposal for a two-year freeze on pay raises. He states “The actual savings, about $5 billion over two years, are chump change given the scale of the deficit.” These are two examples that occurred within days – and I could probably cite hundreds more, from both sides of the aisle.

The United States has a budget crisis that should be met by expenditure reductions, but our government has acted only with foolishness and cowardice. Let’s say your employer came to you and said “Look, the company is struggling, but I can keep you on if we reduce your annual salary from $80,000 to $70,000.” You would go home, sit down with your spouse, and figure out where you can start saving money. You could skip the Saturday night movies and join Netflix. You could learn to live without HBO. You could stop getting water delivered to the house. The bottom line is that you would adjust your expenditures because you have no choice; after all, you can’t print money or sell bonds to your neighbors. Not even to China.

What our government is doing has been going on for hundreds of years, ever since the Rothschilds made their fortune lending monies to the monarchies of Europe, and it has become an international problem of gargantuan proportions. Political leaders all over the world are making fiscal promises that they cannot keep, and this irresponsible practice has exploded in the past seventy-five years with the advent of left-wing, socialist governments. Overspending has become so pervasive that our society makes fun of it. In his recent HBO special, Dennis Miller spoke about not understanding the deficit. Miller said that he asked his son if he was upset that his generation would be saddled with the national debt. His son replied “Christ no Dad, I’m just going to saddle my kids with it.” It was good for a laugh – but Miller would never force his own kids to pay his credit card bills.

Virtually every parent I have ever met worries about what will be left for their children or grandchildren when they die. These people understand that it is immoral and sinful to leave their kids a pile of debt. Yet when it comes to the government – for which we are all responsible – people perceive it as some amorphous entity that can merrily spend more each year than it takes in without any consequences. They believe government, apparently, can pay for everything.

And unfortunately we do. Prodded by spineless and corrupt politicians who consider power far more important than responsibility, government has become the fixer of all our problems. People can live in a flood plain without insurance and then get paid by the government to rebuild in that same flood plain only to be wiped out again in the next flood. Every challenge that we have in this country is being discussed by a commission that lasts forever without ever solving the problem. Responsible Americans put their hand out when they hear of a government program because they rationalize they want their share, and if they don’t get it now someone else will. The sense of communal cost has disappeared.

The numbers are staggering. If the U.S. government had to employ the same accounting standards used by major corporations, it would report an annual deficit between $4 and $5 trillion. 41% of our current federal expenditures are paid for by borrowing money, and by 2015, America will be about $20 trillion in debt.

Our elected officials must face these facts, along with the immoral and pathetic aspects of their reckless behavior. Polls that say that taxpayers demand certain things need to be disregarded, and responsible leaders with some backbone must instead broadcast the simple truth: The jig is up and we need to reverse course. You cannot have everything you want. You can have Social Security, but you should expect less and start saving for yourself more. Medicare will help with your retirement healthcare, but you should have something saved for that as well. If you have a catastrophe, you’d better have an insurance policy because we cannot guarantee every one of your risks. And if your parents get ill in their old age, you’d better be prepared to take care of them just as they took care of you.

Saddling our kids with more and more debt is just plain wrong. The debt is bad enough now and we need to stop it from getting worse. The time is now and this Congress was elected to do just that thing.

Bruce Bialosky

Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 6)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

____________________

Pure and simple Senator Mark Pryor WILL BE DEFEATED IN 2014 BECAUSE HE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT AND HAS OFFERED SILLY REASONS WHY IT WOULD BE A BAD IDEA.

Earlier I mentioned briefly that it was silly for Senator Pryor to say the Balanced Budget Amendment is “a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases..”

Actually Ed Meese has answered this in a fully way than I did with the article below.

Balanced Budget Amendment: Instrument to Force Spending Cuts, Not Tax Hikes

By Edwin Meese, III
July 21, 2011

As Congress considers what to do about federal overspending and overborrowing, conservatives must maintain focus. We must pursue the path that drives down federal spending and borrowing and gets to a balanced budget, while preserving our ability to protect America and without raising taxes. An important part of that conservative agenda is adoption of a sound—repeat, a sound—Balanced Budget Amendment.[1] A Balanced Budget Amendment is not sound if it leads to balancing the federal budget by tax hikes instead of spending cuts. Thus, a sound Balanced Budget Amendment must prohibit raising taxes unless a two-thirds majority of the membership of both Houses of Congress votes to raise them. Without the two-thirds majority requirement, the Balanced Budget Amendment becomes the means for big spenders to raise taxes.

