At best, the BBA would only create an annoyance for the big spenders/borrowers . . . something to be gotten around. . . The evidence for this is New York State, which is required to have a balanced budget, but continues to spend and borrow big via a "creative" labyrinth of authorities, public benefit corporations and financial gimmicks (destroying the economy of the former "Empire" State in the process).
At worst, the BBA could significantly delay or prevent appropriate action in case of war (a real one) or an emergency of national scale (like Japan's earthquake/tsunami/nuclear meltdown).
Like morality, fiscal responsibility cannot be legislated. Our representatives are either responsible, or they are not. I think most people on the street intuitively know this ... and know that discussion of the BBA is a waste if time.
If the Republicans don't give up on the BBA, it will come back to haunt them.
Another thing to give up upon is the "No New Taxes" stance. Yes, Bush No. 1's breaking his "No New Taxes" pledge lost him the election. And Yes, a recession is NOT the time to raise tax rates. But do Republicans really believe that the American Public will not support their offering to eliminate tax loopholes which subsidize the export of American jobs? The Tax Code is so Byzantine there are probably many loopholes that can be closed.
Ladies and Gentlemen of Congress, here are your assignments:
- Republicans, since you hate raising taxes, it is now your assignment to come up with a list of the loopholes that can be closed.
- Democrats, since you like spending so much, come up with a list of spending programs that can be cut.
If you don't do your assignments, you will be failing the country.
Now . . . Stop posturing and Get to work.