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Balanced Budget Baloney

Balanced Budget Baloney

Are we on the cusp of success for fiscal responsibility? As usual, conservatives describe the battle de jour as the ultimate clash between good and evil. And today, it is the attempt to force Congress to approve a constitutional balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling is again raised.

This is a bunch of nonsense. The amendment doesn’t even take effect in forcing a balanced budget for —and that’s after the amendment is ratified by the states, which could also take years. Indeed, Congress’s role in voting on a constitutional amendment isn’t the key factor in having one ratified. It’s all up to the states. Meanwhile, we are to see another debt ceiling increase that guarantees yet more unsustainable and destructive borrowing. That means more spending that isn’t paid for. That means more government interference in the economy, bribery, unconstitutional welfare and warfare—all with the promise that some day down the line, revenues and spending will match. But that’s not the big issue. The big issue is government is spending so much to begin with, and the Republicans are a bunch of frauds when the pose as opponents of this trend. They are conspirators. If they accept a debt ceiling raise—if the House of Representatives, which they control, votes for more lavish budgets for the various departments of the federal government—they are at least as responsible as Obama for the maintenance of America’s ridiculously sized government.

We are supposed to cheer that a tax increase might be defeated. But if Republicans take credit for this, again they should be dismissed for their triumphant celebrating, since, again, they could simply refuse to appropriate funds for anything they don’t want to finance. The Republicans are always doing this: pretending they are the victims of an inexorable stampede toward collectivism, even when they are as willing participants in the rampage as the Democrats. Recall the many times the debt ceiling was raised under George W. Bush, or the fact that this party hasn’t actually cut the government in at least three generations, and we can assume right away that their balanced budget baloney is bunch of balderdash. If they want a balanced budget they can refuse to pass any budget that isn’t balanced. Period. But of course they want militarism and welfarism and so they don’t take a principled stand from which they are being pressured to compromise—rather they take a stand about three millimeters to the right of the Democrats and act like they are all preventing America’s descent into socialism. The next year their sickening politicking over these disingenuous gestures toward fiscal responsibility will sure reach new levels of nauseating absurdity.

Anthony Gregory is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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