As America rings up another $3 trillion-plus budget -- almost a historic peacetime 25 percent of gross national product -- and borrows another $1.3 trillion to pay for it, one should not be surprised that the usual mob of special pleaders is fuming at anyone who has the temerity to suggest a sane alternative.
"It's the economy, stupid" is the infamous mantra conceived by political consultant James Carville that underscored the main issue driving the 1992 presidential race.
This week, the administration presented a $3.8 trillion budget. The 2012 fiscal year will close with a $1.3 trillion deficit; the deficit for 2013 is expected to be $900 billion.
Republicans who support the balanced budget amendment cannot cite it as evidence that they're serious about cutting spending unless they're prepared to detail what they would cut in order to bring the budget into balance.
Well, according to data from the OECD, government got bigger, the tax burden rose, and there was more red ink once annual budget limits were agreed to.
As part of the deal that gave President Barack Obama the increase in the federal debt ceiling he so desperately wanted, both houses of Congress are required to hold a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The House of Representatives has already acted but failed to achieve the two-thirds support necessary for it to pass. Now it's the Senate's turn.
The Constitution already places strict limits on what the federal government can and cannot do. The problem is that those limits have become stretched over the years to the point that the federal government can do pretty much what it pleases
When I graduated from college in 1976, I got a job in Washington with the National Taxpayers Union, which was working to get a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. Someone graduating today could sign up there and pursue the same goal.
The so-called "supercommittee" was doomed from the start, a victim of pie-in-the-sky thinking that a small, secretive legislative cabal could fix the debt crisis.</p><p> The idea that six Republicans and six Democrats in the midst of a highly charged election cycle could produce a budget-cutting plan within a few months was preposterous at best.
Washington is once again in a deal making mode, and you are about to lose again. When Congress passed the massive debt increase bill earlier this year, it abdicated legislative responsibility to craft a solution to the spiraling debt. They gave the legislative responsibility to what Congress calls the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.