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July 6th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Is a balanced budget amendment to the constitution a good idea?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The warnings continue that if the debt ceiling isn't raised by August 2, the U.S. could default on its debt obligations. That's less than a month away. If it happens, this already weak economy could get its legs knocked out from under it.

On Thursday, the top two leaders from each party in the House and Senate will meet with President Barack Obama in the White House to talk about reaching a final agreement. Good luck.

Nothing much has changed - Republicans want spending cuts and no tax increases. Democrats want to avoid steep cuts to social services and get rid of tax breaks for wealthier Americans. No reason to expect one side or the other is suddenly going to say, "You're right. Let's do it your way."

And to complicate matters further, there is a growing group of Senate and House Republicans who say their vote to increase the debt ceiling would be contingent on caps on federal spending as well as the passage of a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget every year.

It might sound good, but it would be an uphill battle. Amending the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate. In other words, if all 47 Republican senators support the measure, 20 more Democrats would have to join them. And even if it passed the House and Senate, the measure then would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, which could take years.

Critics of a balanced budget amendment say the results could be disastrous as the population of this country ages and relies more heavily on social services. The Senate and House versions of the legislation require a balanced budget starting in 2018, but both also mandate how it must be done. Federal spending would be capped at 18% of the gross domestic product - that spells major cuts. And two-thirds of Congress would have to vote to approve any tax increase.

That may be difficult math to do down the road. And as usual, they are talking about "down the road."

Here’s my question to you: Is a balanced budget amendment to the constitution a good idea?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Lou:
To run a country this big, you're going to have to run it on credit some of the time. Giant corporations can't even run their businesses solely with the cash on hand. Putting it in the Constitution may sound like a good idea, but it will really tie our hands when we can least afford it.

James in Greenville, North Carolina:
No, leave the Constitution alone. Not too many are following the thing as it is so more amendments would not do any good.

Bud:
From what I hear, no. A balanced budget amendment is not a good idea. Unlike the states, the federal government has to make room for contingencies. Like wars, recessions, bail-outs and such.

Annie in Atlanta:
No. The last thing we need is more political games, which this type of amendment would just increase. Speaking for myself, personally, I'm sick of the games, the hostage taking, the terrorism, and borderline (or full-on) treason for political gain.

Keith in Twinsburg, Ohio:
Yes, it's a good idea, but what makes you think it will do any good, Jack? They are disregarding or trashing the Constitution now. Adding this amendment won't fix Congress or this administration. Current politicians regard the Constitution something that was appropriate 200 years ago, and they have better ideas of what is best for us now. Nice try Jack, but you are starting at the wrong end.

Alan in Maine:
The language in the proposed amendment is a recipe for fiscal gridlock, worse than the current situation. Take out the super majority required to raise taxes and the 18% cap on the budget, and make it a "clean" proposal. Then maybe there is something to talk about.

Donald in New Mexico:
Sure Jack, as long as there are plenty of loopholes for the rich, corporations and all special interest groups. We wouldn't want to put a burden on the "top 2 percenters."


Filed under: Government • United States
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Greg M.

    Jack,
    After all that is determined to be Constitunial or not,this would basically be a law banning the Nation's Credit Card.Without any money in our savings account,what would we do then?Unexpected expenses do happen and need to be planned for.The GOP won't budge on anything so it is a very bad idea 'for the people.' If the GOP/Teabaggers ever have a government majority,I don't think we will even be allowed to have an opinion concerning Der State Policies.
    Greg M. FL

    July 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  2. Gerry

    A balanced budget in my home is an absolute necessity. The Federal government should be required by law (constitutional amendment) to do the same. No exceptions. Any new laws that requires funding should not be enacted unless the funds are there to support it, During Jimmy Carter's presidency he allowed the boat people from Cuba to enter U.S. Territory in . He mandated Florida provide a multitude of human services with no funding and came close to bankrupting the state.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  3. Brad

    Yes with provisions for contingencies. If we had done this years ago we wouldn't be in this mess.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  4. marlene

    This is a bad idea, because it would further enable the elected Representatives and Senators to continue their "do nothing" stance, while waiting for 2/3 rds of the states to ratify the amendment. A better solution is term limits, for all. Marlene in Michigan

    July 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  5. Kevin SD CA

    Better yet! A minimum wage mandate for all local, state, and federal government officials, and employees until they get the budget balanced!

    July 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Rob

    It depends who you balance things on the back of. We as a nation have the resources to feed, clothe, house and educate all 300 million of us. An America with that many productive workers would change the world for the better. If we keep giving the rich their tax breaks, how do we know they won't play it safe with their money until things around? How does that help the job crisis?

    July 6, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  7. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    tampa, fl why not? there is plenty of room in it now since they took out most of the 4th amendment with the patriot act. they can pass it and look sincere, right up until they don't follow that rule and ignore it like they do with the rest of the constitution.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  8. John from Alabama

    Jack: A balanced budget amendment is a great start, but it will not work unless there is tax code reform. There are to many tax loopholes for the wealth individuals and large corporations. A balanced budget amendment needs to have clauses that allow for emergencies during war or natural disasters. I do not believe the Republicans or Democrats in Congress want such an amendment in the Constitution; therefore, it will will not happen.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  9. Ed from MD

    Do they need to twist their own arms into taxing us more for their inquenchable thirst for excessive spending?

    July 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  10. Loren

    My first inclination is to say no, that it is not necessary. But thinking about human nature and our experience over the past thirty years (Reagan outspending the Soviets to end the Cold War, Clinton sending the U.S. manufacturing base to China to help Walmart, Bush fueling the financial crisis by trading tax cuts for a regulatory disappearing act in the mortgage market, and Obama spending money like a drunken sailor in every port in the world), without such an amendment, the U.S. will end up owned outright by the Chinese.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Donald Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    America doen't need a balanced budget amendment. It can ensure the same outcome by simply mandating two operations on its politicians. First, a greed extraction. Second, a common sense implant. Then watch the economy rapidly improve for ALL Americans!

    July 6, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  12. Greg in Arkansas

    The US Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives SOLE responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

    The leader of the House, (currently, it's the GOP) and the majority party have failed to submit ANY budget, much less a "balanced" budget so a Constitutional amendment for a "balanced budget amendment" would be a colossal waste of time.

    I am afraid that the politicians are too busy eyeing the next election and will keep "kicking this can down the road" until our economy finally "kicks the bucket" so they can blame the other party.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  13. Wolowitz

    While a balanced budget is good in theory, John Maynard Keynes saved the world's economy by showing that during recessions, short-term deficit spending is necessary. A balanced budget amendment would take that tool away and do more harm than good. Base policy on science, not slogans.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  14. Ed from Texas

    It is a stupid idea, which cannot realistically happen. For one thing, it must be passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate and then then ratified by three-fourths of the states. In our highly politicized environment, that will never happen. Let's move on to realistic solutions to our problems.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  15. JENNA

    Is a balanced budget amendment to the constitution a good idea?

    NO

    But how about one that includes:

    TERM LIMITS for Congress, Senate and Supreme Court Judges (12 years max)

    PUBLIC FINANCING ONLY OF CANDIDATES for Congress, Senate, President (No Personal financing, no CORPORATE financing, no Special Interst financing)

    HEALTH CARE SAME AS AVERAGE AMERICAN for members of Congress, Senate, President, VP, Supreme Court Justices – no ability to buy seperate cadillac plan while in office and the plan includes family members (spouse and children) ** If it is good enough for us it is good enough for them **

    END TO PAY FOR LIFE just because you serve in the Senate or President/VP or Supreme Court Justice doesn't mean you should receive your FULL PAY FOR LIFE. This would be effective immediately.

    TRUTH IN BROADCASTING FOR ALL FORMS OF MEDIA no more half truths, partial truths or out and out lies by internet news, print, radio or television (including satelite and cable) This also includes campaign ads of any kind (person or law)

    This would be more important for our nation than some bogus Balance Budget Amendment that states can't even accomplish.

    Wonder how many of our Lawmakers will agree to this Jack.. Ask them!