Supporters of the Balanced Budget Amendment rightly want to force the federal government to live within its means—to spend no more than it takes in. Because the government has failed for decades to follow that balanced budget principle, America is now $14.294 trillion in debt, a debt of more than $45,000 for every person in the United States.[2]

President Obama is making things worse. In discussions with congressional leaders, he has pushed hard to get authority to borrow yet more trillions of dollars and hike taxes. And the White House reiterated this week that President Obama opposes amending the Constitution to require the federal government to balance its budget.[3]

A Sound Balanced Budget Amendment Must Require Two-Thirds Majorities to Raise Federal Taxes

Like 72 percent of the American people, The Heritage Foundation favors passage by the requisite two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and ratification by the requisite 38 states of an effective Balanced Budget Amendment to become part of our Constitution.[4] Heritage has made clear that an effective Balanced Budget Amendment must control spending, taxation, and borrowing; ensure the defense of America; and enforce, through the legislative process and without interference by the judicial branch, the requirement to balance the budget.[5] A sound Balanced Budget Amendment will drive down federal spending and end federal borrowing.

To date, Congress has proposed one largely sound Balanced Budget Amendment for consideration—Senate Joint Resolution 10, often called the Hatch-Lee Amendment after its main proponents.[6] It has a number of important features, such as an annual federal spending cap of not to exceed 18 percent of the economy’s annual output of goods and services (called the gross domestic product, or GDP) that Congress cannot exceed, except by a law passed with two-thirds majorities in both Houses of Congress or in specified circumstances involving military necessity.

A crucial feature is included in section 4 of the Balanced Budget Amendment proposed by Senate Joint Resolution 10: “Any bill that imposes a new tax or increases the statutory rate of any tax or the aggregate amount of revenue may pass only by a two-thirds majority of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress by a roll call vote.” The requirement that no tax hikes occur without the approval of 290 Representatives and 67 Senators is essential in a sound Balanced Budget Amendment. Without the requirement for two-thirds majorities for any tax increase, the Balanced Budget Amendment becomes a sword for big spenders to use to raise taxes, instead of a shield to protect Americans from tax hikes. Those who seek to anchor into our Constitution a requirement to balance the budget must always remember that, if the only requirement is “balance,” that can be achieved two ways—cut spending or hike taxes. A sound Balanced Budget Amendment will balance the budget by driving down federal spending and not by driving up federal taxes.

Balanced-Budget States That Allow Simple Majorities for Tax Hikes Face Situations Very Different from That of the Federal Government

Some look at the experience of states that have requirements in their constitutions for a balanced state budget and draw the wrong conclusion about the need for two-thirds majorities for taxation. They mistakenly conclude that a requirement merely for simple majorities in state legislatures to raise taxes suffices to keep state taxation under control and therefore that a federal Balanced Budget Amendment should require only simple majorities in Congress to raise taxes. But the balanced budget requirement at the state level occurs in a very different context from such a requirement at the federal level.

As a practical matter, state legislators regularly work and live among the people they represent, often do their legislative work face-to-face with their constituents, and often depend upon direct contact with voters to persuade voters to keep the legislators in office. As a result, state legislators tend to be closely attuned and responsive to the need of their constituents for reasonableness in taxation. In contrast, U.S. Senators and Representatives spend much of their time distant from the people they represent, often deal with their constituents through the insulation of large staffs, and amass large campaign funds through political fundraising that allow them to depend more upon expensive mass communications than upon direct contact with voters to persuade the voters to keep them in office. As a result, U.S. Senators and Representatives tend to be less directly attuned and responsive to the need of their constituents for reasonableness in taxation than state legislators are. Accordingly, while a requirement for merely simple majorities in state legislatures to raise taxes may suffice to keep taxes under control in that state, simple majorities are not likely to keep taxes under control at the federal level—as the experience of federal tax increases in the last 50 years proves.

