It’s been amazing to watch the budget debate on Capitol Hill over the past weeks. Republicans want to trim 61 billion dollars this year from the annual 1.5 trillion dollar US debt. The Democrats have been stopping them in the Senate, forcing an endless cycle of CR’s (Continuing Resolutions) that has lopped off six billion dollars here and there.
Unfortunately, the whole things is a farce. Sixty-billion dollars is not peanuts, but it is compared to 1.5 trillion. It doesn’t make a dent. Six billion in savings is simply the interest on the debt for a week.
So we’re playing games with America’s future–and the entire nation could crash if the games aren’t halted.
There’s only one answer for our tepid politicians: A Balanced Budget Amendment.
To see this need in the clearest terms, click here and watch a short video. It will put things in perspective for you.
There are some politicians that get it and have some guts. Newly elected Senator Mike Lee of Utah is one of them. Here’s a report from the Heritage Foundation on his efforts:
“Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) says he’s hopeful the ratification of a balanced budget amendment is realistic in today’s political climate — and touted the features of his proposal for such an amendment as well-suited to curb Congress’ spending addiction.”
“’It’s going to be an uphill battle,” Lee said on a Thursday conference call. “But public sentiment among voters makes this right for our time.’”
“The senator will need every ounce of that public support. The threshold to pass a constitutional amendment is high. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress must pass it, then three-quarters of states must ratify the amendment to make it law.”
“Lee has been working for weeks to generate support for his amendment among fellow Republicans. In the very near future, he’ll also reach across the aisle.”
“’At this point, I’m working almost entirely within the Republican caucus to garner support for this,” Lee said. “There will of course come a time when we will work aggressively to get bipartisan support. … That time will soon be coming.’”
“The debt ceiling debate might be that time. Senate Tea Party Caucus members — including Lee — have already said they’ll harness that debate to earn Democratic support for a balanced budget amendment, according to a Jan. 31 article on TheHill.com.”
“’The only scenario in which I can imagine not using the filibuster [during the debt ceiling debate] is if the leadership of both parties agree that as a condition of that they would first pass out a balanced budget amendment,’” Lee said in the article.
“As Lee sees it, a balanced budget amendment is the only way to lock the vault.”
“’I’ve come to believe it’s going to be difficult or impossible to get back to constitutional spending until we stop giving Congress unlimited money from which to draw,’ he said.”
“Lee’s amendment would require that Congress develop a budget each year in which outlays do not exceed revenues — and it would also restrict spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product. Congress could not circumvent the limitations of the amendment without the support of a two-thirds supermajority in both houses.”
We desperately need a balanced budget amendment to rescue us from ourselves. One blogger stated it very clearly.
It comes down to the biggest financial choice of our lifetime.
“Freedom is a choice. Often it is a tough choice and involves hardship. Americans have always been willing to make tough choices and endure hardships to live in freedom. Still living is the generation that made the tough choice to defeat tyranny in all its forms. That choice involved hardships, but America won World War II. We have a generation that paid with their treasure and blood in Korea and Vietnam, financed the victory in the Cold War, and the resultant fall of the Berlin wall. Those were tough choices and there were hardships.”
“But we made the tough choice and endured the hardships. We have a generation that is willing to finance America’s security in an age of uncertainty and terrorism and yes, pay the price in their blood. A tough choice, a choice that has already and will undoubtedly bring more hardships. But we are willing. Why? Read the history of this country, your country. Americans of all generations have always been willing to make tough choices and endure hardships to live in freedom. For the benefit of our children, the generations to come. You are the recipient of the blessings of the tough choices and hardships your parents and their parents made.”
“It is once again time to make the hard choice, and accept hardships. For freedom. For our children. It is time to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
“We now confront many crises: joblessness; healthcare; education; two wars; immigration; decaying infrastructure. The list goes on. All are important. The Federal government tells us it has the answers. Currently the Federal government takes in about 2 trillion dollars a year, but claims it is not enough. To solve the nation’s problems, it spends about 4 trillion dollars a year. But even that is not enough. Our nation is going broke. We are going into debt to foreign powers who want to see us diminished. Yet, the Federal government continues to borrow and spend with no control. We are told we have to allow the Federal government to borrow and spend even more. We are told we have to accept more foreign money and borrow more from our children. We know that if this continues, we are or will become bankrupt. A sense of inevitability spreads. We begin to feel we and our country are helpless.”
“We are not helpless. America is not helpless. It is time to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
Republicans have not been able to stop it. The Democrats have not been able to stop it. Both had the best intentions. In fact neither had the political power to stop it. The politics of spending is too powerful for one leader, even one political party to defeat alone. Only we, the people, have the required political power. In America, it is we the people who give our political leaders power. Our Constitution defines what power we have given to our leaders. Only our Constitution can give our political leaders the power they need to defeat the politics of borrowing and spending.”
“It’s time to give our leaders the power to defeat the politics of borrow and spend. It is time to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
“Leadership is not marked by championing every cause that is momentarily popular with no thought to its cost. Leadership is not displayed passing the buck to the next generation of politicians and citizens. When the government’s budget has to be balanced, our leaders will have to make tough choices about how to spend our resources. Not the resources we borrow from our foreign competitors, nor the resources of our children. Our resources. They will have to explain to us why one cause is more beneficial than another. They will have to explain why one crisis demands more resources than another. They will have to deliver a true accounting of their stewardship of our resources. But in so doing, they will become true leaders once again. “
“A Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States will give our political leaders the ability to stand against the interests that want a return to the politics of borrowing and spending, and force them to begin a true discussion, a true debate of what our national priorities should be. Our leaders, from both parties, will have to make tough choices and explain to us, the voters, what the benefits of their choices are and why the hardship of paying for it is worth enduring. In the act of giving leaders the power to stand against the politics of spending, we also are requiring a return to true leadership. We will require true leadership to exercise the power we have given.”
“It’s time to deserve and demand true leadership. It is time to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
“Let us not fool ourselves. There will be sacrifice. As a result of decades of deficit spending, we now face a 14 trillion dollar national debt. The enactment of a Balanced Budget Amendment will not, of itself, repay that debt. It is an enormous first step, but there will still be tough choices to make and there will be disagreement among us as to what those choices should be. Let us not be blind to our responsibility. In order to form intelligent opinions, we will have to examine the issues and choose which are truly important to our nation and ourselves. “
“Then, we will have to vote to elect leaders whose vision of America we agree with, place our trust in them, and accept the sacrifice that is likely to be required. Because, at some point, we are going to have to ask ourselves, “what is the alternative?” Do we apathetically accept the politics of borrow and spend? Do we allow a foreign government to dictate our future? Do we spend our children into bankruptcy?”
Choice. Are we are ready to make the hard choice for our freedom and for our children’s freedom?
Then do all in your power to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.