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On the Lighter Side
The Balanced Budget Amendment Redux
by Donald A. Tevault
People go for ideas and slogans that sound cool, and don't take the time to research them to see if they're really wise. Proposed Balanced Budget Amendments--from henceforth referred to as "BBAs"--have generally had provisions that would allow Congress to raise taxes with a 2/3 majority vote. I could foresee that a BBA would always trigger tax increases by a Congress and a President who are unable to cut spending.
Also, we already have a BBA of sorts. It's called the "Tenth Amendment". The U.S. Constitution has a detailed list of functions that the federal government is allowed to perform, and the Tenth Amendment forbids the federal government from doing anything that is not in that list. However, our elected rep. . .er, masters, routinely ignore the Tenth Amendment. So, we now have a gargantuan, all-powerful federal government that does whatever the hell it wants. If we were to get a BBA, either one of two things would happen. If Congress and the President were to find it politically impossible to raise taxes, then they would simply ignore the BBA, just as they now ignore the Tenth Amendment.
And then, there's the Federal Reserve. . .
The owners of the Federal Reserve make much, much money off of both lending to the federal government, and off of the inflation that they cause. There are some powerful people connected with the Federal Reserve, and there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that they would ever allow a meaningful BBA to become law.
The real answer to the problem is . . .
A BBA would do nothing good, and might even do more harm. The proposed BBAs I've seen would justify the high level of spending we currently have, which is something we absolutely don't need. Any talk of enacting a BBA is a waste of time that only distracts us from the real problems.
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