…borrowing’s burden falls on future generations. This is a form of expropriation–taxation without representation of the unborn.–G. Will
In a column in the Elmira Star Gazette on Jan. 4, 2018, George Will argues for a balanced budget amendment. Will’s article rambles through one indefensible idea after another. Here is a summary.
- deficit spending burdens the unborn.
- there is no doubt deficits hurt the economy.
- advocates balance budget amendment to Constitution.
- claims current government programs are unconstitutional.
- deficits tolerable only in case of war and other emergencies.
- supports term limits in case of an unbalanced budget.
- assumes a balanced budget amendment would be effective.
So much for G. Will’s opinion; here are the facts:
- Excessive national debt may well be a problem in the future, but it is a problem for future congresses, which will need to address it, rather than future children.
- The claim “there is no doubt” begs the question.
- Congress is responsible for fiscal policy; a balanced budget amendment, if honored, would tie their hands.
- We often hear the claim that government activities violate the Constitution, but Congress and the Supreme Court don’t agree.
- Deficits are desirable and inevitable during recessions and foolish in time of prosperity.
- Will claims that term limits would encourage representatives to take a long term view. On the contrary, it would encourage them to milk their current job and prepare for their next one.
- It is unlikely that a balanced budget amendment would serve any worthwhile purpose. The Supreme Court seldom interferes with Congress. A balanced budget amendment would likely be no more effective than the “emoluments clause” is in the case of the current President.
One could argue that fiscal policy, like monetary policy, is too important to be left to Congress. Perhaps an independent agency, like the Federal Reserve, should be entrusted with fiscal policy.
We have become the former Soviet Union. There are more Marxists in American education system than in all of Russia.
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I don’t know how Marxists view deficit spending during the capitalist era; do you Rynstone?
Marxists are good with redistribution of wealth. ours and ours future taxpayers
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If Marxists are good with redistribution of wealth, then we need more of them. Most of America’s wealth is held by far too few.
Commentary from former Congressman Dr. Ron Paul;
“Earmarks Are Not The Problem – Unconstitutional Spending Is”
Last week, President Trump urged Congress to reassert its constitutional authority to direct how federal agencies spend taxpayer dollars. Ironically, many constitutional conservatives and libertarians disagree with the president. The reason is, President Trump wants Congress to reassert its authority by bringing back earmarks.
Earmarks are line items in spending bills directing federal agencies to spend federal funds on specific projects in a representative or senator’s district or state. Congress ended the practice of earmarks several years ago after a public outcry fueled by a widespread misunderstanding of the issue.
Earmarks are added to spending bills after the spending levels have been determined. Therefore, earmarks do not increase federal spending. What earmarks do is limit the federal bureaucrats’ ability to decide how to spend taxpayer money.
When I served in Congress, I was amazed when self-proclaimed constitutionalists complained about how earmarks prevented funding of federal bureaucrats’ priorities. These “constitutionalists” seem to have forgotten that the Constitution gives Congress sole authority over deciding how taxpayer dollars should be spent.
My support for earmarks in Congress did not add one penny to the spending in the bills. I believed that some of the tax money sent to Washington should actually make it back to Congressional districts rather than remain in the hands of Washington bureaucrats. In the end, I always voted against final passage of the bloated spending bills.
Some call earmarks a gateway drug to big spending. They point to how congressional leadership denied earmarks to members unless the members voted for big spending and other anti-liberty legislation. It is true that congressional leadership used earmarks to reward and punish members. During my years in Congress, earmarks for my district were stripped from bills in an (unsuccessful) attempt to make me stop voting against unconstitutional legislation.
Congressional leaders do not need earmarks to reward or punish members. They can, for example, deny plum committee assignments to those who refuse to toe the party line, or discourage donors from supporting them.
Presidents can still use the promise of federal funds to influence congressional votes. “Presidential earmarks” were crucial to passing Obamacare, and President Trump has threatened to withhold aid from states whose senators oppose his agenda. The removal of earmarks has given the president even greater influence over the legislative branch!
The fact that there are more representatives and senators willing to vote against big government than in past years has nothing to do with the lack of earmarks. Instead, the liberty movement has led to more liberty-minded members being elected to the House and Senate.
While the ideas of liberty are growing in popularity, the majority of the people and certainly most politicians still believe the US government should run the economy, run the world, and run our lives. This misplaced faith in big government, not the presence of earmarks, is why most politicians vote for big spending. No politician ever said, “Now that I can’t receive earmarks, I am abandoning my support for the welfare-warfare state.”
Earmarks are a way for elected representatives to ensure their constituents’ tax dollars are spent in a manner that matches constituent priorities. Earmarks do not by themselves expand government. Those who oppose earmarks should work to stop so many Americans from demanding government-provided economic and personal security. Earmarks are not the cause of runaway spending, and removing them has done little or nothing to shrink government and regain our liberties.
Article posted with permission from Ron Paul
About the Author Ron Paul
Dr. Ron Paul is an American physician, author, and former politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district, which includes Galveston, from 1997 to 2013 as well as the 22nd congressional district for special term between 1976 and 1977, when he lost reelection in 1978, and for 3 later terms, from 1979 to 1985. On three occasions, he sought the presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party candidate in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries in 2008 and 2012. Paul is best known for his libertarian views and is a critic of American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, including the military–industrial complex, the War on Drugs, and the Federal Reserve. Paul has been married to Carol Wells since 1957. They have five children, 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Ron Paul produces a weekly column known as Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk and is the author of several books.