As I listen to all the banter back and forth on the solutions to the fiscal cliff and see that no one is actually proposing anything that solves any of the problems I become more and more disheartened with what has become of our governing processes. So much so that I believe it is time for some tough love for Washington.
I would propose that two thirds of the states sponsor a constitutional convention to write and ratify a constitutional amendment to drive fiscal responsibility into the political discourse. The amendment could either take the form of a balanced budget amendment or a mandatory spending cap amendment, my preference. In either case the amendment must have some VERY significant teeth.
The path I would suggest is an amendment that would call for spending to be capped at the prior years actual level for any year where the federal government runs a deficit. Should the next year be in deficit as well the budget will be the lower of the prior year or the first year in the string of deficits. There should be an exception for expenditures in times of declared war or extreme national crisis in which case the cap can be temporarily removed for a one budget year period with a two thirds majority of both the House and Senate. Also, there would be an allowance for modifying “mandatory spending” so that all spending areas would be available to Congress to address the deficit.
This approach would gradually balance the budget through the natural growth of the economy and would not dictate how the deficits are managed providing Congress some flexibility in dealing with these challenges.
However, there would need to be some significant penalties associated with violating the covenants of the amendment. I would suggest that it be mandatory that the House of Representatives writes a budget each year and the budget must pass the House and Senate and be signed by the President. Should Congress and the Executive fail at this task. The remaining terms of all members of Congress and the President will be vacated and the States shall appoint new members to fulfill the remainder of those terms, the reconvened Congress would then nominate a President and Vice President to fulfill the remaining Presidential term. The objective is to make it so onerous for Washington to fail to pass a budget by including their own pink slips in the process that it should never happen.
I would be interested in your feedback since it has become clear that Washington cannot fix itself.
My 2 cents