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Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?  
User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8792 posts, RR: 24
Posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2165 times:

I have seen a few people say that a Balanced Budget Amendment is a bad idea. Considering the discipline Congress has shown in the past spending other people's money (namely we the taxpayers) for their own purposes, I think it is the cat's pajamas of ideas.

Note that a BBA does not necessarily mean that you can't run any deficits whatsoever. It might cap the debt or the deficit to a KPI such as GDP. But the idea is that there would be a hard ceiling for spending which will necessitate making tough choices on how to spend a limited amount of money, instead of "Aw hell, let's just spend money on everything and blame the other side".

Pros & Cons please, and provide reasoning.


Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
75 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2153 times:

If we had a enforcable BBA amendment in place - the Bush TaxCuts would never have passed, nor would the US been able to invade Iraq.

The biggest drawback in my opinion is a BBA makes it impossible for the federal government to try and help stabilize an economy out of control. Rather than the somewhat poor response to the 2008 recession, we would have gotten a full blown 1929 type depression.

A BBA may have some value but the way government 'saves' money is just a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Texas 'balanced' their budget this year - much of the savings was due to collecting special taxes - such as about 100 million on utility bills to assist poor folks with high utility bills. That 100 million will be collected this year, but the state will spend only 15 million on such assistance. The remaining 85 million in budget 'savings' will be spend on other things.

The state will put 85 million into the bank because they cannot spend that 85 million outside the utility program. So saving 85 million dollars lets them 'balance' the budget when it is really deficit spending.

Washington DC does the same thing.

Until the people forced a real income and expense based accounting system on the Congress, there will never be a balanced budget.

But the change over from the way things are done now to a Balanced Budget Amendment would be long and a very rough time for the people in the United States. Taxes would increase significantly, government contracting would decrease, unemployment would increase quite a bit.

The country would basically go through what a family does when the wage earners lose their 65 thousand a year income and have to live on 35 thousand a year from various part-time jobs.

The nation would 'lose its house' and default on its debts.

[Edited 2011-08-09 15:09:02]

User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2147 times:

IIRC every state but Vermont has a version of a Balanced Budget Amendment. It's a little different at the Federal level since the responsibilities of the federal government are different than that of states. Assuming there were clearly defined clauses that allowed for it to be waived in time of war or national emergency I'm 100% for one. The arguments against it would likely be not allowing for increased government spending to "stimulate" the economy during a recession. That's worked out great so far.

Interestingly enough the second responsibility of Congress is defined under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution giving congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the US.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5359 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2126 times:

Basically, you balance to the projected income and costs. I'm not sure how any large government can actually accurately capture revenue and expenses. The bigger the government, the bigger the variances from projected to actual. That leaves a lot of play room for the politicians.

Now, it's my belief that a government, any government, should be allowed to run a deficit because I feel that they should not be allowed to keep a surplus. That surplus is the Peoples' money and needs to be returned to the People. Now, in reality, smaller governments (towns and small cities) may need to keep a 'rainy day fund' because of the difficulty in raising funds after some kind of emergency or incident that surpasses current and/or projected income.

I'm not so much in favor of a balanced budget amendment as I am setting up trigger points where spending is reduced if the debt exceeds a certain percentage of GDP. Tying to GDP allows for growth of the deficit so long as the economy grows. That said, a contraction (recession) will force automatic budget cuts. Now, a student of Keynes, would call that scandalous...but, I think we've proved in this last cycle that Keynes was an idiot.    Or, at least his ideas don't scale up as well as he thought they might.

That deals with a massively growing debt, but doesn't really address the deficit. We'll just keep bouncing against those triggers. In my opinion, the only real way to address the ongoing deficits is to hold our politicians feet to the fire and demand that they account, Constitutionally, for the money they spend. We really do need a top to bottom review of the budget and cut out those programs/agencies that are not valid functions of the US government.

Unfortunately, the US government works on a baseline budgeting system and not a zero-based system. A zero based system, forces the budgeter to look at and account for everything in the budget. Baseline budgeting assumes that you need that you have and and can't do without it. Move on to growth.

Will it hurt? Of course it will. But, what is the alternative?



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 2113 times:
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An enforceable, legal limit on a government's ability to borrow is just one more example of a move away from representative democracy and towards government by rote. Go too far in this direction, and you will completely remove the requirement for elected officials to behave responsibly and be accountable to the folks that elected them. They will simply vote as the law requires them to do, having checked their brains at the door of the chamber when the vote is called.

