Following up on the Just Vote No Blog previous articles on profligate spending by the U.S. Congress, and on the “solution” of a Balanced Budget Amendment, here is an update.
On March 23, 2018, Congress passed the “Omnibus Bill,” a budget plan to allow the federal government to continue “functioning” until September 30, 2018. The bill totals $1.3 trillion, and adds about $1 trillion to the already gargantuan U.S. budget of around $4 trillion. How could the cost of running the country increase by $1.3 trillion? Easy. Legislators need to say they “did something” about everything that happened during the previous year, so they provide for a myriad of new funding. Roughly, the 2018 budget calls for $695 billion in defense spending and $591 billion in non-defense spending. Here are a few highlights of the 2,232-page bill:
* School shootings: $2.3 billion in new funding for mental health, training, and school safety programs at the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services.
* People overdosing from opiods: $4 billion in treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts.
* Potholes: $21 billion for infrastructure projects across the country, including transportation, energy, water, and “cyber.”
* Porous borders: $47.8 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to bolster border infrastructure, add more “boots on the ground,” increase detention space, and improve surveillance technology.
* Waning hegemony: $654.6 billion in both base and Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations funding.
“The Definition of Audacity”
Surely it is known to all members of Congress that a constantly growing national debt now standing at around $21 trillion is not sustainable. Surely they know that at some point voters might catch on that the Ponzi Scheme could cause the nation’s economic collapse. Therefore, after voting for yet more spending by passing the Omnibus Bill, legislators felt they must “do something.” Four days after House Representative Robert W. Goodlette voted “Yes” on the Omnibus Bill, he introduced the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA).
House Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky) said the BBA proposal was the definition of “audacity.” “It’s got a loophole you can drive a truck through.” The provision to which Representative Massie refers says that if three-fifths (60%) of both the House and Senate vote to waive the amendment, they can pass an unbalanced budget. Well, the 2018 unbalanced budget was passed by 60% of House members and 65% of Senate members. Tell us how a BBA would have prevented the 2018 $1 billion increase to the U.S. budget.
Thankfully, the BBA was too audacious even for Congress members, and it was voted down.
Are State Legislators So Different?
State legislators claim U.S. legislators need to be reigned in because they are growing the federal government and spending too much. Therefore, they also need to do something: A Convention of States under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to propose a balanced budget amendment among other things.
Do you trust your state’s proposal to amend the Constitution of the United States any more than you should trust the U.S. Congress’ “definition of audacity?”