Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Balanced Budget Amendment | American Government

America is addicted to debt. "Our national debt has gone from roughly $5 trillion in 1997 to over $14 trillion today. That’s more than $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in America" (Hatch, 2011). That was back in 2011, now we are exceeding $17 trillion! A proposed answer to this problem is the Balanced Budget Amendment. If passed, the amendment would require the federal government to operate within its means. The government would not have the authority to spend more than than it earns through tax revenue. The amendment's proponents, myself being one of them, say that our level of spending is unsustainable and we are likely to have a financial collapse if we continue our current spending habits. The opponents of this amendment say that it is not the fault of the Constitution, but the fault of the American public for electing inept representatives. As Scott Lily wrote in his article titled A Balanced Budget Amendment Would Be a Dangerous Distraction: 

"The craftsmanship of our forefathers at Philadelphia seems to come under attack every time modern politicians screw up. Rather than accepting responsibility for electing incompetent leaders, it is easier to blame the Constitution. If we could only come up with a formula by which public policy could be predetermined by constitutional amendments, we would be free to elect whatever scoundrels and incompetents we chose." (Lily, 2011)

Personally, I am a Conservative Libertarian. I use this philosophy to guide my political opinions by looking at certain cornerstones that I believe in. One of those beliefs is that centralized governmental power should be extremely limited, even tied down. No other political belief surpasses this one to me, they may be equally important, but never more so. Typically, I am very hesitant to support Constitutional amendments. I, like Lily, believe that our Founders knew what they were doing when the penned the Constitution. It is very well written and I certainly don't consider myself the intellectual better of any of its authors. So why would I support a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget?

Firstly, I don't believe that our Founders would have even been able to fathom $17 trillion dollars in debt, let alone that this kind of unfathomable debt would one day be ours. They would have had no idea that our representatives would continue to kick the can down the road and continue to raise and re-raise the debt ceiling. As Lily stated, this is absolutely the fault of the American voter; however, our inept and cowardly representatives are also to blame. Secondly, the more red tape and hoops that the government has to jump through, the better! I would never support an amendment that limited the freedom or rights of the individual, businesses or state governments, but an amendment that puts even more limitations on the federal government is something that I can truly get behind! 

As far as the likelihood of this amendment getting passed... I am hopeful, but it will only happen when the American people wake up from their delusions. We cannot spend ourselves out of debt! When our President says that raising the debt ceiling will not result in our debt increasing, we have to call him out and vote him out! We cannot continue to elect representatives who treat us like imbeciles and lie to our faces. We must start electing representatives that will honor and obey the Constitution and serve the interest of the American people and not their own. This is truly the only answer; however, it is a bit of a conundrum. If we had those kind of leaders, if the American people were actually awake, we wouldn't need this amendment. However, unless that happens, this amendment will not have much of a chance.

Lastly, our federal government was never meant to have so much power. It has become a leviathan that dominates every aspect of American life. The fears of our founders have been fulfilled. States no longer have a voice in the government, thanks to the 17th Amendment. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates individuals, businesses and states everywhere in the country, never mind the fact that these regulations originate, in most cases, from an Executive agency and not Congress. We no longer own property, we merely rent it from the government like surfs to a king. We are over taxed and under represented, the very thing our founders went to war over. Our government is spending us into slavery and our children and their children will be paying for our apathy for generations. In conclusion, the less authority and power the federal government has and the more bogged down they are with red tape will serve as a hedge against the tyrannical tendencies that this government has displayed.

Hatch, O. (2011, April 25). Balanced budget amendment needed to fix national debt crisis. U.S. News. Retrieved from
Lilly, S. (2011, April 22). A balanced budget amendment would be a dangerous distraction. U.S. News. Retrieved from

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