- Spending cannot be higher than the prior year's amount, plus the rate of inflation and population growth.
- If, at the end of a given fiscal year, the estimates were wrong and the budget is still not balanced, the difference would automatically be cut from the budget for the next fiscal year according to a very specific, predetermined formula.
- An exception can be included for war declared by Congress, or a national calamity. The benchmark for meeting the definition of the latter would need to be quite high, something in the range of 90 percent of members of Congress agreeing. That may seem like an unrealistic bar, but how many politicians would have voted against declaring 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina a national calamity?
- Federal expenses cannot be pawned off on the states.
Well, this one is self-explanatory....
Representatives would be limited to three total terms (six total years) and senators would be limited to two total terms (twelve total years).
Note: Interestingly enough, this exact language was proposed by Senator DeMint in November of last year... and has gone nowhere.
This one is also self-explanatory. It could be abused, but right now, so are the rules in Congress allowing them to add in pet projects to popular/necessary bills under the radar. Ideally, this would be even better if it (instead) limited the number of pages in a bill, required members of Congress to read it, and then required each provision/article/whatever to be voted on separately and thrown out if it could not pass on its own.
In addition, other "common sense" reforms would need to be enacted at a slightly lower level than amending the Constitution:
Lobbying Bill Objectives:
- To force any nationally elected politician to be at least four years removed from office before he can work as a lobbyist. This would take most of their appeal to lobbying firms away because their insider contacts would be much less relevant after four years. It would also prevent people from using political office only as an entryway into a lucrative lobbying career, which happens all too often.
- Family members of current members of Congress cannot be lobbyists. Period. It's almost embarrassing that this has not already been outlawed. A recent CBS News investigation revealed, "19 federal lobbyists closely related to members of Congress, including dads, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, in-laws, and more."
Although lobbyists cannot directly lobby their relatives, that rule is really just for show. If your daughter is a lobbyist for a defense contractor and you sit on a committee that can approve a project her company is pitching, isn't that a pretty big conflict of interest?
Require War To Be Declared:
For starters, this prevents the Congress from declaring military appropriations to be "emergency spending" without declaring war. Which makes sense, as it isn't really an emergency if you won't declare a war.
If the cause is just, the Congress will support it. And if it doesn't, because of politics or any other petty reason, then we have even more problems than I thought.
Washington keeps making commissions to look into how to solve problems, getting recommendations, and completely ignoring them. This needs to stop. It also needs to be a commission of outsiders (like the Grace Commission in the 80s, that was sadly ignored by Congress). The politicians are already beholden to special interests and political lobbies.
Redraw The Battle Lines:
Gerrymandering must end. Thus, the districts can't be drawn by politicians - of either party. Strangely, California (yes, California) has already enacted a reform to stop this. Districts in California are now shaped by a fourteen-member commission, chosen like a jury. Even better, none of those chosen can be of the "political class". It might not be a perfect reform, but it is a hell of a lot better than what is in most states. (Of course, my state's is really easy, as it is only one district. )
Create a new kind of bond that is only available to citizens. No more passing the debt burden to our children by using foreigners as the enablers. Plus, this prevents foreign nations from leveraging our debt against us.
Some critics will say we need foreigners to continue buying our debt because we have so much of it to issue and they'll help keep interest rates low. But those critics are only proving my point. If our debt isn't quite so easy and cheap to issue, then maybe we'll start thinking more about it.
The "Stop Empowering Influential Unions" (SEIU) Act:
The rules regarding public unions should be fixed. The politicians don't pay the bills - they generally give the unions what they want to buy their votes. This is literally bankrupting the country. The whole problem can be resolved by eliminating JFK's 1962 executive order on the subject. Yeah, that's right. No law, just an executive order.
- Prohibit Fund-Raising When Congress Is In Session
- Utilize Technology (allowing Congress to meet without necessarily being in Washington - even the White House uses this)
- Limit The Length Of Congressional Sessions (like, say, 120 days/year)
Leaving members of Congress in Washington for long periods of time is like locking teenage boys in a room with a bottle of whisky: We're just asking for trouble.
Alright, and since this is so long, I will be moving the actual proposed budget cuts to a separate thread to discuss.
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Count Axel Oxenstierna wrote:Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?