Some who recognize the need for taxpayer protection by requiring supermajorities, rather than just simple majorities, of the two Houses of Congress to raise taxes think a supermajority of three-fifths of both Houses would suffice. While three-fifths would add a modicum of taxpayer protection in the House, three-fifths would add little if anything in the way of taxpayer protection in the Senate, which already often requires a three-fifths majority to proceed to consideration of legislation. The existing three-fifths rule in the Senate has often failed to protect taxpayers from federal tax increases in the past. A sound Balanced Budget Amendment would add protection for taxpayers in both Houses of Congress by a requirement for two-thirds majorities of the membership of both Houses to raise taxes.

Conclusion: Adopt the Two-Thirds Majority Requirement for Tax Hikes, to Make the Balanced Budget Amendment the Instrument of Spending Cuts and Not Tax Hikes

America’s soon-to-be New Minority—people who pay federal income tax—need protection from unreasonable taxation.[7] When all Americans have the right to vote, but only a minority has the duty to pay the federal income taxes from which all Americans benefit, the risk is high that a non-taxpaying majority will elect a Congress pledged to adopt taxation that oppresses the taxpaying minority. The impulse to seek something for nothing has regrettably taken root in the American body politic in the past century. The requirement in the Balanced Budget Amendment of a two-thirds majority of the membership of both Houses of Congress to raise taxes will protect a taxpaying minority against oppressive taxation.

As Congress continues on the path toward adopting a joint resolution to recommend a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification, Congress should ensure that the Amendment includes a requirement for approval by two-thirds of the membership of the two Houses of Congress for tax hikes. Absent such a requirement, the Balanced Budget Amendment will encourage tax hikes instead of spending cuts as the means to balance the budget, making the Amendment the friend of the tax, spend and borrow crowd, instead of the friend of those who believe in limited government, free enterprise, and individual freedom.

Edwin Meese III is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Edwin Meese, III

  • Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

Edwin Meese III is a prominent leader, thinker and elder statesman in the conservative movement – and America itself.

Meese holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, where he is responsible for keeping the late president’s legacy of conservative principles alive in public debate and discourse.

He also is Chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, founded in 2001 to educate government officials, the media and the public about the Constitution, legal principles and how they affect public policy.

These two Heritage “hats” keep Meese, a trusted counselor to Reagan before becoming Attorney General, among the major conservative voices in national policy debates at an age when most men and women enjoy quiet retirements.

In 2006, for example, Meese was named to the Iraq Study Group, a special presidential commission dedicated to examining the best resolutions for America’s involvement in Iraq.

Immediately after Reagan’s death in 2004, and in the years since, Meese appeared on the major cable and broadcast news programs to discuss the lasting impact of his old friend, mentor and boss. He often summarizes the Reagan legacy in three accomplishments: 1) Reagan cut taxes and kept them low. 2) He worked to defeat and end the Soviet Union and its worldwide push for communism. 3) He restored America’s faith in itself after years of failure and “malaise.”

“I admired him as a leader and cherish his friendship,” Meese wrote in a 2004 essay for Heritage members and supporters. “Ronald Reagan had strong convictions. He was committed to the principles that had led to the founding of our nation. And he had the courage to follow his convictions against all odds.”

Meese spent much of his adult life working for Reagan, first after the former actor, sports announcer and athlete was elected Governor of California in 1966 and then when he sought and won the presidency in 1980.

Meese served as the 75th Attorney General of the United States from February 1985 to August 1988. As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, he directed the Justice Department and led international efforts to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime.

From January 1981 to February 1985, Meese held the position of Counsellor to the President – the senior job on the White House staff – and functioned as Reagan’s chief policy adviser. In 1985, he received Government Executive magazine’s annual award for excellence in management.

Meese joined Heritage in 1988 as the think tank’s first Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow – the only policy chair in the country to be officially named for the 40th president.

His relationship with Heritage began eight years earlier, however, when Meese met with senior management to discuss the think tank’s landmark policy guide, Mandate for Leadership, prepared for the incoming administration. Meese later recalled that Reagan personally handed out copies of the 1,093-page book to members of his Cabinet and asked them to read it. Nearly two-thirds of Mandate’s 2,000 recommendations would be adopted or attempted by the Reagan Administration.

