Posted on September 15 2011 – 11:57 PM – Posted by: Submissions
Guest Submission by Gene Brown
Our founders and the authors of the Constitution were convinced that public service was an honorable and noble undertaking. However, they were wise and cynical enough to write a governing document that put significant restrictions on the most honorable and most noble of public servants.
Susan B Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton devoted their entire lives to the cause of equality for women during the mid 1800’s. I have no doubt that they would have applauded loudly when Nancy Pelosi was elected the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. Conversely, I believe they would have joined our founders and would have been appalled that Speaker Pelosi was the first Speaker of the House to not pass a budget during her leadership of the 111th Congress.
It is inarguable to any individual who has a smattering of knowledge about the Constitution, and it is logical to any thinking layman that producing a budget and spending plan for the Federal Government is the most basic of Congressional Responsibilities.
Speaker Pelosi made use of a spending tactic called a Continuing Resolution, a phrase unknown to our founders. Rather than tackle the challenges of curtailing Federal Spending, she allowed or advocated that these Continuing Resolutions be passed. A Continuing Resolution is nothing more than Congress giving itself permission to continue spending at current and established levels. Riders can and were attached to these resolutions to spend more of our money on foolish personal political promotions. They are not defined budgets with explicit spending limits or goals.
Currently there is a movement underway to amend the Constitution to specifically require Congress to pass a Balanced Budget every year. To any American family this sounds like common sense; you should only incur such debt as your pay check can justify.
I believe that a Balanced Budget Amendment is a good thing, so long as the emphasis is on cutting spending and not raising taxes. We do not want to give Congress an easy mechanism to raise our taxes while they seek to enslave and entrap other groups of Americans with additional entitlement programs.
You and I need to stay engaged on this issue, and let our elected officials know that a Balanced Budget Amendment is a concern that will dictate how we vote in 2012.
Injurious lessons of the past two decades have taught us that career politicians can rarely be trusted to make correct decisions. Too many times they have chosen career over constituents. To that end, passing and enacting a Balance Budget Amendment would put a well deserved legal constraint on our elected officials.
A member of Congress will probably bemoan that the Balanced Budget Amendment “would tie the hands of Senators and Representatives.” Our reasoned response should be, “Precisely!”
I understand that honor and nobility, that seems absent from too many public servants, can’t be legislated. However, we can limit the momentum our public servants are taking toward undignified and unprincipled behavior; in spite of themselves.
That’s my nickel.