Congressman Ed Royce is serving his tenth term in Congress representing Southern California's 40th District, based in Orange County.
Thomas Jefferson, an influential figure in drafting the Constitution and co-founder of what is today's Republican Party once wrote: “I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government to the power of borrowing.”
Andrew Jackson, whose devoted base formed the present day Democrat Party, entered his presidency focused on debt - to him a "national curse." Determined to "pay the national debt, to prevent a monied aristocracy from growing up around our administration that must bend to its views, and ultimately destroy the liberty of our country."
Jefferson's desire for a borrowing limit amendment has failed to materialize on multiple occasions over the decades. Given Jackson’s discomfort with national debt, he would surely be troubled to learn that it now stands over $14 trillion. The Cut, Cap, Balance Act, passed last night in the House, will address both outstanding issues of Jefferson and Jackson and bring us back on a path of fiscal sanity.
Given the current path, drastic change is needed. This year the size of our national debt will surpass the size of our economy; a profound threshold and one not lost on the markets. Just this week, a rating agency (Egan-Jones) downgraded the U.S. debt rating because of the out of hand debt to GDP ratio. Further, PIMCO – the world’s largest bond fund – announced a net short position on U.S. debt. Both are glaring warning signs that the financial market may soon lose faith in our ability to pay our creditors.
The government's spending level is now at 24 percent of our gross domestic product. Unaddressed, this number will climb to 27 percent within the next seven years. With the post-WWII average at 19 percent, history and basic math indicate these spending levels cannot be sustained.
The Cut, Cap, Balance legislation is a much needed life preserver in our sea of debt. The “Cut” consists of drastically cutting our federal spending by $111 billion in Fiscal Year 2012. The “Cap” entails scaling back total federal spending and putting it on a glide path back to sustainability. The “Balance” consists of what Jefferson had imagined, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to ensure we never again find our nation drowning in debt.
A few years ago, we came within one vote of passing a balanced budget amendment through the Senate. The year was 1995 and we had passed it through the House by a vote of 300 to 132. Back then the deficits were nowhere near as dire as they are today. Now is the time for Senators and Representatives to hear from their constituents and pass a balanced budget amendment.