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    July 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  16. David in Tampa

    Under differing circumstances Jack I would say yes. With the current make up of the Congress I would say no. Whether it is a good proposed amendment or not depends on the ideas and language contained in it. As it stands now, we do not have a Congress that is capable of agreeing on whether to tie their shoes much less how shoes should be tied. It seems the more important an issue, the less these idiots can do anything beneficial for the populace of this country; just posture, whine and vote themselves another pay raise.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  17. Damien Kaye

    Yes, I believe a Balanced Budget Ammendment is a great idea, but unfortunately it will not ever come to pass, just as there are no term limits (other than President and governor of some states) because Congress and The Senate, Dems and Repubs would be forced to truly compromise and do what is in the best interest for the majority of our citizens, would truly be held fiscally responsible and not just pay lip service to the dicipline or grandstand for their political party and conceited view of themselves, or for political gain or to curry favor of the privleged few. Just as a flat tax would be the fairest, most appropriate means of taxation, not to mention a heck of a lot simpler...pay a fair amount on what you earn...period...no deductions, no loop holes, just a fair percent for all wage scales. No Jack, unfortunately, like most good ideas that benifit the whole and not just some parts, no pun intended, a BBA is just one more issue politicians can pontificate on without actually doing anything about.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  18. B. J. , Quincy,Ill

    Yes, it will make it where nomatter what party yu are in and who you work for, the balnced budget would have to rule, but then who are we going to get to enforce it because as we have seen neither party wants to do anything but cut Medicare, Social Security and education. All of which they should be doing their best to uphold.
    They should all have their wages cut by half and see what the real world is about.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  19. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    This is just a political ploy by the republicans. It's a waste of time and they know it. For any constitutional amendment it takes two thirds of the house and senate to vote in favor of it, then at least 38 states must ratify it. The republicans need to come to the realization that you cannot allow companies like GE who pays no taxes and receives over one billion tax incentive and still complain about the deficit. They need to meet in the middle of the road and stop protecting the wealthy from paying their fair share.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    No Jack a balanced budget amendment is not a good idea. Bill Clinton said it best as we cannot predict the next disaster to our own people or the next war. Oops, I forgot, the GOP wants each state to take care of its own problems and make us even more divided than we are today.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  21. rsm6912

    Sure, why not? We can always repeal it if we don't like it. We like to do things like that. We propose the League of Nations and then don't sign it. We join the ICC then withdraw because we don't want to be treated like all those foreigners. We promise our kids a decent K-12 education and then ravage the educational budget and take away educators right to collective bargaining. We send our patriotic youth into unwinnable or foolish military conflicts with the promise of taking care of them if they are injured, only to have the maimed return to the horribly managed Veterans Administration and its sub-standard medical facilities. We take social secrity funds from the taxpayers and put the interest in a "lockbox", and then raid the lockbox when no one is looking. Etc., etc.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  22. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Sure Jack. And who's going to write it? Perhaps we could make it a "reality program" and call it "The Real Congress of America"

    July 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  23. pat in michigan

    sure why not?
    I also have a question for you Jack. Why not ask the question" what is your solution/suggestion for Congress to help solve the budget dilema"?
    How about tommorow? I have a legitimate answer.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  24. BOB K OHIO YOUNGSTOWN

    Only if part of the amendment states in no uncertain terms that the budget will not be balanced by increasing taxes on the dwindling middle class. Furthermore an irrevocable cap on Congressional salaries and healthcare benefits should also be part of the amenment. Pretty much kills that idea.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  25. METALWORKER

    No. It would work. Any thing not in the budget can't be paid for. If passed with caps and rattifier by the states, why FEMEA is a thing of the passed, say good by to all fed. help. A Katrina type storm roars up the East coast from the caro. to Main, No Fed. help. I would say that we can't pay for a war but that would not be a new thing, we ain't ding that now.
    Na, cain't work. This is a country not a bussiness. One could not just fire people they would have to be put down like dogs. METALWORKER

    July 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  26. Jayne

    Yes, it is, but it can't be done overnight. States must ratify amendments. In any case, it's amusing a Republican senator is proposing this when, not long ago, Republicans voted against a "pay as you go" bill in Congress.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  27. Minesh - Troy, MI

    Absolutely, Jack.

    We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend. We are looking to become Greece soon if we do not cut spending and borrowing. The government has added 24% to the discretionary spending in last 3 years!

    It is time to make these politicians accountable for their tax , borrow and spend policies. –
    Minesh Baxi, Troy, MI

    July 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  28. Paul From Austin Texas

    It's a great idea but it will never happen there is just to many in Washington working for all the big companies and associations that want a special deal.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  29. John, Lake Charles, LA

    It's the only way to keep these idiots from spending money they don't have. The President may submit a budget but it's Congress that actually spends the money.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  30. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    The proposed amendment is just another stunt by the GOP to show that they are doing something... while NOT doing anything at all! Only 20 bills have become law this session and three of them were to name federal buildings. Meanwhile, the budget, a jobs bill and numerous federal appointments languish in committee.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  31. Thom Richer

    At this point the Constitution has become less and less adhered to and more and more interpreted to suit those who feel it was written only for them. So, a balanced budget amendment would only serve those who enforce it. The words "equal, race, color, creed, freedom, rights, all men," etc.have little left to their definitions as the Constitution intended. We don't follow it now, why would we do so with a balanced budget amendment? However, it sure couldn't hurt to try. Let's just not be hypocritical about it.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  32. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, fundamentally, I despise debt and deficits, and I am all for amending the Constitution if it limits our government within a reasonable budget. Our elected leaders have failed to maintain any sort of discipline when in comes to our country's fiscal policy, and both parties have been irresponsible with the taxpayers' money.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  33. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    Yes it's a good idea, but what makes you think it will do any good, Jack? They are disregarding or trashing the Constitution now. Adding this amendment won't fix Congress or this administration. Current politicians regard the Constitution something that was appropriate 200 years ago, and they have better ideas of what is best for us now. Nice try Jack, but you are starting at the wrong end.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  34. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    YES as long as so called Republican "conservatives" didn't use it as an excuse to rob seniors of their Social Security and Medicare they paid into their whole working lives.

    I think those people have forgotten that BOTH those "entitlement" programs funds were NOT to be used for general federal expenses BUT for decades the government has "borrowed" from those funds to offset deficit spending.

    seniors paid into them and are entitled to the benefits when they retire. that's why they are CALLED "entitlements". remember Al Gore's "lock box" in 2000 that every so called Republican "conservative" laughed about? NO one, and esp seniors, is laughing NOW, Jack.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  35. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    How many balanced budgets were there between 2002 and 2007 while the GOP had total control of Congress and the White House? Surely the GOP/Tea Party realizes that any amendment would apply to them as well as Democrats. Don't they? Oh, and what's the penalty for not having a balanced budget? Impeachment of the ruling power?

    July 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  36. RickFromDetroit

    NO! It is a lousy idea and the reason why is because we have too many special interest groups who will manipulate to economy for their own personal gain while they deprive the majority of the Country of even the most basic necessities.

    What this Country needs is legislation that holds an Elected Official responsible for their policy making and their vote on a policy. [I.E. I f an Elected Official votes against Health Care Reform and 45,000 people die every year because of the Health Care System, then "murder" or "genocide" charges are filed against the responsible Elected Officials.]

    This type of legislation would also prevent special interest groups from "PURCHASING" an election by unlimited campaign contributions.

    Once we have guidelines that our Elected Officials must follow, then maybe we can accomplish something besides fighting across party lines while we accomplish absolutely nothing.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  37. Gary H. Boyd

    Absolutely Jack but since we owe $14.3 trillion it's a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has departed. I'm 75, have 3 sons and 3 grandchildren and suspect none of us will be around to see the current debt paid off let alone a "pay as you go" philosphy adopted
    in Washington. A Constitutional amendment is the only way to reign in the politicians penchant for spending.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    July 6, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  38. Ed from Harrisburg

    Not only is it a good idea, but the credit rating of every member of congress who votes otherwise should be effected in some significant way.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  39. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    A tricky Question to be sure. Does that mean the Congress can raise Taxes any time they want to to balance the Budget. I would like to see Budgets only spending money received by the Treasurey over the past year. I don't know how it is done now but only spending money already in the Treasury makes sense. In real emergencies the Congress would have power to raise Taxes but sparingly. and rarely.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  40. barbara in nc

    yeah – as soon as it's approved by 66% of the House and Senate and ratified by 2/3 of the States.

    Good luck with THAT one as long as the HELL NO CAUCUS rules the entire country by filibuster.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  41. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack you would think that a constitutional amendment requiring our government to live within it's means would be a good thing. Unfortunately our politicians keep moving the measuring stick and then take money out of things like Medicare and Social Security to pay what they come up short on. In order for a constitutional amendment to work it would have to require that no expenditures other then those already agreed on could occur in a year. That means no wars, no pork barrel spending and no discretionary spending. We know that will never happen in the Washington DC that we all know and , well I will leave it at that.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  42. Rick, Medina, OH

    Jack,

    Amending the Constitution to solve our budget problems is short-sighted. What we need are some adult-like discussions to identify our national priorities and agree on how to pay for them. Using the Constitution to force sensible behavior would be treating our leaders like kids. Hhmm! Let me re-think this ...

    Rick
    Medina, OH

    July 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  43. Chris, Ottawa Canada

    Since when do politicians care what the constitution says?

