Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

House Leader Cantor: Balanced Budget Amendment Will Help: Waste of Time and Effort

Even if Congress were to pass a Balance Budget Amendment to the US Constitution, that means getting 290 Representatives and 67 Senators to vote for it by the way. Think about that for a second, times up and even if 242 Republicans in the House vote for it. They would still need 48 out of 194 House Democrats to vote for it, roughly 25% of the House Democratic Caucus. When the House Democratic Leadership will pushing its members for a no vote, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has already announced that. You might get the twenty or so House Blue Dogs that remain after the 2010 Mid Term Elections. But who else in the Democratic Caucus, the forty or so membered Progressive
Caucus, are you kidding they are against anything that makes it harder for government to spend money. They are the opposite of the Tea Party on Fiscal Policy, I don't even believe they consider the Federal Budget Deficit and Debt to be that big of a deal.
And then lets say a Balance Budget Amendment somehow manages to pass out of the House and gets over to the Senate and lets say all 47 Republican Senators vote for it, which isn't a guarantee. That still leaves Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell twenty votes shy of 67, meaning he would have to find 20-53 Democratic Senators to vote for it. And thats assuming that Senate Leader Harry Reid decides to bring the Balance Budget Amendment to the floor. Which again isn't a guarantee, again Leader Reid is a democrat and a big believer in Pork Barrel Spending, a Balance Budget Amendment would make it harder for him to bring pork back to Nevada. A State where he isn't that popular to begin with, just look at his last election in 2010. Where he almost lost to a Mental Patient in Sharron Angle. And even if Congress were to pass a Balance Budget Amendment, it would probably take around five years for it ever to become law, because 34 out of 50 States would have to approve it. That also means two thirds of each State Legislatures would have to approve it, whether they are Bi Cameral or just have a House or Senate. We could have our deficit and debt under control by then without a Balance Budget Amendment.

The deficit and debt clearly needs to get under control as I've mentioned several times over the last few days. But the good thing is we can do it just by statue, meaning passing new laws and don't need Constitutional Amendments to do that. We can even pass new Federal Spending Rules to make it harder for the Federal Government to borrow money which is the major cause of our deficit and debt situation. Along with Tax Cuts that weren't paid for. We could have a real PAYGO Rule, meaning that the Federal Government wouldn't be able to borrow for anything, except when the country is under attacked or in a depression lets say. And that it would take a Super Majority in both the House and Senate to lift the PAYGO Rule. That would mean all Emergency Spending, whether its committing American Troops oversees and into battle or Disaster Relief. Would all have to be paid for, including Congressional Earmarks and they would also have to be relevant to the bill that are attached to. And this can be done without cutting spending in a harmful way or raising taxes in a harmful way either. Just by making Emergency Management and National Security Self Financed with their own Revenue Streams. We could also have a rule that says the Federal Government can't grow faster then the rate of inflation or the economy. Again except if the country is directly under attacked or we are in a depression, with the same Super Majority rule for the House and Senate to lift that rule as well.

Instead of the House GOP Leadership talking about trying to pass things that are five years down the road of becoming law. Even if Congress were to enact it. They should get serious, the President has accepted most of their demands on the Debt Ceiling and Deficit Reduction. Now its time for them to give as well.