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Politics: Budget Proposal Unbalanced

Updated on December 20, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1964. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Founding fathers pictured on poster are Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
Founding fathers pictured on poster are Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

The Scales of Justice

A balanced budget amendment is a bad idea, and most legislators know it.

There's only one reason any legislator would vote for a balanced budget amendment -- politics!

Any legislator who would cast a ballot that endangers the heart and soul of our republic is, at best, unwise.

Budget problems abound, but a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget is not the answer. Our legislators already have the power to balance the budget if they believe it to be in the best interests of the country.

The founders of our country knew our Constitution would have to provide for a representative democracy if our noble experiment were to succeed -- even though the nation's population in those days was relatively small.

Imperfect Democracy

Despite their belief in individual freedom, and an abiding determination to be free of the tyrannies of the past, those great men framed a representative government. They were well aware it would not be possible to have a perfect democracy in which citizens cast votes for themselves on every issue.

Today, our representatives often come under heavy attack for their votes on a wide variety of issues, but the truth is, we simply can't get along without them (although sometimes we wish we could.)

With our country's population now at (about 265) million, it's simplistic to think we can be governed in any other way.

Bitter Politics on the Rise

Increasingly bitter politics has made the job of elected officials less enviable than at any time in the past, and if we are to encourage our best and brightest to run for office we need to be more respectful of those offices, even when we hold individual incumbents in less than high esteem.

Who would want to sacrifice his time and, perhaps, money to seek a legislative seat only to make decisions on minor issues? What kind of man or woman would run for a position that doesn't offer significant input on budgets?

Why tie the hands of legislators on the most important aspect of their job: deciding what programs are needed and how much funding we can afford for each?

Let Pollsters Decide?

These decisions have a bearing on the economy as well. If we're going to restrict our representatives' budget powers and, perhaps, limit their terms of office, we might as well throw out the Constitution and disband both houses of congress; let a pollster decide how we spend our money!

If we hope to have the kind of government we deserve, the president and the congress must preserve the flexibility to make decisions they believe to be essential for national security, not only militarily, but also economically and socially.

Any representative worth his salt votes for what he believes is best in the long run for his constituents; trying to put our two cents in on issues few of us know much about only aggravates an already touchy situation.

Let's hope our congressmen think this issue through clearly and vote down any effort to force through a balanced budget amendment. And, if it should pass, let's hope the states have enough wisdom to let the issue die a natural death.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Feb. 5, 1997. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.

Should Federal Law Require That Every Budget Be Balanced?

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San Francisco Job Cuts -- Efforts to Balance the Budget


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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, Patty Inglish.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Still a first rate Hub after three years or more!

    • compu-smart profile image


      11 years ago from London UK

      i hope so..


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Bill ... I think I could vote for Linda

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, compu-smart. Let's hope the changes are for the good, and let's hope you are around for the good news. There's alway hope.

    • compu-smart profile image


      11 years ago from London UK

      Lindas comments are spot on me thinks! and it's a shame i won't be arond when the real changes for the good happen and ill be glad i wont be around if the changes get too bad!!

      Great article. William.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I agree, Linda, that our legislators are generally disappointing. But unless computer technology gets a whole lot more sophisticated than it is, we will have to live with "representative democracy." No one could foresee the mess we're in, but we can't give up on democracy -- where would we go?

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Me thinks thy givest the fools in goverment too much credit. I don't trust a one of them - They've moved into a plushy life and forgot us common people.

      They vote for their own interests first.

      I don't think "The founders of our country" forsaw how things would change in a couple of hundred years.


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