Meese took on a new role as Chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies more than a decade after joining the think tank. Under his guidance, the center has counseled White House staffers, Justice Department officials and Senate Judiciary Committee members on the importance of filling judicial vacancies with qualified men and women who are committed to interpreting the Constitution according to the founding document’s original meaning.

The center also became known for hosting “moot court” practice sessions to sharpen the arguments of attorneys slated to bring important cases before the Supreme Court. Those cases addressed constitutional issues ranging from property rights to racial preferences in primary and secondary schools to restrictions on free speech in campaign finance law.

Meese headed the center’s Advisory Board for the writing and editing of the best-selling book, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (Regnery, 2005). The book assembles 109 experts to walk readers through a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was among those keeping the reference work handy during Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominees.

Meese’s other books include Leadership, Ethics and Policing (Prentice Hall, 2004); Making America Safer (Heritage, 1997); and With Reagan: The Inside Story (Regnery Gateway, 1992).

He also is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California and lectures, writes and consults throughout the United States on a variety of subjects.

As both Attorney General and Counsellor to President Reagan, Meese was a member of the Cabinet and the National Security Council. He also served as Chairman of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Drug Policy Board.

After Reagan won the White House in the 1980 election, Meese headed the transition team. In the campaign, he was the Reagan-Bush Committee’s senior official.

During the Reagan governorship, Meese served as Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff from 1969 through 1974 and as Legal Affairs Secretary from 1967 through 1968. He previously was Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County, Calif.

Reagan never forgot Meese’s loyalty and hard work over the years. During a press conference at which reporters questioned Meese’s actions at the Justice Department, Reagan replied: “If Ed Meese is not a good man, there are no good men.”

Meese had a career outside government and politics. From 1977 to 1981, he was a Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, where he also directed the Center for Criminal Justice Policy and Management.

He was an executive in the aerospace and transportation industry as Vice President for Administration of Rohr Industries Inc. in Chula Vista, Calif. He left Rohr to return to the practice of law, doing corporate and general work in San Diego County.

Edwin Meese III was born Dec. 2, 1931, to Edwin Jr. and Leone Meese in Oakland, Calif. He graduated from Yale University in 1953 and holds a law degree from the University of California-Berkeley. A retired Colonel in the Army Reserve, he remains active in numerous civic and educational organizations.

He and his wife, Ursula, have two grown children and reside in McLean, Va.

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 5)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

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Senator Pryor will be defeated in 2014 BECAUSE HE IS OFTEN INVOLVED WITH DOUBLETALK INSTEAD OF MAKING THE HARD CHOICES THAT IT TAKES TO BALANCE THE BUDGET.  For instance, Senator Pryor said “While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases… We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years.”

However, he is knows that “any sensible amendment proposal would feature a “safety valve” to exempt deficits incurred in response to such emergencies, requiring, for example, a three-fifths “super majority” in both houses of Congress…” as Dick Thornburgh has noted below. Furthermore, Thornburgh refutes the other potential problems Pryor has noted below.

There’s nothing nutty about a balanced-budget amendment
In fact, it makes a lot of sense
Thursday, July 21, 2011
By A late entry in the budget deficit-debt ceiling talkathon in Washington is increasing support for a constitutional requirement that the federal budget be balanced each and every year.

Doctrinaire liberals will no doubt characterize this proposal as a nutty one, but careful scrutiny of such an amendment to our Constitution demonstrates its potential to prevent future train wrecks in the budgeting process.

Coupled with a presidential line-item veto and separate capital budgeting (which differentiates investments from current outlays), a constitutional budget-balancing requirement makes sense. These tools already are available to most governors and state legislatures. And they work.

The current debate in the Congress will likely include the following arguments usually raised against a balanced-budget amendment.

First, it will be argued that the amendment would “clutter up” our basic document in a way contrary to the intention of the founding fathers.

This is clearly wrong. The framers of the Constitution contemplated that amendments would be necessary to keep it abreast of the times. It already has been amended on 27 occasions.

