Balanced Budget Amendment

The Death Of Former Senator Mark Hatfield Of Oregon: A Great Public Servant And Mainstream Republican!

The death over last weekend of former Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon reminds us of just how far the Republican Party has shifted from the 1960s through the 1990s mainstream historical tradition.

Mark Hatfield was a Senator’s Senator, one of the giants of the Republican Party, much admired and respected by Democrats, as well as mainstream Republicans.

The fact that South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in the early years of Hatfield’s Senate tenure, and newly elected Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in 1995 moved to harm Hatfield’s seniority over different issues such as civil rights and the so called “balanced budget” amendment, only adds to his historical stature. And today, we have people of the ilk of Thurmond (Rick Perry, for instance), and Santorum himself attempting to be the nominee of his party for President on a platform promoting hate and lunatic ideas, demonstrating the moral crisis in the GOP these days.

Hatfield believed in government, supported social programs with vigor, and opposed defense spending and intervention in foreign lands, having the distinction of NEVER supporting a Pentagon spending bill in his thirty years in the US Senate.

Hafield was a religious man, a Baptist, but believed in separation of church and state. He was the true image of a really religious man, who believed that we are here to help our fellow human beings, not be mean spirited and uncaring about those less fortunate. He was the true follower of the beliefs of Jesus Christ, not phonies such as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain, among others in the GOP Presidential race.

Mark Hatfield was a principled progressive in the Republican tradition, and was willing to cross the aisle to work with Democrats for the good of the nation.

How can we mark his death at age 89, without a sense of mourning that the party he was a proud member of, has become a disgrace, an embarrassment, a dinosaur, as the party has allowed itself to be taken over by greedy, selfish interests, and Tea Party radicals that are anarchists, with willingness to destroy the American economy in their hatred of those less fortunate, and particularly their despising of the first African American President, who if he were white, would not have as much poison and venom directed at him, as Barack Obama has to bear daily from despicable talk show hosts and bigoted, right wing corporate spokesmen, and most Congressional Republicans.

Mark Hatfield will be remembered as in the best tradition of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Sr., George Norris, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and numerous other moderate progressives, including Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, Charles Percy, Charles Mathias, Lowell Weicker, Edward Brooke, Clifford Case, William Scranton, Bob Packwood, George Romney, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and others not mentioned here.

So may Mark Hatfield rest in peace, and we should continue to honor him, and teach about his principles and contributions to our political history!

Boehner Debt Ceiling Bill Dead On Arrival With Its Demand For Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment For Later Raising Of The Debt Ceiling In 2012!

The Debt Ceiling proposal of Speaker of the House John Boehner barely made it through the House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 218-210, with 22 Tea Party radicals voting against the proposal.

It has already been defeated in the Senate by a motion to table it, and the President has already indicated that he would veto it were it to pass the Senate.

And there is good reason to defeat it, as it requires another vote in six months on the extension of the debt ceiling, in the midst of a presidential campaign, and would guarantee further economic turmoil while the economy is in such a deep recession. It is reckless and irrational to complicate the economic recovery, and the Democrats are right in demanding an extension of the debt ceiling for 18 months until after the Presidential Election of 2012.

But beyond all this, there is another element to consider, and that is the demand under the Boehner legislation that the Congress MUST pass a balanced budget constitutional amendment, or else the debt ceiling will NOT be raised at all, six months from now!

This is economic terrorism at its worst, and it is, of course, impossible to accomplish!

Realize there are 240 Republicans in the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress, and 47 Republicans in the US Senate.

To accomplish the passage of any constitutional amendment and send it on to the states, a two thirds vote is required in both houses, which means you need 290 votes in the House if everyone is voting, and 67 Senators.

This would mean that at least 50 Democrats in the House of Representatives and 20 Democrats in the Senate would have to support such an amendment, and that simply is NOT going to happen under any circumstances!

And the irony is even if such an occurrence came about, there is almost no chance that 38 state legislatures (three fourths of the states) would pass such an amendment by a majority vote in both houses!

All that would be needed is to have one house of the state legislature by a one vote margin of defeat in 13 states kill the amendment, and one must recall that the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s reached 35 states, three short of the required 38, and then died.

So the possibility of a constitutional amendment under the so called “best circumstances” to be added to the Constitution is less likely than that we are going to send astronauts to Mars in the next decade!

In other words, the odds are absolutely ZERO!

The Republican “Balanced Budget” Amendment Proposal: Preposterous As It Has Always Been!

The Republican Party is again out on a tear promoting a so called “Balanced Budget Amendment” to solve the future problem of national debt!

This idea has been promoted on and off since the 1980s as a solution to the growing national debt! It is as preposterous an idea now as it has always been!

It puts the federal government in a “strait jacket”, unable to react to economic collapse or foreign war! Just as no family can be certain as to their expenses in any calendar year due to unforeseen circumstances, the government also cannot possibly know ahead of time what the total government expenses will be!

The proposed amendment is just an excuse to avoid the ultimate responsibility of government beyond defense of the nation: to deal with the nation’s basic needs, domestic and foreign, through TAXATION, every person’s basic commitment as a citizen to pay taxes as part of their patriotic duty!

And just remember that it was under Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush that the national debt multiplied, with SEVEN TRILLION out of the $10 Trillion national debt in 2008 being due to Reagan ($2 trillion) and Bush ($5 trillion)!