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Dreadnought
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Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:52 pm

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.
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rfields5421
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:05 pm

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]
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:07 pm

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.
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fr8mech
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:43 pm

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?
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Arrow
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:10 pm

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.
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Mir
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:45 pm

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
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474218
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:46 pm

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


And allowing them to have unlimited deficit spending is?
 
Arrow
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:18 am

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.
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474218
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:15 am

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!
 
PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:15 am

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
 
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par13del
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:16 am

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?
 
PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:23 am

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
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:29 am

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.
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Arrow
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:36 am

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.
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PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:40 am

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.
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Ken777
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:14 am

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.
 
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par13del
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:15 am

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?
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:27 am

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.
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StarAC17
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:49 am

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.
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NIKV69
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:21 am

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.
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modernArt
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:31 am

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.
 
Lufthansa411
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:47 am

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.
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Geezer
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:11 am

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 again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
fr8mech
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:38 am

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.
 
StarAC17
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:28 am

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!!!!!
 
PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:20 pm

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 isn't the only hole and shouldn't expect a BBA to solve all fiscal problems. But it allows us to focus on the other holes so it makes it less likely the ship will sink.

And I also think it's something both parties could agree on. As we've seen in this very thread, each side can point to pros and cons for their own views, but in the end we still have the benefit of a saner budget.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
StarAC17
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:24 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 25):
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 isn't the only hole and shouldn't expect a BBA to solve all fiscal problems. But it allows us to focus on the other holes so it makes it less likely the ship will sink.

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 right to collect as much revenue that they need to run things which means that fixed taxation kind of goes out the window (you know what you are going to be taxed given a certain uncertainty essentially), or they have a rainy day fund.
Engineers Rule The World!!!!!
 
baroque
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:34 pm

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.

Seems a fair point. It was the indecision that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 13):
Italy just did a very credible job of dealing with its debt crisis -- better than the US, anyway.

Which is hilarious considering their chief joker!! And you must have felt like Huxley in the Wilberforce debate when Trinidad was offered up.
 
Ken777
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:39 pm

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?

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 short term desire for a BBA actually serve the nation well for 200 years? Just looking at all that happened in my 67 years I doubt it.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 17):
So..now your ok with "W's Ego" war?

Iraq was W's Ego War. Remember the non-existing WMDs that made an invasion so urgent?

Afghanistan was where OBL was, and where we should have focused. We had to wait for Obama to take office and refocus on Afghanistan & OBL. And it was Obama's focus that led to us killing OBL.

The Iraq Invasion was clearly the worst Presidential decision in my lifetime.

Quoting ModernArt (Reply 20):
Well, up to this point the responsibility they've been charged with has certainly been lost on 'em

There have always been politicians who are easily handled with campaign contributions. This House term we also have an influx of the TPs, but that won't last forever.

But over the decades we have had good people in Congress. People who put the country ahead of politics or party affiliation. I wouldn't look at this brief time to judge the long life of the nation.

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 21):
we have proven once again that trying to put something as complex as the US economy into a nice easy economic theory is impossible.

Something like the BBA?
 
Arrow
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:53 pm

Quoting Baroque (Reply 27):
Which is hilarious considering their chief joker!!

 

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; granted their feet were roasting in the fire at the time. I think the problem with the US is the markets have been far too kind to them -- they need to be staring armageddon in the face. You have to wonder how long it will take before TBills start to look as toxic as the subprimes were. Unfortunately, the S&P downgrade came from an agency (or a bunch them to be more accurate) that is short on credibility.

And Trinidad? No disrespect, but gimmee a break!

[Edited 2011-08-10 08:55:18]
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
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par13del
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:25 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
The first problem with a BBA is how you force compliance when revenues and spending don't match. bForced taxes?
Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
How about a simple percentage cut in Social Security and Welfare and VA payments?
Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
And what about "off budget" spending, like "W"'s Ego War?
Quoting Ken777 (Reply 15):
Or responding to 9/11?
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.

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 they have never had a problem with is finding ways to spend money and ways to borrow money, why not let them use their creative minds on a way to resolve the reverse of deficit spending and debt, no question they have over the years proven their financial smarts.

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 18):
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.

