Late Democratic U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas (MA) and Presidential Candidate
Both of these gentlemen—hardly “arch conservatives”—supported a federal Balanced Budget Amendment. They recognized that democratic principles required a limit on the borrowing capacity of the federal government.
In fact, here’s what Senator Tsongas said:
A balanced budget amendment is “a cry for generational responsibility . . . Deficit spending has become as American as apple pie. We have gone from ‘tax and spend’ to a bipartisan addiction to ‘spend and borrow.’ We have all argued over the merits of tax and spend. But there can be no argument about spend and borrow—it is generationally immoral.”
And here’s what Senator Simon said when our national debt was less than $4 trillion (we are above $18 trillion): “If we do not act, interest payouts will spiral upward until they consume not only Social Security, but also health care, education, and transportation.”
We are now at the precipice of injustice and dangerous spending cuts, of which Tsongas and Simon warned.
What happens if interest rates double or triple in this pie chart?
Does this chart show self-restraint and intergenerational justice?
Is it democratic to do nothing and let Washington ride?
Or is it more consistent with democratic principles to support the Compact for a Balanced Budget?