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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Keith Hughes: The Balanced Budget Amendment Explained

On its face I guess the Balanced Budget Amendment sounds like a good thing. The problems are several and not just the impracticality of it. That it would take two-thirds of both the House and Senate to pass it and then if Congress were to pass it then you’re looking at thirty-four states having to approve if it as well. But then there’s also the economic problems with it. When the economy is slow, you don’t want to cut infrastructure and Unemployment Insurance. If anything you want to invest more in those programs to put people back to work and help people get back to work faster. When the economy is doing well, that is when you want to keep your deficit and debt down. So when the economy slows down it doesn’t have a high debt and deficit to go with it as well.

One easy thing to get our debt and deficit under control would simply to have a Federal PAYGO law. Pay as you go and under that Congress wouldn’t be able to invest more in, or create a new program anywhere in the government without paying for it. Through either taxes, fees, or cutting other spending to pay for it. And Congress wouldn’t be allowed to cut taxes without paying for that loss in revenue to government as well. You could also do things like not allowing for government to grow faster than the economy when the economy is growing and when you have a large workforce. Reforming the government and budget and having Washington do less and using public assistance to put people to work and become economically independent.

What we really should be doing is start with, “shall do no further harm.” Don’t add to the current debt and deficit by creating higher deficits. And that is where PAYGO comes in. And then go from there like having fewer people in poverty and on public assistance with a stronger economy that is producing not just more jobs, but more good jobs where people don’t also have to have public assistance to support themselves at all. As well as using public assistance to again not just support people in the short-term and put them to work, but to put them to work working good jobs. So they don’t need things like public assistance to support themselves at all. And that gets to things like more education and job training for non-working low-skilled adults and for unemployed workers who need additional skills to get a good job.