Excerpt Of The Day: How To Get Government Spending Under Control Long-Term

“But the better solution to the huge increase in federal spending would be a constitutional amendment to hold the growth of federal spending to specific percentages of revenue unless there is a supermajority override by both houses of Congress. It is not a new idea–Delaware, for example, passed a constitutional amendment in 1980, when I was governor, to limit state government spending to 98% of revenue unless there is a three-fifths vote of each legislative house to spend more. The extra 2% goes into a Rainy Day Fund–the kind of fund that could be used for relief in Katrina-type national catastrophes. The amendment has produced 25 consecutive years of balanced Delaware budgets, a fiscal discipline that the federal government needs even more that state governments do.

Another approach is the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or Tabor, which Colorado put into place via a constitutional amendment in 1992. It limits annual state government spending to inflation plus population growth, with any extra revenue going back to the taxpayers. From 1995 to 2000 Colorado ranked first in the nation in GDP growth and second in personal income growth. Its success has generated a furious effort to allow more spending that will be on the 2006 ballot.

Amending the Constitution is not easy, but is the best solution to the long term spending challenges that have faced every modern president since the Great Depression of the 1930s. And offering it up in our troubled big spending times would energize a policy debate that America needs to have.” — Pete Du Pont

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