Instant Balanced Budget Amendment: Maintain the Present Borrowing Limit
There is a very simple way to balance the budget without passing a Balanced Budget Amendment: refuse to raise the federal borrowing limit. Treasury would be forced to do what any business or family would do: live within its means and stop mortgaging the American dream to the Chinese. Instant Balanced Budget Amendment.
The beauty of the Constitution of the United States are the checks and balances provided to prevent any one government body from wielding too much power. Congress alone is vested with the power to borrow money. If Congress decides to stop borrowing there is nothing President Obama can do but instruct the Treasury to immediately curb spending.
The world will not come to an end when the US government reaches its borrowing limit. The Treasury Department will be forced to prioritize spending based on continued government income. The Treasury will be forced to balance our budget, not in five years or ten years (which will never happen) but immediately through necessity. Treasury will be forced to manage resources so debt payments can continue and then choose between paying entitlements or a partial government shutdown for non-essential services until congress can reach a deal to raise the debt limit.
Just as Minnesota's Governor Dayton was forced to cave to conservative demands, Obama will be forced to reduce spending without any new tax increase. Many Americans would be happy to see a bunch of non-essential government bureaucrats sent home for a few weeks or months. To many these non-essential government agencies that didn't exist 50 or 100 years ago aren't needed today. Shutting them down is the easiest way to control the drunken spending plaguing Washington D.C. A partial government shutdown will put more far pressure on Democrats than Republicans because fiscal conservatives want smaller government and believe taxes and government bureaucracy stifle economic growth.
Proposals for a balanced budget amendment are pure dog-and-pony-show-politics and amendment supporters are disingenuous. This is an amendment which is not required, would be dangerously restrictive if ever passed and which promoters know will probably never be passed into law. The ONLY thing required to stop Congress's endemic borrowing is 218 House members or 41 Senators who refuse to put unborn American children deeper in debt by continuously refusing to raise the debt limit. No 2/3 supermajority vote is required; no state approval necessary. All that is required are some politicians with a little backbone.
The US Government should not default on its debt. We should first honor our obligations to those who invested in America's debt and then spend the remaining government income on services for our citizens. But the notion that a default would cause a meltdown in the global economy is ridiculous. People globally invest in US debt because the United States of America is by far the strongest most vibrant and innovative economy on earth. That is not going to change even if we miss a few debt payments. In fact, if anything a default on the debt would demonstrate to the world that we as a nation are finally serious about managing government spending. From a microeconomic perspective there might be a few unwanted hiccups but from a long term macroeconomic perspective the USA will be a much stronger country.