For nearly all of us, the size of the national debt is all but unimaginable. If you counted off 14.1 trillion seconds, it would take 447,000 years. Printing 14.1 trillion dollar bills would weigh more than 15 million tons – or, the weight of 136 aircraft carriers the size of the USS Ronald Reagan.
This weight is crushing our nation.
It was Ronald Reagan once said that that “government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.” But much like a baby, someone else always gets tasked with cleaning up after it.
Who will be cleaning up the irresponsibility resulting from the federal government’s appetite for spending money it doesn’t have is probably best defined by numbers of generations, not names of people.
It is past time to impose on Washington the reality that one may only spend what dollars are actually available. Congress must be forced to live within the people’s means, by constitutionally tying spending to revenues. Yes, it requires difficult choices to live responsibly – but choices no more difficult than those faced by families, businesses, and even legislators here in the State of Texas.
We prioritize, save and live within our means. Congress must be forced to do the same.
I understand that some might prefer to just wait for Congress to get their act together and begin budgeting wisely. Others might prefer to let Congress to take the initiative in passing a Balanced Budget Amendment on their own.
But with all due deference to their honorable intentions, it frankly seems unreasonable for us to expect those who have thus far shown such recklessness to now enact necessary and prudent constitutional spending restraints. That they have not is perhaps the only dataset we need to project what they will do in the future.
Demand for fiscal responsibility is bubbling up from the people. And therefore it is most appropriate that the legislators of the several states take pro-active action in demanding a federal Balanced Budget Amendment. It’s time for the states to therefore force action by forcing action on a Balanced Budget Amendment. The Constitution itself, in Article V, provides this mechanism for the states to take charge.
We have a clear and present threat to the fiscal health and security of our nation. Unless we want to trod the path followed by Greece, we must recognize that threat is real, and take bold action.
It’s time for state lawmakers to act boldly in demanding strict fiscal responsibility from our federal legislators. Pursuing a federal Balanced Budget Amendment is a critical and worthy endeavor.