Why America Needs a Balanced Budget Amendment
A Balanced Budget Amendment – Better Late than Never
By: Congressman Tim Huelskamp
This month marks the 224th Anniversary of our Founding Fathers finalizing the U.S. Constitution. What a blessed document it is!
As we reflect on what this document has meant for our nation during its history, we also should consider what it means for the future. We need especially to see it in context of one of the greatest threats facing our nation: nearly $15 trillion of debt. This mountain of debt is not only a threat to our nation’s economic health, but to our sovereignty as well. Much of that debt is held by foreign nations – many who do not share our values of freedom and liberty.
Some might say that after 224 years of survival without one there should be no need to add a balanced budget requirement to the Constitution. But this massive ever-growing debt, if unchecked, will return us to the handcuffs on our sovereignty we successfully escaped with our Revolution and Constitution.
With the debt limit increase Washington passed in August the U.S. House and Senate are required to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Though passage is not required, all members of the House and Senate will have to go on the record as to whether they support or oppose balancing the nation's books. Unfortunately, the rapid pace with which debt has been accumulated means that it will take many years to achieve the balanced budget, but at least we can prevent massive deficits in the future.
The facts do not lie. The level of debt held by the public has increased from 36 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 69 percent of GDP in the last four years. This Administration has added more than $4 trillion in debt over the past 2 ½ years. Excessive and rapidly-accrued debt hampers not just Washington’s wallet, but the entire economy. Investors and job creators play defense in expectation of higher taxes, inflation, and borrowing costs when the country’s credit card bill is exceedingly and embarrassingly high.
A Balanced Budget Amendment will force Washington to live within its means. It would force Washington to admit that it cannot do everything for everybody - which is exactly what our Founders had in mind when they adopted the Constitution.
America of the past may not have had a Balanced Budget Amendment, but America of today and America of tomorrow cannot afford to pass on this opportunity to change our Constitution – and our country – for the better.