With the U.S. House of Representatives debating on Thursday a Balanced Budget Amendment put forth by Republicans, a group of wealthy progressives who say the tax system and overall economy is already skewed too much in their favor declared that Americans should not be fooled for one second about what the GOP is up to and argued the legislation should be called out for exactly what it is.
"Let's not mince our words," said Stephen Prince, vice chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, "the Balanced-Budget Amendment the House is voting on today is utter horseshit."
"Americans should not be fooled by this move. This amendment is not about budgeting or balance. It’s about pushing an extreme agenda that would lead to a constitutional and economic catastrophe."
—Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause
As Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, explained in an op-ed for USA Today on Wednesday, the amendment is a "shameful and misleading" ploy by the GOP to "shred Social Security and the whole safety net after busting the federal budget with massive tax cuts" for the rich and corporations.
"Americans should not be fooled by this move," warned Flynn, "This amendment is not about budgeting or balance. It’s about pushing an extreme agenda that would lead to a constitutional and economic catastrophe."
A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget is very different from how the average American family balances its own budget. In fact, most American families do not actually balance their budgets. Instead, they balance their checkbooks. We take out loans when we buy a house, send our kids to college, buy a car, or when there is a family emergency. With a BBA, the federal government could not borrow and raise money like this when there is a crisis. This is especially dangerous when our nation needs to spend extra money to respond to a national security crisis, a natural disaster, or a sudden change in the economy.
It became increasingly clear after Republicans in Congress passed their tax bill last year, adding over $1 trillion to the annual federal deficit, that they did not care about the cumulative federal debt. Suddenly, after burying the nation in more debt by cutting taxes, with most of the benefits going to the wealthy and large corporations, they propose a constitutional amendment that would force cuts to important programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military retirement benefits.
Prince, who is also the CEO of Card Marketing Services, explained how the GOP has been relentless in its efforts to reward the nation's corporations and wealthy families, while undermining the economic interests of the poor and regular working people.
"Congressional Republicans have gone on a deficit-fueled tax cut rampage," Prince continued, "cutting taxes for corporations and rich people like me by $1.9 trillion, and now they have the gall to act like it's time for the rest of America to tighten their belts? Like we 'can't afford' to support the poor and elderly through Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, but we can afford to give billionaires and wealthy members of Congress a massive tax cut? Give me a break."
With the House voting on the #BalancedBudgetAmendment this afternoon, here are some resources on why it's a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea.https://t.co/kwoefQ6kKQhttps://t.co/jBMzWe6Onuhttps://t.co/zLMwxAd0S9https://t.co/HsrmlUMQrHhttps://t.co/Q2YtnA7ahW— Seth Hanlon (@SethHanlon) April 12, 2018
At what point, concluded Prince, are Americans "going to stop seeing Republicans in both houses of Congress as the well-intentioned, fiscally wise party that they used to be for what they really are – the greedy, pay no taxes, take from the poor, protect the rich (people like me) party they've really become?"