from The Freeman, in an old article by Hans Sennholz:
Most Americans favor it [government spending], legislators enact it, and government agents administer it. A Constitutional amendment calling for balanced budgets, enacted under such conditions, may restore balance through significant tax boosts. But it may also lead to massive reorganization of government activity and spending. In particular, it may prompt a Federal rush to the backdoors of government spending, and give rise to countless new off-budget agencies and private enterprises under government control. The possibilities of concealment and just plain trickery are endless. It is naive to believe that a balanced budget amendment, enacted by the masters of subterfuge, could dampen the enthusiasm for Federal largess.
I hope “Cut, Cap, and Balance” passes the House today. It has little chance to pass the Senate, and no chance to avoid an Obama veto.
But even if it, or anything like it, were to pass through Congress and the President, Sennholz (he is now deceased, I met him long ago - He had a very interesting life story) has a good point to make in this article from 1987. We are in the current fiscal mess because most Americans want the government to spend a lot of money. They also do not want the government to collect (in taxes on them) all the money they want the government to spend. The government couldn’t collect that money because we don’t have it.
Most of us have wanted all this for a long time now – as did our parents and perhaps even some of our grandparents. Politicians have simply done the bidding of most of us. This means that ever-increasing government debt is a spiritual problem, involving greed, envy, and many other issues that are ultimately spiritual.
Wanting things you can’t afford, and acting to get them even when you can’t afford them, is a spiritual problem. It is the kind of problem which can be solved only by repentance, that is, a fundamental change of your mind about the problem at hand.
Nothing is changed by the fact that the things you want might at least seem good, benevolent, or nice. Take careful note of this: at one level it is just as wrong to borrow money you can’t pay back to help your needy neighbor as it is to borrow money you can’t pay back to buy yourself a new car. (Think about that again, and maybe a third time.)
I utterly detest the ideology of Obama and his whole gang of thugs. But his resistance to correcting the problem of ever-increasing government spending and the resulting increasing debt simply mirrors what most Americans want. And I am confident that if you examine yourself carefully, you will find that you want governments to do all sorts of things that governments need not do – and you don’t want to pay for them.
So until YOU are willing to repent of your government spending addictions, don’t blame politicians for simply carrying out the desires of you and most of your neighbors. The national government has a large credit card with a limit it can raise at will mostly because you want it that way. You like at least some of the results. You like to spend money you don’t have. The only solution to that problem is repentance.