The Balanced Budget Amendment is Dead. Good.

I just don’t get why Republicans want a balanced budget amendment so bad.

I take that back.  I do get it.

What I don’t get is how the GOP and so many movement conservatives could be so wrong.

A balanced budget amendment (BBA) is an admission that Congress spends money on that which is unconstitutional.

Strike that.  It codifies unconstitutional spending.

I read this piece over at Human Events last evening.  Audrey Hudson, who is an excellent journalist, lists quote after quote of Republicans lamenting the death of the BBA in the Senate.

I commented:

I don’t know why it seems to evade so many so-called conservatives that the BBA renders the Constitution useless.

The Constitution has enumerated powers; that which is not specifically granted is not allowed, or is to be pursued by the States vis a vis the 10th Amendment.  All the profligate spending over the past 90 years has been mostly unconstitutional.  See US Constitution Article 1 Section 8; Federalist 39, 41 and 45 for reference.

If we pass a BBA based on spending as a percentage of GDP, we grant the federal (national?) government the power to spend on whatever it wants, restrained only by how much it can confiscate from us, not by enumeration.

Why this escapes so many conservatives is beyond me.

It is beyond me.  Big time.

If we have a Balanced Budget Amendment, Congress will be able to spend money on any crazy-ass thing it wants, as long as it doesn’t exceed 18% of GDP.

How about we simply ADHERE TO THE CONSTITUTION IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Yes, I am yelling.

Those dumb sons of bitches.  If Congress actually followed the Constitution, we would not have this mess to begin with.

Any conservative or Republican who supports this thing is seriously misguided.

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Comments

  1. I think the amendment is seen as a means to easily stop spending. Since there seems to be no fiscal discipline, they want an external control mechanism.

  2. You’re right, Matt. That is how it is seen. The problem is that the way it is supposed to work, is that Congress can only spend on that which is specified in the Constitution. The BBA eliminates that restraint, and instead surrenders Constitutional authority and says, “Alright…goi ahead and spend on whatever you want, just no more than x amount.”

    I think there is still a fighting chance to get back to Constitutional government. As long as there is a breath left in the Constitution, I’ll take this position. As it stands, the Constitutional is close to being functionally dead.

    In a post-constitutional USA, the BBA would make sense.

  3. The solution to your constitutionality problem is to not have any percentage of GDP in the equation. Simply set the law. Expenditures may not exceed revenues. Revenues from the previous year will be the baseline for the budget. If your revenues go up because of growth in the next year you may have a congressional debate as to where the funds go. preferable to directly pay down the principle on the National debt (since interest on the national debt was already taken care of in the budget as an item) If annual review is too infrequent you can go quarter-by-quarter. But accountability will ultimately be tested when you LIMIT THE FEDERAL RESERVE’s ability to inflate the currency. As an opinion I suggest that it will be easier to get a balanced budget amendment passed rather than try to change 535 people’s constitutional and economic understanding. I support the BBA because it restricts government clearly. They need clear restrictions because they do not obey the constitutional wording as they should.

  4. Nick, let’s think this through:

    1. You said, “The solution to your constitutionality problem is to not have any percentage of GDP in the equation.”

    What? Our Constitution enumerates the objects on which Congress may lawfully appropriate funds. The solution to the “constitutionality problem” is for Congress to stop spending money on objects which are outside of their enumerated powers.

    2. You said, “Expenditures may not exceed revenues.”

    So the federal government may spend as much as they decide to take from us? You are fine with that? King John (the one of Magna Carta fame) thought that was a fine idea too.

    The constitutional answer is that Congress’ expenditures are limited by the constitutional grants of power, NOT THE AMOUNT OF REVENUE THEY CAN EXTRACT FROM THE PEOPLE (& BORROW).

    3. You said, “you may have a congressional debate as to where the funds go.”

    Ummm, that’s what they have been doing in Congress. How has that worked out? Read the lists of some of the things they have been spending money on:

    http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/category/balanced-budget-amendment/

    That’s why we have a $15 trillion national debt.

    4. You said, “LIMIT THE FEDERAL RESERVE’s ability to inflate the currency.”

    That was the whole purpose of the Federal Reserve – to inflate the currency so that the federal government would have an endless amount of credit to spend so they could increase their power.

    5. You said, “I suggest that it will be easier to get a balanced budget amendment passed rather than try to change 535 people’s constitutional and economic understanding.”

    Yes, it is “easier” to get people to blame-shift [blame the Constitution] and look for band-aids [the BBA] instead of face up to Truth: It is those 535 peoples’ “constitutional and economic understanding” which put us in the mess we are in!

    So if we are to fix our problems, those 535 people will have to change their “constitutional and economic understanding” or The People will have to replace them with those who have.
    Otherwise, we will fall.

    I know an obese lady who ate several loaves of white French bread & butter in one setting. While eating the bread, she said that her weight problem was due to her hormones. She is still obese.

    My point is that when we deceive ourselves about the CAUSE of our problems, we never solve the problems. They just get worse.

    6. You said, “I support the BBA because it restricts government clearly. They need clear restrictions because they do not obey the constitutional wording as they should.”

    Every version I have seen of a BBA permits Congress to waive the “limits” on their spending which the BBA pretends to impose – whether those limits are based on the amount of the taxes (& borrowing) they extract from The People or a percentage of the GNP or both.

    The Constitution – the enumerated powers of each branch of the federal government – already restricts Congress’ spending powers. But Congress ignores these constitutional limits. The solution is for us to replace Representatives who ignore the Constitution with those who will obey it.

    The Heart & Soul of Our Constitution is that it is one of enumerated powers only. [I have written on this.] The BBA is a plot to eliminate – to amend out – the enumerated powers and convert Our Constitution to one of general legislative powers. It legalizes spending which is now unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress in the Constitution. It is now unconstitutional for Congress to appropriate funds to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly. With the BBA, such appropriations would be “constitutional”.

    Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes. Your grandchildren will curse you for it. PH

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