Moreover, at the time of the Constitutional Convention, one of the major preoccupations was how to liquidate the Revolutionary War debts of the states. Certainly, it would have been unthinkable to the framers that the federal government itself would systematically run at a deficit, decade after decade. Indeed, the Treasury did not begin to follow such a practice until the mid-1930s.

Second, critics will argue that the adoption of a balanced-budget amendment would not solve the deficit problem overnight.

This is correct, but begs the issue. Serious supporters of the amendment recognize that a phasing-in period of five or 10 years would be required to reach a zero deficit. During this interim period, however, budget makers would be disciplined to meet declining deficit targets in order to reach a balanced budget by the established deadline.

As pointed out by former Commerce Secretary Peter G. Peterson, such “steady progress toward eliminating the deficit will maintain investor confidence, keep long-term interest rates headed down and keep our economy growing.”

Third, it will be argued that such an amendment would require vast cuts in social services and entitlements or defense expenditures.

Not necessarily. True, these programs would have to be paid for on a current basis rather than heaped on the backs of upcoming generations. Certainly, difficult choices would have to be made about priorities and levels of program funding. But the very purpose of the amendment is to discipline the executive and legislative branches actually to debate these choices and not to propose or perpetuate vast spending programs without providing the revenues to fund them.

The amendment would, in effect, make the president and Congress fully accountable for their spending and taxing decisions, as they should be.

Fourth, critics will say that a balanced-budget amendment would prevent or hinder our capacity to respond to national defense or economic emergencies.

This concern is easy to counter. Any sensible amendment proposal would feature a “safety valve” to exempt deficits incurred in response to such emergencies, requiring, for example, a three-fifths “super majority” in both houses of Congress. Such action should, of course, be based on a finding that such an emergency actually exists.

Fifth, it will be said that a balanced-budget amendment would be “more loophole than law” and might be easily circumvented.

The experience of the states suggests otherwise. Balanced-budget requirements are now in effect in all but one of the 50 states and have served them well.

Moreover, the line-item veto, available to 43 governors, would assure that any specific congressional overruns (or loophole end-runs) could be dealt with by the president. The public’s outcry, the elective process and the courts would also provide backup restraint on any tendency to simply ignore a constitutional directive.

In the final analysis, most of the excuses raised for not enacting a constitutional mandate to balance the budget rest on a stated or implied preference for solving our deficit dilemma through the “political process” — that is to say, through responsible action by the president and Congress.

But that has been tried and found wanting, again and again.

Surely, this country is ready for a simple, clear and supreme directive that its elected officials fulfill their fiscal responsibilities. A constitutional amendment is the only instrument that will meet this need effectively. Years of experience at the state level argue persuasively in favor of such a step. Years of debate have produced no persuasive arguments against it.

Perhaps Thomas Jefferson put it best:

“To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us down with perpetual debt.”

That is the aim of a balanced-budget amendment. Reform-minded members of Congress should choose to support such an amendment to our Constitution as a means of resolving future legislative crises and ending “credit card” government once and for all.

A nutty idea? Not by a long shot.

Dick Thornburgh, of counsel to the Pittsburgh law firm K&L Gates, is a former U.S. attorney general and governor of Pennsylvania.
First published on July 21, 2011 at 12:00 am

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 4)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

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Senator Pryor has continued to vote for budgets in the past that have allowed the federal government to spend an increasing amount of GDP. ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS PRYOR WILL BE DEFEATED IN 2014 IS THAT HE DOES NOT SUPPORT THE IDEA THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE LIMITED TO SPENDING 18% OR LESS OF GDP. SENATOR PRYOR THINKS IT WOULD BE GREAT IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO SPEND MORE. WHY ELSE DID HE VOTE FOR THE STIMULUS?

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) will not vote for a balanced budget amendment proposal unless it includes a cap on federal spending. However, he is undecided whether the amendment absolutely must require a supermajority of Congress to approve a tax hike for him to support it.

“The most important element is the cap on spending,” Gohmert told CNSNews.com. “If there is no cap on spending, then the balanced budget amendment is a formula for ever- increasing spending and ever-increasing taxing that will just spiral upward and upward again. So there’s got to be included a cap on spending, and best if it’s related to a percentage of GDP. But, absolutely, if there is no cap on spending, I could not vote for it.”