Which a BBA may have assisted, as in spite of Reagan's march to Washington on smaller government, debt and his long coat-tails in his elections, the government and the debt actually grew under his administration, now which was the will of the people versus the establishment and their special interest?

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 18):
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.

Compromise needs to be redefined to some form of extreme. Compromise on budgets created deficits, compromise on debt created the debt ceiling increases over the decades, compromise on benefits created unaffordable programs, and on and on, nothing in the current economic situation is as a result of extremism, only compromise.

Quoting fr8mech (Reply 23):
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).

We agree but we disagree on the method to accomplish, I say if the tax rate is now producing a consistent surplus and the debt limit is manageable, tax rates should be reduced. It can always be raised, seeing them go up and down may win over those who are scared to death of taxes.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 28):
Could the short term desire for a BBA actually serve the nation well for 200 years? Just looking at all that happened in my 67 years I doubt it.

A lot of the overspending and increases of the debt was supposed to also be short term, at least that is what was said when it was taken on, a BBA is more permament so it will not be a short term solution.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 28):
Iraq was W's Ego War. Remember the non-existing WMDs that made an invasion so urgent?

Afghanistan was where OBL was, and where we should have focused. We had to wait for Obama to take office and refocus on Afghanistan & OBL. And it was Obama's focus that led to us killing OBL.

The Iraq Invasion was clearly the worst Presidential decision in my lifetime.

So would a BBA have prevented these ego wars or frivolous spending on a whim and a fancy? Would politicians actually have to ensure that their programs had some sound basis in benefits to the country before allocating precious funds?
Maybe that's an off shoot of a BBA, politicians will actually have to realise that the people's money is something precious, not to be wasted away.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:40 pm

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 around it. The states that have balanced budget amendments do it all the time. They use accounting games to push expenditures off, thereby allowing the budget to appear balanced when it's not.

And really, the balanced budget amendment goes against all conservative doctrine as it seeks to use regulations to solve a problem rather then let the free market take care of the problem.
 
PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:36 pm

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 26):
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 right to collect as much revenue that they need to run things which means that fixed taxation kind of goes out the window (you know what you are going to be taxed given a certain uncertainty essentially), or they have a rainy day fund.

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 increasing it.

In any case, the rainy day fund is the better choice. There is an element of uncertainty about the future and government should plan for this, rather than make baseless promisses that they will "tax Peter X amount to pay for Paul's retirement" when they don't even know if Peter will still be rich enough 30 years from now to afford this. Or, more of the problem we're seeing, if there will be enough Peters to go around.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 31):
And really, the balanced budget amendment goes against all conservative doctrine as it seeks to use regulations to solve a problem rather then let the free market take care of the problem.

The government is not a market beast.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:52 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 32):
The government is not a market beast.

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't a market beast, why do conservatives keep saying we need to run the government like a business?

And since conservatives put so much stock into the S&P, here's what they had to say about a BBA:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...od/2011/08/09/gIQAElip4I_blog.html
 
fr8mech
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:55 pm

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 32):
The government is not a market beast.

Very astute observation. The only things 'market' about government are elections. By its very nature, government, just about every time it make a law or regulation, hampers the free will of the people. Sometimes, e.g. criminal activities, this is a good thing, other times, e.g. over-reaching regulation (I know, a broad term, but I'm thinking most rational people know what I mean), it is a bad thing.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:09 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 30):
Reagan's march to Washington on smaller government, debt and his long coat-tails in his elections, the government and the debt actually grew under his administration, now which was the will of the people versus the establishment and their special interest?

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, influenced by special interests - and supported those companies, groups and individuals - than any other administration.

George Bush had it right when he called the plans 'Voodoo Economics".

Only one part of the Reagan economic legacy is not a myth - his tax cuts. Which really were tax increases. Many tax rates were lowered, and a great many special exemptions removed. Reagan's tax cuts were paid for by greater compliance and removal of deductions and loopholes. Perhaps the closest we've come to real reform of the tax code in the past 70 years.

But his tax cuts actually raised tax income for the federal government - and helped cover some of his huge spending increases.
 
baroque
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:15 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 35):
But his tax cuts actually raised tax income for the federal government - and helped cover some of his huge spending increases.

??? Not like the Bush tax cuts then???
 
