Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has penned an interesting op-ed in Politico today in which he recommends four structural reforms congressional Republicans should pursue vigorously during the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations. They are as follows (emphasis mine):
• A federal balanced budget amendment. States have balanced budget laws, small businesses have to balance their budgets, and families have to do the same. This is an idea that is supported by virtually every American who does not live in the 202 area code. It’s common sense. It is also laughed at in Washington. When you mention the BBA as a solution, they roll their eyes and write you off as a non-serious person. But the American public is dead serious about it, and they should be.
• Place a cap on discretionary and mandatory federal spending by fixing a limit on it tied to a percentage of GDP. Eighteen percent is a reasonable number in my book, but almost any number would be a victory at this point. Require a super majority vote to over-ride this limit, which would allow for recourse in a time of war or other national emergency. Again, this solution makes far too much sense to be taken seriously in Washington, a sure sign that it’s a good idea. This president is rapidly making a permanently higher level of government spending the new normal.
• A super majority to increase taxes. Make it harder for the politicians in Washington to simply take more from Americans, thereby forcing them to stop growing government. Yes, Washington hates this idea, so it should be pursued with vigor.
• Term Limits. I know, I know, we can’t do that. But we should. And while we are at it, how about forbidding congressmen from lobbying for 5 years after they leave office.
I’m of the opinion that there’s a zero percent chance that any of these reforms will be successfully implemented during the ongoing “fiscal cliff” deliberations. But that doesn’t really matter, Jindal argues. The point, he says, “is that Congress and this administration are psychologically incapable of getting our fiscal house in order without laws that give them no other alternative.” Republicans, in other words, should fight tooth and nail for at least one of these much-needed reforms. State governments, small businesses, and American families are required to balance their checkbooks every single day, he argues, so why shouldn’t the federal government be held to the same standard?
It’s a darn good question to bring up, of course, but one I suspect members of Congress aren’t willing to ask, let alone answer.