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March 31, 2011 / J. Shaw

It is time for a Balanced Budget Amendment

By Stacy Mott…In 2008, voters descended on the polls and placed their hopes for the future of our nation on then-candidate Barack Obama. The promise was for “hope and change” in government, a government that would move our country forward and stop what, by the time President Obama was sworn into office, was a financial runaway train.

Unfortunately, the following months saw the word “stimulus” join our daily lexicon. “Too big to fail” became the catch phrase of the moment as the federal government simultaneously bailed out American auto manufacturers, who had finally been broken by organized labor, and Wall Street banking institutions, which were victims of their own greed.

Two years later, hope had faded, energy prices continued to rise, unemployment hovered around ten percent, and the American people had decided that the fulfillment of “hope and change” lacked the substance of the promise. Returning to the polls, voters sent record numbers of incumbents home to their districts and, in the process, sent a message to Washington.

Now, three months into a new Congress, people are waiting and watching in vain. They are waiting for the real change they have been promised for two election cycles now. But, still, politics plays out as usual in Washington.

And why wouldn’t it?

The nuts and bolts of the problem with our federal budget reside in the funding of entitlements. By many estimates, entitlements make up nearly 60% of the federal budget annually. And at heart, those entitlements do little but serve the self- interests of the elected federal officials in Washington. After all, if one robs Peter to pay Paul, one can always count on Paul’s support. The federal budget has been so loaded with pork barrel spending for so long that the danger is in the sum of the whole.

Point to a federal budget expenditure, no matter how tiny, and immediately someone will come to its defense. The problem with the system is that too many elected officials in Washington, who are counted on to make informed financial decisions, see each and every entitlement program as a tally of votes to be won or lost in the next election.

Quite simply, we as Americans have become the victims of irresponsible and politically self-serving fiscal policy.

Well, Americans are fed up with the tug-of-war that continues to be fought over current budget proposals. As we back at home fight to keep our livelihoods from disappearing, our families from losing their homes, and make ends meet on a monthly basis, Congress continues to play games when it comes to cuts in spending and balancing the budget.

In the last month, Congress has passed three stopgap bills to avert a government shutdown, but the Band Aid process is, without a doubt, doing more harm than good. Americans are growing more anxious and increasingly annoyed as the debate clearly defines the limitations of our current Congress and this Administration. Our elected officials, those whom we task to do our will, do not seem disposed to taking responsibility, or more importantly, any real action to reduce our growing national financial crisis.

At this moment we need real action. We need to see immediate and significant spending cuts from Congress. We need real solutions that are not predicated on borrowing money from countries like China for programs and entitlements that are not vital to our national security or the well being of our nation. Americans and their families do not have a choice. They must budget responsibly and make cuts as circumstances and income dictate.

The time has come to call on Congress to do the same. It is time for a Balanced Budget Amendment. It is time to demand that our representatives in DC observe the same constraints that their actions and inactions have put on working families in this country.

Congress needs to know that American families are working hard to hold onto everything they have, their jobs, their homes, and their way of life. And until Congress and this Administration decide to act decisively in enacting responsible fiscal policies like a balanced budget, we will be counting the days until the next election. As we’ve proven before, it only takes one Election Day to fire a Member of Congress, or even an entire Administration.

We saw firsthand in 2008 how an America that lives beyond its means can rapidly be brought to its knees. If we continue down this path, it is only a matter of time until the house of cards comes tumbling down again.

Stacy Mott is Founder and President of Smart Girl Politics Action (SGPA), a non-profit organization of conservative women.


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