Sunday, May 01, 2005

Balanced Budget Amendment 

Anyone care to give a good reason why the Dems should not try to do this:

(From Friday's Altercation.)
Name: Stupid
Hometown: Chicago
Hey Eric, it’s Stupid to return to 1997:

”It’s a temporary setback, but we’re not going to give up...There will be a day of reckoning, if this country goes into recession, several issues will come surging out: failure to control big government, trade issues and failure to pass the balanced budget amendment.”

The words are from then-Senator Connie Mack of Florida upon the defeat of a balanced budget amendment by one vote (66-34). Other Republicans railed at the President for not putting an end to reckless deficit spending. They were correct—just four years too early. Back then the GOP was obsessed with the balanced budget amendment. It was Item #1 on the Contract With America.

Today they never mention it. Never. Imagine how different things would be if the BBA had passed and been ratified. The BBA is like a filibuster on steroids—it forces real compromise in budget negotiations. Had Democrats foreseen how entrenched the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress would become, maybe they’d have stepped back.

Better late than never. I think the Democrats should re-introduce it. Voters still don’t credit Dems with fiscal responsibility. Comparing Dubya’s deficits to Clinton’s surpluses doesn’t work Republicans hide behind 9/11 and make their regressive tax cuts sound righteous. And just imagine the political jujitsu. Sean Hannity saying “you hypocrites—you were always against the balanced budget amendment.”

Response: “You’ve convinced us! You told us for years that a reckless government could destroy our children’s future. We didn’t believe it—we never did it, Reagan never did it, George
HW never did it. Now that you’ve done it, you’ve left us no choice. But fine, don’t believe us—you wanted this for years, go for it!” If it passes, the Dems get credit. If it doesn’t, the Republicans look hypocritical.

And it really is a necessity. Dubya promised a chimera of a $250 billion reduction in the deficit over five years, the current Congressional budget agreement—adds— $125 billion to the deficit in the same time. Without the Constitution nothing stands in the way except a half-dozen allegedly moderate GOP senators. Come back Newt, a little is forgiven!

It seemingly would be a good way to make the GOP eat their words, and beat them at their own game.


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