History of modern American deficits: 1962 – 2007 Congressional Budget Office
Congressional Republicans are clear in their demand for a constitutional amendment forcing the government to balance its budget. What they’re not offering is clarity on how to get there.
It’s politically popular to line up behind such an amendment; laying out specific cuts is less appealing.
Almost all Republicans and some Democrats will vote to alter the Constitution when the issue comes up as early as this week. Almost none, including a leading co-sponsor of the Senate measure, Orrin Hatch, and Bill Flores of Texas, a co-sponsor of the House measure, say how they’d slash Medicare, eliminate federal programs or shrink education, law enforcement or national defense. Republicans agree that tax increases shouldn’t be part of the equation.
“It’s a misleading political cheap shot,” Bill Hoagland, a budget adviser to Republican congressional leaders from 1982 to 2007, said of the proposed amendment. “We all agree we should have a balanced budget, but that’s the process of budgeting and governing. They are paid to come to town and make decisions…”
Hatch, a Utah Republican facing re-election in 2012, wouldn’t offer specifics on entitlement cuts or say which federal departments he would close to reach a balanced budget.
“When the time comes, I’ll name them,” said Hatch. “I don’t want to do it right now, because we have to pass that amendment…”
He also needs to get his butt re-elected. Something that might not happen if he admitted he wants to destroy Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.
Representative Flores, a freshman Republican, said he couldn’t name specific cuts “off the top of my head.”
Asked what reductions he would make to comply with a constitutional amendment, Representative Allen West, a first- year Republican from Florida, didn’t cite specific programs yet…said he noticed the military is starting “to be careful about buying toilet paper in the barracks…”
Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina co-sponsored Toomey’s budget and said it would reach balance in 10 years…DeMint said specifics on cuts to meet a constitutional requirement would come later.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri called the balanced-budget amendment “political posturing. I find it hard to believe that anybody with a straight face voted to keep giving subsidies to Big Oil and then thinks we have to do a balanced-budget amendment,” she said.
Which is worse? Liars or hypocrites? Today’s Republican Party doesn’t even represent all of corporate America, the breadth of Wall Street investment banks. Like the US Chamber of Commerce, they work to keep Big Oil, Big Pharma, the biggest insurance companies warm in bed.
Small businesses, progressive 21st Century corporations out to build products that might revive the United States economy are not invited into the inner circle of gilded politicians. Republicans use the phalanx of ignorant Kool Aid populists to pretend to working class, middle class sensibilities. But, that’s like pretending to be all-American by riding a Harley-Davidson. Another “American” product which couldn’t get around the block if you removed the foreign-made components which make it run.