With Constitution Day rapidly approaching, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an important constitutional debate we’re having right now in Washington and why it matters for the economy and our future.
Faith in government is at an all-time low. Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the country is on the wrong track and doubts about the economy seem to be getting worse by the day.
It’s hard to blame anybody who has come to have doubts over the years. I know I certainly do. But this year, we have a real genuine opportunity to change that.
As I see it, the best way that Congress can contribute to fixing the economy isn’t so much with any “stimulus” plan, but rather by giving Americans a reason to believe that the country is back on the right track and that things are getting better again.
As long as most Americans believe that things will be worse next year than they are this year, nobody is going to go out and replace that old refrigerator, buy that new car, or hire that new worker. Confidence, in other words, is the key.
The best way that many of my colleagues and I can see to restore that confidence is by passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
For years, politicians have been promising to choose the hard right over the easy wrong and yet year after year, Congress after Congress has decided to put it off until after the next election.
It’s sad to say it, but unless we require our elected officials to make the tough choices, they’ll simply keep putting it off.
Forty-nine out of fifty states have some sort of balanced budget requirement and it goes without saying that small businesses and families certainly do too.
The only organization I know of that thinks it can get away with borrowing forty cents of every dollar it spends is the federal government.
The debt we have and the debt we are soon to accumulate is the result of decades of policy decisions and kicking the can down the road.
Both parties are responsible and both parties will need to work together to fix it.
The only way I see that happening is if the discipline of a constitutional requirement is imposed on the budget process.
Many don’t realize this, but Congress fell just one vote short of passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution in 1997. One vote! Imagine where things would be today if that had happened. In any case, we are going to try again this fall. If that is something you believe Congress should do, I strongly encourage you to contact my office and sign the petition I am putting together.
We have a chance to change the course of our country’s history and to give our children and grandchildren a better country than we found it, just as our parents and grandparents did for us.
Will you join me?
U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent