Posts Tagged ‘balanced budget’

Captain Rick: Thomas C. Patterson, a former Arizona State Senator, sees the Compact for America as a test to see if Americans are still able to take their future in their hands or if they are content to see America continue its decline. States have constitutional authority to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. This is a ‘long shot’ but it offers a ray of hope to save America from pending fiscal decline.

The U.S. Congress recently raised the U.S. National Debt Ceiling to an astronomical $17.2 Trillion, exceeding U.S. Gross National Product … a wake-up call for any nation. The U.S. Congress raised the debt ceiling to accommodate current spending levels and thus kicked ‘America’s debt can’ down the road again for the Nth time to deal with after the fall election.  The sad fact is that with the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and pure welfare programs like Medicaid, greatly expanded by Obamacare… U.S. spending is mushrooming at an alarming pace, while revenue is increasing at a snail’s pace that can not keep up. I see this resulting in America sailing over the real ‘fiscal cliff’ in the not too distant future… an event that has the potential to reduce America to a third world country.

I invited Thomas, whom I have long admired for his excellence in thinking, to present guest commentary. With his acceptance, I asked him to tell us why his commentary is important to Americans. His reply:

Thomas C. Patterson: “I see the Compact–a constitutional convention of the states–as a test for Americans.  Are we still able to take our future into our hands, like our founders did, to forge the nation we want or are we content to see America continue its decline?  Do we care enough about our posterity, as our founders did, to undertake the most difficult, improbable shared national initiative in our time or will history judge us as standing by while a nation founded in liberty slides into oblivion?”

ABOUT: Thomas C. Patterson is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Nebraska. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 1989, serving as minority leader from 1991 to 1992 and majority leader from 1993 to 1996. Patterson was the author of legislation creating Arizona’s charter school system and welfare reform program. Until 1998, he was a practicing physician and president of Emergency Physicians, Inc.. Patterson also served as president of the Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 2000 he became chairman of the Goldwater Institute. Thomas is a retired physician and resident of Paradise Valley, Arizona.

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL

Guest Commentary

by

Thomas C. Patterson

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More Americans than ever feel our federal government has been permanently taken over by special interests and collectivists.

Dependency on government is reaching ominous levels. Spending that exceeds income has become part of our political culture. We feel like shouting that our debt is dangerously high and that it’s immoral to pass on to future generations the consequences for our self-indulgence.

Yet realistically, there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. Until maybe, just maybe, now.

The answer to our despair may well lie in the Compact for America, an agreement among the states to come together to propose a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution. This idea is so promising and dynamic that is gathering momentum across the states, including ours, where it is known as HB 2305.

Here’s the skinny. The U.S. Constitution gives the states the power to call a constitutional convention, as a protection against central government overreach. The framers’ expectation was that once every generation or so, states would need to convene and tweak the Constitution to respond to evolving conditions and to protect the rights of people from the inevitable tendency of power to centralize.

The framers were prescient in understanding that the states would need this privilege, but for one reason or another the states have never called a convention. Every amendment proposed to the Constitution has come through Congress, the other authorized pathway.

It is said that the founders didn’t include a balanced budget provision in the founding documents because they thought it unnecessary. Now that incomprehensible levels of fiscal recklessness have become the norm, the potential need for the states to intervene is clear.

The problem is that, since the states have no experience with a convention, several concerns have arisen over its execution. How would the convention delegates be selected, how would votes be apportioned, how would leadership be chosen? More importantly, what about a runaway convention? What would stop interest groups from taking over the convention and bending the Constitution for their own hot-button issues?

It’s worth remembering that any proposed amendment would have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state Legislatures. But these are serious questions asked by serious people and they deserve answers.

Here’s the genius of the Compact for America. It allows states to know the answers to all the pertinent questions, including exactly which amendments may be considered, before they sign on. When state Legislatures pass a resolution agreeing to the contact, they become part of a constitutionally recognized organization of states created for the express purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. The selection process for delegates, convention logistics and even the text of the amendment would be in the compact document itself.

Would this be difficult? Would there be opposition from all sides? Are there still questions to be answered? Yes, yes and yes. Vast private and government interests are heavily invested in business as usual. Moreover, compacts require the blessing of Congress, although this has been previously granted.

But the Compact for America isn’t constitutional craziness, like annulment or secession. This isn’t some sort of redneck revolt. It’s an opportunity for states to use the clear intent and language of the Constitution to rein in the federal government and put the republic on a more sustainable course.

Unquestionably, the Compact for America would represent change and innovation on a scale many may find unsettling. But this is our challenge. Are we, the political descendants of founders who risked everything to create the most free and prosperous government in the history of the planet, now so timid that we are afraid to use the tools they gave us to defend ourselves from tyranny and decay?

The risk larger than the Compact is the continuation of politics as usual. If we continue doing the same thing, it’s highly probable we’ll get the same results.

Our present predicament was anticipated by the founders. It is precisely the reason they gave the states the power to amend the Constitution. They would very much urge us to use it.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Tom’s previous ANJ Commentary: “Look behind the Obamacare Curtain”

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Captain Rick: The March 27 deadline for the U.S. government shutdown has been averted by yet another stunt by U.S. lawmakers to kick the U.S ‘debt can’ down the road AGAIN until the end of the fiscal year in September … when it will all come back to haunt us AGAIN.

U.S lawmakers finally brought the 2013 budget fight to an end on March 21 by approving a bill that ended the threat of a U.S. government shutdown on March 27. It funds the government through the end of the current fiscal year in September. The measure now set to become law reduces the impact of the $85 billion in forced cuts — called sequestration — to only $59 billion.

It establishes stop-gap budgets for targeted departments and programs. It resets priorities and helps better manage the draconian formula as set forth by the sequestration spending cuts. Overall, the legislation locks in $984 billion in non-entitlement program spending — a tiny drop from the $1.043 trillion initially approved before the forced sequestration cuts took effect.

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I believe I speak for most Americans and many people around the world when I say … we have had enough of the “U.S. Capital Circus”. Its time for America’s president and lawmakers to unite and figure out a real solution to get America off of the deficit spending binge and balance the budget, followed by a way to pay back America’s monumental national debt of $1.7 trillion, which now exceeds America’s GDP. This is an extremely serious world economic issue … the world’s largest! Nothing else comes close in magnitude. Time is running short. Without real, credible action soon, America will fall over the real ‘Fiscal Cliff’ … a point of ‘no return’. It will take much of the world along for the fall.

I welcome your comments, likes and shares!

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: That “debt can” that President Obama kicked down the road on January 1 by signing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, in an effort to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, revisits on March 27, 2013 when the federal government again faces a shutdown because it has again reached the debt ceiling, now set at $16.4 trillion.

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Funding for the U.S. government expires on March 27, 2013 unless Congress acts. If they fail, the federal government will shut down on March 28. All government operations would cease, except for essential services.

Since lawmakers will not agree to a real budget by this date, they will have to agree on temporarily funding the government for a few weeks or a few months … again. The Republicans are presenting a plan on Thursday to extending funding to the end of the fiscal years which ends is September, but it includes a $7 billion restoration of defense funds in exchange for cuts elsewhere. A big question remains…will Democrats go along with this? It will all unfold in coming days.

Boehner’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

It is evident that the Republicans will allow no more tax increases…made very clear by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) who said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he discussed the need to avoid a shutdown with President Obama at a meeting Friday between the president and congressional leaders.

Boehner said the House will vote this week to keep the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoid a potentially politically damaging shutdown.

The move would be the second time since the election that Boehner has avoided a fight, desired by some House conservatives, in order to keep the GOP from possible blame. He led House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in January to fend off a repeat of the 2011 conflict that led to the sequester.

“The president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown,” Boehner said. “So I’m hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”

“I’m going to say it one more time,” Boehner said. “The president got his tax hikes on January the first. The issue here is spending. Spending is out of control. There are smarter ways to cut spending than this silly sequester that the president demanded. And so, we need to address the long-term spending problem. But we can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

“We had a very pleasant meeting, but it was also a very frank meeting,” Boehner said. “I made it clear to the president that again, a trillion dollars worth of tax hikes in Obamacare. And you have another $650 billion worth of tax hikes on January the first. You can’t tax our way out of this problem. We’ve got to deal with the spending side, just like every American family has to.”

Listen, every American knows Washington has a spending problem. Every American, in these tough economic times, has to find a way to balance their budget.”

Boehner said Republicans were done raising taxes after agreeing to the “fiscal cliff” deal in January that raised more than $600 billion in revenue. Any new revenue gained from closing tax loopholes, he said, should be put into lowering tax rates.

“The president got $650 billion of higher taxes on the American people on January the 1st,” Boehner said. “How much more does he want? When is the president going to address the spending side of this?”

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts …  will Washington avert shutdown again”?

I think most Americans are with me in expecting that Washington will pull off a circus act just prior to the closing curtain as it always manages to do. However, this showdown is not a done deal…especially concerning the defense appropriations. I think the Defense Department should endure the same cuts as as all others. I don’t think it needs special treatment. I believe many Americans believe the U.S. Defense Department could easily be cut without sacrificing America’s safety. I think many will agree that it is time for America to stop playing “Police of the World” …at American taxpayer expense.

I welcome your comments, likes and shares!

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: Its time to take a breather from America’s fiscal calamities to enjoy a Fiscal Cliff…Sequester  “Cartoon Break”.

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I welcome your comments, likes and shares!

On the serious side … info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: The U.S. Federal Budget has grown 40% larger since Obama became president. America’s thirst for deficit spending has has quadrupled since. Deficit spending has grown from under 6% of the Federal Budget in 2007 to a whopping almost 24% in 2013. At the rate President Obama is increasing the U.S. National Debt, deficit spending will consume nearly 50% of the Federal Budget by the time he leaves office. It is obvious he is leading America on a suicide journey to the edge of the Fiscal Cliff.

The Sequester Cuts, that begin to go into effect today, represent only a tiny reduction of America’s deficit spending as demonstrated by the pie crumbs left after a nearly quarter-sized hunk of pie was removed. The Sequester cuts represent only 2% of the Federal Budget and less than 10% of deficit spending.

