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Cardin: Balancing Federal Budget Doesn't Require Constitutional Amendment

Senator says balanced budget amendment would have "dire consequences on our economy."

Attempts to pass balanced budget amendments to the U.S. Constitution would have had "dire consequences" on the economy if they had been successful, according to Sen. Ben Cardin.

The U.S. Senate Wednesday voted down efforts to pass amendments to the Constitution that would require balanced federal budgets.

“Amending our constitution is not an acceptable way to address our nation’s long-term fiscal problems," said Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who is completing his first term in the senate. "It could have dire consequences on our economy, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, clean air and clean water, national security, and other critical government programs. In addition, the constraints of a balanced budget amendment could leave us unprepared to respond quickly to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, terrorist attacks like 9/11, and financial crises like the recent mortgage meltdown."

“We can balance the budget without changing our constitution.  We have done it before – and we can do it again," said Cardin in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. 

Cardin, in his statement, advocated a return to policies that guided the federal budget under President Bill Clinton.

"From Fiscal Years 1998 through 2001 we had balanced budgets," said Cardin in his statement, adding Republicans "rarely tout the successes of that era, but I believe that we should use those policies as a guide. 

"There are solutions, budget controls that can lead to better outcomes.  And there are bipartisan options.”

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Rob Kennedy December 15, 2011 at 02:52 AM
What cardin doesn't understand is the way it's working now (over spending for all those things he said we would need to overspend on like hurricanes) doesn't work! Run the budget like you would run your own budget. You plan and save $ for those catastrophes. The problem is we've overextended ourselves with too many government subsidized projects and have grown an entire generation of welfare recipients that know nothing else other than how to get government hand outs. This country was founded on the principle that every man works and starts with a fair hand in the game, unfortunately thanks to the progressives and socialists of the early 20th century (and 21st) this concept has faded away.
Tom Henry December 15, 2011 at 01:15 PM
That's pretty good for one of the biggest spenders in Maryland history. Nice double-standard for 'ol tax-and-spend Ben.
Wendy Rosen December 15, 2011 at 01:55 PM
There's an underlying problem here that must be fixed. We pass legislation for projects and then forget to follow up on how effectively the money was used, and what was the actual contribution to the economy. We need to have follow-up analysis and review points that are independently analyzed. One example is the SBA program of SBDC offices. The money funnels through the university system and the actual services provides become all to costly due to the overhead slice that the institution takes off the top. The goal of the SBDC is to assist in creating new small businesses, but that goal is not fulfilled as efficiently and effectively as it could be. We don't need smaller government, we need to update our government and actually know what we're getting for our dollars!
Wendy Rosen December 15, 2011 at 02:08 PM
The balanced budget we "had" was the result of an economic boom. Now that the bust has arrived balancing the budget will be more difficult. We will need to reduce unemployment, raise consumer confidence, and bring our troops home before we can balance a budget in the near future. We're on our way... but it's going to be a long slow process. There are so many things our president could do that require no money, just a signature, or an announcement... simple acts that could create jobs but our president isn't listening to the small business voices. He just put together yet another "business" council... with nothing but fortune 500 leaders represented.
Karl Schuub December 15, 2011 at 03:43 PM
So the president signs a piece of paper or makes an announcement and jobs are created? All this time I thought job creation relied on basically growth in the private sector and all we needed was bewitched and a bit of hocus pocus. Wendy; you're a genius.
hmj December 15, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Cardin is part of the problem. He and the Dems will not reduce even the rate of growth in federal spending. They have nearly destroyed our nation with enormous debt that our children will never get out from under. His idea of shared sacrifice is for one group of citizens to pay more taxes so that the freeloaders that vote for him can share it.
Donald M. Ford December 15, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Cardin is just Dutch, don't care about anything but your vote. The only thing they are good at is BS.
Michael Ernest December 16, 2011 at 12:08 AM
This is exactly why we must get rid of entrenched career politician's like Cardin (and Mikulski too). Term limits needed badly!
Buck Harmon December 16, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Campaign finance reform first..... then term limits = public service before self service..
Tom Henry December 16, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Buck, they've "tried" that (remember McCain Feingold (BCRA of 2002), or FECA back in 1972 and amended in 1974). I believe we need to push back on their ability to be career politicians by having them create phony legislation like the above that do nothing more that provide loopholes for incumbents.
reader February 23, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Has sucked from the public trough his entire career. Same with MOM, but these dumb citizens of Maryland must love it, because they keep voting the same lame brains into office.
Tim February 23, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Completely agree, Buck.
Michael Ernest February 23, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Wait a minute now-I think you left off Mikulski and most of the other congressional representatives like Cummings, and not to forget those in the MD legislature. They all deserve equal billing. Term limits - needed badly!

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