Why U.S. Needs Balanced Budget Amendment
Clearly our Nation is on an unsustainable spending spree driven by decades of entitlement promises that cannot possibly be paid for without growth-crippling tax increases. A binding balanced budget amendment is necessary because so few of our nation’s leaders are willing to tell the voters that significant entitlement reforms or massive middle income tax increases are necessary to avoid default or hyperinflation.
Under current law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates in ten years the average household will be paying income taxes of over $10,000 per year just for interest on the nation’s debt. Driven largely by the entitlement programs, the CBO concludes that by 2083 the theoretical debt to GDP ratio would exceed 700% unless income tax rates were increased for Corporations and top income earners to 88% and individuals now paying 25%, increased to 63%.
Forty-nine of our States have either a statutory or constitutional requirement to limit spending to available revenues. Other nations, including Germany, Hong Kong and Switzerland, have added effective balanced budget amendments to their constitutions. All European countries, except the U.K., recently committed to adding balanced budget amendments to their constitutions.
Thomas Jefferson stated, “To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution taking from the federal government the power of borrowing.”
More recently, Ronald Reagan warned, “It (Balanced Budget Amendment) must prevail because if it does not, the free society we have known for two hundred years, the ideal of a government by consent of the governed, will simply cease to exist.”
Plan to Propose Balanced Budget Amendment to U.S. Constitution
Our Founders gave us in Article V of the U.S. Constitution two ways to propose an amendment: two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress or through an amendment convention “called” by two-thirds (34) of the states. While either method is acceptable, Congress has debated a BBA since the 1930s without success. They came within one vote in 1997 when pressured by BBA “calls” from 32 of the 34 needed states.
In December of 2011, the U.S. Senate fell 20 votes short of the 67 needed to send to the states for ratification a strong BBA with a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, spend more than 18% of GDP or increase the nation’s debt. Because the odds are against picking up 20 Senate votes for a strong BBA in the foreseeable future, our BBA 2.0 campaign is focused on securing the 34 state BBA joint resolutions needed to call for a BBA 2.0 Amendment Convention.
Currently 18 states have an “active” application for a BBA Convention according to the Senate Judiciary staff. The newly formed Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force’s goal is to educate the citizens and their legislators in 16 states on the nation’s urgent need to call a BBA 2.0 Convention within the next two years.
Accordingly, I petition my elected representatives in the Ohio legislature to support S.J.R 2, calling upon the states to propose and ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment under their Article V powers that requires:
First, the amendment shall require the President to submit and the Congress to adopt only balanced budgets for all federal programs and agencies, except in times of war.
Second, the amendment shall grant the President the authority to disapprove any item or items in any bill presented by the Congress to the President in addition to the President's authority to disapprove entire bills pursuant to Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution.
Third, the amendment shall require the President to submit and the Congress to adopt budgets for all federal programs and agencies on a biennial rather than annual basis.