Balanced Budget Amendment a Bad Idea

Balanced Budget Amendment a Bad Idea
by JBS President John F. McManus

Having the federal government operate with a budget that does not increase the national debt is a good idea. But several balanced budget proposals have deep flaws in them.

First of all, as we explain later in this blog, there’s no need to amend the Constitution to require the budget to be in balance. Especially is there no need to force creation of a Constitutional Convention to add a requirement for a Balanced Budget. But, unfortunately, this is being proposed by many.

But some Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) proposals allow 60 percent in Congress to override and bring on more indebtedness. That’s no insurmountable hurdle.

Some BBAs call for increasing taxes, even steering the taxing authority away from Congress to the Executive Branch. Dangerous proposal!

Other BBAs say the budget doesn’t have to be in balance if the nation is at war (even an undeclared war) or if the nation faces an undefined “national security threat.”

Practically all BBAs ignore the enormous indebtedness already on the books. Interest on the $17 trillion our country owes is already the third largest item in the federal budget.

What then should be done? The answer starts with forcing the House of Representatives to use its “power of the purse” to put an end to unconstitutional federal programs. Article I, Section 7 states: “All bills for raising revenues shall originate in the House of Representatives.” If the House won’t “originate” bills for foreign aid, education, housing, medical care, and more, that’s it! A majority in the House (218) could not only stop the reckless spending; it could begin to pay off the national debt.

A Constitutional Convention (con-con) to add a BBA with all or many of its flaws would open up the Constitution for massive change, even cancellation. And a con-con would require 2/3s in the House (290) and 2/3s in the Senate (67) plus ratification by 3/4s of the states (38). But only 218 in the House can start the way back to fiscal sanity.

Forget the BBA! Don’t endanger the Constitution! Instead, let’s force members of the House to use their power to stop our nation’s plunge into insolvency and looming loss of sovereignty.

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