A way to balance U.S. budget

A way to balance U.S. budget

July 20th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

What is the primary responsibility of our representatives and senators in Congress? It surely is to provide for our national security. If our country is at war, Congress must provide whatever it takes to win.

But in times of relative peace, Congress has lots of options about spending and taxing. So shouldn't we expect our lawmakers to provide balanced budgets?

We know we have to pay taxes for the essentials. But why must federal spending so vastly exceed already-high tax revenue to pay for lots of other things, too?

As a result of past wartime necessities and excessive peacetime spending, the United States has accumulated $14.3 trillion in debt.

Just the interest we pay annually on that debt is more than 13 times the size of the entire budget of the state of Tennessee this year. Much of that money is pulled unproductively out of our economy and sent to hostile foreign investors such as Communist China, which owns a chunk of our debt.

Since we obviously are spending too much, don't you believe it would be reasonable, and financially responsible, for us to adopt an amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced budget, with appropriate exceptions for times when our nation faces grave national security threats or other true emergencies?

Republicans in the House of Representatives would like to see a balanced-budget amendment as a long-term way to get a handle on our nation's finances. They insist that is the only means to avoid more unnecessary spending, year after year. And can anyone rationally claim that they are wrong, when we consider the catastrophic size of our current debt? Is it remotely sensible to suggest, as the president and many Democrats in Congress do, that there should be even more federal spending and "investment"?

Regrettably, any balanced-budget amendment passed now or in the near future in the House of Representatives is sure to be killed in the Democrat-run Senate -- because it would put the brakes on the runaway social and other spending that Democrats favor. But shouldn't we insist on full congressional approval of a balanced-budget amendment, in the national interest?

After all, it should be plain to everyone by now that barring such an amendment, majorities in Congress and some presidents are unlikely to limit their spending.

We can either embrace real limits on that spending, or we can expect more federal waste, higher taxes, rising unemployment and a stagnant economy.