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“The GOP’s Laughable Call for a Balanced Budget Amendment” by Barbara Boland

On the heels of an unpaid-for $1.3 trillion spending binge, House Republicans have announced they plan to—I’m not making this up—push for a balanced budget amendment (BBA) when they return from recess. This only proves there is no low to which the GOP will not stoop as it continues to insult the intelligence of its voter base.

The real strategy to pass a BBA, as happened with Obamacare, will most likely be to hold empty, meaningless roll call votes on measures that have no hope of passing and which the GOP has no plan to carry out. Then a Republican lawmaker can tell voters in the fall: “Look, we tried to do something about federal spending, but the Democrats voted against the balanced budget amendment.”

Here’s why the GOP’s move to prioritize BBAs should be perceived as the duplicitous pandering and vacuous virtue signaling that it is: first, there’s the timing. This gesture comes just after lawmakers from both parties passed a broad, two-year budget framework that blows up the budget caps imposed in 2011, and will lead to trillions in spending each and every year henceforth, with interest payments on the massive federal debt set to outpace the cost of the military and the cost of Medicaid in just eight years. Voting for gargantuan spending of this size and then claiming to support a balanced budget amendment is like gorging on a sumptuous feast while insisting that you want a svelte physique.

The other reason voters should not take the Republican call for a BBA seriously is that even in the best of times it is almost impossible to pass an amendment to the Constitution. A balanced-budget amendment would require the support of two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate, in addition to the backing of three quarters of the states. That’s an almost impossible lift, which is why only 27 amendments to the Constitution have ever been ratified.

Nevertheless, calls for BBAs have been popular since the 1980s, and gained particular steam from conservatives in 2010 with the Tea Party movement. The idea sounds deceptively simple: a balanced budget amendment would require that the government spend no more than it takes in during any given year.

But even if by some miracle one was ratified, a balanced budget amendment is a blunt instrument that wouldn’t necessarily be effective. That’s because during recessions and economic downturns, the government has to spend more on things like nutritional assistance and unemployment benefits. With a BBA in place, Congress would be unable to do so, resulting in something like sequestration on steroids.

Full column by Barbara Boland @ The American Conservative http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-gops-laughable-call-for-a-balanced-budget-amendment/

Vote for Gary Johnson for Less Government

Just to be clear:a vote for Gary Johnson for President is a vote against Hilary Clinton – and a vote against Donald Trump.

Hilary Clinton promises new federal aid programs to deal with education, healthcare, and law enforcement. This will burden a federal government already 20 trillion dollars in the hole. In less than two decades, the Clinton brand has gone from “the era of big government is over” to Bernie on a budget.

Of course, Hilary Clinton has a record of support for big government. During her 8 years in the Senate, she voted for the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and the bank bailout – initiatives by President Bush intended to give the federal government new powers for law enforcement, education, and financial control. As President she will continue to promote government as the solution to social and economic problems in America.

Hilary Clinton also favors active government in international affairs. In the Senate, she voted in favor of the Iraq War in 2002. She joined with 29 other Senate Democrats to vote in favor of George W Bush’s policy of pre-emptive war, based on faulty intelligence. In 2009 she left the Senate to become Secretary of State. As Secretary of State she pushed for interventions in Libya and Syria.

George W Bush’s pre-emptive war on Iraq resulted in more than 4000 Americans dying, more than 40,000 with life-changing wounds, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed. The Iraq war has cost the taxpayers trillions of dollars, and the costs continue to rise – medical care for wounded vets, reconstruction in Iraq, and interest on the debt which resulted from the multi-trillion dollar war. The Iraq war has not made America safer and has not brought peace and order to Iraq, where fighting is going on today between Iraqi Shi’ite militias and the Islamic State.

The intervention in Libya has ended the tyrannical reign of Muamar Qaddafi, but it has also led to chaos and violence as constant companions for the Libyan people. The Libyan chaos has made room for extremists who may threaten nearby countries in the future, and an end to chaos is nowhere in sight.

Syria is engulfed in a civil war, with more than two sides. As Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton lobbied for direct intervention and aid to Syrian militias that might be induced to fight both the Assad regime and the forces of the Islamic State. Currently, the C.I.A. is supplying weapons to several rebel groups, including at least one with ties to Al Qaeda. The Pentagon is providing aid to several other extremist militias in Syria. US intervention in Libya and Syria is taking place after the disaster of the intervention in Iraq, and before any real plan to bring freedom to the Libyan and Syrian people has been developed.

Hilary Clinton has a record of support for active government at home, and military and political intervention in the Middle East. As President, Hilary Clinton will be guided by this faith in government, and all Americans will pay the price.

Donald Trump does not provide a real alternative. Mr Trump proposes costly new government powers to deal with illegal immigration. His plan to deport up to 11 million people would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and involve a massive increase in federal police powers. Building a wall along the border would cost more billions.

Mr Trump proposes very high tariffs – 35% to 45% – directed against America’s biggest trading partners. Donald Trump’s anti-trade policies would devastate American business, prompt retaliation, and throw many out of work.

Immigration restrictions, mass deportation, and limits on international trade form the core of Donald Trump’s campaign.

Donald Trump’s crusade against immigrants alienates Hispanic voters as well as liberals and conservatives who favor a liberal immigration policy. His calls for punitive tariffs directed at China and Mexico drives away business owners. Donald Trump cannot beat Hilary Clinton; conservatives need to look at another choice.

Gary Johnson has a record of cutting taxes and holding the line on government growth. He and Governor Weld have the experience to deal with the financial mess that is the federal government. American taxpayers cannot afford to pay for all the programs that the politicians promise. A vote for Gary Johnson is a vote in favor of downsizing the federal government, and a vote for two former Governors with the experience to cut the power and the cost of the federal government.

A vote for Gary Johnson and other Libertarian candidates will build America’s third party, and lay the groundwork for a real challenge to bipartisan statism in 2018, 2020 and beyond. Vote Libertarian, Tuesday, November 8!


California: Vote No on Debt and Taxes!

On Tuesday, November 8, Californians will vote on whether to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for school facilities, and whether to extend temporary tax hikes on high earners.

Proposition 51 authorizes the state to issue 9 billion dollars in bonds to pay for construction and repair of facilities for public schools, charters schools and community colleges. The bonds will cost the taxpayers 8.6 billion dollars in interest, for a total cost of $17.6 billion dollars. The state will have to collect a half billion dollars a year in taxes for 35 years to pay back these bonds.

Governor Jerry Brown opposes this new bond issue, because the state has too much debt already. Libertarians favor a system of private schools for all, with scholarships for those who need help paying tuition. This will guarantee access to education for all, while transferring the capital cost of school construction from the taxpayers to private and corporate educational businesses. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote No on more debt, Vote No on Proposition 51.

Proposition 55 will extend for 12 years income tax hikes on residents earning $250,000 a year or more. Governor Jerry Brown promoted temporary tax hikes in 2012, and he favors letting the tax increases expire. California already puts a high cost on success, making the state less welcoming to successful individuals and successful companies. We must create a business climate that promotes economic growth in order to keep Californians working and productive. We need tax cuts for economic growth, not tax hikes. Governor Jerry Brown and The Libertarian Party urge you to vote against high taxes, Vote No on Proposition 55.

Proposition 53 is an amendment to the California Constitutionnnn that will require voter approval of revenue bonds if the issue exceeds 2 billion dollars. The Constitution now requires approval by the voters for bonds dedicated to funding specific projects, but does not require voter approval for general purpose revenue bonds. Proposition 53 will make it harder for the state to go more into debt. The Libertarian Party urges you to Vote Yes on Proposition 53.