The actual language of the balanced budget amendment that Congress will vote on before the end of the year has not yet been determined. However, many conservatives fear that Republican leaders may agree to vote on a stripped down amendment that requires Congress to balance the budget but does not cap spending as a percentage of GDP or require supermajorities to raise taxes. They fear that an amendment of that nature–which might win the backing of some incumbent congressional liberals–would become a constitutional lever for sustaining big government via ever-escalating federal taxation.

When the Republican-controlled-House approved the cut, cap and balance plan last on July 19 in 234-190 vote, it included a version of the balanced budget amendment to cap federal spending at 19.9 percent of GDP. The GOP originally sought to hold federal spending to 18 percent of GDP.

The version of the balanced budget amendment in the cut, cap and balance plan also required two-thirds majorities in both houses to approve a tax increase. The amendment also would have prohibited deficit spending unless there was a national security emergency or a supermajority of Congress voted for it. On July 22, the Senate voted 51-46 to approve a procedural motion that blocked substantive consideration of the cut, cap and balance bill in that body.

The debt-limit deal reached by President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) requires that both houses of Congress give an up or down vote to a balanced budget amendment before the end of the year. However, it does not specify what the language of the amendment would be.

If two-thirds of Congress votes to approve a balanced budget amendment, it would then have to be ratified by 38 states, or three-fourths.

The House passed that debt-limit deal by a 269-161 vote on Aug. 1. Gohmert was one of 66 Republicans who voted against it.

“As far as the supermajority to raise taxes, that’s our preference, but the key element, the most important element is the cap on spending,” Gohmert said. “If there is no supermajority to raise taxes then I’d just have to look at it more closely to see what all was there to see if it was something I could vote for or not.”

Gohmert believes this is a winning issue for Republicans.

“Well, I think it’s like this: We either have a legitimate Balanced Budget Amendment pass with a cap on spending, or I really believe if it does not pass, you will see many of those who voted against it turned out both in the House and Senate in the next election,” Gohmert said. “So I think it’s an either/or. Either people vote for it and it passes, or we have a significant change in the people that are in the House and Senate that voted against it.”

Reasons why Mark Pryor will be defeated in 2014 (Part 3)

It is apparent from this statement below that Senator Mark Pryor is against the Balanced Budget Amendment. He has voted against it over and over like his father did and now I will give reasons in this series why Senator Pryor will be defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. However, first I wanted to quote the statement Senator Pryor gave on December 14, 2011. This information below is from the Arkansas Times Blog on 12-14-11 and Max Brantley:

THREE CHEERS FOR MARK PRYOR: Our senator voted not once, but twice, today against one of the hoariest (and whoriest) of Republican gimmicks, a balanced budget amendment. Let’s quote him:

As H.L. Mencken once said, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, clean, and wrong.” This quote describes the balanced budget amendment. While a balanced budget amendment makes for an easy talking point, it is an empty solution. Moreover, it’s a reckless choice that handcuffs our ability to respond to an economic downturn or national emergencies without massive tax increases or throwing everyone off Medicare, Social Security, or veteran’s care.There is a more responsible alternative to balance the budget. President Clinton led the way in turning deficits into record surpluses. We have that same opportunity today, using the blueprint provided by the debt commission as a starting point. We need to responsibly cut spending, reform our tax code and create job growth. This course requires hard choices over a number of years. However, it offers a more balanced approach over jeopardizing safety net programs and opportunity for robust economic growth.

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Mark Pryor has voting over and over to spend more than we have. A Balanced Budget Amendment would make that impossible. PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST OFFENSIVE THINGS THAT PRYOR HAS DONE IS CONTINUE TO VOTE TO PASS BUDGETS THAT ARE NOT BALANCED AND NOW HE HAS BEEN GUILTY OF EARNING OUR COUNTRY A CREDIT DOWNGRADE. THAT IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS ARKANSANS WILL VOTE HIM OUT IN 2014 AND PUT SOMEONE IN THAT WILL VOTE FOR A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT (like they did in 2010 when they replaced Senator Lincoln with a conservative Republican).

