Balanced Budget and National Debt Controls
Lacking a balanced budget amendment, our National debt recently climbed over 20 trillion dollars and now exceeds our Gross Annual Domestic Product. The debt amounts to $62,000 for each of our 325 million citizens. The only time it was higher is the end of World War II, when government bonds were widely sold to the public in support of our 16 million Americans who served in that conflict (291,557 died in battle).
Senator Hatch first introduced a modern Balanced Amendment in 1979. However, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was ineffective—Congress can always find its way around legislative solutions. A Constitutional Amendment is the only enforcement mechanism.
A balanced budget amendment is a constitutional rule requiring that a nation cannot spend more than its income except for specific circumstances. It requires a balance between the projected receipts and expenditures of the government. Balanced-budget provisions have been added to the constitutions of most U.S. states, the Basic Law of Germany, the Hong Kong Basic Law, Spain, Italy and the Swiss Constitution. It is often proposed that a balanced-budget rule be added to the federal United States Constitution. Most balanced-budget provisions make an exception for times of war, national emergency, or recession, or allow the legislature to suspend the rule by a supermajority vote. Perfect balancing is not possible and can be harmful. There are times when debt should and must be increased for need, and times when it should and can be decreased without harm to build reserves; the People understand this better than Oligarchs.
In 2017, the Oligarchy played a mean trick on the People by compelling (as evidenced by lock-step voting, etc.) Congress not to balance the budget by about 1.5 trillion dollars to favor corporations, their Oligarch owners, and friends by nearly halving their tax rates while leaving the old corporate tax loopholes is place. When national funds are diverted into corporate wealth (e.g., reducing taxes on the wealthy and corporations) it increases the National Debt by a like amount (which is owed by the People). This is clearly taking from the People to enrich Oligarchs and friends. Some small tax relief was provided to the People that decreases each year, but the effects of the increased debt on inflation and debasement of the currency was not addressed and may well be far greater than the People’s tax relief. Only time will tell the full story, by which time new issues will dominate the agendas.
With the power of Initiatives, the People can avoid like issues in the future. An Advisory Initiative will probably be used first to determine where the People stand on the issues and gain from information revealed in the process. A Balanced Budget Act can then be offered as a Direct Legislate Initiative and passed by the People. Because Congress cannot overrule a Direct Legislate Initiative, it is unnecessary to use a Constitutional Amendment, which thereby has the added benefit that the Balanced Budget Act can be more easily amended by the People over time.