I found 19 resolutions that the present Congress proposed for "balanced budget amendments." Fourteen of these House and Senate resolutions were presented by Republicans, and five were presented by Democrats. All of the resolutions have similar provisions, including many loophole-phrases such as "unless," "except" and "estimates;" and most resolutions do not pay any of the national debt principal. The greatest differences are the tax, debt and court exclusion provisions. None forbid the use of "earmarks."
The Republican resolutions require a two-thirds vote in each House of Congress to raise taxes (even in time of war), require a three-fifth vote in both Houses to raise the debt limit, exclude all courts to rule with regard to increased revenue issues (unprecedented) and take effect five years after ratification. The Democrat resolutions take effect sooner and require a majority vote to raise taxes or raise the debt limit.
All these resolutions which propose a "balanced budget amendment" sound like the responsible thing to do and are good re-election ploys, but they cannot produce an honest balanced budget because of the many loopholes.
It is unlikely that we will see a real balanced national budget until there are new members in Congress with non-campaign leadership in the White House.
E. Grant Rees
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