U.S. Rep. Paulsen calls for bipartisan effort to pass Balanced Budget Amendment

Congressman Erik Paulsen outlines his case for a federal Balanced Budget Amendment in a guest blog for the conservative True North site.

He says the “$14.7 trillion debt is not a Democrat problem, nor is it a Republican problem — it’s an American problem, and we’re all going to have to start speaking out in order to do something about it.”

A balanced budget would force the federal government to spend within its means, he says:

“This initiative won’t be easy. It will take work, and it will be a bipartisan effort to put our economy back on track. But, with some effort, confidence will [be] restored in the markets, businesses will create more jobs and Americans will get back to work.

“Our debt crisis is a legitimate threat to our nation’s security and future. A nation that does not control its debt does not control its destiny. In order to give our children and grandchildren a secure future and economic stability, we need to balance the budget.”

Most think it’s unlikely that Congress will pass the measure, which needs two-thirds support to move on to the states. And some conservatives, like Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, don’t think it’s necessarily the right solution:

The current threat to the country is historic deficits driven by historic levels of spending. Favoring the balanced-budget amendment does nothing to address those problems in the here and now. Realistically, building the coalition necessary to pass the amendment as envisioned by Republicans would take years, by which time it will be gloriously irrelevant or altogether too late.

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/29/2011 - 01:27 pm.

    When you can’t get your programs through Congress, amend the Constitution and tie the hands of all future Congresses. Makes no sense to me, but then I was in the minority the last time we voted on amending the state constitution.

  2. Submitted by Ross Williams on 09/29/2011 - 02:10 pm.

    There is nothing in the constitution that prevents the Republican controlled House from passing a balanced budget. They don’t want to do that, so they propose an amendment they know has no chance of passing.

    The current fashion is to compare the national debt to the GDP. When measured that way, the debt is entirely a product of Republican administrations. The debt has declined relative to GDP during every 4 year term where there was a Democratic President since World War II. That includes Lyndon Johnson’s term during the Vietnam War and War on Poverty.

    Richard Nixon’s first term from 1968-72 was the last Republican president who didn’t preside over an increase in the debt relative to GDP. Every Republican Presidential term since Nixon’s first term has seen the debt increase faster than the economy grew.

    That wouldn’t be true if we had kept the tax rates at the levels they were when Ronald Reagan came into office. There would be no deficit and almost no debt.

    The Republican presidents since then have all claimed credit for “cutting taxes” by paying the bills with our credit card. Now we are discovering they weren’t really tax cuts, they were just tax deferrals. Every dollar of the “tax cuts” put on the credit card is going to have to be paid by taxpayers, plus interest. Passing a balanced budget amendment isn’t going to change that.

  3. Submitted by John Funk on 09/29/2011 - 10:02 pm.

    Excuse me! What in heavens name will this do to fire up the economy NOW? This worthy though will take years just for the discussion. We the people need action NOW that will show results RIGHT AWAY. Does the congressman think we are stupid and will be enthused by this long range vision. We need help NOW!

  4. Submitted by William Pappas on 09/30/2011 - 05:56 am.

    Any Repubican that says “democrat” when the term should be “democratic” is not trying to be bipartisan. They are being provocative. Paulsen is a liar. A balanced budget amendment is such a bad idea in fact that the only place it can gain traction is in the fantasy world of the Republican Party. Raising the spectre of the debt ceiling as limiting spending with no recourse to tax increases on the rich is more bad republican policy. It is the wrong idea at the wrong time. People should start worrying about what might transpire with a republican president and republican senate. Yikes!

  5. Submitted by Annie Grandy on 10/01/2011 - 01:53 am.

    Typical GOP election maneuver. Propose something that does nothing but which seems simple, appeals to the emotions and diverts attention from real problems requiring complex solutions (i.e., doing the work of a Congressperson). Did you get the idea from ALEC, Erik? Or did you think it up all by yourself?
    Amazing all the honorifics given to “Congressman” “U.S. Rep” Paulsen yet President Obama is seldom referred to as “President.”

  6. Submitted by Don Wallen on 10/02/2011 - 09:57 am.

    So what would a balanced budget amendment look like? No more treasury notes or bonds to invest in? These are forms of borrowing.
    The Republicans are always blathering about running the government like a business (I know! Can’t be done)but can any business of any size survive without a line of credit? Borrowing again. The whole idea is a disaster waiting to happen.

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