Legislative Column for the Week of April 30, 2015

Reining In Out of Control Spending

Every child born today owes nearly $60,000 as his share of our $18.1+ trillion national debt. But that’s not all—nearly $650,000 is the average child’s share of the federal government’s estimated $210 trillion in unfunded spending programs. Many of these programs may be good and necessary, but our kids have never had an opportunity to vote for or against their advocates. The truth is that they mostly benefit other people.

If obligations of such magnitude continue to be incurred without limit, our children and their children will inevitably face taxation without representation on a scale that will dwarf the worst of the injustices that led to the American Revolution.

This is not only wrong, it is a recipe for societal conflict.

This observation is not idle speculation. Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmdorf testified only a few weeks ago that our national debt was on a “trend that could not be sustained.” A few years before that, in September 2011, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, testified “our debt is the greatest threat to our national security.” All around the world, we have seen nations like Argentina, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and Spain facing crisis and economic collapse because of unsustainable debt spending by their governments.

That’s why, with a bipartisan vote, the Senate passed SB433-Compact for a Balanced Budget this week. The Compact represents a solemn promise by this state to use its constitutional power under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to advance and ratify a powerful Balanced Budget Amendment in as few as 12 months. That amendment would impose a constitutional debt limit that could not be increased without the approval of a majority of state legislatures. States would be placed in the position of imposing external discipline on the federal government to stop its abuse of debt and future generations. This would restore a crucial check and balance on the otherwise unlimited federal power to incur debt, while preserving the flexibility needed to handle genuine national emergencies.

Things would have to change if the federal government’s credit card were constitutionally limited and placed under the control of a majority of state legislatures, as proposed by the Compact for a Balanced Budget. Washington politicians would no longer be able to get away with promising anything it takes to get elected. Finally, we would have a real chance to stop the sacrifice of our kids and their kids to shortsighted political ambitions.

SB433-Compact for a Balanced Budget now moves to the House for consideration.

I urge you to contact me with any questions or concerns you have about state government so that I can better represent you during the 2015 Legislative Session.

Contact Me

I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Wayne Wallingford, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email at wayne.wallingford@senate.mo.gov or www.senate.mo.gov/wallingford.

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