Look at the mess California is in because of a bunch of knee-jerk initiatives that completely tie the hands of elected officials, and mandate often contain contradictory policy directives. That's chaos.

In spite of the gross stupidity I see south of the border, I am still a firm believer in representative democracy. I want people in office who can, and will, think about what constitutes good policy; not just cast a vote that complies with some stupid regulation designed to tie their hands. Sometimes, ya gotta run a deficit. I know -- the US has carried that to an almost laughable extreme. But putting handcuffs on elected officials is not the answer.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21528 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2093 times:

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
Basically, you balance to the projected income and costs. I'm not sure how any large government can actually accurately capture revenue and expenses. The bigger the government, the bigger the variances from projected to actual. That leaves a lot of play room for the politicians.

And the lawyers. By tying the numbers in the budget to the Constitution, you're inevitably going to invite legal challenges to those numbers as being unconstitutional. And we know that numbers can be fudged - accounting tricks can easily be used to make it seem like an unbalanced budget is balanced, or a balanced budget isn't. So let's say Special Interest A is pushing for some funding or some favorable piece of legislation, and they don't get it. They can then turn around and, using some accounting, sue the federal government on the grounds that the budget is unconstitutional. And let's assume that they win (which is not as unlikely as one might think, as you can be pretty sure that there will have been some creative accounting used by Congress as well to get some pet projects in) - now the budget is invalidated, and something is going to have to be done to fix it. What that will most likely come down to is the judiciary figuring out how to make the numbers work out, which I don't believe the judiciary should have any role in. And since the duration of a court case is likely to exceed the duration of a yearly budget, this revision will have to be done after the fact, which only makes things more complicated.

None of this wins Special Interest A their money or legislation, of course. But it doesn't have to - even the threat of throwing a wrench in the works is enough. It's a lot like filibuster in the Senate - there are very few actual filibusters, because just the threat of one is enough to kill off a bill. And while the threat of a lawsuit against the budget is not as strong as the threat of a filibuster, it would be many special interests doing the threatening instead of just one party, which balances things out. Even if Special Interest A got their wishes and didn't sue, there'd be a Special Interest B who wouldn't get their wishes, and they'd sue.

In short, while it's a nice idea in theory, it would be a horrendous mess in practice. If the country wants a balanced budget that badly, vote for representatives that will do it.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
Now, it's my belief that a government, any government, should be allowed to run a deficit because I feel that they should not be allowed to keep a surplus. That surplus is the Peoples' money and needs to be returned to the People. Now, in reality, smaller governments (towns and small cities) may need to keep a 'rainy day fund' because of the difficulty in raising funds after some kind of emergency or incident that surpasses current and/or projected income.

I believe that any government should be allowed to keep a rainy day fund. A rainy day fund would have done a lot of good during the recession.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2085 times:

Quoting Arrow (Reply 4):
But putting handcuffs on elected officials is not the answer.


And allowing them to have unlimited deficit spending is?


User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2065 times:
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Quoting 474218 (Reply 6):
And allowing them to have unlimited deficit spending is?

You missed the point. The issue is where do you draw the line on how many restrictions are placed on the freedom of elected legislators to enact policy that is in the best interests of the people who elected them. Tie their hands with a balanced budget regulation, and you've chipped away discretion. Do that too much, and you might as well just give your elected officials a book of rules and tell them to not use their brains under any circumstances. Think you'll get better government with that approach?

Granted, given the US experience in the last few months, it's not easy to argue for a continuation of representative democracy. But that's got more to do with a dysfunctional system of governance that is so obsessed with checks and balances that no one can make a decision. Maybe you should focus on fixing that.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Quoting Arrow (Reply 7):
But that's got more to do with a dysfunctional system of governance that is so obsessed with checks and balances that no one can make a decision. Maybe you should focus on fixing that.


If you are suggesting the Parliamentarian System there is no way it is better than what the US has now! I was in Trinidad when one of their elections came out 18 seats for one party 18 for another party and 2 for a third. The party with two seats actually controls the government. That is dysfunctional!


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8942 posts, RR: 40
Reply 9, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2024 times:

Three words: OFF BUDGET ITEMS.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):
The biggest drawback in my opinion is a BBA makes it impossible for the federal government to try and help stabilize an economy out of control. Rather than the somewhat poor response to the 2008 recession, we would have gotten a full blown 1929 type depression.

