What more basic responsibility does the Congress of the United States have than to finance the constitutional functions of our federal government? And who can argue that except in extreme circumstances, such as those our nation faced in World War II, Congress shouldn't maintain balanced budgets while performing that job?
Unfortunately, Congress has failed to balance the federal budget for many years. It spends well beyond our nation's means. The result is a $14.3 trillion debt.
We have to pay interest on that debt, of course, to the tune of literally hundreds of billions of dollars each year. And yet Washington allows the debt to continue to grow unabated.
Shouldn't we expect the members of Congress to be responsible, mature, realistic and financially sound in their spending decisions? Yes, but what we expect has been starkly different from what Congress has done.
That's why U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga and his Republican colleagues in the Senate are seeking to force Congress to go on the record on a vote to adopt a constitutional amendment that would require the federal budget to be balanced each year.
But Corker and the other Republicans are having a hard time getting enough votes in favor of financial responsibility.
The proposed constitutional amendment needs votes of approval by two-thirds of the 100 members of the Senate and by two-thirds of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, then ratification by three-fourths of the states.
All 47 Republicans in the Senate have signed onto the proposal, but not one Democrat has done so.
What does that tell us?
Corker pointed out the obvious need for a balanced-budget amendment. With no such limit in place, "The only way that Congress ever acts today is if there's a crisis or some wall they have to bump up against," he said.
Instead of responsibly seeking balanced budgets, Congress is heading toward a showdown vote on whether to raise the "debt ceiling" before our country hits that obviously ineffective ceiling in just a few weeks, on Aug. 2.
Don't you believe it would be better for our country if our federal government spent less, taxed less, balanced budgets and quit adding to the national debt that we are now passing on to our children?