Congressman Walsh Issues Statement on His Vote Against Debt Deal

08/01/11

WASHINGTON–  Today, Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-08) voted against the latest debt ceiling deal brokered by President Obama and Congressional leaders.

“Last night’s deal shows how far the debate has moved in just a few months,” said Congressman Walsh. “At the beginning of this debate President Obama demanded a blank check increase in the debt limit with no spending cuts attached.  When that didn’t work, he insisted on huge tax increases on American families and job creators. The Republican Party, however, stood strong and refused to pay for reckless spending withmoretax increases.”

“While I give my Republican leadership all the credit in the world, I cannot support this latest deal: it spends too much and cuts too little.  While this deal will cut $2.4 trillion from the national debt over the next 10 years, Washington will still add another $7 trillion to the national debt over that same period.”

“The fact that there are only $7 billion in cuts next year, an election year, shows how blatantly political this bill is.  We need to be slashing reckless spending now and in the future, not just when it is politically convenient for the President.”

Democrats still don’t get it and refuse to make the spending cuts necessary to avoid a credit downgrade. I have made it clear from day one that I will never vote for an increase in the debt ceiling unless it fundamentally and structurally changes the way Washington spends money. I believe that the way to do that is through statutory spending caps and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.”

Uploaded by on Jun 14, 2011

Our country’s debt continues to grow — it’s eating away at the American Dream. We need to make real cuts now. We need Cut, Cap, and Balance.

Projected Federal spending caused U.S. credit downgrade

Everyone wants to blame the Tea Party for the downgrade, but a Tea party approach is needed to get on the right tract.

 

The Debt Ceiling and the Balanced Budget Amendment

Posted by David Boaz

The Washington Post editorializes:

A balanced-budget amendment would deprive policymakers of the flexibility they need to address national security and economic emergencies.

A fair point. Statesmen should have the ability to “address national security and economic emergencies.” But the same day’s paper included this graphic on the growth of the national debt:

National Debt

Does this look like the record of policymakers making sensible decisions, running surpluses in good year and deficits when they have to “address national security and economic emergencies”? Of course not. Once Keynesianism gave policymakers permission to run deficits, they spent with abandon year after year. And that’s why it makes sense to impose rules on them, even rules that leave less flexibility than would be ideal if you had ideal statesmen. Indeed, the debt ceiling itself should be that kind of rule, one that limits the amount of debt policymakers can run up. But it has obviously failed.

We’ve become so used to these stunning, incomprehensible, unfathomable levels of deficits and debt — and to the once-rare concept of trillions of dollars — that we forget how new all this debt is. In 1980, after 190 years of federal spending, the national debt was “only” $1 trillion. Now, just 30 years later, it’s sailing past $14 trillion.

Historian John Steele Gordon points out how unnecessary our situation is:

There have always been two reasons for adding to the national debt. One is to fight wars. The second is to counteract recessions. But while the national debt in 1982 was 35% of GDP, after a quarter century of nearly uninterrupted economic growth and the end of the Cold War the debt-to-GDP ratio has more than doubled.

It is hard to escape the idea that this happened only because Democrats and Republicans alike never said no to any significant interest group. Despite a genuine economic emergency, the stimulus bill is more about dispensing goodies to Democratic interest groups than stimulating the economy. Even Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) — no deficit hawk when his party is in the majority — called it “porky.”

Annual federal spending rose by a trillion dollars when Republicans controlled the government from 2001 to 2007. It has risen another trillion during the Bush-Obama response to the financial crisis. So spending every year is now twice what it was when Bill Clinton left office. Republicans and Democrats alike should be able to find wasteful, extravagant, and unnecessary programs to cut back or eliminate. They could find some of them here in this report by Chris Edwards.

In the Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” Just so. When it becomes clear that Congress as a body cannot be trusted with the management of the public fisc, then bind them down with the chains of the Constitution, even — or especially — chains that deny them the flexibility they have heretofore abused.

President Obama’s Statement on Credit Downgrade

Uploaded by on Aug 8, 2011

The President assures Americans that, “we will always be a triple-A country.” August 8, 2011.

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