The merits of this concept aside, it does not stop "stimulus" spending from happening. All it requires is the fiscal sense to save money while times are good to sue it when the economy goes bad.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 7):
You missed the point. The issue is where do you draw the line on how many restrictions are placed on the freedom of elected legislators to enact policy that is in the best interests of the people who elected them. Tie their hands with a balanced budget regulation, and you've chipped away discretion. Do that too much, and you might as well just give your elected officials a book of rules and tell them to not use their brains under any circumstances. Think you'll get better government with that approach?

Democracy is supposed to get leaders elected, it is not supposed to make rules on popularity. This is the problem with governments all across the planet. They are not interested in seeking justice, they are interested in passing laws to appease a certain section of society they call their "constituents" to get re-elected four years down the road.

Yes, you should restrict them as much as possible. 50% of society +1 vote is not a magical number that gets you free pass to do anything you want.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7067 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2026 times:

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
Now, it's my belief that a government, any government, should be allowed to run a deficit because I feel that they should not be allowed to keep a surplus. That surplus is the Peoples' money and needs to be returned to the People. Now, in reality, smaller governments (towns and small cities) may need to keep a 'rainy day fund' because of the difficulty in raising funds after some kind of emergency or incident that surpasses current and/or projected income.

At present, I would say that any surplus gained should be allocated to paying off debt rather then being returned to the tax payors or being kept for a rainy day, unless there is a specifc allocation in the budget to pay off debt.
Perhaps that's a condition that could be included, let say the initial 3 to 5 years would be debt neutral, in that no revenues need be allocated towards paying off debt, allow the government to adjust, then subsequent budgets could look at allocating amount to commence decreasing the debt. Everything does not have to be done at once, but once started, confidence will grow and the pain will be minimized.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 4):
An enforceable, legal limit on a government's ability to borrow is just one more example of a move away from representative democracy and towards government by rote.

Let's accept that for a moment, what then would you say has been the reason for the level of debt that has been accumulated with no attempt to pay it down or heaven forbid off. Every administration in recent history have simply raised the limit and moved on, is that a lack of fiscal responsibility?


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8942 posts, RR: 40
Reply 11, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2015 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 8):
Quoting Arrow (Reply 7):
But that's got more to do with a dysfunctional system of governance that is so obsessed with checks and balances that no one can make a decision. Maybe you should focus on fixing that.


If you are suggesting the Parliamentarian System there is no way it is better than what the US has now! I was in Trinidad when one of their elections came out 18 seats for one party 18 for another party and 2 for a third. The party with two seats actually controls the government. That is dysfunctional!

Congress handed their responsibility to declare war to the executive branch for Iraq. If anything, there is a problem with checks and balances. . . the branches are too cozy with each other! The assumption is they wouldn't be that way.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2008 times:

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
I'm not sure how any large government can actually accurately capture revenue and expenses.

Government at any level is not very good at budgeting year to year. Since they get most of their budget from tax revenue they tend to look too far ahead. If you were a planning director for some county or city department you probably looked at 2006 or 7 numbers and thought, "people are building subdivisions faster than I can approve them" I need more people. But, in the private sector the first layoffs were starting to come when the bubble burst.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
That surplus is the Peoples' money and needs to be returned to the People.

I think that ship has sailed. In my opinion any surplus needs to go to paying down the debt. The people's money was spent over the past 10 years. My kid's money was spent 5 years ago, my grandkid's money is being spent right now.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
That deals with a massively growing debt, but doesn't really address the deficit.

Not sure it handles the debt at all. The deficit is much less problematic to deal with in the short term than the debt.

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
And we know that numbers can be fudged - accounting tricks can easily be used to make it seem like an unbalanced budget is balanced, or a balanced budget isn't.

Right, but at the state level BBA's vary quite a bit. Depending on how the amendment is written it could deal with the accounting end and have enough out clauses to allow for short term government increases in spending to deal with national emergencies, wars, recessions, etc.

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):
In short, while it's a nice idea in theory, it would be a horrendous mess in practice.

I'm not willing to say it would be a horrendous mess, is it a departure from the way that DC works, of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would be a mess. A BBA has been tossed around since LBJ was spending our money on guns and butter, aka Vietnam and entitlement programs if it's ever going to happen it will be a watered down version.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineArrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2676 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1998 times:
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Quoting par13del (Reply 10):
Let's accept that for a moment, what then would you say has been the reason for the level of debt that has been accumulated with no attempt to pay it down or heaven forbid off.

