Balanced budget amendment needed to get US fiscal house in order

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have the discipline to regularly balance the budget

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The United States is now running trillion-dollar deficits each and every year, and the U.S. national debt is closing in on $30 trillion.  

That amount of debt equals almost $230,000 per taxpayer. In 1960, the debt to GDP ratio was around 54%. Now, it is 125%. 

As much as I oppose the Democrats current spending plan, called Build Back Better, I also acknowledge that Republicans through the years have not done a great job in getting our nation’s fiscal house in order either.  

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I have long been convinced that neither Democrats nor Republicans have the discipline to regularly balance the budget. Special-interest politics on the left and right make it tough to get our fiscal house in order. 

What rational person thinks Congress will ever do the hard things required to balance our budget? We have only accomplished that objective a handful of times in the last 50 years.  

With our national debt nearing $30 trillion, it is clear that there is a structural problem that must be addressed. That is why we need to again push for passing a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution. 

A balanced budget constitutional amendment provides the best hope of regaining and maintaining fiscal sanity.

A balanced budget constitutional amendment provides the best hope of regaining and maintaining fiscal sanity. In their private and business lives, Americans do not get a pass on their pocketbooks. They have to deal with the consequences of overspending. The government on the other hand, has ignored those kinds of rules.  

A BBA will force Congress to balance its budget every year. I know this will work in Washington just like it works in my home state of South Carolina. 

Under our state law, the legislature and governor are constitutionally mandated to balance the budget yearly. They are forced to make the tough choices and unable to pass mountains of debt onto future generations.   

In order for a BBA to become law on the federal level, we need a constitutional amendment to be passed by two-thirds of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then it would need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.  

Congress came within one vote in the Senate from passing and sending a BBA to the states for ratification in 1995. In the 25 years that have passed, we have added almost $25 trillion to the national debt.  

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It is time to try once again. 

Sending a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states would give the American people their say in Washington’s unwillingness to balance the federal budget. I am confident if given this choice, Americans from all over the country would overwhelmingly approve this change. 

Thankfully another idea in support of a BBA is gaining momentum in my home state of South Carolina. We currently have an effort underway to push for a constitutional convention to support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. 

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Supporters of this effort hope that a push toward a constitutional convention will help pressure reluctant members of Congress to support a Balanced Budget Amendment in Congress. But if that doesn’t work, the convention is a backup plan to help push ahead with this much-needed and long overdue structural reform. 

I believe, now more than ever, the only way Congress will ever really balance the budget is with a constitutional amendment requiring us to do so. It won’t solve all our problems, but it will help put our nation on the path to a more sustainable spending path and one that does not burden future generations with our unwillingness to make tough choices today. 

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