    July 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  44. Gordon NJ

    While it may seems like a good idea, what would happen if we faced a WW2-grade existential crisis and the constitution prevented us from Financing t the means for our survival? Not a good idea.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  45. david seattle

    yes jack, and so is gettting the "special interests" out of our laws.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  46. Donald in New Mexico

    Sure Jack, as long as there are plenty of loopholes for the rich, corporations and all special interest groups. We wouldn't want to put a burden on the top 2%ers.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  47. Kim Smith

    What good would it do? Congress ignores the constitution as it is, and could care less about the financial stability of the nation. It is only their own wealth, and the wealth of their friends, that matter to them.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  48. kirk

    why waste the time?
    And why pretend the law matters?

    The president will just declare ANOTHER state of emergency and suspend that part of the constitution. We have had a number of them, one in particular in continuous existence since 1933. So why bother, if the law will not be honored?

    We have rule of men, gangs of them, clicks of them, not rule of law, and now the polite vainer is ripped away, and we see it has been this way many years now.

    The only real political opposition is subverted by neocon leaders and manipulated into acting as sock puppets, though they mean better.

    this garbage will be the end of America (As as know it).

    July 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  49. Dennis Wilson

    The goverment needs to be more responsable for the way it spends money. If the us were a corparation, or even a home for that matter, it would be fileing for bankruptcy and in foreclosure. Cuuting spending is great but watch what you cut. In a household you cut the excess and not the nessary items. The Republicians want to cut all the social programs but want to keep foriegn aid and war money flowing. The money going to Pakistan is a big waste. Also they need to learn that no matter how much you cut you still need money coming in TAXES. Fed up with both parties need a new party. right now I can only vote for who is going to screw up the country the least

    July 6, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  50. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    So is honesty, integrity and a public service work ethic. That constitutional amendment won't matter anyway as the folks are ignoring the constitution now, later will not be any different. It is all entertainment, smoke today, mirrors tomorrow !

    July 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  51. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Yes. Under Clinton we had a balanced budget and the rich and not so rich were doing just fine. Under the following administration, which spent money with reckless abandon, only the wealthy did well. The rest of us had to scratch. You tell me if it’s a good idea. Besides, it would keep Obama from giving the farm away to the Republicans before they even ask, as he always does.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  52. lou

    To run a country this big, you're going to have to run it on credit some of the time. Giant corporations can't even run their business' soley the cash on hand. Putting it in the constitution may sound like a good idea, but it will really tie our hands when we can least afford it.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  53. james in greenville, north carolina

    No, leave the Constitution alone. Not too many are following the thing as it is so more amendments would not do any good.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  54. Annie, Atlanta

    No. The last thing we need is more political games, which this type of amendment would just increase. Speaking for myself, personally, I'm sick of the games, the hostage taking, the terrorism, and borderline (or full-on) treason, for political gain.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  55. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack each and every year since 1969 our congress has spent more then they budgeted for. It is highly unlikely that any congressional amendment would be honored if enacted. It all sounds good but in reality the congress will allocate funds from another resource like social security or Medicare to get what ever they want. They don't understand fiscal responsibility and never have. One party is just as guilty as the other on spending and that is what makes it so tough come election time.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  56. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, the proposal for a balanced budget amendment is just another attempt by the right to destroy this country. No, it is not a good idea.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  57. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    This Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment will never come to pass. Great rhetoric used as a stalling technique. Raise taxes on the wealthy and allow our American Homeless to stay alive. Show the rest of the world how generous we are with our people at home before they start seeing frozen starving bodies on the streets this winter. What really needs to be done is to Clean House of these rabid Republicans who want to starve the middle class and fatten the rich. Vote Them OUT!

    July 6, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  58. Joe

    Jack,
    Too many emergencies happen, which could cause America to implode if we have a balanced budget; otherwise, if we are to have a balanced budget let us understand that our military budget is 4 times greater than any other country in this world. Why do we need to influence those who do not want us to control their lives with our values? If we balance our budget, let us take care of Americans keeping social issue spending, and stop trying to bully the rest of the world. For every One PERCENT of our Military budget that is reduced, how many social, education, and employment programs could be implement?

    Drop the military budget outside our borders and reduce our deficit dramatically.

    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    July 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  59. Peg in NY

    No! Elected officials should know this is a fact, not fiction. If we have to amend our constitution to enforce this, it shows just what awful shape the USA is in.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  60. Alan in Maine

    The GOPer language in the proposed amendment is a recipe for fiscal gridlock worse than the current situation. Take out the super majority required to raise taxes and the 18% cap on the budget, make it a "clean" proposal, and maybe there is something to talk about.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  61. HLNII Barton MS

    Bad idea Jack.
    Barton MS

    July 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  62. Bryan, Colorado

    Bad idea, opens up a big can of worms. Next thing you know the Republicans would want to rewrite the whole constitution.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  63. Nina Fox

    It depends upon what the government defines as balanced. If we limit the amount spent in specific areas such as handing over billions to corrupt governments, It would be an excellent idea. However, if it places a limit on Medicare, leaving millions of Americans without possible health care, that would not be a good idea.
    Nina Fox
    Southern California

    July 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  64. Kevin in CA

    Ya, that's about as smart as the 18th Amendment was. Clearly both represent narrow ideologies with no valid reasoned basis.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  65. Karl in Flint

    We don't need a balanced budget anything. We need a flat tax that is adjusted as the need requires with no loopholes or subsidies for anybody, term limits on the morons that we somehow elect to office to keep them from getting too comfortable in a career and shut down K Street and the lobbyist contingency. If you are running for federal office, you get an allowance from Washington and that is all you get run with. You are there to do the peoples business, not yours and if we find any frozen cash assets in your freezer and you are off to prison for life, period.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  66. Bud Rupert

    From what I hear – NO. Balanced budget not a good idea. Unlike the states the federal government has to make room for contingencies. Like wars, recession's, bail-outs and such.

    July 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  67. Randy

    Public financing of elections should be the only constitutional amendment considered. Anything else is a smokescreen for the status quo.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  68. David from Herndon, VA

    Jack, we have to stop this false equivalency stuff. Right now the proposal is a package of 83% spending cuts and 17% revenue increases, most of which comes from closing tax loopholes and not actual increases in tax rates. The minority party is once again hijacking the country because apparently getting 83% of what you want just isn't good enough.

    The Dems HAVE compromised. They've gone way beyond compromise, in fact.

    We can't just sit around and say both parties are equally at fault because they're not. Voters need to understand that, and they need to punish the republicans for becoming nihilists.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  69. Bill S.

    Yes, a balanced budget amendment is more than reasonable provided that it doesn't require either spending cuts or tax increases, only that the budget be balanced. Each Congress would decide what is best for that fiscal year (we don't know what the situation will be in 2012, 2020, or 2060, so some flexibility is required if we insert this into our governing document).

    Also, there should be a provision that the amendment can be waived during a fiscal year if a super-majority of Congress agrees (in case there is an emergency).

    July 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  70. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    In the aggregate, no. I could see regional balanced budget requirements, where a Value Added Tax funds military and civil discretionary spending in the region – it would take an amendment for a regional VAT rate and a balance requirement may be required to get that passed.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  71. Ken in MD

    Every state but Vermont has a balanced budget ammendment. How many of them have balanced budgets? Plus those ammendments caused a worsening of the economy in the past few years as states cut services in order to try to comply.

    So we should take that "success" and make it Federal? No way.

    Besides, why should it take 2/3 of Congress to impose a tax hike, but a simple majority to impose a spending hike?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  72. Tom R.

    Jack,

    Absolutely not. Governments need to flexibility to deficit spend in a recession to help spur demand into the economy. In my view a government should be running high deficits in deep recessions and large surplus in strong booms. Unfortunately, the democrats get too attached to spending levels and republicans get too attached too low taxes.

    Tom R.
    London, Ontario

    July 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  73. Scott Stodden

    No I Don't Like The Idea Of Adding A Law To The Constitution That Says We Have To Have A Balanced Budget Every Year Because What If Down The Road The Country Is In The Same Position It's In Now? We Can't Balance Our Budget Now So Imagine If We Had A Law That Says We Have To Have A Balanced Budget Every Year And What Would Happen If We Didn't Have A Balanced Budget Every Year If That Was A Law? Probably Nothing!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    July 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  74. Jilli

    A balanced budget ammendment is a foolish notion.

    What's amusing is, judging from the comments here very few if any actually comprehend what a balanced budget ammendment is, how it works and what the ramifications of it are.