Pretty simple, actually. You've got a society that demands all level of service from its government but raises hell anytime someone suggests they need to pay higher taxes in in order to pay for those services. Politicians unfortunately try to give them both -- high services and low taxes. It staggers me, for example, that the US established entitlements like Social Security and medicaid but didn't adequately fund them.

The answer to the problem isn't to hamstring the politicians with a balanced budget provision, but to fund the damn programs in the first place so you don't run up the debt. It's not rocket science. Other countries have done this adequately, although the US isn't by any means alone in thinking there's a tooth fairy somewhere.

Quoting 474218 (Reply 8):
If you are suggesting the Parliamentarian System there is no way it is better than what the US has now!

I wasn't suggesting that, although in most cases it is a much better system. It's certainly more accountable. But citing Trinidad as an example isn't going to score you any debating points. If you want to trash parliamentary democracy, try Italy. Interestingly, despite being somewhat dysfunctional, Italy just did a very credible job of dealing with its debt crisis -- better than the US, anyway.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8942 posts, RR: 40
Reply 14, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1995 times:

Quoting Arrow (Reply 13):
It staggers me, for example, that the US established entitlements like Social Security and medicaid but didn't adequately fund them.

This is hardly restricted to the US. See Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain. . . etc, etc, etc. This is the norm in this planet, not the exception.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 13):
The answer to the problem isn't to hamstring the politicians with a balanced budget provision, but to fund the damn programs in the first place so you don't run up the debt. It's not rocket science.

Or, don't make promises you can't keep in the first place. Like you said, it's not rocket science.



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8190 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1968 times:

The first problem with a BBA is how you force compliance when revenues and spending don't match. bForced taxes? Probably not with the TP around.

How about a simple percentage cut in Social Security and Welfare and VA payments? That sounds more like what the GOP would be for.

And what about "off budget" spending, like "W"'s Ego War?

Or responding to 9/11?

A BBA simply downplays the importance and responsibilities of nationally elected politicians, be they in the House or Senate or Presidency. Or it deteriorates the value of an American's vote.

Take a hard look at past Presidencies and the issues that came forward that was not anticipated. Both domestic and international, international issues can be reduced in cots - simply become far more isolated from the rest of the world. Let China or Russia take the lead for a while. Give the terrorists in Afghanistan the natural resources there to fund terrorism around the world. Saves us money, helps balance the budget.

Reality is that we don't need to move to a system where politicians are only needed 23 weeks a year to rubber stamp a budget. We don't need an Excel mentality to address issues that wrist in this uncertain world.

And we don't need the TP political instability that this type of mentality brings.


User currently offlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7067 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1967 times:

Quoting Arrow (Reply 13):
The answer to the problem isn't to hamstring the politicians with a balanced budget provision, but to fund the damn programs in the first place so you don't run up the debt. It's not rocket science. Other countries have done this adequately, although the US isn't by any means alone in thinking there's a tooth fairy somewhere.

Other countries are having funding problems. The EU for example is attempting to set a debt to GDP ratio for each nation at 60%, the IMF is trying to establish standards for developing nations as well.
If legislators used the fiscal items thought to their kids in school it goes two ways, do something right in terms of proper funding, or not attempt to purchase something you cannot afford or sell too fancy ideas to your people.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 13):
Pretty simple, actually. You've got a society that demands all level of service from its government but raises hell anytime someone suggests they need to pay higher taxes in in order to pay for those services. Politicians unfortunately try to give them both -- high services and low taxes.

Some countries presently having problems have high taxes and they still have problems. Now the other question for example in the US, are these services really what the people want or what special interest say that the people want? The US population have historically voted against big government and high taxes, when you consider the Democratic party's mantra on taxation, they are the larger party and have been in power much more than the Republicans in terms of controlling the houses of congress, the somewhat low tax rate in the US is not because the party is/was not willing to tax but because the population is basically adverse.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
I'm not willing to say it would be a horrendous mess, is it a departure from the way that DC works, of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would be a mess. A BBA has been tossed around since LBJ was spending our money on guns and butter, aka Vietnam and entitlement programs if it's ever going to happen it will be a watered down version.

In the current global economy and after decades of deficit spending, there is a growing feeling among some sectors of the population that the congress is more into doing what good for the special interest groups who fund their campaigns versus what is in the best intetest of the nation, forcing them to live by a more specific set of rule seem attractive.
If not for the TP, would anyone had been really paying attention to debt, even the President is now sounding like a republican, if the TP is so fringe why place debt on such a high stand?


