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?
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.
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."