Bennet’s Posturing v. Buck’s Conviction On Federal Spending In The Colorado Senate Race

Writing at the Denver Post’s blog The Spot, Allison Sherry asks which is more realistic, Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet’s proposed “Deficit Reduction Act” or a constitutional balanced budget requirement supported by Ken Buck and certain Republican Senators.

Well, in 1995, Republicans proposed a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget in seven years.   The House passed the amendment by a vote of 300 to 132.  It was then  supported by all but 1 of the 53 Senate Republicans, plus 14 of 47 Democrats — one vote short, since a two-thirds majority is required to pass a constitutional amendment.  (Six Senate Democrats opposed the measure despite having supported a virtually identical measure the year before, denying the new Republican majority a major victory). 

So history shows that a wave election that ushers enough Republicans into office can lay the groundwork for passage of a constitutional balanced budget amendment.  

Bennet’s”Deficit Reduction Act” proposal would require the deficit to be no more than 4 percent of GDP in 2012, and then require it to be no more than 3 percent of GDP every year after that, using automatic spending cuts if necessary to meet the target. It is merely a stunt.  The Act  Bennet happily supported Obama’s spending agenda, but he now needs to look like he’s busy trying to cut costs.  The proposal has no chance of passing, and Bennet knows it has no chance of passing.

And even if it did pass, Obama would veto it.  He also has no real interest in actually cutting spending from the current 12% of GDP, and the policies Obama has proposed and Bennet supported would make the required cuts impossible.  Sen. Bennet isn’t a moron.  He knows this.  The proposal is merely posturing.

Buck, on the other hand, seems to be genuinely concerned about federal spending.  Hopefully, he will not lose that conviction once elected, as I hope he will be.

In any event, the answer to Ms. Sherry’s query is that neither idea is currently realistic.  Bennet’s proposal is an un-serious non-starter.  While the constitutional amendment has some historical success behind it, there is no realistic chance that the Republicans will take enough seats this cycle to gain passage.  And Obama would veto it if they did.

Anyone who wants a balanced budget amendment needs to work to elect Republicans this November, then work harder to ensure that they do not lose focus and discipline so we can elect enough Republicans in 2012, including a Republican president, to give a balanced budget amendment a chance.

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Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] long ago, Bennet proposed meaningless legislation requiring the deficit to be no more than 4 percent of GDP in 2012, then no more than 3 percent […]


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