"Balanced Budget Amendment! Eureka! Hallelujah! If Americans like balanced budgets, they'll love this!'
Not so fast, Jon & Dean. There's more to the BBA than "Tea Party, Inc.", want us to know. For one, they want to gloss over the fact that the BBA would cost America 15 million jobs and likely plunge us back into deep recession if enacted. Oh, and say good bye to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and so much more of the American social contract that the middle class has come to expect.
It’s hard to overestimate the negative effects such an amendment would have on the country’s economy. In addition to destroying millions of jobs, it would force such massive spending cuts that House Republicans’ own budget would be unconstitutional. According to a recent study by Macroeconomic Advisers, enacting a BBA now would double the nation’s unemployment rate and cause the economy to shrink by 17 percent —a far cry from the 2 percent projected growth that would occur with no such amendment.
Unfortunately, according to another analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the consequences get worse. The draconian budget cuts caused by a Balanced Budget Amendment would forice lawmakers to gut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), among other programs, the analysis found:
“The constitutional balanced budget amendment that the House is expected to consider this week could force Congress to cut all programs by an average of 17.3 percent by 2018.
“If revenues are not raised (the House-passed budget resolution assumes no increase above current-policy levels) and all programs are cut by the same percentage, Social Security would be cut $184 billion in 2018 alone and almost $1.2 trillion through 2021; Medicare would be cut $117 billion in 2018 and about $750 billion through 2021; and Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would be cut $80 billion in 2018 and about $500 billion through 2021.”
In order to preserve those programs, Congress would have to cut ridiculously deep into every other program. Yesterday, economists around the country warned Congress that enacting widespread budget cuts and other austerity measures now would have perilous consequences for the American economy, pushing the country to the brink of a second deep recession.
Oh yes, just what Nevada needs... A new Greater Depression! Great idea, Senator Heller!
As the always brilliant Desert Beacon has explained, the BBA would do absolutely nothing to help our economy. Rather, it would rip apart the very fabric of American society by forcing seniors and disabled people into poverty, kicking students out of college, denying soldiers of the veterans' benefits they earned while serving our country, and endangering our country. What's so "smart" about this crap?
Oh no, did I just go into too much deep policy for Heller and the pundits? In case I did, here's something that they can better understand. In Politico's most recent poll, Americans overwhelmingly stood against cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits. And no matter how Heller's Beltway buddies try to spin it, the evidence is clear that and indisputable that passing the BBA would force cuts to all those programs and more. When even Paul Ryan's draconian budget wouldn't meet BBA muster, we know this is extreme and unworkable!
So why is Dean Heller even talking about this BBA garbage? Need I answer? OK. Here's the dirty little secret. Because most media pundits prefer talking horse race than going deep into policy, G-O-TEA politicians like Heller think they can enjoy a free ride with this. And because most media outlets have made many cuts of their own to the news division, they're hoping that we won't see what's actually in the BBA.
Well, we're not all that misinformed. And if Dean Heller thinks this is what Nevada wants, then he's in for a rude awakening. If Heller cared so much about balancing the budget, why won't he allow for the Bush tax rates to expire? And if he cared so much about our economy, why does he support such disastrous legislation that would tank the economy?