Ken777
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:29 pm

Quoting par13del (Reply 30):
, why not let them use their creative minds on a way to resolve the reverse of deficit spending and debt, no question they have over the years proven their financial smarts.

There is a chance that they can if the TP drops their immovable stances. We need some moderates to work out intelligent, workable compromises. Extremes at each end of the spectrum simply isn't going to work. The TP and S&P have pretty clearly proved that,'

Quoting par13del (Reply 30):
So would a BBA have prevented these ego wars or frivolous spending on a whim and a fancy?

Of course not. Cheney & Rummy were all for that invasion in order to get the oil & Ego, and maybe Saddam.

Bush would had been an easy convert and, IIRC, the invasion was done "Off Budget" so one can say that a BBA would have been immaterial if it was in force in those days.
 
PPVRA
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:57 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 33):
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't a market beast, why do conservatives keep saying we need to run the government like a business?

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 they want. Governments live by the fist, markets don't.

"Running the government like a business" is probably meant to compare it to "running a tight ship". Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
gigneil
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:42 am

Quoting 474218 (Reply 6):
And allowing them to have unlimited deficit spending is?

Here's the thing. Can you give me one single problem with deficit spending? Name one, please.

I'll wait.

NS
 
474218
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:10 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 39):
Here's the thing. Can you give me one single problem with deficit spending? Name one, please.

I'll wait.


It makes your money worthless.
 
gigneil
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:12 am

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
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:08 am

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 37):
Of course not. Cheney & Rummy were all for that invasion in order to get the oil & Ego, and maybe Saddam.

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 your trying to make about a BBA other than you want to talk about politicians you don't like.

Quoting 474218 (Reply 40):
It makes your money worthless.

No different than you and I racking up a bunch of debt and getting a bad credit score. Yes macroeconomics is hard, especially when you include politicians in the process. For me, it just boils down to you can't continuously spend more than you make. Although I'm not an economist, I know that if I have a $10K balance on my credit card and just pay the monthly minimum of $500 to keep the creditor's off my back I still owe $10k. Someone has to pay that. I guess in my case I'm glad I have term life insurance, what does the US economy have?
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
fr8mech
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:42 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 41):
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.

That's because it really has just started to approach the tipping point. The credit rating downgrade was the first, and probably least troubling, aspect. Wait until we (the government) starts printing even more money to cover the added interest costs that the downgrade will bring. Remember, we are still borrowing. Inflation will start to creep in. Then, to attempt to choke down inflation, the Fed will start to inch up the interest rate and your cost of money (which is a lower value than it was) goes up.

When the dominoes really begin to drop, you will be affected.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 42):
Although I'm not an economist, I know that if I have a $10K balance on my credit card and just pay the monthly minimum of $500 to keep the creditor's off my back I still owe $10k.

If this was the only thing, who would really care...you just keep up and then your estate deals with it. In our (the royal 'our') we are paying the interest, but continueing to add to the balance. We just keep using the charge card. Eventually, you don't have enough money to pay for your obligations.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
 
baroque
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:48 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 41):
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.

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 of bread. But if you are the US, you can get away with it to a much greater extent, possibly not for ever, but so far the US has been doing a good imitation of "for ever" because of the reserve character of the USD for many other countries and the size of the US economy.
 
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par13del
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:40 am

Quoting gigneil (Reply 39):
Here's the thing. Can you give me one single problem with deficit spending? Name one, please.

Debt.

Government deficit spending is creating debt for the nation, and just as the TP / Republicans were calling for spending cuts to reduce it - possible put you or friends off the government payroll to look for private sector jobs - the Democrats want to increase your taxes to continue to the process - you pay more to the government in income tax, airports fees, gas tax, etc etc etc - which reduces the amount of money that you keep from every paycheck.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:30 pm

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.

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 of the government to respond in a certain way, such as stimulus spending, and b) the effect of that stimulus being felt, can be a year or two. Considering that recessions typically last less than that, all governments tend to do is spend needlessly when it is not needed, and not acting soon enough when it is. I think the economic cycle would be less traumatic for all involved if government did not try to stimulate it.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):
A BBA may have some value but the way government 'saves' money is just a lot of smoke and mirrors.