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1960 times:

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
And what about "off budget" spending, like "W"'s Ego War?

Or responding to 9/11?

Do you really think a BBA would ever be approved if it didn't include a clause that included emergency powers? You are kidding yourself.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
Let China or Russia take the lead for a while.

Depending on the crisis, I don't have any problem with that at all.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
Give the terrorists in Afghanistan the natural resources there to fund terrorism around the world.

So..now your ok with "W's Ego" war? If the alternative is we didn't go to Afghanistan and the terrorists are running around the world based in Afghanistan, thank God we went there!

Quoting par13del (Reply 16):

In the current global economy and after decades of deficit spending, there is a growing feeling among some sectors of the population that the congress is more into doing what good for the special interest groups who fund their campaigns versus what is in the best intetest of the nation, forcing them to live by a more specific set of rule seem attractive.

Personally, I don't think it has to be a BBA to reign this in, it could be legislation that restricts government spending in a way that they can't have to borrow .40 cents on every dollar we spend. At the end of the day, I think the US should run not much different than my home. I pay my bills, after that I carry a little bit of credit card debt, but it's something I can pay off within a year. When I die my kid isn't left with a bill for an order of magnitude amount of money that I ever earned. Seems pretty simple to me, raise taxes on everyone, decrease government spending.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineStarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3354 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1941 times:

Quoting par13del (Reply 16):
? The US population have historically voted against big government and high taxes, when you consider the Democratic party's mantra on taxation, they are the larger party and have been in power much more than the Republicans in terms of controlling the houses of congress, the somewhat low tax rate in the US is not because the party is/was not willing to tax but because the population is basically adverse.

They vote against big government but does that big government actually happen, my guess is that politicians know what will be the result if they cut these programs especially for the elderly that vote in higher percentages. They'll be shown the door and the members of congress know that, the sad part is the same politicians who would vote for tax hikes to fund these programs would be shown the door as well.

I have heard a lot of members of the Tea Party say that they don't care if the they get re-elected as long as they are successful in reducing the size of the federal government, that is noble.
However in reality for them they need to compromise with the democrats and traditional GOP to get this done, my question to a lot of the tea party people in congress is why the heck didn't they run as independents because you certainly are not republicans in the traditional sense.

Also it doesn't help when a lot of people think its the lazy bums on welfare causing the majority of the budget problems, yes the abusers should be dealt with the problem goes a lot further than that, it just makes for some talking points that get the Average Joe to cheer. The reality is that a lot of things the government provides does assist people and they want it, a vast majority of Americans still want medicare and social security as well as a large military and there is not enough money to fund all that and will be down right pissed if they lose them when they pay into them.

Attacking things like planned parenthood, NPR, foreign aid etc are just crumbs on the plate and can never solve the problem.



Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1934 times:

You don't need a BBA. Let the voters decide.. If they want to vote in people who believe that the rich should pay the tab while burdening the state with defecits that the people in power refuse to balance so be it. We have seen how that worked out for a state like CA. The only way to change it is to vote.

2012 will be pretty historic and we will see how the majority of the country feels about it.


User currently offlineModernArt From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1928 times:

Germany calls for EU balanced budgets

Snipet....
Tue Aug 9, 2011 10:22 AM EDT
BERLIN — Germany urged all members of the 17-nation eurozone on Tuesday to amend their constitutions as quickly as possible to require a balanced budget in a bid to avoid a repeat of the bloc's sovereign debt crisis.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
A BBA simply downplays the importance and responsibilities of nationally elected politicians, be they in the House or Senate or Presidency. Or it deteriorates the value of an American's vote.

Well, up to this point the responsibility they've been charged with has certainly been lost on 'em.


User currently offlineLufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1909 times:

Although I can understand the argument and appeal for a BBA, I just don't think it works well in practice. There are so many unforeseen things that could happen that it does not seem worth it to me to lock the country into one specific way of thinking. If something that is not dire but still unforeseen arises, the country would be stuck.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 3):
I think we've proved in this last cycle that Keynes was an idiot.    Or, at least his ideas don't scale up as well as he thought they might.

I agree with everything you said but this...

In reality we didn't prove he was an idiot, we have proven once again that trying to put something as complex as the US economy into a nice easy economic theory is impossible. It doesn't matter if it is Keynes or Fukuyama- one minute the economy will act one way, and just as you think you know how it works, it changes directions and acts another way.


Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 17):
Do you really think a BBA would ever be approved if it didn't include a clause that included emergency powers? You are kidding yourself.

