Can you remember the last time the United States had a balanced budget?
Most state constitutions demand that they have a balanced budget, but when you look at many of them today, you realize that they are not living up to that constitutional mandate. The US Constitution does not require a balanced budget. Instead, the Founding Fathers were forced to include a line in Article 1, Section 8 that gives Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. I say they were forced to add that to the Constitution because at the time, the country was pretty much broke from the costs of the Revolutionary War.
Several attempts have been made over the years to pass a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget, but such an amendment proposal has never made it through Congress. Too many politicians like being able to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on frivolous things like $585,000 for a 1 night hotel stay, 4-6 presidential vacations a year, foreign aid to countries that have openly stated we are their enemy and must be destroyed and ridiculous studies of things like duck penises and the sex life of a snail.
I was half listening to the news the other night when I heard one of the reporters mention that we needed a constitutional amendment that required Congress to pass a balanced budget or they would not be eligible for re-election. I started thinking about that and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, but realized that there was no way such an amendment would ever be passed by the very men and women whose political careers would be jeopardized by it.
That’s when it struck me that the American people don’t have to rely on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment. It could be done by a Convention of States, like the movement that currently sprouted up to rein in the federal government. Article V of the US Constitution reads:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” [Emphasis mine]
That means if 33 states passed a resolution calling for a balanced budget amendment, neither Congress nor the President could stop it. Can you imagine what Congress would do in they were suddenly told that if they don’t pass a balanced budget they cannot run for re-election?
The federal budget for 2014 that was submitted to Congress by President Obama calls for an income of $3.03 trillion and expenditures of $3.77 trillion. That leaves a deficit of $774 billion. Under a balanced budget amendment, such a budget would result in the inability to run for re-election for every member of Congress. Do you think that Boehner would still compromise and give in to Obama like he always does knowing that his career in Congress would be over? What do you think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would do?
I would like to add one more provision to the balanced budget or else amendment and that would be that every budget passed would not only have to be balanced, but that it would include a measure of paying off 10% of the federal deficit until the deficit is paid off and the US doesn’t owe anyone anything.
At the time of this writing, our national debt was $17,546,196,205,099.76 and climbing by over $2 billion per day. By adding the pay down clause to the balanced budget or else constitutional clause to Obama’s proposed $3.03 trillion income budget request, it would mean that a balanced budget could only fund $1.28 trillion for government operations and $1.75 trillion to paying off national debt. Just think of the slicing and dicing of the federal government that would cause.
My suggestions would be to stop most foreign aid and put very strict requirements on who gets how much. Then I would recommend eliminating the IRS and institute a flat tax that makes it fair for everyone. I would also eliminate the Department of Education, Obamacare and the spending on stupid studies that don’t mean a hill of beans to most Americans. The Tenth Amendment gives states power over the federal government and by returning those powers to the states it would save hundreds of billions of dollars each year.
The federal government has grown morbidly obese and such an amendment would put it on a strict diet that would bring it back to a more manageable and healthy size. So who else out there would be in favor of the Balanced Budget or No Re-Election Constitutional Amendment passed by a Convention of States and not by Congress?