    Listening to the economists, a balanced budget ammendment is not only laughable but could be very damaging. Do your research folks, running the economy of the country isn't like running your household – there's a lot more to it. It's much like the debt ceiling discussion, most don't have a clue on what it is and the problems of not raising it – but that doesn't keep them from having opinions.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  75. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack,

    Balanced budget amendments are the equivalent of rolling a snowball down a hill crushing anyone those in its path not fortunate enough to reside on the mountaintop.
    All debt burden is passed onto the states and then onto municipalities, towns, and villages, who have little alternative other than to raise property taxes. Ask Minnesotans enduring a state shutdown what they think of former Governors Pawlenty's gimmicky balancing budget decisions

    July 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  76. Les

    Borrowing money should be illegal!
    Unless defence of our shores is required.
    We owe it to ourselves.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  77. Trey from Indy

    Stupid idea for no other reason than we would not have been able to fight World War II without going into debt. In fact we would never be able to fight a war unless we saved before the war. Great idea for preemptive war, bad idea if Japan bombs Pearl Harbor!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  78. Charles from NYC

    Bad idea, Jack. There are times when it is appropriate and fiscally prudent to deficit spend, i.e. to spend more than current revenues can provide for. A major war is an obvious example.
    What people are trying to accomplish with a balanced budget amendment is to remove from our political leaders the means to continually promise the electorate more than the nation can afford. Rather than removing the means, though, I suggest we consider removing the political leaders. They've utterly failed us and it's well past time for them to be voted out of office.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  79. Sandstone.

    "Did you notice Jack??? Obama said 'don't blaim etc' but never mentioned himself or his Democrats!"

    July 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  80. Harry Saunders

    We do not need a balance budget Amendmant. We need responsible people in Washington

    July 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  81. GotThumbs

    How about just cutting the excessive expenditures overseas. Exit the wars and start taking care of things at home.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  82. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution sounds like a good idea, but if that actually came to be (which I can't see as the Democrats and Republicans refuse to work together), how long before someone tries to get around the law? Some of the problems we have now are because politicians, and the wealthy, have found creative ways to get around laws ment to protect the citizens of the United States.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  83. jim

    Maybe we should take the GOP and DNP to court for colluding to obstruct the function of government and to block viable third party candidates.

    It's the two party system that's screwing this country up right now. Passing a balanced budget amendment when Congress can't even agree to pay bills for work ALREADY DONE seems idiotic.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  84. Robby Bowling

    It seems to me that the only way you can control their spending. Or if you wish an independent accountant to see where the moneys has REALLY been going, much less the money being spent off the books. The only thing that counts anymore is getting reelected, there are few in DC that really give a damn about saving this country This is how I see it . In the 1950's this was said : Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands.

    Nikita Khrushchev – Robby from Dallas

    July 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  85. Fitz

    Yes. A balanced budget admendment is absolutely necessary. It's an inherent problem in democracy to take on debt and support short term solutions. Debt is how politicians provide greater services while lowering taxes. We have so much debt, because debt gets officials a second term. Other than national crises, why would it ever be a good idea to spend more than we tax??

    July 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  86. Jonathan J

    Its a great idea except for the fact that modern day economics would be thrown out the window. In times of recession the government needs to spend into a deficit to stimulate an economy. BUT I think that after a set time period after a recession has passed, there should be a very low debt ceiling if not a balanced budget

    July 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  87. andyz Lynn, MA

    Fer sure dude. The current system does not work. Each budget cycle it becomes a little more acrimonious. Unfortunately we can not lynch the biggest idiots for being bought and paid for shills of their campaign contributors. O tempura, O mores.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  88. David

    A balanced budget amendment would be incredibly irresponsible and based solely on playing for political points by misrepresenting and oversimplifying. There is a time and a place (like today) to run a deficit, the issue is when a deficit is run in a time of economic prosperity as Bush did.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  89. Brendan in Phoenix, AZ

    One big problem with a balanced budget amendment: are we going to get rid of Congress when they violate the law? We've created a culture that loves government benefits yet hates taxes. Unless we change our expectations about what government should provide, there is no law that can be written that will stop reckless spending and reckless tax cuts.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  90. Matt

    Apparently nobody in the "run the government like a business" crowd has ever heard of "commercial paper". I'd also love to see them justify a balanced budged amendment given that they just voted for the Ryan "throw gramma under the train" budget that STILL doesn't manage to get to balance for 20+ years – or for that matter, justify their sudden interest in balancing budgets with 30 years of Republicans running MASSIVE deficits mostly made up of military spending...

    July 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  91. Rachel

    Sure, why not – then the republicans can fulfill their lifelong ambition of "starving the beast" – and then the US would look more like Somalia than our fine nation.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  92. Jeff In Minnesota

    While such an amendment sounds good, from my own research I have found that most economists say that it is folly for a federal government to even think they can balance the budget. If the experts say that it cannot be done, then I think we should take the word of the experts and move on to something that we can address.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  93. Craig

    Jack-
    Republicans could care less about a balanced budget. All they're interested in is destroying the economy so that they can blame a Democratic president. Americans need to wake up and see these self serving children for what they are.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  94. Hank

    The Bowles/Simpson agreement was bi-partisan and it included a balanced budget agreement. It is a good plan and would work. Yes, a balanced-budget agreement is needed, but only as a part of a good plan such as Bowles/Simpson.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  95. Hagan from Kentucky

    This could possibly be a good idea, if it allowed the government to operate for SHORT PERIODS OF TIME with an unbalanced budget. However, to demand a balanced budget amendment to be passed in less than a month is absolutely ridiculous. It could NOT happen.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  96. Marc Gendron

    Yes, yes, yes. Let's not forget that we are in the hole because of W's spending, wars and in addition...he created a wave of worldwide poverty.
    Tax the rich the max! I have had it with these Republicans.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  97. ivan

    Jack,

    You're asking "We The People" who are not the best informed nor educated to even begin to offer a comment here.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  98. Matt, San Diego

    Jack,

    No GOP idea has been a good idea since.... well before I was born (30 years ago). So I can honestly say anything they say at this point is falling on deaf and tired ears. I would absolutely love to believe that them requiring a balanced budget didnt come with other hidden caveats for the GOP, but they've proven to be cunning snakes in the grass, and I'm done buying the oil.

    -Matt, San Diego, CA

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  99. Tyler

    Jack,

    It is hard to answer that, I agree. But it is the only way to hold the people of power accountable. Why can they project budget cuts so far in advance?? What are the chances future presidents would follow through? Why not more talk about Ron Paul's plan? The one that has been getting a lot of play lately.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  100. Greg Williams, Slab City, CA

    It's a great idea, but.... Republicans won't support it in the long run. With a BBA how could they run their unfunded wars and unpaid tax cuts for the rich.
    It will never make it BECAUSE it is the right thing to do.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  101. pcuser

    NO! The "balanced budget amendment" is a bad idea overall.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  102. Dan Geho

    Sure!! A balanced budget amendment makes perfect sense, but not now at this moment in time. That is like saying a low fat, low cholesterol diet is good for me while I'm suffering a heart attack. Get real congress.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  103. marc

    Jack,
    You mentioned the biggest hurdle already. A 2/3 majority. Thanks I haven't laughed so hard all week! Go ahead and let them have their fun, nothing is getting done anyway.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  104. Alan Milner

    A balanced budget amendment would be a good idea if it were not being used to promote the censorious Republican agenda and their oligarchic vendetta against the poor....but only if they could look into their crystal balls and tell us exactly what kinds of crises and natural disasters we might be facing seven years from now. Tying the hands of the next generation's legislatures to prevent them from meeting the challenges of the future is worst kind of stupidity...the stupidity of pretending you know what the future holds for us.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  105. JohnNMurray

    Not yet, another ammendment is far more pressing....A congressional term-limit ammendment.... It's all about getting re-elected!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  106. epc

    If passed, a balanced budget amendment would guarantee that any spending proposed by liberals would get shut down regardless of value to the country, and any spending by conservatives & so–called Republicans would be off the books like much of the spending from 2002-2008 was.

    The notion that Republicans would manage the economy better with a balanced budget amendment in place is just laughable.

    Finally, the belief that the country and the economy would be better off with a balanced budget amendment in place is just fantasy and demonstrates extreme ignorance about how the American capitalist economy works. It would guarantee the collapse of the current US economic model and replace it with one with the economic constraints of the former Soviet Union.

