The phony balanced budget jibber-jabber

Everytime I visit Bruce Bartlett ‘s blog, Capital Gains and Games, I learn such interesting things. Like this:
Next week, House Republicans plan to debate a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. . .  In fact, it’s just more political theater designed to delight the Tea Party.
Historically, those supporting a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution were only interested in balance per se. That is, requiring that revenues and expenditures be as close to equal as possible. The view was that if the states – almost all of which are required to balance their budgets annually – could do it then so could the federal government.
One problem is that the states don’t really balance their budgets. All have separate operating and capital budgets and only the operating budget is required to be balanced. By contrast, the federal budget lumps together operating and capital expenses, such as roads and buildings that will last for decades. Moreover, the states are notorious for using gimmicks to give the appearance of budget balance even though they run deficits. . . .  If Republicans were really serious about putting a balanced budget amendment into the Constitution they would . . .  held weeks of hearings with such experts and planned many more weeks of floor debate. GOP think tanks would have been urged to hold conferences and publish studies of the proposed amendment.
None of this was done, of course, leaving the inescapable conclusion that this is nothing but a political ploy designed solely to appeal to the GOP’s Tea Party wing. The time wasted debating a balanced budget amendment would be better spent taking care of the House’s long list of unfinished business, such as passing appropriations bills.

11 responses to “The phony balanced budget jibber-jabber

  1. The talk for a balanced budget, has gone as far back as the stone age. Nothing will ever come of it, so in the meantime it is all posturing, to make the Koch Brothers Tea Party fanatics, like you say happy.


  2. Has any government ever had a balanced budget in wartime? We’ve been at war for most of my lifetime, and I’m not young.


    • The Federal government as far as I know has never ever had a balanced budget mudge.


      • They like to use ‘balanced budget’ as a code, to gut and/or get rid of every social program. It’s like they don’t want the poor and the needy to live. Just up and die would make them happy. That’s just how I feel about them.


        • Y’all can correct me on this, but as I recall, they “balanced” the budget in Clinton’s time by folding Social Security, which was running a big surplus then, into the rest of the budget for the first time. Now that SS is starting to run a deficit and needs to be paid back by the rest of the budget, no one wants to do it.


  3. A “balanced budget” amendment, unless it was very clearly defined, would be useless in any case. Even if it could be passed, then there would be the constant blather about the “spirit” and “meaning” of the amendment, which could be contorted to mean anything: balanced budgets all of the time? Next year? Deficits allowed so long as they are acceptable? What is acceptable?

    This is nothing but a waste of time and energy when the real focus should be on actually dealing with the debt, not constitutional theory…


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