Washington truly has a different idea about spending. If it were you or me, and we really wanted something, we’d save for it. If we “needed” it now, we might put the purchase on a credit card, and then pay off the balance. But Washington is like those who have gotten into so much credit card debt, that they can’t come up for air.
The spending affected both parties. We’ve seen it over the last ten years. Republicans forgot what they stood for, and Democrats… well… they just did what they always did. That’s a dangerous combination. Fortunately, as Obama and the Democrats continue spending us into bankruptcy, some Republicans are seeing the light. It’s time to get serious about spending, and a Constitutional amendment may be the only option that will work.
Investors.com notes that GOP Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and John Campbell of California “have proposed a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution that would restrain the federal government to the average expenditures of the post-World War II era — 20% of the U.S. economy.” The editorial states that this move should be welcomed by those in the Tea Party movement who distrust Washington politicians and abhor the runaway spending.
As noted in the editorial, “the idea comes from no less than Thomas Jefferson. In 1798, the Declaration’s author wrote: ‘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.'”
Here’s what Hensarling and Pence had to say about their proposal:
The amendment would limit “total outlays” to “one-fifth of the economic output” of the U.S. The limit could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate.
In an article first published in the Wall Street Journal and now available on the Hensarling website, Pence and Hensarling note that in five years, “federal spending has skyrocketed to 24.7% from 19.9% of our economy.”
Unfortunately, the long-term fiscal picture is worse. As the Baby Boom generation retires and the cost of health care continues to escalate, entitlement programs will cause federal spending to rise to 40% of our economy, double its post-World War II average. This is assuming that spending does not increase even further, an assumption that the trillion-dollar “stimulus” bill and the 84% increase in nondefense discretionary spending President Obama signed into law argues against.
The situation is dire, but don’t take our word for it. “U.S. fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path to an extent that cannot be solved by minor tinkering,” Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf said recently. Former Comptroller General David Walker called the rising costs of government entitlements a “fiscal cancer” that threaten “catastrophic consequences for our country.”
We MUST cut spending. Period. Hensarling and Pence note that the Democrats could not simply tax their way out of the spending gap, as “taxes would have to double.” In addition, we can’t simply grow our way out of the problem. Since we have built up so much debt and are spending too much, “it would take double-digit economic growth every year for the next 75 years in order to close the fiscal gap.”
Pence and Hensarling use a classic Winston Churchill quote that is one of my favorites: “Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.”
So… it’s time to do the right thing. It’s past time! We’ve let Washington politicians have their way for too long, and the country is paying the price. If they can’t be trusted to be fiscally sound and responsible, then they must be treated like the children they are and given hard and fast rules. That seems to be the only way they will listen.