    Good luck with that.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  107. Bob in Florida

    Balanced? Balanced? Has you seen anything balanced in Congress over the last few decades Jack?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  108. Thomas

    Come on Jack, prohibition is still in the Constitution. Do you really think any changes can be made to this document? Not going to happen!!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  109. Granny

    What is fiscally responsible about a party who leads a country into two wars, and won't provide the funds to pay for them?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  110. Doug

    We haven't had a balanced budget since Andrew Jackson. It's not realistic to make it law. However, we should try, at least, to get closer to balance.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  111. Joseph Kraatz, Oceanside, CA

    This is useless. I have a better idea. Any congressman that fails to pass a balanced budget is automatically booted from congress and can never run for re-election again. There will have to be a special election to fill his seat. This will keep going until we have some congressmen that are not run by the special interests. I love fantasizing.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  112. BinVA

    It's a stupid idea as any honest business person will acknowledge. When a business is growing it almost always runs a deficit becuase it is investing in new capabilities; new plants, new equipment, etc. If America, Inc. is not willing to take the steps necessary to grow its economy then it will stagnate and be left behind by the rest of the world. The point is the deficit spending must be for INVESTMENT, not consumption. Distinguishing between the two requires mature, reasonable, judgment. This is what we should be expecting and demanding of our elected officials, not purity of ideology.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  113. Ron

    In a word, NO! This is just another stupid idea by members of Congress who are unwilling to act on behalf of our nation. Let's take care of the immediate problem related to the debt ceiling. Bring our troops home from Iraq & Afghanistan. Reduce our military presence in Europe by one half. Bring them home to protect our borders. Up the income cap on SSI to $250K. Eliminate the Bush tax cuts in 2014. Those are just a few ideas to start. It's not rocket science.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  114. Joe

    Jack,
    Yes, just as Congressional Repubs want everything returned to the status of our country in the 1960's, then we should have the condition that ALL members of Congress, the Senate, and the US Supreme Court have their salaries REDUCED To what it was 50 years ago. Taxes are at their lowest rates than they have ever been in decades; yet, the Repubs want more for the rich. We have mostly millionaires in Congress, so let them live off of their lobbyist campaign contributions.
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  115. Tom B

    Balance budget amendment is a Trojan Horse to push the usual Republican policies of giving tax breaks to the wealthy while gutting middle class programs. The Republicans need only to write one Bill for all Bills because they all say the same thing: give the wealthy a free ride while asking middle class to do all the sacrificing. Just call it “Republican Bill for all Bills” and be done with it.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  116. AB

    A constitutional amendment to balance the budget is a good idea if it will force Congress and President to be fiscally responsible and to pay serious attention to fiscal matters of the nation instead of focusing on votes and re-election.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  117. Howard Buckalew

    it depends on what we spend the money on. Propping up oil companies,
    free handouts to the rich, the poor, special interest groups who desire to have someone else pay for their private wishes, or will the amendment provide for the common welfare, defense, and our pursuit of happiness. just asking for a balanced budget needs to be Constitutional within the details itself, after all that is where the devil lives..........

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  118. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    If we could trust the government to respect the money we send them, a balanced budget amendment would not be necessary. Since we cannot, we need it. It would stop willy nilly spending like sending money to the Palestinians, Gaza (to the tune of 1B, IMF and the UN. Everything would then have to be approved by congress. It will be surprising how much money we will save. The American taxpayer cannot and should not support the entire world.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  119. Dick from Bowie

    No, of course not. Requiring a balanced budget would tie everybody's hands with no way to deal with emergencies and the unexpected. Better an amendment that would prohibit going to war without raising taxes to pay for it. The Republicans are so focused on their stated primary goal of defeating President Obama that they are willing to risk ruining the country to do it.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  120. Joe

    I said long ago the only way to fix the debt and deficit problem is simple. Any time the government runs a deficit, Congress DOES NOT get paid for the following year. The budget would balance faster than you can blink.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  121. Ralph Nelson

    No. The annual budget is an accounting function that happens annually. The economy runs on a business cycle, not an annual accounting cycle. You should balance the budgets over the business cycle, not an annual accounting cycle. Why? Let's say revenue declines because of a recession. If you than balance the budget you well be withdrawing spending from the economy, unemploying people and businesses and resulting in even less revenue (Congress/George H. Bush 1991). Do it again and you simply downsize (cause recession) the economy year after year. That's why a balance budget is and always has been "a joke" in economics classes. How about a balanced budget over the business cycle? I'm all for that. Clinton did it.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  122. Edel G.

    Jack,

    A balanced budget Amendment sounds like a reasonable idea. However, just because something sounds reasonable on paper does not mean that it can actually be applicable in the real world. Republicans and Democrats seem to be indifferent as to what the american people really want since they focus on political rhetoric rather than actually taking actions to ensure the creation of jobs and economic growth for our nation. It is unlikely that it can pass the senate and less likely all the state legislatures. The Democrats failed to pass a budget over a year ago. Both parties seem to focus on their reelection campaigns rather than the needs of the people. As a college student I feel disenfranchised with the way that the american people are being treated by their leaders. It is "We the People" not "We the Politicians" that should decide the best for our nation.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  123. Eric

    This is nothing but a bunch of Republican grand-standing. It would take years to occur, and more than likely would not ass the numerous challenges to get it approved by the applicable number of states nor the votes in Congress.

    They should do something constructive – like cutting tax loopholes and big breaks for all of these so-called American companies that send jobs overseas and then complain about the economy here.....

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  124. Adam Castillo

    NO. We have one in Texas and the GOP are destroying educational jobs, the environment and the middle class. We now have the most minimum paying jobs in the nation. Their version of nation building.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  125. Chris R

    A balanced budget amendment sounds like a great idea. If we had a constitutional requirement to balance the budget we never could have entered World War I or World War II – both of which were financed by a heavy load of debt at the federal level. We never could have gone into Iraq the first or second time not Afghanistan. In fact, a balanced budget amendment would basically eliminate the ability for the United States to wage war. Of course, we also wouldn't have the ability to deal with things like major financial catastrophes, natural disasters, or any number of things we current expect and demand of the government. So kids, be careful of what you ask for as you may just get it.

    As for you busybodies that say you personally balance your budget so why can't the government... Do you have any idea how silly that sounds? I mean seriously – it's just silly.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  126. Lee Sterne

    Terrible idea. Government must have the flexibility to deal with problems. We are today seeing at all levels (especially State governments which already have such a constitutional provision) the consequences they cause. Essential services are being eviscerated and more and more state employees are joining the ranks of the unemployed.
    Republicans ask "How can we solve our debt problem if we keep spending?"
    I would ask them, "How can we solve our unemployment problem by firing more people?"
    We have big, big problems in this country, but we have no chance at all of solving any of them as long as either party is unwilling to compromise anything.
    I suspect the Republicans have no interest in improving the economy. They see their political chances better with a bad economy than an improving one, but in their stubbornness and intransigence they are putting all of us at risk of a disaster. Sadly, I suspect they know this, but they don't care.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  127. Dan, Buffalo Grove, IL

    No, a balanced budget amedment is nothing but a political gimmick, and it's terrible economics as well. There are real decisions to be made, all involving trade-offs in terms of taxes and what we as a country decide to spend or invest in. It's too bad that the politicians and we citizens can't honestly face them. There are no easy answers, despite what you may hear from the talking heads who make very nice livings demonizing the other side.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  128. Mike

    NO! It will result in the same gridlock that term limits did. Voting by all the people is the only answer to our problems.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  129. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Jack, why do they call it a 'debt ceiling' or 'debt limit' if they keep raising the ceiling?

    Shouldn't that be a red flag...a warning...that something is wrong and needs to be corrected?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  130. Brett, CO

    A Balanced budget would be fantastic, and so would the limits of spending as compared to GDP. I highly doubt they want to include military spending in that limit. Just as the war spending was not included in the official "Budget" in the Bush years.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  131. john wallace

    there should be a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget,and one that states there will be a budget, and some penality to pay if it isn't completed on time. like being fired on the spot on cnn. or fox or some network stating uable to do my job so i have been fired.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  132. bruce

    EVERY PERSON AND COMPANIES have to balance their budget. some states california etc and feds don't. look where it has put us. they have no reason to balance it, just print more money. has anyone out there watched what is happening in greece

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  133. Marcelo - Los Anageles

    Do we need to create a new amendment every time our politicians can't figure out an obvious solution? Money in should equal money out, or at the very least leave some for down the road. Let's start coming up with amendments for all the things politicians lack common sense in – start with "we the people will not post our privates on social networking sites".

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  134. Thomas

    How the world turns! Under Reagan and the Bush group, the common answer to their spending was nobody cares about the country's debt. The recovery from 2 wars and close to a depression has been at a turtle's pace because of Obama actions. Compromising a solution between Congress and the President is what most people think they should be happening. A balanced budget is not going to happen under the R's or the D's, both want the political advantage.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  135. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Oh sure, now they think it's a good idea. Ever heard of closing the barn door after the horse is gone, or in this case dead and buried for years? I'd like to counter with a much better idea. How about a law that says Congress cannot vote themselves pay raises unless their constituents (i.e. their bosses) approve it first? Then just sit back and watch how quickly they start solving problems when their own precious salaries are on the line!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  136. Bert in UT

    Dumb, dumb idea proposed by people who don't understand the difference between the economics of running a household and the economics of running a country. National debt below 40% of GDP and low, but not zero, inflation grows the economy.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  137. John C. - Den. Co.

