Balanced budget crucial to help economy

Published 8:19 pm Sunday, August 10, 2008

Earlier this week, the White House projected that the federal budget deficit will grow to a record $482 billion when the new fiscal year begins in October.

This number should be shocking, not only to you at home, but to my fellow colleagues here in Congress who are challenged with determining how to spend your tax dollars.

Throughout my tenure in Congress I have continuously advocated for a constitutional amendment to require the federal government to balance the budget.

In fact, last year, I once again introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Essentially, my amendment would require the United States not to spend more money than it receives in revenue, except in times of war or when suspended by a vote of three-fifths of both houses of Congress.

Over the years, Congress has grown accustomed to annual deficits and massive debt.

Unfortunately, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude many of my colleagues hold towards our debt has resulted in wasting about 14 percent of our federal budget on interest payments.

Interest payments on our nation’s debt consume approximately nine percent of the federal budget and represent the third largest item in the budget.

In the President’s fiscal year 2008 budget, the Office of Management and Budget projected net interest costs of $261 billion. That is more than double the amount of money spent on education, training, crime prevention and transportation combined.

The federal government is depleting national wealth at a rate twice as fast as the private sector can create it.

The current economic times are difficult for many Americans and although Alabama is experiencing one of the best economies it has had in years, the realities of high fuel prices, increased food costs and an overall economic downturn is affecting everyone.

I believe that we could ease our nation’s debt while efficiently putting more money into the hands of the American people by simply being responsible in our spending.

A balanced budget would dramatically lower interest rates, resulting in savings for anyone with a home mortgage, a student loan, a car loan, credit card debt or any other interest rate-sensitive payment responsibility.

Further, if the government’s demand for capital is reduced, more money would be available for private sector use, which would generate substantial economic growth and create thousands of new jobs.