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The Sequester Cuts are tiny contribution to begin to harness President Obama’s debt spending binge. Actually, the cuts will achieve little if deficit spending keep increasing during the next year at the same rate as the past four. A year from now deficit spending will have gone up by a much larger percentage than the tiny reduction realized from the Sequester Cuts. America is in serious fiscal trouble. The Sequester cuts are a start. Far more needs to be done to save America from fiscal destruction in a few short years.

It would have been better if Congress and the President could have agreed on which cuts should be made, but they could not, thus the previously agreed Sequester, signed by President Obama, went into effect today. I believe I speak for many Americans when I say that President Obama’s choice to free thousands of illegal aliens under the guise of Sequester cuts was politically motivated and used very poor judgment.

When will the Washington Circus end?

Americans are getting sick and tired of it … but then they are the ones responsible for electing the incompetents representing us in Washington. Perhaps the real problem lies on the shoulders of our voters … but then again … we often face ‘crappy’ choices at the poll. Intelligent voters in America are becoming a minority. I am doing my very best to help reverse that trend! I hope you will follow my blog and share it with your friends via the many social network buttons I have provided for you below. And please…don’t be bashful…share your comment with ANJ’s rapidly growing audience across America and around the world. Your voice is important!

I welcome your comments, likes and shares … below!

More info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: Blogs across America have exploded in the past few hours as they “smell a political rat” by President Obama’s mass release of illegal aliens in advance of and under the disguise of Sequester spending cuts. I have seen big political moves, but this one “takes the cake”. 

This appears to be a political move by President Obama to pressure Republicans to cave on automatic Sequester spending cuts which go into effect on on Friday. Those reading my previous reports, know that these cuts are necessary as a result of a total breakdown of Washington being able to legislate fiscal responsibility. It is a shame that our President has to resort to dirty politics by scaring Americans in order to continue his obsession for spending trillions of dollars beyond America’s means.

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The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) confirmed that it has released hundreds of immigrants awaiting deportation trials over the past few days to prepare for the sequestration slated to kick in March 1.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told CBS News it is "very hard for me to believe that they can’t find cuts elsewhere in their agency."

My state of Arizona contains the most porous corridor for illegal aliens entering the U.S. It’s a very important issue for the citizens of Arizona. I received an email from Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona. She sums up this political move with excellence. I share her words with you below.

Message from Jan Brewer, Governor of the great state of Arizona

I’m appalled to learn the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun to release hundreds of illegal aliens from custody, the first of potentially thousands to soon be freed under the guise of federal budget cuts. This is pure political posturing and the height of absurdity given that the releases are being granted before the federal ‘sequestration’ cuts have even gone into effect.

This represents a return to exactly the kind of catch-and-release procedures that have long made a mockery of our country’s immigration system. The news is especially concerning when coupled with DHS’ acknowledgment that it may not be able to maintain operation of 34,000 immigration jail beds, as mandated by Congress.

Everyone knows the federal government must get a handle on spending, and it is well past time that the President begins working with Congress to find real budget solutions. But we cannot let public safety and the rule of law be collateral damage of the President’s failed leadership to pass a budget.

My very best,

Jan Brewer

More info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick: Republicans are calling it the “Obamaquester” … $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. $85 billion in 2013. Defense will be cut 13%. Everything else 9%. Officially called the “sequester”, its part of the “Fiscal Cliff” that was postponed on January 1, 2013.

The forced budget cuts were created during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle, passed by Congress and signed by the Whitehouse. It was a worst-case scenario, so bad that it would force lawmakers to make a deal. But, no deal was ever made and thus its become a poison pill that Americans will most likely have to swallow on March 1, 2013. The sequester was put in place 18 months ago to be a hammer, not a policy. On March 1, that hammer slams down.

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Sequester Spending Cuts taking effect after March 1 (partial list)

Head Start programs will be scaled back

Fewer meat inspections

Homeland Security cuts will mean longer lines at airports and scaled back cyber security

Furloughs and layoffs would effect civilian workers in the defense industry

IRS cuts will mean fewer tax return reviews and longer waits for tax refunds

Emergency housing for the homeless will be scaled back

Extended benefits for unemployed will be scaled back

National Parks may close campgrounds or reduce open periods

Little hope of compromise by March 1

Washington continues to play the “blame game.” Democrats are blaming Republicans for proposing devastating spending cuts.  Republicans blame the Democrats for getting used to being bailed out for their own lack of fiscal responsibility.

Optimism for a last-minute deal averting massive spending cuts is scarce. The buzz in Washington is that both sides actually want to let the sequester happen. Washington seems to be mainly squabbling over who will be to blame for the “meat cleaver” budget slashing set to take effect on March 1.

The latest national poles show America is leaning slightly towards letting the sequester happen…that it is time America stops “kicking its debt can down the road”.

The sequester is only a tiny contribution to reduce deficit spending. Those reading my earlier reports know that America must come to grips with its gigantic thirst for wild deficit spending beyond its means in order to save America from future financial ruin.

More info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/