Balanced Budget Amendment

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As we discussed and read about this week in our class, the topic of the US Budget and how, why and what should we do about it has become a topic with many views and opinions. The United States of America currently holds over 16 Trillion dollars in debt based on our governments spending practices for the last ten years. Two wars, numerous fiscal collapses and cliffs, a bubble popped housing market, looming medical care costs from a socialized healthcare law and a recession have caused the government to acquire enormous amounts of debt. This debt with caused by what seems to be from irresponsible spending on both the Legislative and the Executive Branches have done nothing to lessen this deficit. One idea that has been discussed not only in Congress, but on prime time news networks is the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment. A Balance Budget Amendment (as recently seen in House Bill HJR2, 28 NOV 2011) would require that Congress balance its budget every fiscal year unless a three-fifths majority of both houses approved of maintaining a deficit[1]. In a CNN Poll, conducted by ORC International, 74% of Americans surveyed would be in favor of a constitutional amendment to require a Balanced federal budget. So, why did it miss passing by the House of Representatives 23 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed? In the graph we see that federal debt will remain above 73 percent of GDP, far higher than the the 39 percent seen over the last four decades as stated by the Congressional Budget Office. This level is of debt is unsustainable to the our economy and a Balanced Budget Amendment may be the answer to get wasteful spending under control and reduce out national debt.

There is a lot of debate for a Balanced Budget Amendment in the United States. The trade-off between “discipline” and “flexibility” is at the core of the debate surrounding the establishment of a Balanced Budget Amendment[2]. Those who oppose a Balanced Budget Amendment argue that it...
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