“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.” — Thomas Jefferson.
I agree with Mr. Jefferson. In this regard we have met the enemy and they are us. We have institutionalized deficits because the American people demand them. Powerful constituencies demand more spending, and nobody likes the taxes to pay for it. Any candidate running on a promise to make the cuts where the money is spent, (in the big entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid), loses. Any candidate running on a promise to raise taxes to pay for it all, loses.
It has been said that “the American Republic will endure until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.” We are well past that point and the politicians of both parties are equally complicit. If Democrats are the “tax and spend” party then Republicans are the tax cut and spend party.
The power of the American people to foist massive debt on their children through the democratic processes must be taken from them by our Constitution, just as the power of the people to use democracy to establish a state religion, curtail free speech, or violate due process has been taken from them. We must have a Balanced Budget Amendment to our Constitution. It could be a simple one, I propose this.
Section 1: Any bill to raise the debt limit of the United States must pass with a 2/3s vote of each house.
Section 2: Section 1 is suspended in the event of a war declared by Congress pursuant to this Constitution.
Section 3: This amendment shall go into effect five years after its ratification.
For the record, I am convinced that if the American people are compelled to pay for all the government services they demand, that they will demand far less.