A Balanced Budget Amendment
Spending is out of control, and some people are proposing a Constitutional amendment to force lawmakers to close the gap. There is a lot of debate about the wisdom, legality, or efficacy of such an amendment, but in simple terms, they are a waste of time as currently proposed.
A Constitutional amendment will do no good as long as the incentives remain in place for lawmakers to spend more. No matter how carefully crafted, the ingenious minds of the future will find ways to circumvent the rules. It happens today with off balance sheet expenditures, moving expenses into previous fiscal years, monkeying with all sorts of devices to hide the true extent of the spending.
So the incentives must be removed. Deficit spending must extract a large personal cost from the lawmakers, one that exceeds the vast benefits they get through spending like drunken sailors.
What do politicians seek by spending? Power. They wish to remain in power.
In order for them to have spending restraint, they must feel the pain -- and that pain must be severe.
Therefore, I propose the following Amendment:
"All revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government will be included in the budget. Congress shall not spend more in a fiscal year than has been received in revenue. In the event of a national emergency, Congress may borrow funds and spend more than has been received. 30 days after borrowing is approved during a national emergency, The President and all members of Congress are removed from office and barred from re-election to any office until the debt incurred during the crisis is fully retired. The Vice President shall assume the office of the President, and a special election shall be held for Congress."
In this way we can allow the Federal Government to respond to real emergencies, but at a direct and personal cost to the politicians.