Debt Ceiling Will Be Raised

Debt Ceiling Will Be Raised
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

“If you give someone the power to inflate the currency, he will.” That bit of economic truth ranks alongside any indisputable fact – such as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow morning.

US National Debt Clock Image from Wikimedia Commons Credit: ©Benoit Prieur (Agamitsudo) – CC-BY-SA 4.0.

There’s another economic truism ranking just as high. It is: “Raising the national debt ceiling will soon be followed by a need to do so again.” In other words, refusal to address the problem of national indebtedness in the proper manner – reducing the size of bloated government – will assure that the problem will only invite more increases.

The federal government will reach its allowable indebtedness on September 29th. If congressional permission to exceed the amount of red ink currently allowed isn’t forthcoming prior to the September date, the U.S. government will then be in default, something no sane person wants. Failure to increase the debt ceiling will bring about an unwanted economic catastrophe. So we can expect Congress to pass an increase just as surely as we can expect today’s sun to set in the west.

Speaking at an event in his home state of Kentucky on August 21st, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Majority Leader, announced, “There is zero chance – no chance – we will not raise the debt ceiling.” People in that audience were assured, therefore, that reckless government spending would increase. Sleep well, fellow Americans.

McConnell and practically all of his congressional colleagues in both the Senate and the House will tell anyone they have no choice, that it’s either more debt or default. It’s a classic case of simply ignoring truth. There is another alternative: Reduce the size and cost of government.

The federal government spends billions upon billions in an array of unconstitutional programs that never should have been started in the first place. Education is one. Others include unconstitutional wars, health care, housing, welfare, foreign aid, environment, and so on. Every one of these gigantic spending spigots have not only sped our nation into near insolvency, the efforts of each have made matters worse in each of the areas where their illegal and unconstitutional activity has become common. Educational quality has plummeted; federal housing projects have become death traps; the cost of medical care has risen and forecasts of its availability are unsettling to say the least.

Very few Americans are aware that the U.S. government already includes owing both China and Japan more than one trillion dollars. Lesser amounts, hardly inconsequential because they haven’t exceeded the trillion dollar threshold, are owed to other nations. The admitted national debt already tops $20 trillion, a figure that makes the U.S. the most heavily indebted nation in all of history.

Can debt holders such as China (that’s Communist China to be more specific) dictate U.S. policy?  Has indebtedness watered down or even cancelled U.S. ability to act in our nation’s interests in the foreign policy arena?  Have our own leaders given China, Japan, and other large debt holders an opportunity to dictate U.S. decision-making? The answers are yes.

Even worse, has U.S. indebtedness placed Uncle Sam’s neck in a noose controlled by the United Nations? The UN’s International Monetary Fund recently bailed out Greece and, in the process, required Greece to follow its dictates about how to run that once-independent nation. Is that where the U.S. is heading? God forbid that the necessity might arise when the UN would step in to bail out our nation.

Raising the debt ceiling is simply postponing a dire reckoning that will surely arrive. Reducing the size, power, and expense of unconstitutional government is the only sane policy. Only the American people can force leaders to act sanely. Will you help?

A good start would be to contact Congress to abolish the Federal Reserve. Then consider joining our effort to rein in the federal government!

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Flawed Balanced Budget Amendment

The Flawed Balanced Budget Amendment
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Texas Governor Greg Abbott favors creation of a Constitutional Convention in order ”to fix the cracks in our broken Constitution.” He is not alone in wanting such a gathering. But our nation’s problems don’t stem from a broken Constitution. They stem from legislation approved by leaders who have broken their solemn oath to abide by the Constitution’s limits on government.

What’s lost in all of this discussion is that an amendment should be considered if the Constitution is found deficient or in error. But the U.S. Constitution isn’t at fault; the fault lies with government officials who ignore the Constitution’s existing limitations.

Governor Abbott’s claims include his belief that the Constitution grants power to conduct a “convention of the states.” Such terminology does not appear in the Constitution’s Article V. If two-thirds of the states petition Congress to create a convention, it must indeed be created. And Congress, not the states, will have power granted in the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 to decide where it will be held, who and how many will be the delegates from each state, who will pay them, and more. To call a constitution convention a “convention of the states” displays ignorance of the Constitution itself.

Further, like most advocates of a constitutional convention, Governor Abbott, who proposes nine different amendments, wants to add a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution. Balancing the budget is a good idea and the nation would be better off if the federal budget were balanced each year. But the numerous BBAs proposed are so full of loopholes that they make these proposals virtually meaningless. Each BBA proposal has one or more of the following flaws:

1. Expecting government officials to honor an amendment – however well intentioned such an expectation might be – when they currently refuse to honor the existing Constitution is an absurdity.
2. Some BBAs allow 60 percent in Congress to override the requirement for balancing the budget. Getting 60 percent for other outrageous measures is a regular occurrence.
3. Various BBAs make no mention of the growing problem resulting from declaring some huge expenditures “off budget.” Use of this tactic makes a joke of a balanced budget mandate.
4. Some BBAs call for increasing taxes as a way to balance the budget, even steering taxing authority to the Executive branch.
5. Proponents of some BBAs want a stipulation that the budget need not be balanced if there’s a war, or a real or cleverly contrived national emergency.
6. Various proponents say that a BBA won’t have to take effect for five years or more – thereby sanctioning the addition of more trillions to the nation’s already enormous indebtedness.
7. Finally, balancing the budget ignores already accumulated indebtedness requiring billions annually for interest payments.

There are likely other flaws in the various proposals calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment. What’s lost in all of this discussion is that an amendment should be considered if the Constitution is found deficient or in error. But the U.S. Constitution isn’t at fault; the fault lies with government officials who ignore the Constitution’s existing limitations.

If the Constitution as it exists today were honored by our nation’s officials, the federal government would shrink to 20 percent its size and 20 percent its cost. Gone would be foreign aid, and the Departments of Education, Housing, Transportation, Energy, Health and Human Services, and more. These government programs and agencies are not and never have been constitutionally authorized.

We have made no mention of the danger involved in the creation of a constitutional convention. Let’s simply say that, just as occurred in 1787 when a convention met simply to revise the Articles of Confederation, the delegates tossed the Articles away and came up with a whole new Constitution. Such an eventuality could occur in these times, and we could lose the Constitution we have. A Con-Con is a dangerous route that should not be followed.

Be sure to contact your state legislators to ask them to oppose a Constitutional Convention.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.