And therein lies the problem. Emergency powers have often led to the downfall of entire civilisations because of the way they are constructed and designed. While it may not lead to something that severe if the US passed a BBA, it could allow a "state of emergency" to persist indefinitely.



Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1906 times:

Pretty good thread................I've heard some pretty reasonable ideas from some people I normally don't agree with very much. But you're all talking about the extremely complicated stuff. This country has so many problems, it's kind of like not being able to "see the woods for the trees". There are some very fundamental things that cause many of our problems, and no one ever even thinks about them.

Example 1; IlIegitimacy; I lack the time, the skill and the knowledge to pursue this "problem" to it's logical conclusion, but I have read some very in-depth studies on it, and it's where many of our problems start. A huge percentage of out of "born out wedlock" children end up in the prison population. Now that the numbers incarcerated are into the millions, the overall cost to society is in the very high billions; ( not to mention costs involved in all the court trials of all these criminals during their "criminal careers", and not to mention all the murders, rapes, robberies, etc. etc. etc. all of these criminals have committed along the way.

I very seriously doubt that we are ever going to be able to completely eliminate out of wed-lock births, but we could very easily "improve the numbers" significantly. All we need is a few new laws, and the "will" to enforce them;

!. Any male who gets an unmarried female pregnant will: pay all costs involved, plus support the child (details to be "worked out") till age 21, OR.........serve equal mount of time in a prison "work farm", the aim of which is to provide labor on infrastructure, public roads, buildings, and anything else needing "hard work" that will lessen burden on taxpayers.

2. Any unmarried female who has 2nd "unwanted pregnancy", and having inability to "pay for & support" yet another illegitmate child, will "dealt with accordingly" and have tubes tied. ( put an end to that nonsense )

3. Members of Congress: Complete overhaul of work rules, compensation, and retirement benefits. All members will be covered by same medicare, same retirement rules as "the rest of us". ( details will be "worked out" )

4. Foreign Aid; Henceforth, all foreign aid to "other countries" will "calculated" on a scale which will be in proportion the the amount we receive from them. ( should save "a bundle" )

Uh Oh......out of time.......later............

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5359 posts, RR: 14
Reply 23, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1881 times:

Quoting par13del (Reply 10):
At present, I would say that any surplus gained should be allocated to paying off debt rather then being returned to the tax payors or being kept for a rainy day,
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 12):
I think that ship has sailed. In my opinion any surplus needs to go to paying down the debt. The people's money was spent over the past 10 years. My kid's money was spent 5 years ago, my grandkid's money is being spent right now.


Agreed, the debt should be paid down before any money is returned to The People. But,when the debt is at a manageable level (and, I don't know what that level is), then a surplus should be returned to the tax payers. At the federal level, a rainy day fund is not required, nor desirable. Congress has shown that it can not be trusted with a surplus (or a deficit, for that matter).

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 21):
In reality we didn't prove he was an idiot, we have proven once again that trying to put something as complex as the US economy into a nice easy economic theory is impossible. It doesn't matter if it is Keynes or Fukuyama- one minute the economy will act one way, and just as you think you know how it works, it changes directions and acts another way.


In a way, that's my point. Keynes can not be applied to an economy as large as the US economy. It does not scale up. It is better to leave it alone and go through its cycles. Every time we try to stimulate the economy through spending, we tend to retard the economy.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 19):
You don't need a BBA. Let the voters decide


I agree, much like term limits. Let thevoters decide. As a side note, looks like the Wisconsin voters have decided which way they want to go.

Though, I would like to see some controls put in place to keep the debt in check. But, I can't stand 'across the board' cuts, because the excess is rarely across the board. Cuts have to be targeted.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlineStarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3354 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1861 times:

Quoting Geezer (Reply 22):
Example 1; IlIegitimacy; I lack the time, the skill and the knowledge to pursue this "problem" to it's logical conclusion, but I have read some very in-depth studies on it, and it's where many of our problems start. A huge percentage of out of "born out wedlock" children end up in the prison population. Now that the numbers incarcerated are into the millions, the overall cost to society is in the very high billions; ( not to mention costs involved in all the court trials of all these criminals during their "criminal careers", and not to mention all the murders, rapes, robberies, etc. etc. etc. all of these criminals have committed along the way

A good amount of the those people in prison in the US are there for non-violent drug crimes and not the crimes you speak of. Also the US has the highest incarceration rate yes because of a higher crime rate than other developed countries but the prison industry is a very large one in the US and is very big business.

