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TRI-CITY RECORD: Time to Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment

The U.S. Treasury Department has pegged August 2nd as the day when the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority and default on its debt, unless an agreement is reached to further raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.  Because of Washington’s reckless spending habits, every American child born today already owes more than $46,000 to our creditors – that is close to the annual income of most Michigan families.  With staggering figures like this, is it any surprise that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, remarked earlier this year that “the single biggest threat to our national security is our debt”?
Major credit rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s have recently put the federal government on notice that it is dangerously close to losing its AAA credit rating on account of our current fiscal crisis.  If we fail to correct course and continue down our current path, the consequences will be devastating for generations of Americans to come.
To seriously address our fiscal challenges, the time has come for not only deep cuts, but fundamental budgetary reforms as well.  As one who served in President Ronald Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget, I have long supported a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. 
Forty-nine states, including Michigan, already have some form of a balanced budget amendment – it is time for Washington to follow suit and stop spending money it simply does not have.  Spending cuts and caps are important and effective tools for enforcing fiscal discipline, however, they are temporary and could easily be swept aside by Congress in the future.  A constitutionally mandated balanced budget would be permanently binding.
Balancing a budget is no simple task – just ask any Michigan family or business owner – but it is the responsible thing to do, particularly in a struggling economy.
There is room for disagreement over when, where, and how the government should be using taxpayer dollars, but enforcing a balanced budget is something all Americans can agree on.


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