That is the biggest problem, when the government says that Program X is "off-budget". Which would indicate that the KPI cannot be budget based, but actuals based, and actuals can be measured by the amount of outstanding debt and/or the change in debt (a well-measured KPI) as it relates to GDP (also a well-measured KPI). That way, even if you say that Social Security or the Iraq war is "off-budget", financing of those programs still end up in the bucket.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 1):
Until the people forced a real income and expense based accounting system on the Congress, there will never be a balanced budget.

We should treat our Congress (since they allocate the purse) and the Executive branch (they actually spend it) the same way we treat corporate executives, who can land in jail if they fudge numbers.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 2):
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.

Agreed - but the bar has to be set high. The debt limits can be waived within certain limits only in case of war DECLARED BY CONGRESS. I.e. police actions and such don't count.

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. 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.

Please remove your head promptly from the sand.


As has been proven over many years, politicians do not have sufficient incentive to act responsibly. They have every incentive to act in a way that is beneficial them financially and politically.

As many wise men have warned us before, democracy is not perfect, and can self-destruct once people discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public purse. If Democracy was so perfect, there would be any need for a Constitution, or a bill of rights, would there? Why should Congress be forbidden to clamp down on freedom of speech or religion, or discriminate based on race - if the majority want to do it they should - that seems to be your argument. Those rights were embedded in the Constitution specifically because they knew that government might be tempted to do something stupid.

Quoting Mir (Reply 5):

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.

How can a Constitutional Amendment, once adopted, be unconstitutional?
Forget dogs and cats - Spay and neuter your liberals.
 
Mir
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:46 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 46):
How can a Constitutional Amendment, once adopted, be unconstitutional?

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 that situation would present itself with a BBA. It would be the budgets themselves that would be challenged as unconstitutional.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
rfields5421
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:15 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 46):
How can a Constitutional Amendment, once adopted, be unconstitutional?
Quoting Mir (Reply 47):
It could conflict with pre-existing text, for one - I'm not sure how that would get worked out.

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 specifically addressed, it would be very unlikely for the courts to accept a challenge. Because the later approved BBA clearly takes precedence over any conflicts with the earlier language.

Though a lot of lawyers would make a lot of money agruing the point.
 
Ken777
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RE: Balanced Budget Amendment Good Or Bad?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:28 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 42):
I'm thinking you have an agenda.

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 & Friends then I will continue to be pissed. As long as those veterans need help for their injuries, or other conditions then I'm on those who decided to invade.

And as long as the families of those who have fallen struggle to get through the tough years I'll not only be angry at those who made the suffering happen when it was not necessary and I'll be a strong supporter of taking care of them. My mother-in-law was a war widow - her husband was in the RAF in WW II so I have had years to understand their challenges and the need to be there for them.

But the Flag wrapped TPers will probably go after those veteran benefits as soon as they finish screwing the elderly and the sick and the poor. But, hey, you will get a tax break that might fill you gas tank one time.

Quoting Baroque (Reply 44):
But if you are the US, you can get away with it to a much greater extent, possibly not for ever, but so far the US has been doing a good imitation of "for ever" because of the reserve character of the USD for many other countries and the size of the US economy.

There have been times when the US believed that spending was necessary as a moral issue. There was a lot of money spent pre and post WWII because of that belief. It was not only at a national level, but also at the individual levels. I can remember a WW II Aussie Vet talking about how their Yank friends always were there to share various bits and supplies. From batteries to cigarettes.

And, amazingly, everyone came out OK from that spending. It helped build jobs, especially that socialist GI Bill.

But now we are supposed to take the opposite direction and dig us in deeper.

Quoting par13del (Reply 45):
Government deficit spending is creating debt for the nation, and just as the TP / Republicans were calling for spending cuts to reduce it -

Neither the TP nor the Republicans have ever presented the costs of cutting spending. If you cut off spending that provided 100,000 jobs working on infrastructure how much money does that COST the government? Lost tax revenues and increased unemployment, health, food, etc. spending by the governments. How much does that cost?

I see the economic downturn related to those cuts as creating debt for the nation, as well as letting the nation's infrastructure deteriorate. When enough bridges fail maybe even the TPs that GOPs will understand.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 46):
As has been proven over many years, politicians do not have sufficient incentive to act responsibly.

And the BBA is a really great example of that.

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