    I absolutely disagree. Not only would such a thing take a very long time but a Balanced budget and Government should go hand and hand. Governments shouldn't need a big rule like an amendment to tell them to spend wisely. The only way to solve this problem is for them to compromise. Now that means that not everyone gets what they want, but everyone gets something and that should be a raised debt ceiling so the government can keep running and give them the time they need to balance the budget. Obama seems to be the only one whos trying to do this. The Republicans seem to keep saying "do it our way, or we wont cooperate". If they fail to solve this, History will show the Republicans as the ones who failed us.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  138. Common Sense

    Here is a better idea. Simplify the tax code. Have the rates adjustable and vary to match the previous years spending. If our politicians want to increase spending they will need to justify it as everyone will feel it. It is the surest way to make Congress immediately accountable for their actions.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  139. John

    If I understand history correctly, Andrew Jackson was the only balanced budget with zero debt; And they tried to kill him, whoever they are🙂 As the boys in Vegas would say "Odds are against it". Just a whole lot of Political trickery by both sides, since we just print more money when it runs in short supply. Percent of GDP is the only real measure, but even that is a false number during a depression or recession. Obama cannot be blamed for Greece, Ireland or Portugal? It is a world recession, and if people (in a democracy) want to eat, somebody needs to help, just not for free – make them work for it. The only tax breaks should be for jobs right now.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  140. Tim

    I think we should cap Defense at 48% of the GNP.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  141. Brian Hiner

    It would be nice to have a balance budget admendment. But it will be overlooked to fit the agenda of the people in Washington. California has a balance budget admendment in their state constitution and it is working just fine right?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  142. Alex

    While understanding the sentiment, I think a balance budget amendment would be a dangerous move for the Republic because it would limit the Federal government ability to respond in a crisis. Simply put, sometimes the government needs to spend more money then it has to fight global wars, pull us out of depression or from the brink of another or just to meet the unknown demands that may arise in their tenure. History tells me that when FDR tried to balance the budget it did more harm than good until WWII through that idea out the window and that President Bush tax cuts didn't help the balance budget and surplus that President Clinton gave him. I don't believe in all the spending increases spending President Obama has guided in his tenure, but I would rather the leaders I elect to demonstrate some common sense like they did in President Clinton age than bind the flexibility of government. If anything we need an amendment to return the filibuster in the Senate back to its original design so the majority can rule once more.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  143. george c paree

    Your right Jack congress spends on things that werent ment to be voted on we need this type of amendment. chuck paree anderson in

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  144. Tom in FL

    No need for balanced budget amendment. All we need is for congress, who is responsible for authorizing expenditures by the way, to act like adults. It is amazing how vociferous long term members of congress are about wanting a balanced budget. Yet, they are the ones that keep on authorizing (and directing departments) to spend.

    They need to grow up, increase the debt ceiling today so the value of the dollar doesn't slide any further and then embrace the deficit commission's recommendations and pass those! They do not need to waste america's time on a balanced budget amendment or any further nonsense.

    Tom

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  145. Richard Wagner

    The way I see it...The Bush Tax Cuts end in 2012
    Medicare is going to change by virtue of the 1997 Balance budget act
    Therefore we should reach a balanced budget by 2018 if congress does nothing!...........go figure!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  146. lgny

    NO. it's a dumb idea for governments. in boom years, govt income is up and expenses are down. During recessions, income drops and expenses go up. A balanced budget law would force the fed to raise taxes or cut spending during a recession - both actions that will make the recession worse!

    It needs to be balanced over the long term, but NOT on a year to year basis. The trick is how to legislate such an arrangement.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  147. John B. in Kansas

    Bumper sticker politics. Yet another issue for politicians to run on that will never be solved. It's like abortion, flag burning, gay marriage, and etc. Go ahead and vote for the person who says their going to fight for whatever side you take on these issues and see if anything changes. It seems to me that no matter who is elected these issues remain, and I believe they always will.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  148. Rick

    No, for the very same reason we keep hearing about the looming disaster if we don't raise the debt limit now. What makes sense today, may not work for a future situation,and furthermore, the country can be held hostage to undo an amendment by a politician (s), trying to please the caucus, fringe party members, or even lumping separate issues into one vote.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  149. Dennis , NYC

    Deducing the complexities of of our nations budget to a ever changing economy would be a huge mistake. At a glance it may seem simple however, it would make it extremely difficult to overcome unforeseen emergencies such as wars or natural disasters, among other things.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  150. Nate

    A workable balanced budget act should have three components:
    1) Limit fiscal year spending to the previous year's tax revenue + any previous set-asides
    2) Allow for this to be overruled in emergency situations by a 3/4 vote of both houses of Congress and the approval of the President.
    3) Require that any debt payments be made before any other money is spent.
    #1 prevent too many financial shenanigans with lack of clarity on how much money there is to spend for a given year. This also delays any new revenue activity from allowing additional spending in a given year. There is a 12 month lag time which makes it less appealing and that spending isn't based on projected revenue, but actual.
    #2 is a relief valve is there is a legitimate emergency. This sets the bar pretty high, so that it won't be possible to enact under normal circumstances.
    #3 prevents any of the worries about the US defaulting on it's debt, which would be catastrophic.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  151. Tom B

    You got to be kidding me, Jack. You are asking politician to do the right thing by prioritizing how the money would be spent. Wait, they do that now and middle class and the poor are always low man on the totem poll when deciding how best our beloved Congress will spend our tax dollars. Isn't Congress ready to vote on giving themselves a pay raise soon?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  152. Paul from Phoenix

    Jack,

    Are you crazy? Why would Congress and the President want to hamstring themselves into being responsible?

    Paul from Phoenix

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  153. MarkP

    A balanced budget amendment should give some discretion for economic distress and for war expenditures. A better amendment would be to require the Congress to have a balance budget at least once every four years, and to make a congressman ineligible for re-election in any year (or term) in which there is a deficit. In case of ineligibility, the congressman would have to sit out for one election cycle, or be ineligible to ever be a congressman again. Because our elected representatives love their job so much, this proposed constitutional amendment should give them some self-control and reduce corruption. We need another amendment: Give the President line-item veto power in case of a deficit, and permit the President to strike out up to 3% of any budget.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  154. Steven

    This is a case, on the part of the Republicans, of wooing the electorate with a good sounding idea, all the while knowing that it's politically unfeasible, and, therefore, undoable. It underscores the fact that the Republicans aren't serious about solutions; they're only serious about hurting Obama and the Democrats. If the economy tanks, it's Obama's fault. That's how you get elected if you're a Republican. It's the height of cynicism, and it makes you wonder how anybody could find value in these clowns such that they'd vote them into office.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  155. Stephen

    Honestly, I don't think anyone in this current government, either democrat or republican, is qualified to make ANY changes to the Constitution. That privilege is reserved for those with integrity, not self serving bureaucrats and partisan crusaders..

    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  156. evan

    how about steep militarty cuts, cut unneeded social services and tax the welathy...i should be president

    July 6, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  157. gaucho420

    Households need access to credit and the ability to take on debt and so do countries. If we refuse to ever take on debt, it will mean we will miss out on periods of growth, where a little debt/investment would create further economic stimulus down the line.

    We have to get our current economic house in order, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  158. RVD

    This is a ploy by republicans to distract attention from real problem. They do not want to give up tax breaks for rich who are financing their campaigns. They do not care for middle class. Middle class does not have the same resources to fight back. The only way they can fight back is vote out people from congress who want to favor rich people only.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  159. Tom, Louisburg NC

    Jack,
    Maybe we should buy them all beach balls and teach them to balance them on their noses. If they can learn that, then they might be ready to tackle the bigger issues like helping America.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  160. Kathie

    Will never happen. our elected nonrepresentatives are so selfabsorbed in their own self interests, the interests of their special interests, their polictical affililation and their next election it would never occur. the only ones who have to balance a budget are the taxpayers according to congress.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  161. Dennis north carolina

    Balance budget and raise taxes until the debit is gone is needed now not later. we spent it we need to pay for it not the next two generations. it can be done and it would not be a death deal or the end of time.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  162. Rob

    I'm not allowed to spend more than I can pay back unless I want to pay interest. We all know that that leads to eventual exorbitant charges. I ccould also be sued and arrested for fraud.

    We don't need an amendment, we need politicians to stop lying and lining their own pockets with lobbyist money. These people need to get a conscience and act in the interests of the citizens.

    There are over 300 million guns in this country. If you think Libya is bad, how bad would it be if the citizens of this country revolted enmass? How about a force of 5 million people desending on Washington. People are getting very angry over this mess and it needs to solved NOW. Stop spending. cut the budget, balance taxes against income. Do what needs to be done, all of it and screw the politicians, The money is there, just learn how to handle it.