There is a boat load of corporate welfare going on here, but to solve this legalize drugs (especially pot), and end the war on drugs.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 22):
!. Any male who gets an unmarried female pregnant will: pay all costs involved, plus support the child (details to be "worked out") till age 21, OR.........serve equal mount of time in a prison "work farm", the aim of which is to provide labor on infrastructure, public roads, buildings, and anything else needing "hard work" that will lessen burden on taxpayers.

2. Any unmarried female who has 2nd "unwanted pregnancy", and having inability to "pay for & support" yet another illegitmate child, will "dealt with accordingly" and have tubes tied. ( put an end to that nonsense )

This heavily restricting freedom and no one would ever stand for it, how is what you propose that different from China's one child policy which is heavily controversial.

You're policies aren't going anywhere thankfully, because what are you going to do if a woman refuses which many will, incarerate them for committing no crime? Some freedom.  

What I don't understand is you likely want abortion illegal but would federally mandate a tubal ligation which is a surgical procedure to prevent a woman from further reproducing. It would be cheaper to force a woman in the situation you describe to federally mandate an abortion (which I wouldn't agree with at all).

Also your views echo a joke made in an unaired episode of Family guy where the pro-life people only care about the baby's life when its in the womb. Once its born screw it its not our problem, and the general populace would play the personal responsibility charge.

Also this issue is crumbs on the plate that is the US budget, its something that's a nice talking point and should be addressed yes.

It has been shown the best method to control population is to have a education about birth control and know how to prevent a pregnancy, however a lot of religious groups effectively lobby not to get this taught in schools when it should be taught around the 6th to 7th grade. Teens are going to get it on no matter what you do so its best they know the numerous ways to prevent pregnancies and STI's.

Why do you think that least educated states have the highest rates of teen pregnancy.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 22):
4. Foreign Aid; Henceforth, all foreign aid to "other countries" will "calculated" on a scale which will be in proportion the the amount we receive from them. ( should save "a bundle" )

Also foreign aid is also crumbs on the plate, it makes up less than one percent of the US budget.



Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
25 PPVRA : In the end, I still think a BBA is a plus though. It plugs one of the holes in the fiscal ship, so we are better off. We just have to be aware that it
26 StarAC17 : It should be an ultimate goal but I don't think it should be legally binding. If you want to have a BBA then you have to give the government the righ
27 Baroque : Seems a fair point. It was the indecision that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Which is hilarious considering their chief joker!! And you
28 Ken777 : And do you really believe that any such clause will be able to be constructed to address ALL of the issues that will arise in the future? Could the s
29 Post contains images Arrow : Just got back from a couple of weeks in Italy and yes, Berlusconi provides lots of laughs. But they did manage to get approved a restructuring plan;
30 par13del : Those are all ideas that the House and Senate must debate as to how these type events will be catered for in the proposed amendment. A reality which
31 FlyPNS1 : I'm not against a balanced budget amendment, however I think it will be hard to enforce. Congress will quickly find numerous accounting tricks to get
32 PPVRA : They essentially laready have the right to collect as much money as they wish. That's what the right to tax means. It's only a mater of voting on inc
33 Post contains links FlyPNS1 : Certainly, it is. If the government spends too much and is reckless, the free market will eventually punish the government. And if the government isn
34 fr8mech : Very astute observation. The only things 'market' about government are elections. By its very nature, government, just about every time it make a law
35 rfields5421 : Read David Stockman's book and then tell me which you think? I go with special interests. The Reagan administration was no less, nor no more, influen
36 Baroque : ??? Not like the Bush tax cuts then???
37 Ken777 : There is a chance that they can if the TP drops their immovable stances. We need some moderates to work out intelligent, workable compromises. Extrem
38 PPVRA : Sure, markets can raise interest rates or even say no to lending any money to the government. But the government doesn't need this to get the money t
39 gigneil : Here's the thing. Can you give me one single problem with deficit spending? Name one, please. I'll wait. NS
40 474218 : It makes your money worthless.
41 gigneil : I haven't found that to be the case, and I sincerely don't see how the government's spending habits impact my ability to buy anything. NS
42 canoecarrier : I'm thinking you have an agenda. Why don't you try arguing your point without mentioning Cheney, Rummy and GWB? I'm really not that sure what point y
43 fr8mech : That's because it really has just started to approach the tipping point. The credit rating downgrade was the first, and probably least troubling, asp
44 Baroque : Fair comment, but with one qualification. If you are Zimbabwe, printing money means you eventually need to turn up with a wheelbarrow to buy a loaf o
45 par13del : Debt. Government deficit spending is creating debt for the nation, and just as the TP / Republicans were calling for spending cuts to reduce it - pos
46 Post contains images Dreadnought : Well, it really doesn't. Due to the time lag between a) seeing indicators of economic slowdown, such as unemployment rising, b) passage or decision o
47 Mir : It could conflict with pre-existing text, for one - I'm not sure how that would get worked out. But that's really besides the point, as I don't think
48 rfields5421 : If it was well written, the BBA would repeal those sections of the Constitution which might be in conflict with the BBA. But even if those were not s
49 Ken777 : I don't have an "agenda", but as long as American military personnel are serving in Iraq because of a bunch of yahoo right wing politicians like W &a
50 dxing : OBL was long gone from Afghanistan by the time of the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 By using information that President Obama would have consider
51 Mir : They might have to start doing so. Either that, or leave the decisions to the lower courts. -Mir
52 NIKV69 : Where is the oil? Instead of bashing Bush why don't you go after every Dem that voted with him? I remember Hillary saying she did her own research as
53 Baroque : Yes Aus did and for that reason does have much to thank the US for, although if the Neverhawks had arrived a bit earlier, it would have helped! (But
54 Ken777 : Sure? How do you know? Did the TPs tell you so? Obama made it clear in the 08 campaign that he was going after OBL. Are conservatives upset because O
55 Post contains links NIKV69 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RvNS7JfcMM Can't claim ignorance. Also if we went there for the oil where is it? Well it will probably take us 10-15 y
56 Post contains links dxing : No, research did. http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/0...tip-that-led-to-bin-laden-may.html According to the assessment, al Libi was in contact with
57 Post contains links rfields5421 : Iraq is the #7 source for oil for the United States according to the US Department of Energy. ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_public
58 Post contains links Dreadnought : We BOUGHT it. We didn't just TAKE it. That's the point. The only way the "war for oil" argument can work is if we actually took the oil without payin
59 par13del : Assume you mean the details of spending cuts? All of the Federal Government spending is not allocated to Defense, SS, MedicAid, MediCare or Infrastru
60 MoltenRock : It is always amusing to watch the pro Iraq war ($3 trillion) and former die-hard Bush apologists, now turned "Libertarian" and deficit hawks proclaimi
61 StarAC17 : When you look at it that way the only Republican that has any real credibility is Ron Paul. He was against both wars and would have told the banks to
62 dxing : There is a major difference between "bought" and "taken" as implird by the poster. We were involved in Iraq a decade before its invasion. I was speak
63 Post contains links and images Baroque : Goodness me. Your comment made me look up the latest production from Iraq and in March 2011 it actually reached the average for the year 2000. But me
64 Post contains links Dreadnought : $790 Billion, including both military and non-military spending such as reconstruction. A high number but let's stop exaggerating. http://costofwar.c
65 Post contains images Ken777 : Nothing new - just look at Nixon What about taking care of the Gulf Wars Veterans for the next 60 to 70 years out? Did the conservatives in W's Party
66 par13del : Would such care not fall under the VA and thus under the defense spending which Republicans want to preserve?
67 dxing : That makes no sense. All it tells me is that you have no answer, because there is none. This administration did the expedient thing regardless of the
68 StarAC17 : That is the unfortunate downside.
69 Post contains images zippyjet : I'm so disgusted with our government (politicians) from both sides of the aisle and the pesky tea party. I don't put too much faith or trust in any of
70 474218 : Why do you choose to mention Nixon, the President that got the US out of Vietnam? It was Kennedy that replaced the advisers Eisenhower sent in with c
71 rfields5421 : Johnson was focused on his domestic agenda - the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Right Act, etc. He barely paid attention to foreign policy at the time,
72 Ken777 : No, it is a different Department and one that has historically received the shaft at budget time. It only got solid budgets for VA Health a f=couple
73 ltbewr : One of the big reasons we are in the mess we are in is that we had low taxes ('Bush Tax Cuts' part of it) during the last bubble thus to keep up the e
74 dxing : You've brought up the question, now you can prove that their claims aren't being processed, or that claims were tossed in the trash. Have fun. Absent
75 Post contains images Ken777 : There was sufficient reporting on the problems a while back - I thought you would remember it. Will start looking up links later in the day when I ge
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