Congressman Mark Walker recently co-authored an opinion piece in the Washington Examiner calling for a Balanced Budget Amendment.
I think Walker's intentions are entirely good on this issue. However, I am not sure where it leads.
It seems dubious that it can be enacted. Too many politicians and citizens benefit from deficit spending and the national debt.
But let's assume the constitutional amendment is, in fact, enacted. What would happen then?
A requirement for a balanced budget would essentially mandate that spending be cut dramatically or that taxes be increased. Since Republicans tend to want to keep taxes lower, it would require that they fight out the issue with the socialists, and act with principle. It would require that they alienate large numbers of voters who have a vested interest in excessive governmental spending. They would have to act with principle, and exhibit fiduciary responsibility. In other words, it would require that they do a complete about-face with respect to their previous patterns.
Let's think back on how they have handled governmental spending in Washington over the years, including the recently passed omnibus bill. What would lead them suddenly to grow a collective spine, act with integrity and do the right thing?
What would lead them to cut spending and downsize government dramatically when they have been so averse to doing this in the past?
Would they suddenly decide to fight the socialists, and finally try to win? After all, their default mode has been surrender and betrayal. What would change that pattern if we suddenly had a Balanced Budget Amendment?
The flaw in Walker's embrace of the Balanced Budget Amendment is the nature of his own party. It does not act with principle and integrity; it has few scruples about spending excessively and expanding government; it does not fight the good fight; and it is quick to surrender under pressure from the media/left complex.
Under those circumstances, the Balanced Budget Amendment is a surefire recipe for massive tax increases.
But as I said, I think his intentions are good.