Federal government spending is something that impacts all Americans. For this reason, a balanced budget amendment has been voted into legislation that is designed to lessen the deficits that the government consistently runs on. The federal government has been running deficits for a number of years before the balanced budget amendment was even introduced. The budget problem that the government faces has been the topic of debate and conversation for many years, but a solution is what many have been looking for.
Some feel that the balanced budget amendment can be the solution to the deficit problem. Since 49 of the nation’s states were required to balance their budget at the time this amendment was introduced, it only made sense that the federal government would also require budgeting. The concept of the balanced budget amendment may sound simple in theory, but it is actually quite complex. In order to understand what this amendment entails, it is important to take a closer look at both the pros and cons of the balanced budget amendment.
Pros of the Balanced Budget Amendment
There are some major benefits that can be gained through the balanced budget amendment that can impact government spending and the accumulation of debt.
1. Curb Spending
The facts speak for themselves and clearly show that the federal government has a spending problem. Each year the government goes further and further into debt and this will only stop with the balanced budget amendment. This amendment puts a limit on the spending and puts restrictions on the debt accumulation of the federal government. The economy as a whole will suffer and the standard of living could drop significantly without this amendment in place to curb the over spending of the government.
2. Wasteful Programs Can Be Cut
Another pro of balancing the budget involves evaluating government programs and spending for effectiveness. Without a budget all programs are deemed successful, but budgeting allows for the government and congress to clearly analyze the programs that are working and those that should be cut. Wiser spending decisions are a result of the balanced budget amendment.
Cons of the Balanced Budget Amendment
Not everything involving this amendment is seen as a benefit. There are a few downsides to this amendment and the impact it could have on the government.
1. Too Simplistic
Those that are against this amendment feel that it is way too simplistic in form. Many feel that government spending is a very complex problem that can’t be fixed or corrected with simple budgeting and spending restrictions. There are deeper issues that are the cause of overspending and they need to be addressed before this problem can be corrected effectively. Some feel that the balanced budget amendment is just puts a band aid to a larger issue and does not really eliminate the over sending problem.
2. Economy Could Worsen
If government spending is decreased significantly, this can lead to increased economic downturn. Government spending should increase when the economy is on the decline, but this amendment makes it impossible for the economy to improve.
First Introduced Around 1995
The balanced budget amendment has been adopted and introduced since the middle 1990’s. When the republicans took control of both houses of congress, they made promises to make federal budgeting a priority at this time. The balanced budget amendment was first introduced at this time and was to be considered, but it fell short of the needed votes to go into legislation.
What is the Balanced Budget Amendment?
The fact is that the federal government often spends significantly more money than they take in through the form of taxes each year. This overspending is what has led to the ever growing deficit. The money that the government overspends is what they end up borrowing to function. This just leads to the accumulation of debt without any limits or restrictions.
A balanced budget amendment could be the answer to the federal debt problems by keeping the government from overspending. This amendment would restrict the spending of the federal government and keep the debt from accumulating any further. The only way that the government would be able to spend more than they take in through taxes under the balanced budget amendment would be with a three-fifths congress vote. Congress would also be able to waive this amendment in wartime. This means that budget restrictions would be in place, but there would still be exceptions.
Amendments Are Complex
You might not realize this, but amending the constitution is actually more complex than passing a law. Amendments only go into effect after receiving a two-thirds vote in each House of Congress. This can often be hard to come by and is the main reason why the balanced budget amendment took so long to go into legislation.