Posts Tagged ‘Constitutional balanced budget amendment.’

The OH State Senate: Pass SJR 2 a Balanced Budget Amendment

Why U.S. Needs Balanced Budget Amendment

Clearly our Nation is on an unsustainable spending spree driven by decades of entitlement promises that cannot possibly be paid for without growth-crippling tax increases. A binding balanced budget amendment is necessary because so few of our nation’s leaders are willing to tell the voters that significant entitlement reforms or massive middle income tax increases are necessary to avoid default or hyperinflation.

Under current law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates in ten years the average household will be paying income taxes of over $10,000 per year just for interest on the nation’s debt. Driven largely by the entitlement programs, the CBO concludes that by 2083 the theoretical debt to GDP ratio would exceed 700% unless income tax rates were increased for Corporations and top income earners to 88% and individuals now paying 25%, increased to 63%.

Forty-nine of our States have either a statutory or constitutional requirement to limit spending to available revenues. Other nations, including Germany, Hong Kong and Switzerland, have added effective balanced budget amendments to their constitutions. All European countries, except the U.K., recently committed to adding balanced budget amendments to their constitutions.

Thomas Jefferson stated, “To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”

More recently, Ronald Reagan warned, “It (Balanced Budget Amendment) must prevail because if it does not, the free society we have known for two hundred years, the ideal of a government by consent of the governed, will simply cease to exist.”

Plan to Propose Balanced Budget Amendment to U.S. Constitution

Our Founders gave us in Article V of the U.S. Constitution two ways to propose an amendment: two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress or through an amendment convention “called” by two-thirds (34) of the states. While either method is acceptable, Congress has debated a BBA since the 1930s without success. They came within one vote in 1997 when pressured by BBA “calls” from 32 of the 34 needed states.

In December of 2011, the U.S. Senate fell 20 votes short of the 67 needed to send to the states for ratification a strong BBA with a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, spend more than 18% of GDP or increase the nation’s debt. Because the odds are against picking up 20 Senate votes for a strong BBA in the foreseeable future, our BBA 2.0 campaign is focused on securing the 34 state BBA joint resolutions needed to call for a BBA 2.0 Amendment Convention.

Currently 18 states have an “active” application for a BBA Convention according to the Senate Judiciary staff. The newly formed Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force’s goal is to educate the citizens and their legislators in 16 states on the nation’s urgent need to call a BBA 2.0 Convention within the next two years.

Accordingly, I petition my elected representatives in the Ohio legislature to support S.J.R 2, calling upon the states to propose and ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment under their Article V powers that requires:

First, the amendment shall require the President to submit and the Congress to adopt only balanced budgets for all federal programs and agencies, except in times of war.

Second, the amendment shall grant the President the authority to disapprove any item or items in any bill presented by the Congress to the President in addition to the President’s authority to disapprove entire bills pursuant to Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution.

Third, the amendment shall require the President to submit and the Congress to adopt budgets for all federal programs and agencies on a biennial rather than annual basis.

Marco Rubio "Why I Won't Vote to Raise the Debt Limit"

The Wall Street Journal   MARCH 30, 2011   By MARCO RUBIO

Everyone in Washington knows how to cut spending. The time to start is now.

Americans have built the single greatest nation in all of human history. But America’s exceptionalism was not preordained. Every generation has had to confront and solve serious challenges and, because they did, each has left the next better off. Until now.

Our generation’s greatest challenge is an economy that isn’t growing, alongside a national debt that is. If we fail to confront this, our children will be the first Americans ever to inherit a country worse off than the one their parents were given.

Current federal policies make it harder for job creators to start and grow businesses. Taxes on individuals are complicated and set to rise in less than two years. Corporate taxes will soon be the highest in the industrialized world. Federal agencies torment job creators with an endless string of rules and regulations.

On top of all this, we have an unsustainable national debt. Leaders of both parties have grown our government for decades by spending money we didn’t have. To pay for it, they borrowed $4 billion a day, leaving us with today’s $14 trillion debt. Half of that debt is held by foreign investors, mostly China. And there is no plan to stop. In fact, President Obama’s latest budget request spends more than $46 trillion over the next decade. Under this plan, public debt will equal 87% of our economy in less than 10 years. This will scare away job creators and lead to higher taxes, higher interest rates and greater inflation.

Betting on America used to be a sure thing, but job creators see the warning signs that our leaders ignore. Even the world’s largest bond fund, PIMCO, recently dumped its holdings of U.S. debt.

We’re therefore at a defining moment in American history. In a few weeks, we will once again reach our legal limit for borrowing, the so-called debt ceiling. The president and others want to raise this limit. They say it is the mature, responsible thing to do.

In fact, it’s nothing more than putting off the tough decisions until after the next election. We cannot afford to continue waiting. This may be our last chance to force Washington to tackle the central economic issue of our time.

“Raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.” So said then-Sen. Obama in 2006, when he voted against raising the debt ceiling by less than $800 billion to a new limit of $8.965 trillion. As America’s debt now approaches its current $14.29 trillion limit, we are witnessing leadership failure of epic proportions.

I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
There is still time to accomplish all this. Rep. Dave Camp has already introduced proposals to lower and simplify our tax rates, close loopholes, and make permanent low rates on capital gains and dividends. Even Mr. Obama has endorsed the idea of lowering our corporate tax rate. Sen. Rand Paul, meanwhile, has a bill that would require an up-or-down vote on “major” regulations, those that cost the economy $100 million or more. And the House has already passed a spending plan this year that lowered discretionary spending by $862 billion over 10 years.

Such reductions are important, but nondefense discretionary spending is a mere 19% of the budget. Focusing on this alone would lead to draconian cuts to essential and legitimate programs. To get our debt under control, we must reform and save our entitlement programs.

No changes should be made to Medicare and Social Security for people who are currently in the system, like my mother. But people decades away from retirement, like me, must accept that reforms are necessary if we want Social Security and Medicare to exist at all by the time we are eligible for them.

Finally, instead of simply raising the debt limit, we should reassure job creators by setting a firm statutory cap on our public debt-to-GDP ratio. A comprehensive plan would wind down our debt to sustainable levels of approximately 60% within a decade and no more than half of the economy shortly thereafter. If Congress fails to meet these debt targets, automatic across-the-board spending reductions should be triggered to close the gap. These public debt caps could go in tandem with a Constitutional balanced budget amendment.

Some say we will go into default if we don’t increase the debt limit. But if we simply raise it once again, without a real plan to bring spending under control and get our economy growing, America faces the very real danger of a catastrophic economic crisis.

I know that by writing this, I am inviting political attack. When I proposed reforms to Social Security during my campaign, my opponent spent millions on attack ads designed to frighten seniors. But demagoguery is the last refuge of the spineless politician willing to do anything to win the next election.

Whether they admit it or not, everyone in Washington knows how to solve these problems. What is missing is the political will to do it. I ran for the U.S. Senate because I want my children to inherit what I inherited: the greatest nation in human history. It’s not too late. The 21st century can also be the American Century. Our people are ready. Now it’s time for their leaders to join them.

Mr. Rubio, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Florida.

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