    Rob
    Chandler, Arizona

    July 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  163. Mr. D

    Down the road is sounding more and more like "Tobacco Road." Everyone must relize that the party is over and that fiscal responsibilty is the name of the game. It is time to put away the smoke and mirrors and make the hard choices that are necessary to continue down any road.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  164. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    An amendment requiring congress to do its job would be an even better idea. How about voting on those appointments that have been empty since Obama took office. Any amendment to balance the budget might force congress to raise revenue through taxation rather than borrowing. They might have to put politics aside and work together. Do we really want that?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  165. RICHARD GILKERSON

    As a former Australian Government Economist (a country which has luckily avoided the recession!) it a highly unwise idea to restrict Fiscal policy to a Balanced budget, you will be tying the hands of the govenment to act under different financial circumstances as they arrive.

    Imagine telling people they couldn't borrow to make a large purchase, like a car or house if they couldn't afford it, or they they couldn't make a credit card payment on a mortgage in a tight spot untilthey were back on their feet again!

    Governments and their spending patterns play a tremendously important role in the Economic Cycle, during recessions they spend when all others, investors, consumers, exports, dry up. The massive Government spending is the major reason why this current recession is not far far worse than it is right now!!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  166. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack America owns over 50 percent of the weapons in the world. We posses over 5,000 nuclear warheads. We have no rational fear of someone out gunning us because we have 3 times more arms then anyone else does. It is also why we are broke. We spend more on weapons and wars then we spend on our own economy.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  167. Bryan

    No, because it's totally redundant. It's common sense that the federal budget should be "balanced." If anything, Amendment 16 (Congress has power to collect income tax without regard to census) should be repealed.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  168. Tom B

    How would that work, Jack? Would they be able to cook the books like they did during Bush years and keep the money spent on the Wars out of the deficit so they can say they have a balanced budget.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  169. David

    In a word, no. The Constitution is a blueprint for the rights of U.S. citizenship, not a spreadsheet.

    David

    New York

    July 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  170. MJ

    Bad idea. The republican/tea partiers have declared class warfare. They have convinced those who would be most injured by their policies that what they are saying is right and good. No one seems to remeber Bush Tax cuts and Cheney's profitable wars are the reason we are here. Didn't we have a budget surplus when Clinton left office? These guys are bad.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  171. Chris

    Jack –

    Unless Republicans get rid of this absurd refusal to raise revenue, a balanced budget will not exist. And if it did (without raising revenue), the effects would be disastrous. This is just another Republican attempt to feign interest in the Constitution, something they have demonstrated an alarming lack of understanding in.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  172. Kawika

    Ridiculous notion. Keynsian economics which provides for surpluses in good times and deficits in tough times serves to mitigate the impact of both business cycles and extremely bad judgement/outright crime such as occured during most of the past decade on employment opportunities. A balanced budget is a great way to further our decline to the days of the robber barons of 120 years ago. As Isaid earlier – ridiculous! Of course as citizens we do have an obligation to force our government to manage itself appropriately, unlike the past decade – pure government decadence!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  173. Pete in Georgia

    Answer : YES.

    It's called accountability, Jack.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  174. Mary Freeman

    Whatever our Deficite is, our Congress did it, both the Republicans and Democrats. No one spends the money BUT THEM. The less they agree on anything shows just how irresponsible they are. It makes me sick. The blame game does not work, I think the people are smart enough to figure out it begins and ends with our Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike. Its about time they start acting like OUR representatives and less like a bunch of kids.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  175. Jason

    H E double tooth picks yes! It should have the same condition as California has in its constitution that if the budget is not balanced and not filed on time they don't get PAID!

    How long did it take California to pass a budget after they had their pay & benefits cut off? Less than a week. Lets make the hill sweat on how they are going to afford the lattes, lunches and $40k a year lease on a land rover let alone providing for their own.

    Though even if this idea was brought up it would be striped so toothless it couldn't chew yogurt by the time it was actually approved by both sides.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  176. Bill

    A balanced budget? Seems to work at the local level, seems to work at the state level, will never work at the national level because the pols are so entrenched they will never give up their power.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  177. Christopher Barry Rose

    An amendment is a gimmick. They could and most importantly HAVE balanced the budget years ago. We seriously delude ourselves to the source of the problem. Our politicians are elected by US. And they react to our demands. And we can fire them every two years if we desire. We ourselves need to take civic responsibility to get our representatives to do what we want. This includes being realistic about what government services we want to pay for in taxes. The reason we have a deficit is politicians are giving the public what it wants. Something for nothing. The public instead of pushing for an unneeded amendment should do some self examination.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  178. Louis Lemieux

    A national government that prints its own money should be able to go responsibly into a deficit . When a recession comes, a national government has to spend more to make up for lack of spending by consumers; or, the country will slide into a spiral of deflation that will cause a depression.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  179. AM in NH

    People say Democrats and Republicans refuse to work together. Not true. Democrats make concession after concession. Republicans then take every possible step to destroy the middle class in this country, being the mouth piece for all interests of the wealthiest people, who provide for them and keep them in office. We don't need a ridiculously dangerous and thoughtless "balanced budget amendment"; we need serious people in Washington who will seek to make America great again by supporting working people and entrepreneurs, building back up this country's infrastructure, promoting science, education, small business, technology, and labor. Virtually every Republican in Congress ceased being "serious" in any way long ago. Republicans don't work for America any more; they work for the Republican Party, and for Wall Street.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  180. HURRICANEPAUL from Hawaii

    Jack, perhaps congress should pick a number, like $40 trillion, and then make a US Constitutional Ammendment that says "Congress shall not pass any laws that will extend the National Debt higher than $40 trillion"

    That way, after everyone signs the new ammendment, we all will have some more quality time to build our bomb shelters.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  181. Willie12345

    Yes, with some special considerations for acts of war (declared by congress) or very unique hardships//calamities ( 3/4 Senate and House approval). I just don't trust our government. Period !

    July 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  182. Greg Oswald

    There has to be some way for the American Public to stop the drunken politicians from wrecking our economy. The Balanced Budget Amendment is just the start of it.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  183. Pat Jones

    Leave the constitution alone . That's not the problem - there's too
    much waste in government and for heaven's sake it's not my social
    security or medicare insurance I have. Have they forgotten that everyone pays $200 plus per month for medicare?? I paid into social seccurity for 35 years and still pay out of my small part time work job. LEAVE SOCIAL SECURITY/MEDICARE ALONE!!! There probably are fraud cases in medicare go afterr that and save government money. The rich do not need tax cuts and sit back laughing at government because they have them. There are too many politicians that make their job in congress for their own benefit not the people they represent. I propose having term limits for our congressmen and senators. That might change
    what goes in America if they are coming back into mainstream and not have a career looking out for themselves. I could go on but enough for now. Thank you.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  184. Will

    A balanced budget amendment is a good idea, but wait, since when has our government ever done any thing that makes sense. and oh wait again, if they can not balance the budget they will surely change the legislation somehow to make sure they get all their pet projects funded. What gets me, a freshman senator or congressman starting salary is three times the average household income. Then the billions we spend on their staff, offices and travel. I have not heard any of them be willing to take a pay cut or reduce their staff or share office space. Get real, these people have no concept of a balance budget or what it really takes to get by in todays world. They work for us yet they do nothing for the average American. I do not trust any of them and neither should anyone in America.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  185. Gary in CA

    Not only is a balanced budget amendment a good idea but it's also long overdue. Every US state other than Vermont has some form of balanced budget amendment. All responsible households have a balanced budget amendment. Why should the feds be any different?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  186. Daniel

    Living trillions of dollars into the future cheats us of the present. We need to spend less, consume less, and value the present. A consumption based economy cheapens existence by incorrectly valuing the product over the planet. I support anything that lessens and restrains consumption.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  187. Dwight

    Well, Jack I don't know if it is a good idea or not. who really knows? I have been thinking we have had this bill all along although nobody really seems to know or care.Correct me if I am wrong but didn't our government pass something called the Gramm-Rudman Hollings Budget Act of 1985 and 1987? Just maybe I might be on the wrong page about your question and if I am PLEASE let me know.

