If you are confused as to what is going on in Washington concerning the looming national debt deadline, you are not alone. Washington politicians, mostly lawyers, are masters of obfuscation. The MSM, propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, are ignoring the CCB proposal from the House that passed yesterday along a party line vote, 234-190 with eight or nine Republicans voting against it. At the same time, everyone seems to be leaning toward a compromise plan being hatched by the “Gang of Seven” in the Senate: This in spite of the fact that details of the plan have not yet been made public.
Advance information on the plan is that it will call for a raise in the debt ceiling while increasing revenue by some $1 trillion, with a reduction in spending of $3.5 trillion over the next ten years. The only certainty in all this is that the American people will eventually be the loser, taxpayers will have to cough up additional taxes and the meager influence of the U.S. Constitution will be diminished even further. It strains credulity to believe future Congresses will honor any budget cutting deals made by the current Congress.
A further test of our gullibility is the insistence by conservatives that they will not vote to raise taxes under any circumstances, but they are not necessarily opposed to increasing revenue through closing tax loopholes and other tax reform measures. To be fair, it should be pointed out that very few conservative politicians have promised not to raise taxes. They have only promised not to raise tax rates. Thanks to the success politicians and the media have had in corrupting the English language, such nuances of speech can easily be slipped by a trusting public.
The claim of increasing revenue without raising taxes is based on closing “loopholes” in the current tax code. A side effect of the class envy promoted by progressives over the past hundred years is that almost everyone is against tax loopholes — until they understand what a tax loophole is. Loophole is the word used by politicians to cast dispersions on certain types of “deductions”. By using the word loophole instead of deduction it is easy to convince the public that “fat cat” rich folks avoid paying their taxes by taking unfair or even illegal deductions. The type of deductions being considered in the Gang of Seven plan are things like deductions for mortgage interest, and deductions for minor children, etc. Very few taxpayers, homeowners and parents would consider these “loopholes”.
The truth is that the ONLY way to increase revenue to the federal government is through raising taxes. Government has no revenue other than taxes extracted from the producing members of society. Other schemes for raising revenue through fees, permitting, tolls, etc., are really taxes on taxes, in most cases. For example, National Parks are owned and supported by the public; when we pay a fee to enter a park we are simply paying an additional tax on top of the taxes we already pay to support the park in the first place. In other words, we are paying an additional tax in order to use a facility we already own. The same is true at the local level when the City Fire Department charges you $800 to transport you to a hospital, two blocks away, after a traffic accident. The Fire Department and the Ambulance have already been paid for by taxes. The idea that revenue can be increased $1 trillion without raising taxes has to be the ultimate oxymoron.
There is no long-term way to get us out of our financial crisis other than “gritting our teeth” and abiding by the Constitution; only spending taxpayer money on programs authorized under the enumerated powers section. In the short term, we need to hold the line on the debt by refusing to raise the limit under any circumstances. That is the only way to force Washington to get their financial affairs in order before the next elections. I do not believe a Balanced Budget Amendment would provide much help with a government that violates the Constitution with impunity on a daily basis. However, a concise, well-written Amendment probably would do little harm.
The proposed BBA is a good start, provided it is limited to the wording of Section 1.
“Total outlays for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for that fiscal year, unless two-thirds of the duly chosen and sworn Members of each House of Congress shall provide by law for a specific excess of outlays over receipts by a roll call vote.”
Any additional words only gives politicians the tools to nullify it through imaginary meanings their legal wizards read into the text. However, I find a bit of irony in the term “sworn members” used in the Amendment, when if the member’s oath to defend the Constitution had been taken seriously in the past we would not be having the present debate. By the way, any plan the Gang of Seven comes up with is unconstitutional on its face because it purports to raise revenue. The Constitution requires that all revenue bills originate in the House.