Bloomberg points out that this wouldn't be the first time it's been tried. And that when it has been attempted in the past, the "trigger" mechanism has often failed:
Hoagland said this particular trigger may not be effective in reducing the nation's debt because discretionary spending covers only roughly 18 percent of the federal budget.
"The real problem remains the health-care entitlement programs and the revenue side," he said.
The 1990 agreement also featured a pay-as-you-go requirement for mandatory programs and revenues. A trigger was enacted to enforce the caps and the "paygo" requirement.
Still, Congress overrode the enforcement provision two out of the three times it was triggered, according to an April 28 report by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.
And in 1985, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control, or the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, included a trigger to enforce deficit targets. If the year's target wasn't met, spending cuts were triggered. In the five years of the act, the triggers kicked in twice, one of which was reduced by Congress and the other overridden by a subsequent budget agreement.
Congress has also rejected scheduled automatic reductions in doctors' Medicare pay rates established in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, prompting the annual passage of additional spending that is so routine it has a nickname: the "Doc Fix."
It's like a serial killer writing police, "Stop me before I kill again!" The assumption that members of Congress are a bunch of misbehaving children who need the threat of a paddling if they don't do their jobs is ridiculous.
And don't think for a minute that everyone in congress doesn't know the above history. They know full well they can simply vote to do away with the trigger. That's why most of them will line up eagerly behind this solution and then pat themselves on the back for "solving" a crisis.