In the heat of the battle over pork in congress (or rather, the battle is between those outside of congress and those inside), the suggestion comes again that we should have some amendments under consideration. One being a balanced budget amendment and one being a Truth in Legislation amendment.
The balanced budget amendment is unfortunate. Like all people and companies there are times when you absolutely must spend more than you have. Emergencies, buying a house, making that critical investment on infrastructure. It’s unfortunate that our congressmen and women, over the past several decades, have abuse that need so that we have perpetually been in debt.
Some of that debt is not a bad thing. There always will be a bit of debt in the form of government bonds, and bonds are one of the things that keeps the stock market from careening off in one direction or another.
Credit agencies determine part of your score by what percentage of your credit limit is currently in use. How much debt are you in vs. how much space there is on your card. Another measure might be: how much money do you owe vs. how much you make.
How’s the fed doing on either of these standards?
And considering that their “income” is actually your money and mine, frivolous spending even within a sensible budget is irresponsible.
So, as I said, a balanced budget amendment might be necessary, but it’s unfortunate.
However, a truth in legislation amendment might be more useful, and has no real downsides that I can determine. It might not, however, stop pork in its tracks, just make it easier to see the frivolous spending. For instance, the transportation bill that just passed, if all the spending was for roadways and transportation related projects, then it would all be one subject and allowed in the bill. However some of those transportation projects are things that the fed shouldn’t be doing. And some are patently useless.
Jon Henke has some interesting ideas for controlling government spending.