    Dwight E.
    Cuba City, WI

    July 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  188. cal

    Yes. However this will never happen. To many liberty in the government.
    We are now a goverment of how to help the poor steal from the rich and scare the old people. Any change will be meet with lie's and scare tricks.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  189. Guest

    Forcing a balanced-budget is too rigid of a measure. It's a knee-jerk response. Capping annual deficits at a % of GDP is a sane compromise that allows the government to borrow when it needs to but forces lawmakers to prioritize what they will be spending those borrowed dollars on. It would even be possible to allow that percentage to be adjusted in extreme circumstances.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  190. PandoraDoggl

    The Balanced Budget Amendment currently under consideration allows for borrowing in the case of war. That seems fairly reasonable to me. If the United States can't support its spending without habitual borrowing, it has no business spending so much. What did the elderly do before social security and Medicare? Did they languish and die in the gutters? Then, of course, they will not if we live within our means. If the US does not get its spending under control, very few will have the means to care for themselves, let alone have a government to rely on.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  191. Terry

    A Balanced Budget Amendment is just another overreaction by the Republicans.
    I get it, America is broke!!! Look at all of the Outsourcing of middle class technology and manufacturing jobs that paid well, and look at only the low paying jobs like WalMart and McDonalds only being created, and look at the rich on paying FICA on the first $108,000 from their millions from the Republican policies of old, just to name a few things that should change before considering a Balanced Budget Amendment up all the Social Programs for the elderly, the kids and the poor.
    Congress ( Democrats and Republicans ) should change the Trade Agreements with every country, (Global Trade Agreement and NAFTA)to help create jobs back in America. Congress ( D & R ) should chnage the FICA limits to a higher range to help pay for Social Security before cutting benefits and Congress should do these types of things before aBalanced Budget Amendment should be considered.

    A Balanced Budget means limited money so how does we protect us from terrorists, and other American haters.

    How could the President or Congress declare war if a balanced budget is required?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  192. Roger from Phoenix

    Are you kidding me Jack a balance budget , could we start by cutting congress perks , salaries , staff , medical care , etc. come on face it they have raped the country and will continue until there's nothing more to take. Here's a starting point let get rid of their automatic salary increase every year. Good luck .

    July 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  193. Kathy, Willcox, Arizona

    Balancing the budget via a Constitutional amendment is a bad idea. Congress can't agree now on spending and tax revenues. Constitutionally requiring them to produce a balanced budget every year would solve nothing.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  194. Dan Larsen

    A balanced budget amendment is a terrible idea. It sounds good on the surface because it makes sure that we don't go into debt and that our government spends and borrows responsibly. What the GOP isn't telling you is that if the budget is automatically balanced, it means that if government spending goes up, then taxes will go up to pay for the increase in spending in order to balance the budget. Almost any economist agrees that some from Keynesian economics is necessary during times of economic hardship, especially in a economy that is as unstable as ours where employment can jump from 5% to 10% in a short period of time. Raising taxes to balance the budget would counteract the affect of any kind of increase in government spending to stimulate the economy in down times. This basically means that the GOP is trying to end Keynesian economics. It is proven that government spending can work to create jobs when the private sector isn't. It is obvious to me that Republicans haven't learned from their mistakes of the 1920's or perhaps more importantly of the last three decades. Don't let the disguise of keeping more of your own money fool you into thinking that drastic cuts in areas such as education, energy, infrastrucutre, medicare, and social security are good for us. The GOP plan is idealistic but not realistic. When will the GOP come back to reality?

    July 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  195. Brian (From Chicago)

    The GOP will try to put out all kinds of bills that sounds bad if you vote against it,, but makes no since on the reality scale. Along with our 'Balanced budget amendment'. Let's vote on...... the 'Making America Great Again Amendment'....or the 'Congress Honesty & Truth Act'....or maybe the 'Securing America Amendment'.

    NO!!! Holding the debt ceiling and our country's credit rating hostage over this 'Balanced Budget Amendment' is stupid. I'm tired of these freshman Congressmen thinking because they win an election gives them the right to throw tantrums and put our country at risk or shut our country down if they don't get their way. The Tea Party babies are going to ruin this country. We now need to vote them out before it is too late! This country is based on compromise not stubbornness.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  196. Peter Q Wolfe

    No, this won't mean anything if it ever happened. What is wrong is that we would go back to the gold standard and the attempt to destroy IRS slippery slope argument. We don't have enough nor does anybody have enough solid backed securities to back up their entire gdp or debt ratio for that matter. Its all in the ink well called banks and fabricated financial fake dollars. So, I believe that direct democracy with civic engagement with grassroot efforts to make politicians hear our voice instead of losing faith in government americans need to take responsibility for voting in whatever candidates that came into office not by enforcing legislation that won't ultimately help like term limits cause that eliminates experts with years of bureaucratic and leadership positions and ther same ones that politicians gain majority or whip status in Congress. No, admendment like that will happen.
    Auburn, Alabama

    July 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  197. Michelle from California

    Jack – why do we have to have all this crap tied up in the debt ceiling vote? we all know the we need to increase it, that's clear. Why are Republicans adding all these things, it's like that have to have all there wishes in this one bill.

    I think it's dangerous to talk about amending the constitution in this last minute type of fashion, it's July, 6th, we don't have time for this political posturing, it's really disingenuous and not helpful...can we actually do something the right way for once.

    Increase the debt ceiling, balance the budget with spending cuts, and tax revenue increases, it's not rocket science, it's political incompetance.

    I really sick of politicians saying that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem, it's both.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  198. Tom B

    Balance Budget Amendment – Path to Prosperity – Republicans sure like using misnomers when naming their policies. They actually should be named "for the Billionaire, by the Billionaire and of the Billionaire.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  199. wicked1

    A balanced budget ammendment is a horrible idea, we need the flexibility to deficit-spend during tough times to counteract business cycles and shocks to the system. However during good times we should NOT be running deficits which unfortunately hasn't been happening in my liftetime except during a few years of the clinton administration. A balanced budget ammendment seems analogous to requiring corporations to finance all their activities from equity rather than a mixture of debt & equity as they actually do – debt is not bad, it is a useful tool but it just needs to be managed properly!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  200. Ben Parker

    Over time, revenues have peaks and valleys, in my home, my city, my county, and my state. It's painful at times, but it's real life. Conserving in times of need restores balance and unnecessary excess. At the federal level, we abandoned accountability, and when times are tough, we print money. That's "popular" and feels good in short term.....but long term it will destroy the county. So let's pass the balanced budget amendment with this clause......the budget is reduced in all departments, by the same percentage, automatically so that at the end of the year.....it balances. Let the department heads find the fat and cut it or spread the shortfall out equally. It would be GOOD for the government and the country.....that's the only way that waste and obsolete programs will be trimmed. When times recover...the goal should be SURPLUS, to pay down exisitng debt and save to make the next recession less painful.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  201. Peter Bonafonte, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    Republicans are betting their political future on nothing changing betwen now and Nov. 2012. To that end they will not do anything that may help us. I believe if a fool's bet and the consequences will be a total rejection of their party next year.

    The scary part is the number of un-informed people that are buying into their arguements. Take g'ment out of our lives and we as individuals and a nation will dissappear into the dust of failed empires.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  202. Bob from Chantilly, Virginia

    Unless and until there are actually two sides willing to discuss issues on their merits, there can be no reasonable meeting of the minds. The Republican insistence that all their demands be met before discussion is preposterous on its face. Would you or anyone in their right minds walk into any deal where the price of admission is unconditional surrender? It is past time for the President to simply invoke the 14th Amendment and move on, there"s a nation to govern.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  203. Rose

    Nice gesture by the GOP, considering they never had a balanced budget when they were ruining everything under Bush! By the way – Mr. Boehner, WHERE ARE THE JOBS???

    July 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  204. Tyler

    A balanced budget is crazy talk. We can't live within our means. We need to keep borrowing more, taxing more, and spending in order to once and for all get this economy moving. I made 50K last year, and I borrowed another 75K. I love the lifestyle I can have on 125K/year. My personal economy is great. I am going to borrow more next year!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  205. Joe

    A balanced budget amendment would be an unnecessary straight jacket that would end up causing mischief at some point in time when we needed to run a little debt to get out of a serious crisis. It's like telling the average family that they can never use their credit card, even in an emergency, unless someone goes out and gets another job immediately to pay for the amount being charged.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  206. Manuel Alfonso

    An economic issue has been politized -again. Let's have a panel of economists discuss it at a public forum. Political circus hurts all of us.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  207. Jeff

    How would we handle our future "off the books " wars? Would it be business as usual, and politicians keeping a Constitutional set of books, and the rest under the table? How would that be a help?

    I think the responder talking about term limits was closer to the solution. Fire 'em all. Fire the bums, every one of them.
    We have no middle class left to support this country . The poor can't, and the rich are busy stuffing their wallets. The worst enemy of a healthy middle class in America has been its' government. Fire 'em.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  208. Ruth

    A balanced budget does not require amending the Constitution. Just have the guts to cut spending and keep taxes at a level that balances the ability of wage earners to pay with the need to provide services people expect.

    A balanced budget amendment would invite disaster. What would happen if there was another Pearl Harbour? No borrowing to go to war? We would wait the three years it takes to repeal the amendment?

    I don't believe anyone who thinks believes an amendment is needed. Plus, it is not doable. Just ask the supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment.

    July 6, 2011 at 5:58 pm |