Proposed: A constitutional amendment for the U.S. budget

  • Article by: Eric Posner
  • Updated: October 17, 2013 - 6:31 PM

It’s time to give the president the power to borrow as necessary to pay the bills.

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drfranktOct. 17, 13 7:25 PM

The current occupier of the White House should never, ever have the ability to borrow "as necessary," nor should any other democrat. Can you just imagine the size of the debt if they were capable of taking as much as they want whenever they want? Oh, the humanity!!!

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jd55604Oct. 17, 13 8:17 PM

How about another constitutional amendment that completely eliminates the legislative and judicial branches of government? We can give the executive branch unlimited powers. Sure, some people might call that a dictatorship but just imagine all of the laws the president could pass and all the money he could borrow with absolutely no checks and balances totally un-hindered.

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endothermOct. 17, 13 8:37 PM

Understand that Congress sets the budget, not the White House. The problem comes when Congress votes for spending and then refuses to pay for it after the money has already been spent. If you want to lower spending levels, this should be done before the spending is approved. Defaulting on debt after the fact should not be an option.

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fursideOct. 17, 13 9:07 PM

Looks like we should go back to Reagan levels of taxation and get rid of the loop holes for the wealthy and big corporations. It has been the congressional largess and special consideration in response to the corrupting power of corporate campaign dollars; coupled with the irresponsible behavior of two of the last three republican presidents (Reagan and W) that have put us behind the eight ball with their spending and borrowing habits. HW, Clinton and our very good President Barack Obama have all behaved properly in deciding how to deal with the messes left them by the GOP administrations. Our deficit is less than half of what is was under W and with the appropriate taxation on those who have extracted wealth from the economy for the past 30 years and domestic investment we can grow out of this debt. Remember Clinton left a 500 billion dollar surplus and W gave it away, cut taxes and took his chosen wars off the books. And the tea party types are confused that we have debt. lol We need Democratic, single party rule for a couple of decades before allowing the failed notions from the right to have any consideration in actually governing. This most recent stunt proves that the right should not be trusted with any power in our government. They are neither morally or intellectually up to the task of wise leadership.

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reidOct. 17, 13 9:20 PM

How's about we point out that the citizens, the taxed, are the ones who MUST live within a budget, or at least be told by some bank or lending institution that NO, you may NOT have any more money? We face that all the time. Can't get a new car, no line of credit. Can't move into a bigger house, no line of credit. These folks at the banks etc are very happy to lend money when they know they can get it back, in 1 to 30 years. Look at the history of the size of debt and do you see any point when it will level off and begin to be repaid? I sure don't. Let's start with THAT as the first constitutional amendment, and then add to it that for every NEW law that Congress enacts, THREE previously enacted be removed from the books.

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mchristiOct. 17, 1311:17 PM

It's silly to claim that giving the president power to borrow money to meet the budget and obligations of the United States will lead to any more debt that the government currently accumulates. Congress controls the expenditures. Giving the president specific authority to borrow does't allow the executive to create expenditures without the Congress. If the Congress wants to limit the debt created by the government, it has the option of providing sufficient revenue to cover what they appropriate they pass, or to reduce expenditures so that less debt, or no debt, is created. The former is, irrationally, off limits to one party of our major parties. The later is something neither party has been able to achieve. Although over the last several decades it's the the Democrats who have so far shown themselves to be actually more disciplined financially than the Republicans, contrary to the image that Republican and Conservative partisans like to brandy about.

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hobie2Oct. 17, 1311:29 PM

Are you nuts?! Do the words "Reagan" and "Bush" ring a bell? If they would have had that power, we would be so far in debt the interest would exceed the GDP... No way does one man get that power. Voters need to grow up, not give the power to one person.

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hobie2Oct. 17, 1311:35 PM

"Understand that Congress sets the budget, not the White House."... What Americans forget is that the White House writes the checks, and the President is expected to stay within that budget when writing checks... Reagan ignored his budget from Congress and Bush ignored his budget from Congress, and they said they would ignore it - and they did - and they racked up huge debt and didn't seem to care... Budget is from Congress - spending is from the White House. They are the same amounts only if the President spends within budget.

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falcon1681Oct. 18, 1312:02 AM

drfrankt - The current occupier of the White House should never, ever have the ability to borrow "as necessary," nor should any other democrat. Can you just imagine the size of the debt if they were capable of taking as much as they want whenever they want? Oh, the humanity!!! -------- No kidding! It would be like Republican control round 2!

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comment229Oct. 18, 13 5:06 AM

Obama should not have the power to do this? Ironic, where were you the eight years before Obama when this was done automatically with no strings attached? And to the author of this who says "My proposed amendment is narrow. It would not permit a president to borrow money to make Social Security and Medicare payments or to pay the troops" your proposed amendment is too narrow. I too, have my pet areas that I would like to see cut but, why not let congress try to cut, and when the day comes that everybody is happy with gridlock, have the amendment say that every federal program is cut 1% across the board, and when/if the next limit is reached, and again, no compromise can be made, cut it again, 1% across the board and on and on and on, until we get the debt ceiling stable, and the budget under control (betcha a whole lot of members of congress rethink appropriations bills for new projects; better known as pork). Do I want to see this amendment? None of us do, but as long as we have members of congress who insist we are the policeman of the world and need to take care of the plight of other world citizens, before our own, this will continue. Share the pain.

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