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The American public needs to demand a balanced budget amendment

Balanced Budget

Since the 1960s, presidents from both political parties seemed to find it virtually impossible not to add to the federal debt.  Between 1960-2016, our country has only had a balanced budget in five years.  This reckless spending needs to stop and the only way to stop it is through a balanced budget amendment.

Most Americans might find the news flash that will follow in the very next sentence quite a hard pill to swallow.  But it’s vitally important for viewers to know that the biggest thief is the federal government.

More on government accountability:

It cheats US citizens with interests that differ from elite groups’ that fund each year-long election campaign by some politician touting a budget crisis. These politicians eat the same high promises with hollow lip service that starts right after oaths of high public office. But even the very few and far between elected reps who represent extreme rarity as a tiny elite clique of honest politicians seem to find themselves facing constant uphill battles when trying to devise viable solutions.  Let alone persuade a vast majority of their peers with more years in public service careers but far less moral fiber to adapt feasible remedies to federal government budget deficits of huge bipartisan concern.

Naturally, there is no need to say that a vast majority of U.S. voters have no clue about the true impact of or how to combat the huge government budget deficits that literally grow by the minute.

Another great complication is the nonexistence of solutions proposed with methods to address universal concerns.   Balancing America’s budget is a delicate act and very difficult because various external factors hold major sway in concerned parties’ interests that differ vastly in some way that means entirely unique things from each collective group’s perspective.

Below is an overview of ways and means proposed by friendly or fiercely opposed bipartisan reps to address common problems of very special mutual interest to all.

Why learn about the federal debt?

Virtually all kids know by the time they are in first-grade elementary school that they can’t “make a dollar out of 75 cents”.  The same rule holds true throughout adult life, during which many U.S. politicians clearly need to relearn that lesson from early on in life.

How long can private households survive on $7,000 in monthly income and $10,000 in total monthly spending?  Such a scenario has only four possible outcomes:  1) Bankruptcy; 2) Borrowing; 3) Begging, or 4) All of the above.   In any case, hapless victims face no happy future but race faster to imminent disaster by total collapse of a house built with cards vs. cold, hard cash flow.

Bankruptcy may provide immediate debt relief, but grief will return the very next month after “final” discharge granted by court order.  Unless bad spending habits are corrected, people exiting bankruptcy will soon be borrowing again.  This results in debtors being in far worse shape with perpetual entrapment by financial bondage to creditors.  Likewise, begging others for help relies on the goodwill of others.  If they are willing to share their wealth out of the goodness of their hearts then the bad spending habits can continue.  Eventually, these benevolent others will exhaust even their resources trying to sustain poor spending behavior or they will simply not be willing to help.

America’s budgetary positions

Has America’s reckless spending put it on the brink of catastrophe?  Has our nation long been essentially bankrupt?  An organization that lacks any financial self-discipline is on its way to bankruptcy.  This defines the U.S. federal government to a “T” with spending that far exceeds revenue and paper currency printing. This poses further complications from inflation and deeper budgetary deficiencies.

Higher federal debt has pushed the U.S. government to the edge of an economic collapse that will force bank closures, boost joblessness, increase taxes and totally deplete savings.

Root cause lies in the founding

A little known but quite true fact is that our nation’s present-day budget problems are often blamed on those who framed its original Constitution over two centuries ago.  Unlike most states, U.S. federal Constitution provisions impose no express duties that remain incumbent on elected reps to maintain budgetary balance.  This notably absent clause is cited as the chief cause of excess spending by Congress vested with power to borrow on behalf of the U.S., irrespective of projected revenue from fees, taxes and fines levied on private citizens and lower government subdivisions.  Consequently, the federal debt load in 2016 has grown by a quantum leap to reach a gross total in excess of $19 trillion that shows no sign up slowing.  Instead, it keeps right on growing with each second featured in real-time by a debt clock online.

Interest-only federal debt payments by U.S. taxpayers have doubled in just the last four years alone.  Thus, many economists reportedly portend that we are headed for the most predictable crisis in history.  It hardly takes an Economics Ph.D. to reach that self-revealing conclusion.  Hilary Clinton added a bit of interesting news during her September 2010 public address quoted as having noted “Our national debt poses a national security threat”.  In all sincerity, hopefully Ms. Clinton meant “security” in financial and not military contexts.  If her intended meaning was the latter, it provides an even more urgent need for the US to address the matter head on.  Especially given that defense spending is currently among the top three federal budgetary legislative priorities.

Federal debt interest has not only doubled over less than the past half-decade, but it now represents the third biggest federal budgetary expense item.  Moreover, interest is second only to defense spending and social welfare programs for the elderly like Medicare and Social Security.  These top three expenses lead to an inescapable conclusion that political motivation is driving U.S. federal budgetary allocation priorities.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  Senior citizens carry clout in the U.S. House and Senate who respect politically active voters in their golden years.  By that same token, name just one politician who’d dare risk their position via public vote in opposition to benefits for the elderly or the poor.  Can you even imagine the political ads attacking a politician that proposed cuts to Social Security or welfare?

But far greater insight came right from the mouth of Rep. Tom Perriello (Dem.-VA), who quite openly noted, “The only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice. According to Perriello, “Whether it’s balanced budget acts… pay as you go legislation or any of that…if you don’t tie our hands, we’ll keep stealing”. 

Is there a viable way to pass a balanced budget amendment?

Lawmakers in all 50 states have the power to convene for the proposition of a federal U.S. Constitutional amendment. This might be the best solution to America’s debt crisis, since both the President and Congress seem to be doing nothing on the matter.  Apparently more than two-thirds of the required 34 states have already requested to convene for a national balanced budget amendment proposal.  Moreover, if successfully proposed, three-fourths of state legislatures may ratify the amendment for it to become law.

Now is the time to act

Virtually all U.S. voting-age adults can recall the days when televised news broadcasts depicted live events in distant nations as vivid illustrations of some of the outcomes that can develop if public debt crises are left unchecked too long.  Just remember the events that unfolded in Greece during their debt crisis.  That same lesson should cause us to take prompt steps toward positive fiscal change with all due deliberate speed.   Indeed, the ultimate power to direct collective destiny is always vested in private citizens given full discretion to select or reject government representatives. However, power is never gained without equally greater responsibility.  While no question exists that politicians need broad latitude in budgetary decision making, a lackadaisical attitude will lead to fiscal disaster for parties who foot the bill.   Now is the time to rein in government spending through a balanced budget amendment.  It’s time to stop the reckless spending.