Sunday, July 24, 2011

Could a balanced budget send the U.S. economy to new highs?

You may find all the talk about Federal deficits and National debt boring or tedious, but something of pretty heavy global historic significance is taking place before our eyes. I find it fascinating.

The country is in the midst of deciding whether to limit the size and cost of Federal government or to continue to leave the upper limits an open question. Regardless of what you believe the government should or should not provide, a growing number of people are making those provisions contingent on operating within a budget. Even tithing is set, in most cases, at 10%. If religions can set a limit on how much they ask from their members, why can’t the government? The other option is to implement the programs and address the priorities you’ve decided to advance and worry about the fiscal consequences later.

If the United States actually implements a credible, feasible plan to get to and stay at a balanced budget, we will have achieved a level of fiscal strength unmatched around the globe. Europe’s string of bail out packages is just stall tactics. They have not addressed the underlying problems. Much of China’s growth has come from construction of cities that nobody lives in, highways nobody drives and mass transit systems they can’t maintain. This makes their numbers look good today, but they will be liabilities in the future.

A Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget is a must. Congress cannot write a law that binds a future Congress. Membership in Congress rolls over every two years. A plan that spans decades doesn’t stand a chance if it relies on the support of new members through several election cycles. They have to be bound by the Constitution. They could still over-ride spending limits with a ⅔ majority in case of emergency.

The underlying issue is that America may put fiscal and economic strength ahead of social and political agendas in the priority list. This would be a break from global consensus and a giant leap ahead of the pack for the United States.

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