|Jones! (Photo credit: gomattolson)|
We need a balanced budget amendment. There's no reason that the world's richest nation cannot pay its expenses as it goes, even if there is an emergency.
Say we have an emergency that costs a trillion dollars. We can pay it off over 50 years with a temporary tax, just as you would pay off a mortgage.
Mind you, I am not proposing more taxes. I'm just saying that true financial emergencies can be dealt with by levying a tax that pays off the amount we need to spend. And that can be done in a predictable way over time.
In other words, an emergency is not a legitimate excuse to avoid manage one's affairs responsibly. You borrow what you need and you pay it back on a schedule that pays it off.
Of course, in reality, there are very few few legitimate emergencies. Its just an excuse politicians use to justify their addiction to spending more than is taken in.
A balanced budget requirement will force Congress to make the hard choices. If they want to spend, they will have to tax. And if the people don't want more taxes, they will have to pus h cuts. I'd even put budgets to a referendum, with the new taxes spelled out.
Without a balanced budget, we can have tax cuts and spending increases. Everybody can get what they want, until the shit hits the fan and our ability to deal with true emergencies is greatly impaired.